What Business Licenses & Permits are Needed in Montana?

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Starting a business in Montana 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 Montana.

Business License – There is no general state of Montana 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. 

Billings – Anyone conducting business within the city limits of Billings, a business license is required from the City of Billings Finance Department.

The cost of a business license in Billings varies by the amount of gross revenue, number of employees and what the business does.

Missoula Most businesses operating in the City of Missoula will need to obtain a General Business License.  Businesses that fall into certain categories (contractors, mobile vendors, businesses that sell liquor or medical marijuana) will need to get a special business license.

Any business that physically goes onto residential property will need to have a background check. Home-based businesses will have to submit the Home Occupation Additional Info form with their business license application.

Great Falls – Several types of businesses operating in the City of Great Falls will need to obtain licensing from the Planning and Community Development Department. Some of these businesses include contractors, daycares and home-based businesses. 

All businesses operating out of a physical location will need to obtain a Safety Inspection Certificate from the Fire Department.   

Bozeman – All businesses operating within city limits will need to have a business license from the Bozeman Department of Community Development before starting their business. Licenses are renewable each year and are also required for some home-based businesses. 

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.

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 Montana include; barbers, cosmetologists, massage therapists, landscape architects and many more.   Additional information, fees and licensing requirements for professions are available from the Montana Department of Labor & Industry.

In addition to professional licenses, businesses in a variety of industries such as food establishments, daycares, salvage yards and many others require licensing.

Contractor License – All incorporated construction contractors and construction contractors with employees must register with the Montana Department of Labor & Industry.  A separate license is required for independent contractors.

Assumed Business 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 Business 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 Montana 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.