South Dakota business license

How to Apply for Business Licenses and Permits in South Dakota

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

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If you’re in the early stages of starting your own business, there are certain things you should know. One such thing is knowing what licenses and permits are required to run your business. 

Most South Dakota businesses will need to obtain some sort of license or permit to operate legally within the state. So, how do you determine what South Dakota business licenses and permits you need? 

If you’re not sure where to begin, you’re not alone. Use this South Dakota licensing and permitting guide to learn more about what licenses and permits you may need and how our Business License Report service can help you get it done easily.

What is a business license?

Before starting a business in South Dakota, you may need to obtain various licenses and permits in order to legally operate your business. But what exactly is a business license? 

Business licenses exist at the federal, state, and local levels. Additionally, the requirements and fees for licenses and permits often vary based on your location, industry, and business activities. 

Failing to obtain any required licenses or permits can result in severe consequences for your business. Thus, to better prevent any negative impacts on your business operations, it’s important to know and understand your legal requirements. 

Because there are many factors that affect which licenses and permits you may need, there’s really no central database or authority where you can check for your particular licensing requirements. Thus, figuring out your requirements can take some time and research. 

Fortunately, we are here to help. Whether you’re looking to form a South Dakota corporation or limited liability company (LLC), we can guide you through every step of the process as you start, manage, and grow your business. 

Step 1:  Search for any necessary South Dakota general business licenses

Some states require businesses to obtain a general business license before they can conduct any business activities whatsoever within the state. Although South Dakota doesn’t require general business licenses at the state level, be sure to check your local requirements as well. Some cities, counties, and municipalities may still require licensure to operate. 

Additionally, it’s important to note that obtaining a business license isn’t the same as registering your business with the state. These are two separate and distinct steps to take in starting your South Dakota business. Registering your business with the state is what officially forms your entity. 

Step 2:  Obtain applicable federal licenses for your South Dakota business

Some entire industries are regulated by the federal government. If your business falls into any of these categories, you may need to obtain federal licenses in addition to state and local licenses and permits. 

Below are some industries and business activities that are regulated by the federal government and require federal licenses or permits: 

  • Importing or transporting animals, animal products, plants, or certain biological products/technologies across state lines might require licensing/permission from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
  • Manufacturing, importing, or selling (wholesale or retail) alcoholic beverages might require licensing/permission from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, and from the Local Alcohol Beverage Control Board.
  • Operating aircrafts, maintaining aircrafts, or transporting people and/or cargo by air might require licensing/permission from the Federal Aviation Administration.
  • Dealing, manufacturing, or importing firearms, ammunition, or explosives might require licensing/permission from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
  • Conducting business in wildlife-related activity and/or wildlife-related products might require licensing/permission from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
  • Dealing with commercial fishing requires licensing/permission from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service.
  • Providing ocean transportation and/or shipping (or helping ship) cargo by sea might require licensing/permission from the Federal Maritime Commission.
  • Dealing with drilling for natural gas, minerals, or oil on federal lands might require licensing/permission from the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.
  • Dealing with nuclear materials or being a fuel cycle facility might require licensing/permission from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
  • Broadcasting information over radio, television, wire, satellite, or cable might require licensing/permission from the Federal Communications Commission.
  • Operating oversized or overweight vehicles might give you the need for assistance from the U.S. Department of Transportation for help with getting state permits.

Regardless of whether or not your business operates in an industry regulated by the federal government, don’t forget that you also need to comply with your state and local licensing requirements.

Step 3:  Check for South Dakota permits and licenses

Failure to comply with your state licensing requirements can result in penalties being imposed upon your business by various state agencies. Thus, it’s important to know what industries are regulated and subject to state licensing requirements. 

In South Dakota, the following agencies regulate licensing for certain industries: 

  • South Dakota Animal Industry Board
  • Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources
  • Department of Game, Fish, and Parks
  • Department of Health
  • Department of Labor and Regulation
  • Department of Public Safety
  • Department of Revenue
  • Department of Social Services
  • Department of Transportation

The required South Dakota state business licenses you need depend on the specific activities of your business. 

