Discover the essential licenses and permits needed to establish and grow your business in New York. Our business license report can help you determine what licenses and permits you need to start a business in New York.
Getting your New York business up and running is hard work. But the work doesn’t end once you’ve successfully formed your corporation or LLC. Even after the entity formation stage, there are many other things you must do to stay compliant with the state.
Most New York businesses will need to acquire a combination of licenses and permits at the federal, state, or local levels in order to legally operate. However, these requirements will vary based on your business location, industry, and activities.
Not sure where to begin? Use this guide to learn more about how to apply for New York business licenses and permits and see how our Business License Report service can help you get it done easily.
Most New York businesses will require some sort of New York business license or permit to operate legally within the state. But what exactly is a business license or permit, and when do you need one for your business?
As a general matter, the business licenses and permits you need for your business will vary based on a number of factors. For example, certain licenses and permits might be required by federal, state, or local agencies. Sometimes, the licenses you must acquire depend on the specific industry in which your business conducts its activities.
Unfortunately, there’s no central authority where businesses can check to see which New York state business licenses and permits are required for their business in a particular location. Thus, it often takes some searching to ensure that you have all the necessary licenses and permits required. Fortunately, this guide can help you determine your licensure requirements so that you can stay compliant.
A general business license is one that is required to conduct business in a particular state or region. While New York doesn’t require any general business licensure at the state level, local licenses are often required.
Importantly, a business license is not the same as registering your business with the state. Although some people mistakenly refer to registering a business as “getting a business license,” this isn’t accurate. Rather, registering a business with the state is what officially forms the entity. Getting a business license is a separate process.
If your business activities are regulated by a federal agency, you’ll likely need to obtain some sort of licensure or permitting at the federal level.
Specific license requirements and fees vary depending on the industry in which your business operates and the services your business provides. Below are some industries that are regulated by the federal government and require federal licenses or permits.
Even after acquiring your federally required licenses or permits, you’ll still need to comply with any state, local, or industry-specific requirements.
For example, if your business is involved in any of the following industries, it will require licensure at the state level:
This isn’t an exhaustive list. As such, determining what licenses your business might require can seem overwhelming.
Fortunately, however, New York does provide access to its Business Wizard platform to help businesses determine what state licensure they need. Of course, this doesn’t necessarily guarantee a comprehensive or accurate list of required state licensing and permitting necessary for your business. Nevertheless, it’s a great place to start your search.
In addition to your federal and state requirements, your business may also be subject to local licensing requirements. To what extent such local requirements exist will vary depending on the counties and municipalities in which your business operates.
There are many counties and municipalities in the State of New York, each of which may have its own licensure and permitting requirements. Thus, it can often be more difficult to find information at the local level. Nevertheless, the best way to verify what licenses and permits you need is to check your local city and county websites, the county clerk’s office, and the local tax office where you plan to operate your business.
In New York, there are also licensing requirements that you may need to meet based on the particular profession in which your business operates. Examples of some common professions that require state licensure in New York include:
Many of these professions have a state board that governs the issuance of professional licenses. It’s up to you to ensure that your business is in compliance with its licensing requirements.
There may be other types of licenses and permits that your business will need. For example, most New York businesses will need a “Certificate of Authority” in order to collect sales and use taxes.
Additionally, you may also be required to obtain:
If you have questions about whether your business requires these types of licenses or permits, contact the appropriate agency to gain clarity on your obligations before proceeding.
Many New Yorkers operate businesses out of their homes. Even though the business is run out of your home, there are still license and permit requirements to ensure your business is operating legally.
For example, New York City prohibits home-based businesses from occupying more than 25% of a residence. It also prohibits employees, other than the individual who lives in the house, from working at the home-based business. New York City’s planning department provides resources to determine the zoning requirements where your home is located.
If your home-based business operates in the food processing industry, you’ll need to apply for a “Home Processor” license with the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets.
In most cases, the licenses and permits obtained by your business don’t last forever. For some licenses, you’ll need to pay a fee on a periodic basis to keep your license active. For others, especially professional licenses, the state regulatory agency issuing the licenses controls the requirements for keeping your license up to date. Some licenses and permits automatically expire after a certain period of time. When this occurs, you have to re-apply for the permit or license to stay legally compliant.
The number of licenses and permits required to keep your business legally compliant can seem daunting. But don’t worry, we are here to make the process easier for you. With our Business Licenses Service, we help you identify the local, state, and federal licenses and permits that are required to run your business. After we locate and verify the licenses and permits you need, we’ll send you a report that outlines what permits and licenses are required for your business to stay legally compliant. You can rest easy knowing that extensive research went into locating all of the permits and licenses you may need for your business.
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.
While the state itself doesn’t require businesses to have a business license to operate, many cities in New York mandate them. For example, New York City’s Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) issues licenses to several businesses that operate within the city.
If you want to sell, lease, or advertise goods and services in a public place that isn’t considered a store, New York requires you to obtain a General Vendor License. Things you can sell without a vendor license includes:
Newspapers, books, and other written materials
Items at a garage sale
If you want to sell food products, alternative licenses are required from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
Yes, New York allows home-based businesses. Depending on the industry and location of your business, you may need licenses and permits in order to operate legally. Consult with your local city planning office to determine what permits are required before opening your home-based business.
Online businesses formed in New York require the same licenses and permits that are required of companies that operate out of a brick-and-mortar location. There are no specific licenses required to sell products on the internet.
You don’t need a “license” to collect sales tax in New York. However, you do need to obtain a Certificate of Authority in order to collect sales and use taxes.
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