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Jean   Murray

Your Home Based Business Probably Needs a Business License - Do You Have One?

By February 4, 2013

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A question on an author's blog got my attention recently. Does every home business need a business license? The answer, as usual, is "it depends." In this case, it depends on your city and its requirements.

The process of obtaining a business license:

I've heard this before, so the author's description seems to be fairly standard for cities to require a process before granting a business license to a home business.

  • First, you must apply.
  • Then you must go around to your neighbors and make sure they don't object. Unless you are running a hair salon or some other business with lots of traffic, they probably won't.
  • Finally, you may have to show up at a city council meeting to give the public notice that you are applying for this license and to make sure - one last time - that no one objects.
  • And, of course, you have to pay for the license, probably annually.

Where to start:

Find information about your city or municipality. The Small Business Administration has a business license search page that might help you get started.

Before you leave the SBA site, check to see if there are any federal licenses/permits or state licenses/permits your business might need. Federal licenses and permits would be for activities like firearms or alcohol manufacture, while state licenses range through a wide variety of activities, from accountants to wineries.

In any case, it's always best to be sure and ask if you need a business license.

More about Business Licenses - Your Questions Answered

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