Utah business license

How to Apply for Business Licenses and Permits in Utah

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

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Starting your own business in Utah is an exciting time, but also a stressful one. In addition to properly forming and registering your business with the state, there are also a number of legal compliance requirements to keep it in good standing. One of the most important requirements is obtaining the right licenses and permits as required by law. These requirements can exist at the federal, state, and even local level, and making sure you have the right ones can feel overwhelming. 

Unfortunately, there is no one place that you can check to find which ones might apply to your business. This is where we can help. Read on to learn more about the kinds of licenses and permits you might need for your Utah business, and how our Business License Report service can help you get it done easily.

Step 1:  Search for any necessary Utah general business licenses

Some states require all businesses to obtain a general business license. This isn’t the case in Utah. However, many counties and municipalities require businesses to be licensed in that location. Check with your local county or city government to learn more about what is needed where you conduct business. 

Utah business license vs Utah business registration

Many new business owners are confused about the difference between a business license and business registration. These aren’t the same thing. Business registration is the act of submitting initial documents of formation to the state which serve to legally create the business entity. 

The type of business entity you choose to register depends on a number of factors including desired management structure of the business, other owners or investors involved, tax regulations, and industry. Popular business entity types include limited liability companies (LLCs), corporations, professional corporations, partnerships, and sole proprietorships. If you’re in the formation process of starting your business, we can help simplify what you’re going through and can help you start your Utah business. 

Utah business licenses need not be acquired until you have already completed the business registration process. 

Step 2:  Obtain applicable federal licenses for your Utah business

Failing to obtain proper federal licenses or permits for your business could result in penalties, fines, and other legal actions including the inability to operate in the state. Though your business will obtain licensing and permits at the state and local level, there are some specific industries that must have a federal business license, permit, or certification to legally operate. Check this list to find out more about the industries that are federally regulated and determine if your Utah business fits into one of these categories. 

  • Agriculture: including importing plants, animals, or biotechnology across state lines 
  • Alcoholic beverages: meaning the manufacture, sale, wholesale, retail sale, or import of alcoholic beverages (you may need state and local permits for alcohol-related industries too)
  • Aviation: including transporting people or goods by aircraft (this covers all aviation-related industries, from sky-diving lessons to cargo delivery)
  • Firearms, ammunition, and explosives: meaning manufacturing, dealing, or importing firearms, ammunition, or explosives
  • Fish and wildlife: including any wildlife-related commercial activity (this might apply if you have a private zoo)
  • Commercial fisheries: including any kind of commercial fishing 
  • Maritime transportation: meaning transportation of cargo by sea 
  • Mining and drilling: meaning drilling for minerals, natural gas, oil or other resources (including coal and other natural resources)
  • Nuclear energy: including performing any commercial activity in the lifecycle of nuclear production or waste-handling
  • Radio and television broadcasting: including broadcasting by radio, satellite, cable, or TV signal 
  • Transportation and logistics: meaning your business operates certain large vehicles in interstate commerce (in trucking and transportation, it’s very likely that you may also be heavily regulated under state laws)

Step 3:  Check for Utah permits and licenses

Although there is no general Utah business license, there are license and permit requirements for many businesses. Check the Utah Department of Commerce, Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing to start. But those two departments don’t encompass all the necessary licenses or permits your business may need at the state level. You can also visit utah.gov and use the search function to identify relevant information. Here are some examples of state licenses and permits. 

  • On-premises alcohol retail licenses
  • Hazardous waste permits
  • Industrial hemp license and permits
  • Commercial trucking

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

There are 29 counties in the state of Utah, and each has its own permits and licenses for various businesses. Cities may also have their own requirements pertaining to your business. The best place to start is to visit your county government website or talk to the county clerk. The city chamber of commerce may also be able to assist you. There is certainly some work that goes into initially determining which local business licenses and permits your business needs. 

Step 5:  Search for applicable Utah professional licenses

A professional license is needed for those careers that must have a certain level of education or training to be able to perform the service in question. You don’t want to be treated by a physician who hasn’t actually studied medicine and completed all requirements to become a doctor. Some examples of professions that require this type of license include:

  • Acupuncturist
  • Barber
  • Athletic trainer
  • Clinical mental health counselor
  • Funeral service director 
  • Landscape architect
  • Radiologist assistant
  • Veterinarian

Most of these licenses have a state board that governs the specific profession. The Utah Department of Commerce, Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing is a great place to start. 

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

All businesses have varying degrees of regulation. Depending on what it is that you do, you may need a number of other licenses and permits. A massage therapist is going to have very different licensing requirements than a pharmaceutical manufacturer. 

Potential permits include:

  • Zoning permit
  • City business licenses/tax permits
  • Building permit
  • Sales and use tax permit
  • Seller/reseller permit
  • Alarm permit
  • Health permit
  • Signage permit

It’s important to identify the permits that will be necessary for your particular business and industry.

Step 7:  Apply for Utah home-based business licenses

Utah business owners operating their business out of their homes are regulated by individual county ordinances rather than the state. Each county has its own regulations that state what is and isn’t permitted for a home-based business. Generally, the business must be a secondary use of the residence and the property must be zoned for residential use. Some regulations may specify what type of business can operate out of a home, staffing mandates, equipment, and signage. 

Step 8:  Maintain Your Utah licensing 

Determining the Utah business licenses and permits your business must have is not the end of the road. Most licenses and permits will need to be renewed periodically. Failure to comply with licensing and permitting requirements could result in penalties, fines, or an inability to operate in the state or municipality. 

Let us help you through the licensing and permitting process

The thought of combing through web pages and phone numbers to determine your Utah State business license and permit needs may seem daunting. We can help. Our Business License Report service can help you find everything you need. Our partner uses your business location, industry, and activities to identify your license and permit needs. As a business owner, you have enough to worry about. Let us help with this one.

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 Utah businesses need a license?

    There is no general Utah business license requirement. But most businesses must have some form of license or permit to operate. Some Utah business licenses are industry-specific. These can be federal, state, or locally mandated. They can also relate to the activities of your business or where your business is located.

  • Can you sell things without a license in Utah?

    Most Utah businesses selling a product or offering certain services will need to register for a sales tax license. This is commonly referred to as a seller’s permit, sales tax permit, sales tax number, or sales tax registration.

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

    Utah allows home-based businesses. Business owners operating their business out of their homes are regulated by individual county ordinances rather than by the state. Each county has its own regulations regarding what is and isn’t permitted for a home-based business in Utah.

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

    An online business in Utah will need a sales tax license if total annual sales of tangible personal property or taxable services to Utah residents is $100,000 or more or you’re shipping 200 or more transactions with Utah residents annually.

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

    If you’re selling taxable goods or services in Utah, you will need to register for a sales tax license.

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