What will happen if a business license renewal is late?
ComplianceOctober 05, 2022

What happens if a business license renewal is late?

To ensure a business license is active and in good standing, you must maintain it. This typically involves renewing a license annually or every set number of years, depending on the license.

Business license renewal can be as simple as paying an annual fee or as complex as submitting detailed financial information, bonds, or paperwork. In this article, we explore what happens if your business license renewal is late and what to do if your license expires.

Is there a late fee for a business license renewal that is late?

Jurisdictions and agencies often issue a penalty for an expired business license — with penalties increasing over time. In some cases, a business license is considered expired even if the renewal filing is one day late. Frequently in these instances, the business may be required to halt operations.

Different license renewals for different types of business

Even within one state, there can be different rules for business license renewal for different types of businesses.

What if I did not receive a notification?

As a business owner, it is your responsibility to pay the license renewal fee by the due date, even if you did not receive a renewal notice.

What if I am closing or have already closed my business?

If you close your business or move it out of a jurisdiction, you must notify the issuing office. Some authorities impose additional business license taxes, assessments, fees, and other penalties based on the expiration date of the current license and the date that you cease operating.

What if my license is expired?

If your business license has expired, contact the issuing board to determine your options. In some cases, there may be a window in which a renewal can be submitted late. In others, you could be subject to a penalty fee. Some licensing boards might cancel a license as soon as it has expired and require a reinstatement application to bring the license back to active status.

To learn more read: My business license is expired. What should I do?

Increasing enforcement

There was a time when businesses risked a "pay fines as you go" approach. However, because small business licenses are public documents, failing to stay compliant could lead to negative publicity and serious reputational harm.

State regulators are moving aggressively to identify and penalize unlicensed business operations. In some instances, a late business license renewal can trigger action by the licensing agency.

If your business operates without a license — or with an expired license — you may face penalties, such as harsh fines and/or cease and desist orders. Some authorities can even permanently revoke a license for egregious behavior. Others can force your business to return all profits collected during the unlicensed period.

Making sure you know how to renew a business license or business permit will help to keep your business in good standing with the authorities.

Learn more

Business license management is challenging. It can be confusing to understand exactly what type of license you need, how to register your business, and when and how to renew a license. CT Corporation is here to help.

Learn more about how CT Corporation can help with your business license needs. Call us at (855) 316-8948 (toll-free U.S.) or view our Business License Solutions.

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