What Business Licenses & Permits are Needed in Missouri?

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What Business Licenses & Permits are Needed in Missouri?

Starting a business in Missouri 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 Missouri.

Before applying for any licenses, the business entity 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

General Business Licenses

There is no general state of Missouri 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.

Kansas City – All businesses need to complete business license application when conducting business in Kansas City. They will also pay the “Profits Return Earnings Tax.” The cost of this tax is 1% of net profits.

St. Louis – Businesses operating in the city of St. Louis will need to obtain a Graduated Business License (GBL). In addition, certain types of businesses such as auto sales, catering businesses, day cares, jewelry repair businesses, and several others require additional requirements from the city.

Springfield – Most businesses operating in the city will need to get a Business License from the Springfield Finance Department. Business licensing includes home-based and commercial-based businesses.

Independence – A business operating in city limits will need to obtain a City Occupation License and possibly zoning clearance before starting the business.

Columbia – The Business License Office of City Hall issues businesses business licenses, which are required for any business activity. The cost of a new business license in Columbia is $30 for an application fee and a minimum of a $15 license fee. The license fee increases depending on the projected income of the business.

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 approval to operate. Depending on the city code, 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.

Business Tax Registration

A business must register for the Missouri Tax Registration if it collects sales tax or employee withholding taxes. Many businesses will register in order to get a sales tax license from the Missouri Department of Revenue from the selling of tangible personal property or providing certain fabrication, rental, or other particular services.

Merchant’s License

In addition to the state business tax registration, several counties also require businesses making retail sales of products or merchandise to obtain a Merchant License.

Sales Tax Exemption Certificate

Businesses purchasing merchandise to resell will usually want to obtain a Missouri Sales Tax 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 Missouri include; electrical contractors, accountants, interior designers, tattoo artists, and many more. Additional information, fees, and licensing requirements for professions are available from the Missouri Department of Professional Regulations.

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

Fictitious Name Registration

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

 

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

For some additional peace of mind, companies like IncFile or CorpNet can do the research and ensure you have all of the proper federal, state, and local licenses to start your business.