State Requirements for Getting a Business License

The Small Business Startup Guide

Requirements for obtaining a business license vary by state, so be sure to check with your state’s Department of Revenue, Secretary of State’s office, or similar department to see what the state requirements are for licensing and/or registering your business. Below is list of business licensing departments by state. Information is subject to change.

State Requirements for Getting a Business License

Business Licensing and Registration Departments by State:

HAWAII

In Hawaii, all business registrations are filed with the State of Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Business Registration Division.

https://cca.hawaii.gov/breg/

 

IDAHO

All businesses need to register a name and entity type with the Idaho Secretary of State’s office before conducting business.

https://business.idaho.gov/licenses/

 

ILLINOIS

You must register with the Illinois Department of Revenue if you conduct business in Illinois, or with Illinois customers. This includes sole proprietors (individual or husband/wife/civil union), exempt organizations, or government agencies withholding for Illinois employees.

https://www2.illinois.gov/rev/businesses/Registration/Pages/default.aspx

 

INDIANA

If you are starting a new business in Indiana, you may need to register with the Indiana Department of Revenue.

https://www.in.gov/dor/business-tax/register-a-new-business/

 

IOWA

https://tax.iowa.gov/

 

KANSAS

https://www.ksrevenue.gov/busregistration.html

 

KENTUCKY

https://onestop.ky.gov/Pages/default.aspx

 

LOUISIANA

https://www.sos.la.gov/BusinessServices/StartABusiness/CreateABusinessLicenseChecklist/Pages/default.aspx

 

MAINE

General licenses to operate a business are managed at the town/city level in Maine. Contact your town office for information. To obtain contact information for your town office or to locate your municipal website, visit the Maine.gov Local Government portal.

 

MARYLAND

https://businessexpress.maryland.gov/start/licenses-and-permits

MASSACHUSETTS

Corporations, LLCs and other business entities need to register with the Secretary of the Commonwealth before beginning business in Massachusetts. Annual updates are usually required as well.

https://www.sec.state.ma.us/cor/coridx.htm

 

MICHIGAN

https://www.michigan.gov/taxes/business-taxes/new-biz/online-business-registration

 

MINNESOTA

https://mn.gov/deed/business/starting-business/legal-regulatory/

 

MISSISSIPPI

https://www.ms.gov/sos/onestopshop/Steps/Results

 

MISSOURI

https://www.sos.mo.gov/business/outreach/starting_steps

 

MONTANA

Local city and county offices provide all business licensing in Montana. The State of Montana provides professional licenses. Visit the Montana Department of Revenue for more information. Contact the Secretary of State’s office for any business registration information.

 

NEBRASKA

https://www.nebraska.gov/business/business-licensing/#gsc.tab=0

 

NEVADA

All businesses operating in Nevada must obtain a State Business License issued by the Nevada Secretary of State. 

https://www.nvsos.gov/sos/licensing/state-business-license

 

NEW HAMPSHIRE

https://www.nh.gov/business/

 

NEW JERSEY

All individuals or companies doing business in New Jersey must be registered.

https://www.state.nj.us/treasury/revenue/gettingregistered.shtml

 

NEW MEXICO

All Corporations, LLCs, and Partnerships must first register with the Secretary of State. You can register LLCs online, but partnerships and corporations registration forms must be completed and submitted via mail or in person.

https://www.sos.state.nm.us/business-services/start-a-business/

NEW YORK

https://www.businessexpress.ny.gov/

 

NORTH CAROLINA

North Carolina has no single generic business license that will ensure compliance with all requirements. Some businesses may be subject to several state requirements while others may not be subject to any.

https://www.nc.gov/working/business-nc/start-my-business

 

NORTH DAKOTA

https://www.nd.gov/businessreg/license/

 

OHIO

https://www.ohiosos.gov/businesses/information-on-starting-and-maintaining-a-business/starting-a-business/

 

OKLAHOMA

In Oklahoma, there is no general license required to start or own a business. However, for specific types of businesses and occupations, licenses, permits, or special registrations and filings may be required before opening or operating. Counties, towns and cities may have local license requirements in addition to state requirements.

https://www.okcommerce.gov/doing-business/startups-entrepreneurs/business-licensing-operating-requirements/

 

OREGON

https://sos.oregon.gov/business/pages/starting-business.aspx

 

PENNSYLVANIA

https://www.dos.pa.gov/ProfessionalLicensing/LicensingServices/Pages/default.aspx

 

RHODE ISLAND

https://www.ri.gov/taxation/BAR/

 

SOUTH CAROLINA

https://scbos.sc.gov/starting/step4

 

SOUTH DAKOTA

https://sd.gov/business.aspx

TENNESSEE

https://www.tn.gov/revenue/taxes/business-tax/registration-and-licensing.html

 

TEXAS

A general business license is not required in Texas. However, it is important to determine necessary licenses, permits, certifications, registrations or authorizations for a specific business activity, at the federal, state and local level.

https://gov.texas.gov/business/page/start-a-business

 

UTAH

https://www.utah.gov/business/

 

VERMONT

https://sos.vermont.gov/corporations/registration/

 

VIRGINIA

https://www.virginia.gov/state-government/business/

 

WASHINGTON

If you’re ready to start your business, you need to apply for your business license. Complete the Business Licensing Wizard to receive a list of agencies to contact, additional endorsements and helpful tips about your business license.

https://dor.wa.gov/open-business/apply-business-license

 

WEST VIRGINIA

Before engaging in business activity in West Virginia, every individual or business entity must obtain a West Virginia business registration certificate from the State Tax Department.

https://tax.wv.gov/Business/BusinessRegistration/Pages/BusinessRegistration.aspx

 

WISCONSIN

https://www.revenue.wi.gov/Pages/Businesses/New-Business-home.aspx

 

WYOMING

https://sos.wyo.gov/business/startabusiness.aspx

 

WASHINGTON DC

https://dlcp.dc.gov/service/get-business-license