What Business Licenses & Permits are Needed in Missouri?

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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.

Business License – 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 register for a business license 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 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 from 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.

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.

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

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.

Fictitious 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 a Fictitious Name (also known as a Doing Business As or DBA) with the Secretary of State’s Office.

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