What Business Licenses & Permits are Needed in Kansas?

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What Business Licenses & Permits are Needed in Kansas?

Starting a business in Kansas 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 Kansas.

Before applying for any licenses, the legal 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). Corporations and LLCs are registered with the Kansas Secretary of State. 

Related: Comparison of Business Entities

Learn more about forming an LLC in Kansas

Also see: Steps to starting a business in Kansas

Business Licenses

There is no general state of Kansas 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. 

Wichita –  Certain types of businesses in the City of Wichita are licensed, a few of which include ice cream vendors, businesses selling alcohol, massage therapists, pawnbrokers, and many others. 

Overland Park – The City of Overland Park requires a few types of businesses to get licensing, including; contractors, businesses selling alcohol, pawnbrokers, home-based businesses, and a few more. 

Kansas City – All businesses operating within the Kansas City, KS city limits are required to file an Occupation Tax application with the Neighborhood Resource Center office.  Some activities, such as a business having coin-operated devices, mobile food vendors, pawn shops, and others, have additional licensing requirements.

Topeka – Business registration in Topeka is only required for certain businesses, such as cleaning services, haunted houses, mobile food vendors, pawnshops, and several others.    Business applications are filed with the City Clerk’s office.

Olathe – The City of Olathe issues business licenses for entities operating as massage therapists, pawnbrokers, retail businesses, and others. 

Fees for city business licenses in Kansas vary depending on the type of business and location. 


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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 zoning regulations to follow. Depending on city codes, home-based businesses may need to apply for a home occupation permit. 

Building Permit – A 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.

Kansas Business Tax License

Businesses selling goods, admissions, or provide taxable services must file a Business Tax Application with the Kansas Department of Revenue. 

Resale Exemption Certificate

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

Professional License

A variety of professions in the state are regulated and need to be registered before offering certain services.  A few common professions that require licensing in Kansas include; contractors, bakeries, bed & breakfasts, kennels, businesses selling on the internet, and many more.   Additional information, fees, and licensing requirements for professions are available from the state of Kansas.

In addition to professional licenses, businesses in industries such as food establishmentsdaycaresscrap metal dealers, and many others also require licensing.

Contractor License 

In many Citys, a contractor will need to obtain a contractor license before starting any work. This typically includes general contractors and all subcontractors.  

Liquor License / Tobacco License

Businesses selling liquor or tobacco products will need to be licensed. Visit the Kansas Alcoholic Beverage Control page for more information on licensing requirements.

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. CorporationsLimited Liability CompaniesPartnerships, 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 Name Registration

In most states, for a sole proprietorship or partnership to operate under a company name other than the owner’s full first and last name, they would have to file for an assumed business name.  An assumed name for a business is often known as a fictitious name, a trade name, or doing business (DBA).  Kansas is unique because sole proprietorships and general partnerships are not required to file an assumed business name in Kansas.  A business owner is free to operate under any name, provided it’s not trademarked.


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 City Hall, County Clerk, Chamber of Commerce, and/or Economic Developer in your area to get more information regarding business licensing.

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