Nevada licensing and permitting

How to Apply for Business Licenses and Permits in Nevada

Our business license report can help you determine what licenses and permits you need to start a business in Nevada.

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When you start a Nevada LLC or corporation, you may need to obtain various licenses and permits in order to operate your business legally.  Business licenses exist at the federal, state, and local levels, and failing to obtain one can result in serious consequences for your company. Additionally, the requirements and fees for licenses and permits often vary based on your location, industry, and business activities. Thus, it’s important to have an understanding of the various requirements for your particular business. 

If you’re not sure where to begin, don’t worry. Read on to learn about what licenses and permits you might need as a Nevada business owner and how our Business License Report service can help you get it done easily.

What is a business license?

Most businesses are typically required to have some sort of license or permit in order to legally operate. 

Licenses and permits can be specific to an industry, to the state of operation, or even the city where the business is located. Unfortunately, Nevada doesn’t provide an overarching guide for what permits and licenses may be necessary for different types of businesses. Thus, it’s ultimately up to you to ensure your business obtains the licenses and permits it needs to operate legally.

If this sounds overwhelming, our Business License Report is a great place to start. We partner with Business Licenses, LLC., to research the permits and licenses that apply to your business based on industry, location, and other information. We can help take the guesswork out of the process by delivering a report that gives you a list of the licenses and permits your company might need to operate legally. 

Step 1: Search for any necessary Nevada general business licenses

Some states have general business licenses that you have to obtain before you can legally operate any sort of business activity. 

Nevada requires every person or entity doing business in the state to obtain a Nevada State Business License to legally operate within the state. Businesses excluded from this requirement include:

  • Government entities
  • Nonprofit religious entities
  • Charitable organizations
  • Fraternal organizations

In addition to obtaining the license, Nevada companies must renew their business license on an annual basis. You can apply for the state business license when you form your business through Nevada’s online database.

Obtaining a business license doesn’t form your Nevada business. Filing your registration documents with the Nevada Secretary of State does that.

Step 2: Obtain applicable federal licenses for your Nevada business

If your business’s activities are regulated by the federal government, you’ll likely need to obtain a federal license. License requirements depend on the industry your business operates in and the services your business provides. Some of the industries regulated by the federal government and the agencies that issue licenses for those industries are provided below.

  • The agriculture industry involves the import or transport of animals, animal products, biologics, biotechnology, or plants across state lines. The agency that issues agricultural licenses is the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
  • The alcoholic beverage industry involves the manufacture, wholesale, import, or sale of alcoholic beverages at a retail location. The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau and the Local Alcohol Beverage Control Board regulate the alcoholic beverage industry and issue the required licenses.
  • The aviation industry involves operating aircraft, transporting goods or people via air, or aircraft maintenance. The Federal Aviation Administration regulates the industry and issues the required licenses.
  • The firearms, ammunition, and explosives industry involves manufacturing, dealing, and importing firearms, ammunition, and explosives. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives regulates the industry and issues the requisite licenses and permits.
  • The fish and wildlife industry includes businesses engaged in any wildlife-related activities, including the import or export of wildlife and derivative products. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regulates the industry and issues the necessary licenses.
  • If your business engages in commercial fishing of any kind, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service regulates and issues the licenses for this industry.
  • The Federal Maritime Commission regulates businesses that provide ocean transportation or facilitate the shipment of cargo by sea and issues the required permits.
  • The mining and drilling industry includes businesses involved in drilling for natural gas, oil, or other mineral resources on federal land. The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement regulates the industry and issues the required licenses.
  • The nuclear energy industry involves businesses that produce commercial nuclear energy, have a fuel cycle facility, or are involved in the distribution and disposal of nuclear materials. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission regulates the industry and issues the licenses that are necessary.
  • The radio and television broadcasting industry involves businesses that broadcast information by radio, television, wire, satellite, or cable. The Federal Communications Commission regulates this industry and issues the required licenses. Licensing is also required at the state level.

