Frequently asked questions

  • I run my business from my home. Do I need a license?

    Most likely. Even home-based and online-only businesses often need at least one license to operate. For example, you may need a state tax identification number, a sales tax identification number, or a local permit to operate a business from your home.

  • What happens if I don’t have the right business licenses?
    Not having all your required licenses can be a costly risk. You may not be able to open your business or add a new service or product line. You could get hit with expensive penalties, interest, liens, or worse—you might even be forced to shut down.
  • How can I be sure I stay in compliance with all the regulation changes going on?
    It’s our job to know what’s happening in the ever-changing world of compliance. Our team’s years of expertise will be put to work on your behalf to ensure your business stays protected—just as if it were our own.
  • What are the consequences of falling out of compliance?
    This can vary greatly depending on factors such as jurisdiction and the type of compliance violation. The consequences range from fines and penalties, to loss of access to courts, loss of name rights—even business closure.
  • What is a bond and why is it required for a license?

    A bond is an instrument that provides a financial guarantee of funds for monetary relief in the event a loss. Bonds are often required to obtain a license issued by a governmental authority. They function as a guarantee that the individual or entity holding the license, the licensee, will comply with an underlying law or regulation. If the licensee does not keep this promise, the licensing authority can use the bond as a penalty or to relieve any damages that may arise.

    Insurance and surety companies act as the guarantor and issue bonds. The licensee makes an agreement with the guarantor to issue the bond to cover the licensee’s actions. If the licensee fails to uphold their obligation to the licensing authority, the guarantor will provide the funds in the bond to cover any resulting damages or losses. For this service, the licensee pays the guarantor a fee, usually annually, which is based on the amount of the bond and the licensee’s credit history.

    Many different types of licenses require bonds including collection agency licenses, contractor licenses, appraisal management company licenses and money services licenses. Sometimes the bond amount is prescribed by statute and is the same for each applicant, and sometimes it is based on the gross annual income of the application or some other factor. The government requires bonds for licensure as a way to protect consumers and entice businesses to comply with all applicable rules and regulations.

    CT Corporation will help you obtain any bonds required for licenses and registrations for your business, minimizing time-consuming and costly delays. If you are already licensed, we can manage bond renewals and ongoing license compliance.

    For additional help please contact CT Corporation.

  • How are business license fees determined?

    Some common ways business license fees are levied include:

    • Flat Rate – A flat rate is a single dollar amount that every business in the jurisdiction must pay each period for the privilege of operating there.
    • Business Type – Many areas charge different fees depending on the type of business. Certain business types may pay fees much larger than other types.
    • Number of Employees – A business may be charged by the number of workers it employs. Commonly, professional employees such as doctors, nurses, and psychiatrists will warrant higher fees than clerks and other non-professional employees.
    • Gross Receipts/Net Profits – Some jurisdictions charge businesses based on the Gross Sales or Net Profits they earn during the license term. The specific tax rate might be the same across the board or it may vary depending on the type of business and/or the actual dollar amount that a business brings in.
    • Value of Inventory – For retail establishments, it is not uncommon to pay a business license fee based on the end-of-term dollar value of their inventory.
    • Size of Establishment – Brick-and-mortar establishments like restaurants and hotels may pay fees based on the square footage of their building, the number of patrons that can be seated at a given time, or the number of beds or rooms that fill the structure.
    • Number of Vehicles – For businesses that depend on transportation (taxi services, delivery companies, etc.), a fee may be levied based on the number of vehicles the business uses.

    Let the experts at CT Corporation simplify the complexities of multiple business license fees.

  • Are there exemptions to having to pay business license fees?

    Some states, counties, and cities will exempt certain types of organizations from paying business license fees; however, not all jurisdictions are willing to allow exemptions. Commonly exempted organizations include non-profits, banks, and church organizations.

  • How often must business license fees be paid?

    Depending on the type of business and the laws of the area, business license fees might be owed on a biennial, annual, quarterly, monthly, or even daily basis.

  • I recently transitioned into the licensing department at work, everything is unorganized and I'm afraid I'm going to miss something. What types of business license solutions are available to help me?

