Once you get the most common business licenses, including your occupational license, you need to look at other permits and licenses you may need for your specific business. Certain types of businesses will need more licenses and permits. In the excitement and stress of setting up a business, it is easy to forget one of the many licenses and permits you may need.
Your city may require you to get special permits if your business uses certain materials or even if your business is open to the public. Generally, flammable materials or materials that could pose a danger to the public could require special permits. In some cases, your city may require a permit just because you are open to the public, even if you are running a home-based business.
You may feel that if you are in an unincorporated part of the county that you are able to do what you want. However, unincorporated areas still have rules and regulations, especially if you are near a conservation area. If you are in an unincorporated part of a town or county, the county may be the entity that issues permits for your business. In some cases, even if you are in the city, you have to get certain permits from the county. For example, in Tampa, Florida, you may need to have a city business tax permit and a county business tax permit.
Most states require licenses for certain occupations including, but not limited to:
Many of these professions require state testing in order to get licenses. Additionally, states may require occupational permits even if the county and/or city require occupational permits.
Some businesses are required to obtain federal licenses, including meat processors, investment advisory services, television stations, and radio stations. You may need a federal license if you are involved in agriculture, selling alcohol, firearms, provide air transportation, provide sea transportation, or several other types of services and products that are federally regulated.
You may need a license or permit from the U.S. Department of Agriculture if you import plants, biologics, biotechnology, animals, or animal products across state lines. Even within the United States, some plants may become invasive in areas where they are not normally found. This ruins the ecosystem of the plants and animals native to that area.
If you import, sell, wholesale, or manufacture alcoholic beverages at a retail location, you may need a federal license from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. You may also need a state, county, or city license or permit for these activities.
If your business transports people or goods via air, you operate aircraft, or you perform aircraft maintenance, you will need a license or permit from the Federal Aviation Administration. Additionally, every time you add a new type of plane to your fleet, you will have to be checked out in that aircraft.
Businesses that deal, manufacture, or import ammunition, explosives, and firearms must obtain a license or permit from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. These types of businesses may include manufacturing plants for ammunition and explosives, companies that buy and sell ammunition and explosives or, in some cases, even construction companies that handle explosives.
If your business imports or exports wildlife and wildlife-related products or you are involved in wildlife-related activity, including running a wildlife sanctuary, you will need to obtain the proper permits from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Further, in order to house and care for certain types of animals, you must obtain special permits.
Additionally, some states require special permits to own different species. For example, Florida requires you to obtain a Class 1 permit to keep animals that pose a threat to others, including baboons, bears, lions, tigers, crocodiles, hyenas, and more. Florida classes wildlife into three different classes based on the amount of danger the animal presents to others.
If you are starting a business that does any type of commercial fishing, you will need a license or permit from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Office. Even if you have one other person working for you or you are a family fisherman and you sell the fish, you will need a license or permit.
If you are going to ship cargo by sea or you provide ocean transportation, you will need a license from the Federal Maritime Commission. If a vessel has berths or staterooms for over 50, you must apply for a license and provide proof of financial responsibility for your passengers. The Federal Maritime Commission is actually divided into two parts: one dealing with passenger vessels and one dealing with transporting goods over the seas.
If your business is involved in any type of drilling activities such as for oil, natural gas, or other minerals on federal lands, you will have to obtain a permit from the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.
If you distribute nuclear materials, dispose of nuclear materials, produce commercial nuclear energy, or if you run a fuel cycle facility, you will need to get a permit from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Any business that broadcasts by wire, cable, satellite, radio, or television must obtain a license from the Federal Communications Commission. If you still have and use a ham radio or use certain satellites as an amateur, you may also need a license. Certain areas are regulated by the Federal Communications Commission. You no longer need an alien reciprocal license.
Contact the U.S. Department of Transportation about permits for overweight and/or oversize vehicles. While your state government issues the permits, the U.S. Department of Transportation directs you to the proper state agency. If you are involved in ground trucking, you must also contact the U.S. Department of Transportation.
In addition to the above-mentioned agencies, investment advisers must contact the Securities and Exchange Commission, those who manufacture drugs must contact the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and those who are involved in the preparation of meat products also need to contact the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Most people realize that they need a state sales tax license to sell goods. However, many do not realize that if they sell goods out of their home that they still need a sales tax license. Whether your business is a small business that you run from your home or you are opening a larger retail business, including providing services, you will need to obtain a sales tax license from your state. Check with your state’s rules and regulations to determine what products and services are taxable, as each state may tax different products and services. If you have more than one location, you will need a separate sales tax permit for each location.
Furthermore, if you purchase products for resale, you may be exempt from paying sales tax on those purchases. Most businesses will require that you provide a copy of your sales tax license to their establishment.
If you are planning on opening an online business, you should treat it just as you would a brick-and-mortar business when it comes to obtaining permits and licenses. You will most likely need to have the same permits and licenses to operate your business, especially the specialty licenses and permits listed above.
The state you incorporate in is the state you obtain licensing from. Even if your business is in one state but you sell or provide services to those in other states and not your own, you should abide by your state’s requirements.
If you have a home-based business, you will need to abide by the licensing requirements for your state, especially if you have people come into your home for business reasons. Additionally, you should have business insurance if the public is invited onto your property for business reasons. For example, a home auto technician repairing vehicles out of his or her garage should have garagekeepers insurance to protect them and their property against liability if someone gets hurt while visiting the property.
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