ⓘ Business license

Business license

ⓘ Business license

Business licenses are permits issued by government agencies that allow individuals or companies to conduct business within the governments geographical jurisdiction. It is the authorization to start a business issued by the local government. A single jurisdiction often requires multiple licenses that are issued by multiple government departments and agencies. Business licenses vary between countries, states, and local municipalities. There are often many licenses, registrations and certifications required to conduct a business in a single location.

Typically, a companys business activity and physical location address determines which licenses are required to operate lawfully. Other determining factors may include the number of employees and the business, such as sole proprietor or corporation. Government agencies can fine or close a business operating without the required business licenses.


1.1. Licensing and business registration requirements Example: Washington, D.C.

In Washington, D.C.

The Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs DCRA is the District of Columbias regulatory agency. DCRA ensures the health, safety, and economic welfare of District residents through licensing, inspection, compliance, and enforcement programs. In addition, Department of Health DOH issues certain professional licenses, District Department of Transportation DDOT regulates public space, and Office of Zoning DCOZ controls land use.

Most individuals and companies doing business in the District of Columbia must obtain a Basic Business License from the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. Separately, organizations including non-profits and cooperatives, but not including sole-proprietorships and general partnerships must register their business. Many types of businesses require additional certification or permits beyond the Basic Business License and registration. D.C. requires a "Clean Hands Self-Certification" from most applicants, which is an affidavit stating that the applicant does not owe more than $100 to the District. Tour Guides must submit a Physicians Certificate. Fees for businesses licenses vary. The fee for a Special Event license such as a marathon is $209. The license for a movie theater costs $1.079 per year, for a grocery store $289 per year, for a beauty shop $78 per year. 2003 schedule of fees, current as of March 2007 A Project Management Firm does not require a Basic Business License, nor does a Handyman. Residential House Painters must submit a Home Improvement Contract signed by the homeowner.

Physicians and other health care professionals require licenses from the Professional Licensing Administration in the Department of Health.


1.2. Licensing and business registration requirements Example: Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania allows online registration of small business start-ups, but does not provide licensing guidance.

The Pennsylvania Open for Business Online Business Registration Interview OBRI is a step-by-step wizard that guides users through the process of registering an enterprise with the Departments of Labor & Industry, Revenue, and State. The OBRI is a business registration tool and is not intended to be a replacement for professional consultation with qualified practitioners. The laws and regulations governing business start-up, practice, and expansion are varied and compliance with such standards depends upon the particular circumstances of a business. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought.

Certain actions are required by all businesses in Pennsylvania in order for them to continue in business in Pennsylvania. This includes New Hire Reporting including reporting oneself as a new hire when starting a business.


1.3. Licensing and business registration requirements United Kingdom

In the UK there is no requirement to obtain a licence to run a business.

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