    You certainly are not the first person to have this concern. In fact, in July 2013 a large metropolitan zoo was shut down because the zoo made the embarrassing mistake of forgetting to file a license renewal. A notable beer company experienced a similar issue in 2011 whereby the company was instructed to remove 39 brands of beer from every restaurant, bar and liquor store in the state of Minnesota. This action resulted from a missed renewal filing of a $30, 2-year license. Missed license renewals and filings can cause a company to incur significant fines and penalties in addition to loss of business costs and brand deterioration.

    Given the current economic environment, government agencies are seeking ways to maintain revenues and cracking down on business license compliance is one way in which they achieve that goal. Ensuring your business is operating in compliance with the law is extremely important and challenging considering legal requirements and renewal dates are different across industries and jurisdictions.

    How does non-compliance happen?

    Managing various license requirements, renewal dates and report filings for multiple locations every year is a burdensome task which often leads to frustration, missed renewals and overlooked filings.  Many organizations lack the technology to handle the complexities of license management or use unreliable spreadsheets and calendars. The experts at Wolters Kluwer have the knowledge and technology to provide you and your company with the assurance that your license portfolio is in compliance.

    Business License Solutions – Gain peace of mind without the hassle

    License Assessment

    Wolters Kluwer offers the License Assessment Package to provide your business with the information to become fully compliant within all jurisdictions.  Once you provide your company's current license information and site listing, License Logix will complete the following:

    1. Perform research on your company's current business licenses, registrations & permits to provide-
    2. Compile current business license requirements for your company's industry and all its applicable jurisdictions
    3. Compare current compliance requirements to the company's current license portfolio to identify-
      • Licenses & permits required that your company must file along with the associated forms and filing instructions
      • Licenses & permits no longer required

    The License Assessment Package allows your business to “clean house” with respect to its licenses, permits and registrations. Often this process is most valuable when an organization endures a transition including the succession of an employee responsible for the company's compliance as well as during a merger or acquisition. Other times, a business may experience growth and can often lose control of the license filings & renewals. Whatever the circumstance, Wolters Kluwer has the experience to get your license portfolio in compliance and the technology to make your life simpler going forward.

    Business license compliance software tool

    Wolters Kluwer has developed a web-based business license compliance software tool specifically designed for managing license filings and renewals. Our Client License Information Center (CLiC®) allows companies across various industries in all 50 states to effectively and efficiently manage their license portfolio.

    Keeping track of renewal dates for various licenses is challenging and time consuming. Wolters Kluwer eliminates the hassles of business license management with our secure, easy to use Client License Information Center (CLiC®). CLiC® allows you the ability to quickly access all license information in one central location.

    CLiC® Features:

    1. View all of your existing licenses in selected jurisdiction including associated fees, renewal dates as well as monitor the status of each application
    2. Manage renewals with automatic renewal messages
    3. Import and organize documents associated with your licenses

    Business license outsourcing

    Business license outsourcing is an efficient and effective way to ensure your organization is in compliance. It also enables your company to focus on its core competencies, driving growth and managing operations. Wolters Kluwer is a trusted business partner and is able to absorb all of your business license management burdens. As a trusted outsourcing partner Wolters Kluwer can provide your company compliance assurance by completing the following:

    1. Process all license, permit and registration renewals for every jurisdiction within the U.S.
    2. Perform business license research to identify license obligations associated with future business initiatives – new locations, added business lines etc.
    3. File all new licenses, permits and registrations relevant to additional legal requirements created by new business initiatives or additional legal requirements

    Advantages of working with Wolters Kluwer

    CT Corporation offers the best business license solutions for your company. Our solutions provide a cost effective and efficient means to managing your business license portfolio. Working with CT Corporation gives you access to a team of knowledgeable and friendly legal professionals dedicated to meeting your corporate compliance needs. Our expertise and experience in business license management allows you the greatest advantage of all – peace of mind and the ability to focus on your business.

    For a free consultation or CLiC® demo, please contact CT Corporation

  • Can a business license be transferred

    Yes, a business license can be transferred in certain circumstances, but the process varies greatly based on the nature of transfer (i.e. ownership change, location change, name change, etc.) and the jurisdiction/agency issuing the business license. Depending on the license type and jurisdiction, a new application is often required.

    Wolters Kluwer is experienced in navigating the events that may allow for a license transfer, ensuring continuous license compliance in your operations.