Examples of licenses and permits that are required in South Dakota and regulated by the above agencies include: 

  • Pet food processing license
  • Livestock dealers license
  • Air pollution control permit
  • Dairy farm permit
  • Hazardous waste permit
  • Securities agent license
  • Fireworks retail license
  • Associated equipment manufacturer or distributor license
  • Liquor license

Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list, and there are many other state-regulated South Dakota business licenses and permits you may need to acquire. However, the South Dakota Governor’s Office of Economic Development has compiled a helpful list of licensing requirements to assist businesses in complying with their obligations. 

Step 4:  Check your city or county for local licensing in South Dakota

In addition to federal and state requirements, you’ll need to comply with any applicable local licensing requirements as well. For example, in Sioux Falls, there are specific local licenses you must obtain at the city level related to: 

  • Alcohol
  • Building services
  • Mobile food services

Local licensing requirements can be vastly different depending on your particular location. Thus, it can be more difficult and time-consuming to find the information you need. The best way to determine your requirements is typically to check your local city and county websites, county clerk’s office, and local tax office. 

Step 5:  Search for applicable South Dakota professional licenses

In addition to requirements based on location, you may also be subject to licensing requirements based on your profession. 

Members of certain industries must hold professional licenses in order to provide their services. Professionals with license requirements in South Dakota include:

  • Engineers
  • Lawyers
  • Doctors
  • Nurses
  • Dentists
  • Chiropractors 

State regulatory boards will regulate these professions, issue licenses to eligible members, and set forth the requirements for keeping your license active. If your profession does require licensure to operate your business, be sure to appropriately obtain and maintain such licensure. 

Step 6:  Obtain any other necessary South Dakota business licenses and permits

Other potential business licenses and permits to be aware of include those related to: 

  • Construction permits
  • Outdoor business signing
  • Zoning and building permits
  • Sales, use, and service tax license

If you’re not sure whether these licenses and permits are required in the course of your business, contact the appropriate state or local agency for more information.

Step 7:  Apply for South Dakota home-based business licenses

If you plan to run a business out of your home, you’ll still need to comply with any applicable permit requirements. Sometimes, you may need to obtain what’s called a home-based business license. 

The requirements for these types of home-based business licenses will depend on the city in which the business is located. For example, in Sioux Falls, you’ll need a zoning permit for home occupations. This permit will be effective for as long as the home occupation is at that location and doesn’t change in character. 

Step 8: Maintain your South Dakota licensing

In most cases, your business licenses and permits won’t last forever. In fact, many state business licenses need to be renewed each year. 

Don’t let your business fall out of compliance with the state. Be sure to know when your licenses and permits expire to avoid penalties and negative repercussions for your business. 

Keep your South Dakota business compliant by obtaining the required licenses and permits today

With so many licensing requirements and all the factors you must take into consideration, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. But don’t worry — we are here to help.

With our Business License Report, you can take the time and stress out of the process and more easily determine what licenses and permits you need. Our business partner does the research for you and uses your business location, industry, and business activities to identify the various local, state, and federal licensing requirements for your company. 

Take control and feel confident that your business has the licenses and permits it needs to comply with federal, state, and local regulations. Let us help you stay compliant and operate your business legally with our comprehensive Worry-Free Compliance service to help ensure your business remains legally up to date with state law.

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 South Dakota businesses need a license?

    There is no general business license requirement in South Dakota. Nevertheless, most businesses will require some sort of permitting or licensure to operate.

  • Can you sell things without a license in South Dakota?

    No. Any retailer in South Dakota that is engaged in selling, renting, or leasing products must have a sales tax license.

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

    Yes, it’s legal to run a business from home in South Dakota. However, make sure to comply with any local permitting requirements before proceeding.

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

    There is no specific license for online businesses. Nevertheless, check the local jurisdiction in which your business operates to determine what license the county or municipality requires.

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

    Yes. To collect sales tax in South Dakota, you need a sales, use, and service tax license.

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