Apply for Business Licenses In North Carolina

(Last Updated On: January 10, 2018)

Not sure how to register a business or what business licenses are needed in North Carolina?  While every business in North Carolina will need to get a Privilege License, a business may also need to register with the Department of Revenue and Department of Commerce, in addition to a variety licenses and regulations from local municipalities.

Below is a brief overview of licenses for a business in North Carolina.


Every business in North Carolina that sells products (both tangible and digital) at retail, taxable services, has employees and certain types of businesses must register for the Sales & Use tax and obtain a Certificate of Registration with the Department of Revenue.

More information about the Sales & Use Tax.

There is no fee to register.



A variety of professionals in the state are regulated and need to register such as commercial fisherman, firearms trainer, fur dealer and many more.  Additional information, fees and licensing requirements for professions are available from the North Carolina Department of Commerce.

In addition to professional licenses, businesses in a variety of industries such as food establishmentsday caressalvage dealer and many others require licensing.



Almost every North Carolina community (both at the town/city and/or county level) have some sort of licensing/registration or rules and regulations that businesses need to be aware of.  Some require a general business license while others have requirements for certain professions, zoning, building/ building improvements, signage requirements, etc.

You will want to make sure that your business meets the requirements before opening the doors instead of having a visit to shut down operations until you are in compliance.   Don’t be intimidated in working with your local governments as they have an interest in new businesses opening in the community and they are there to help you do so, but certain laws and regulations must be followed.

Be sure to contact your City Hall, Economic Developer or Mayor to say you are planning to start a business and need to find out what is needed to register.