    For more information and assistance, please contact CT Corporation.

  • Can I renew my expired business license?

    It depends on the rules of the governing body in charge of the license. In some cases, there is a window in which a renewal may be submitted late. In others, late renewals may carry a penalty fee. Some licensing boards might cancel a license immediately after its expiration date and require a reinstatement application to be submitted in order to bring the license back to active status. If you have a license that is expired, it is important to find out what your options are, given the rules of the issuing board.

    For additional help please contact CT Corporation.

  • What causes 'deficient' business license applications?

    A deficient application will increase the time it takes to get a license issued. When an application is submitted with mistakes or omissions, it will likely be considered deficient. Common reasons for deficiency letters are the application was incomplete, incorrectly signed, or the form was not current.

    The most common reason an application is deficient is because it is incomplete. Sometimes this is because questions on the application were left blank, attachments were missing, or some prerequisite requirement was not met. CT Corporation recommends that all questions are addressed on an application. Even when a question is inapplicable to the individual or entity, it is better to write “N/A” and explain why it does not apply. Make sure to read directions carefully and be familiar with the industry to identify all attachments and supplemental documents.

    Another common reason an application is deficient is the signature pages are not originals, not notarized properly, not signed by the right people, or not signed at all. Often the reason for these errors is due to unclear instructions. When an original signature is required, meaning the actual pen to paper page is submitted with the application, it is usually not noted in the instructions.

    Sometimes applicants follow all the steps perfectly, only to have their application deficient because they used an old form. Licensing agencies update and change forms frequently and often without notice. It is possible to start an application and by the time it is filed, the form is stale. Make sure you check with the licensing agency to ensure you have the most up-to-date application form.

    Save precious time and money by outsourcing all license initial and renewal filings to CT Corporation. Our services will help your company obtain all licenses and registrations, quickly and correctly! For additional help please contact CT Corporation

  • Do Canadian companies need U.S. business licenses?

    Installation of water park equipment in the U.S. commonly requires a contractor’s license. Contractor’s licenses may be issued by the state, county, or city. 

    Many contractor licenses require as a prerequisite that the business entity is foreign qualified in that state. You can either qualify your Canadian company in those states, or register a domestic US company in one of the states where you do business (to save on one foreign qualification), or in one of states that offer friendly incorporation environment such as Delaware or Wyoming, and then foreign qualify it in the states where you are offered jobs.

    Additional licenses that your business may need include obtaining an EIN, tax registration, and local business licenses. We can help guide you through the process of 1) determining what business licenses are required for each project and 2) preparing and filing application(s) so that your business receives licenses quickly.   <please contact CT Corporation to consult a licensing specialist.

  • What are the requirements for an Emergency Medical Services organization to administer controlled substances?

    In 1970, the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA) was created to regulate substances that have the potential to be abused. At the time, the CSA lacked instructions for the maintenance and use of these substances by emergency medical services (EMS). Thus, States created their own EMS-related controlled substances requirements. In 2017, the Protecting Patient Access to Emergency Medications Act (PPAEMA) was introduced in US Congress to amend the CSA to include EMS requirements.

    According to the law, an EMS organization must submit an application to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for registration and for demonstration that the applicant organization can provide the needed services in the specific state. The application is reviewed by the DEA and can be either accepted or denied. With an approved application from the DEA, the EMS organization can store, deliver, and receive controlled medications. These controlled medications can then be given to the patient when they are en-route to the hospital. Furthermore, instead of applying for a new registration through the DEA for each separate EMS facility, an EMS agency may obtain a single registration in each state instead of a separate registration for each location.

    An EMS agency must adhere to 3 regulations to stay compliant with federal law: First, the storage of these controlled substances must be at a registered agency or in a designated vehicle from the agency. Second, during delivery, an agency with a DEA registration must deliver the controlled substances to EMS. Finally, record keeping for these controlled substances can be done either electronically or on paper, but the approach must be specified and the records kept in a designated area. 

  • How can CT Corporation help manage the renewals of all of my business licenses?

