What Business Licenses & Permits are Needed in Idaho?

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What Business Licenses & Permits are Needed in Idaho?

Starting a business in Idaho will mean potentially registering with a number of federal, state, and local agencies. Let’s take a look at common licenses and permits a business will register for in Idaho.

Before applying for any licenses, the business structure of the business will need to be established. Learn more about the differences between the sole proprietorship, general partnership, corporation, and Limited Liability Company (LLC)

Related: Comparison of Business Entities

Learn more about forming an LLC in Idaho

Also see: Steps to starting a business in Idaho

Business Licenses

There is no general state of Idaho business license, however, many cities require businesses to be licensed in order to operate. Rules for business registration vary depending on location and what the business does. Below are a few cities that have licensing requirements.

Boise – Only certain types of businesses in the City of Boise are licensed, such as restaurants, childcare facilities, massage establishments, and others.

Nampa – The City of Nampa licenses a few types of businesses such as alarm installers, amusement businesses, businesses selling alcohol, and others.

Idaho FallsBusiness serving alcohol, care for children, sell second-hand goods, and others need to register with the City of Idaho Falls.


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Building & Zoning Permits

Zoning Depending on the location of the business, it’s important to verify whether the business needs an occupancy permit or has specific city codes to follow. Depending on city requirements, home-based businesses may need to apply for a home occupation permit.

Building PermitA building permit may be needed from the city or county building and planning department if there is any construction or renovations to a facility.

Signage Permit Some municipalities require a permit before adding signage.

Idaho Seller’s Permit

Idaho requires retailers doing business in Idaho to get a seller’s permit (also called a sales tax ID or sales tax license) and collect sales tax on the sale of goods they ship or deliver to customers in Idaho. All retailers doing business in Idaho must file regular Idaho sales tax returns to pay the tax they collect.

Generally speaking, physical products sold at retail are taxable within Idaho, while services are generally not taxable.

To register for the Seller’s Permit, you will need to file Form IBR-1, “Business Registration Form,” with the Idaho State Tax Commission. Learn more about registering for an Idaho Seller’s Permit.

Resale Certificate

Businesses purchasing merchandise to resell will usually want to obtain an Idaho Resale Certificate in order to not pay sales tax for merchandise that is being resold to customers.

Occupational License

A variety of occupations in the state are regulated and need to be registered before offering certain services. A few common professions that require licensing in Idaho include; appraisers, collection agents, therapists, driving instructors, outfitters, and many more. Additional information, fees, and licensing requirements for professions are available from the State of Idaho.

In addition to professional licensing, a few other types of businesses need licensing in Idaho, including food establishments, daycares, and many others.

Contractor‘s License

The state of Idaho requires all general contractors to register to do business. Contractor registration is applied through a mail-in application. Most types of contractors are also required to be bonded.

Liquor License

Businesses selling alcohol will need to obtain a State of Idaho Alcohol Beverage Control Department in addition to obtaining a city or county alcohol license.

Employer Identification Number (EIN)

Many businesses will register with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for an EIN (also referred to as a FEIN, Federal Employer Identification Number, or Federal Tax ID Number). The EIN is the business equivalent for a Social Security Number for an individual. Corporations, Limited Liability Companies, Partnerships, and Sole Proprietorships with employees will all need to register for one. Sole Proprietorships without employees can use the owner’s Social Security Number.

There is no cost for an EIN, and it only takes a few minutes to get.

Learn how to apply for an EIN

Assumed Business Name Registration

While not a business license, it’s common for Sole Proprietorships and Partnerships operating under a name that is different from the full name of the owner(s) to register for an Assumed Business Name (also known as a Doing Business As, DBA, or fictitious business name) with the Idaho Secretary of State.


These are some of the most common business licenses, but there are far too many licenses and permits for us to keep track of. Before starting your business, be sure to check with the City Clerk’s Office, County Clerk, Chamber of Commerce, and/or Economic Developer in your area to get more information regarding business licensing.

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