Even if your business operates in an industry regulated by the federal government, don’t forget you still need a Nevada State business license to legally run your business in the state.

Step 3: Check for Nevada permits and licenses

The State of Nevada aims to regulate the public health sector by requiring businesses to obtain certain health permits or licenses. A company will need such a license if its operations involve aspects of public health, including:

  • Body art/tattooing
  • Childcare
  • Food establishments
  • Swimming pools
  • Spas

Additionally, the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection issues permits to businesses that plan to produce air emissions, generate hazardous wastes, store hazardous materials, or discharge wastewater.

The Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles regulates businesses involved with vehicles. This includes body shops, car dealerships, car manufacturers, tow truck companies, and more. 

Step 4: Check Your city or county for local licensing in Nevada

Certain counties and municipalities require businesses to obtain a business license just to operate within their boundaries. This can be more difficult to find, as each individual county or municipality can have different requirements. Be sure to check with your local county clerk’s office and the local tax office to determine whether you need to get local licenses. For example, the City of Las Vegas provides a list of the licenses issued by the city.

The Department of Business and Industry provides links to the cities in Nevada that require local licenses and permits.

Step 5: Search for applicable professional Nevada licenses

Additionally, members of some industries must hold professional licenses before providing certain services. Industries with a professional license requirement include:

  • Lawyers
  • Doctors
  • Engineers
  • Nurses

State regulatory boards regulate these professions, laying out the requirements for keeping your license active and issuing the licenses to eligible members. If your profession requires licensure to operate your business, make sure to appropriately obtain such licensure. 

Step 6: Obtain any other necessary Nevada business licenses and permits

Nevada businesses engaged in the sale of products or offering certain services need to obtain a sales and use tax permit, which you can register for online. This is also referred to as a sales tax permit, a sales tax license, or a sales tax registration. The Nevada Department of Taxation issues the permit.

Depending on the location of your business, you may need an occupancy or zoning permit. These permit requirements are common. Additionally, if you plan to make renovations to your business or add on to your building, check your local county and city regulations to determine whether you need a building permit. Some municipalities require a signage permit to add signage to your building as well.

Step 7: Apply for Nevada home-based business licenses

The requirements for home-based businesses depend on the city where the business is located. First of all, you need a state business license to operate your home-based business. Additionally, you need to obtain a Nevada sales and use tax permit. After completing these two steps, the procedure depends on the instructions of the city where your business is located. 

The City of Las Vegas gives business owners a home-based business license application that you can find and complete online. Once you receive notification that your application is approved, you receive a confirmation email, and you’ll receive your license in the mail.

Step 8: Maintain your Nevada licensing

Most licenses and permits don’t last forever. In fact, state business licenses need to be renewed annually. Be sure to check the length of time your permit or license is valid to avoid any accusations of providing services without a license. 

Let us help keep your Nevada business state-compliant 

As you can see, there are a wide variety of Nevada business licenses that potentially apply to your company. Finding what licenses you need to operate legally can be a huge headache for business owners that are dedicating their time and attention to managing their business. But don’t worry, we are here to help. In addition to our Business License Report, our Worry-Free Compliance service offers a wide range of tools and services to help keep your Nevada business state compliant.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is for information purposes only, and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.

FAQs

  • Do all Nevada businesses need a license?

    Yes, Nevada requires all businesses to obtain a state business license unless the business qualifies for an exemption. Depending on the city and county of your business, you may need additional licenses as well.

  • Can you sell things without a license in Nevada?

    No. You have to obtain a state business license and sales and use tax permit prior to selling products or services.

  • Is it legal to run a business from home in Nevada?

    Yes. But if it’s required in your city you need to obtain a home-based business license. Just like other businesses, home-based businesses must get a state business license to operate legally.

  • What kind of license do I need for an online business in Nevada?

    In addition to the state business license and sales and use tax permit, you have to check the local jurisdiction where your business is located to determine what license the county or municipality requires.

  • Do I need a license to collect sales tax in Nevada?

    Yes. To collect sales tax in Nevada, you need a sales and use tax permit.

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