What Business Licenses and Permits are Needed in Oklahoma?
Starting a business in Oklahoma 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 Oklahoma.
Before applying for any licenses, the legal structure of the business will need to be established. Learn more about the differences between the sole proprietorship, general partnership, corporation, and Limited Liability Company (LLC). The formation of a corporation and LLC is through the Oklahoma Secretary of State.
Related: Comparison of Business Entities
General Business License
There is no general state of Oklahoma business license, however, many cities require businesses to be licensed to operate. Rules for business registration vary depending on location and what the business does. Below are a few cities that have licensing requirements.
Oklahoma City – The Business Licensing Office of the City of Oklahoma requires business licenses for certain businesses. A few of these include daycares, kennels, pawn shops, contractors, and more.
Tulsa – The City of Tulsa issues business licenses to businesses operating within city limits selling food or alcohol, pawnbrokers, contractors, and more.
Norman – Businesses such as mobile food vendors, coin-operated vending, kennels, contractors, and others will need to register with the city.
Lawton – Child care facilities, food establishments, secondhand dealers, tow trucks, and others are required to obtain a business license from the City of Lawton.
Moore – The City Clerk’s Office issues business licenses for entities offering catering, selling alcohol, operating as a pawn broker, along with a few others
The costs for business licenses vary depending on location and type of 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 requirements to follow. Depending on city requirements, home-based businesses may need to apply for a home occupation permit.
Building Permit – A 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.
Sales Tax Permit
Most businesses that are selling a product or offering certain services will need to register for an Oklahoma sales tax permit. The sales tax permit is issued after applying for the Oklahoma Business Registration from the Oklahoma Tax Commission.
Businesses purchasing merchandise to resell will usually want to obtain an Oklahoma Resale Certificate in order to not pay sales tax for merchandise that is being resold to customers.
A variety of occupations in the state are regulated and need to be registered before offering certain services. A few common professions that require licensing in Oklahoma include; contractors, personal trainers, barbers, and many more.
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 of 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.
Trade Name Registration
While not a business license, it’s common for Sole Proprietorships and Partnerships operating under a fictitious business name that is different from the full name of the owner(s) to register for a Trade Name (also known as a Doing Business As, DBA, or Fictitious Name) with the Oklahoma Secretary of State’s Office.
These are just some of the most common business licenses a new business will need to register before starting. Before starting your business, be sure to check with City Hall, County Clerk, Chamber of Commerce, and/or Economic Developer in your area to get more information regarding business licensing.