What Business Licenses & Permits are Needed in Minnesota?

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Starting a business in Minnesota 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 Minnesota.

Business License – There is no general state of Minnesota 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. 

Minneapolis – The Office of Business Licenses & Consumer Licenses issues business licenses for businesses operating in the City of Minneapolis, regulating certain businesses such as contractors, dry cleaners, food related business, tanning salons and more.

St. Paul The City of St. Paul requires a business license for businesses such as auto body shops, bakeries, bed & breakfasts, restaurants and several more. 

Rochester – Businesses such as contractors, ice cream vendors, mobile food vendors, tree trimmers and more will need to register with the City Clerk

DuluthBusiness Licenses are required for any business operating in the city limits of Duluth.  A few businesses requiring licensing include; bowling alleys, garbage collectors, massage therapist, and towing services.

Bloomington – The Bloomington City Clerk’s Office issues business licenses for entities offering garbage services, massage therapists, pawnbrokers, tanning salons and more.

Employer Identification Number (EIN) – Many businesses will register with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for an EIN or Employer Identification 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.

Minnesota Tax ID Number – Minnesota businesses need to apply for a Minnesota Tax ID Number with the Minnesota Department of Revenue if they:

  • Sell products and taxable services (Learn more about the Minnesota Sales Tax Permit)
  • File as a partnership or corporation
  • Have employees
  • Are a vendor or receive payments from a Minnesota state agency

Certificate of Exemption – Businesses purchasing merchandise to resell will usually want to obtain a Minnesota Certificate of Exemption 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 Minnesota include; cosmetologists, accountants, caterers and many more.   Additional information, fees and licensing requirements for professions are available from the State of Minnesota.

Assumed 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 Name (also known as a Doing Business As or DBA) with the Secretary of State.

These are a few of the most common business licenses, but there are way too many licenses and permits in Minnesota for us to keep track of. Before starting your business, check with the City Hall, County Clerk, Chamber of Commerce and/or Economic Developer in your area to get more information regarding business licensing.  Additionally, there are companies like IncFile or CorpNet that can do the research to ensure you have the proper federal, state and local licenses.