What Is A Business License?

business litigation lawyer

By Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman, P.C.Article

A business license is a government permit allowing a business to operate legally. You’ll probably need to pay a fee and periodically renew it. The process to obtain one will vary depending on your location and the type of business.

There are different types of business licenses according to a business litigation lawyer, including:

  • General business licenses which are required for most businesses to operate in a given area
  • Professional licenses are required for specific industries, like cosmetology or electrical work
  • Sales tax licenses are needed to collect sales tax from customers
  • State licenses may be necessary for your business to sell things like alcohol
  • Federal licenses will be required if you want to import or transport across state lines animals or animal products, repair aircraft, sell or import firearms

Do Your Research And Discuss What Permits Or Licenses You May Need With An Attorney Who Represents Businesses In Your Area.

Why Should I Get A Business License Before Starting A Company?

There are several important reasons you should get a business license before you start operations:

  • A business license shows customers and potential partners that you’re a legitimate operation. It demonstrates that you’ve followed the proper procedures and are compliant with applicable statutes, regulations, and ordinances
  • A business license is often necessary to collect sales and other taxes from your customers. Having the license in place will streamline your tax filing process
  • Some insurance companies may require a business license before they will sell you coverage, which may be critical to operating your business without risking financial failure
  • Depending on what you are doing, you might also need additional permits. You may not be able to get one without proving you have a business license

Getting a license adds paperwork and costs to your business, but the potential cost may be much higher if you open a business without one.

What Penalties Are The Penalties For Operating A Business Without A License?

According to our friends at Focus Law LA, penalties for operating a business without a license vary depending on the license, what type of business you run, and the applicable ordinance, regulation, or statute. Some of the penalties may include:

  • You may be fined. The exact amount can vary depending on the severity and duration of the offense. Some states base fines on a percentage of your business’s gross revenue during the unlicensed period
  • The government agency may order you to stop operating your business until you get the proper licenses. This could significantly disrupt your business operations and put a major dent in your income
  • A lack of a business license can make it difficult or impossible to acquire other necessary permits for your business

If you’re found to be operating a business without a license, you may need experienced legal counsel to prevent or minimize possible penalties. They should be familiar with:

  • The agency involved
  • How they might penalize your business
  • The process to prevent enforcement, prove the agency is at fault, or make the case you deserve leniency

The investment you make in legal representation may be well worth it. Contact an attorney near you for help with a business license.

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