What Business Licenses & Permits are Needed in Mississippi?

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Starting a business in Mississippi 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 Mississippi.

Business License – There is no general state of Mississippi 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. 

Jackson – All businesses operating in the city will need to obtain a business license through the Department of Planning and Economic Development.  Businesses located outside of the incorporated area are required to get a Privilege License through the Jackson County Tax Collector’s Office.

Gulfport The City of Aurora requires a business license for liquor establishments, pawn shops, second hand stores, home-based day cares and more. 

Southaven – The City of Southaven requires business licenses for the zoning of commercial businesses as well as home-based businesses.

Hattiesburg – All businesses operating in the city will need to obtain a Privilege Tax License from the Hattiesburg Tax Department.  Additional registrations will be required for businesses selling alcohol, contractors, pawn shops and more. 

The cost for a business license will vary depending on the type of business and city. 

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.

Mississippi Business Tax Number – Any business selling tangible personal property in Mississippi subject to sales tax must register for a sales tax permit, sometimes known as a seller’s certificate.

Resale Certificate – Businesses purchasing merchandise to resell will usually want to obtain a Mississippi Resale 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 Mississippi include; contractors, foresters, tattoo artists and many more.   Additional information, fees and licensing requirements for professions are available from the State of Mississippi.

In addition to professional licenses, there are a number of other licenses that may be needed:

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 County Clerk’s Office in the county where the business is located.

These are a few of the most common business licenses, but there are way too many licenses and permits in Mississippi 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.