    Our License Management System (LMS) will notify your CT Corporation account manager and the contact that you designate within your entity of all upcoming renewals well in advance. We will also file for the renewal of the license and ensure that all supporting documents are updated and included with the renewal application. If you prefer to handle your own renewals, sign up for our Renewal Confirmation service to have our expert staff follow up with lethargic licensing divisions to make sure your licenses are renewed quickly and correctly.

  • I'm no longer operating my business – how do I close my business license?

    The method to close a business license depends on the governing board in charge of the license. In the case of many smaller, basic business licenses, a written notification in the form of an email or letter may be all that is required to close your license. More regulated license types might require submission of a specific form in order to request license closure. Depending on the nature of your license or registration, you may also need to obtain proof of tax clearance – i.e. evidence that you have no past due fees on your license account – before your license can be closed.

    For additional help please contact CT Corporation

  • How do I know when a specific business license should be renewed?

    Businesses are often reliant upon their own internal compliance division to stay on top of renewals. While the licensing jurisdiction may send a renewal notice, entities should not rely on this reminder method. CT Corporation has developed a License Management System (LMS) to help manage the renewal process and avoid delinquent charges and fines.

  • How long are business licenses valid?

    The term of a business license is entirely dependent on the type of license. Some licenses are good for the life of the business while others must be renewed annually or every two years. However, laws can change frequently so businesses must stay abreast of changes that affect the term of their license.

  • How long does the process take to get the proper business licenses?

    The length of time to obtain the proper license is partially dependent on the licensing jurisdiction. Wolters Kluwer streamlines the process for businesses so that your application is filed faster and is properly completed. Many licensing jurisdictions will completely reject an application with any errors or missing supporting documents.

  • How much does the state, county or city charge for business licenses?

    Business license costs vary from state to state, county to county, and city to city. Different municipalities use different methods to determine how much you will have to pay for your business license (sometimes called Business Registration, Business Tax Certificate, Occupational License, Privilege License, et. al.). Typically, you will be charged a one-time application fee and a periodical renewal fee in order to maintain a legal business in a given jurisdiction. It is not uncommon to owe business license fees to the city, county, and state in which your business is located.

  • Is a local Business License required when a company has an office/mailing address for marketing purposes only?

    Depending on the jurisdiction, you may need a local business license. Local business licenses are required for businesses "operating" or "transacting business" within a given jurisdiction. They are generally renewable and require an application with a fee. There are two considerations that a locality may look at in order to determine whether a business is required to obtain a license:

    • Does the business generate any form of revenue from the jurisdiction and/or through this address? This includes using it in advertisements and portraying it as a business location to entice business.
    • Does the business have a presence in the jurisdiction? If you do not have employees in this location or within the city performing work for compensation, you may not need this license. However, if you receive mail to this address relating to the business that an employee must come into the jurisdiction to collect that could be be enough to establish that the business has a presence.

    CT Corporation will help your business determine the licenses that are needed and obtain all of the licenses and registrations required, minimizing time-consuming and costly delays. To get a free quote, please contact CT Corporation

  • Do I need to pay the full license fee if my business is opening mid-way through the license term?

    Some jurisdictions will prorate license fees depending on the date of application; however, some will not. It depends on the policy of the specific jurisdiction.

  • How can I get a resale certificate?

    Resale certificates are used by vendors to purchase property or services that are intended for resale. The buyer presents the seller with the resale certificate. When a buyer has a valid resale certificate, no tax is charged for the purpose because it will ultimately be charged to the end user. Vendors may use resale certificates for single purchases or as a blanket certificate that, when given to the seller, covers additional purchases of the same general type of property or services. Generally, to obtain a resale certificate, a business must first have a valid sales tax account. Sometimes a business may use that account number of a form resale certificate issued by that state. All they need to do is print the certificate, write in their account number and business information, and present the certificate to the seller.

    In other states, the business must take another step and apply for a resale certificate. If the state approves the application and the business activity, a resale certificate and number is issued by the state. These certificates are generally issued for one or two year periods.

    CT Corporation will help resellers obtain all licenses and registrations for your business, minimizing time-consuming and costly delays. For additional help please contact CT Corporation to consult a licensing specialist.


  • Are there penalties for not paying a business license fee?

    Yes, there usually are penalties for failure to pay a business license fee. Penalties can include fines, accruing interest to the license fee, and in some cases, license suspension or revocation. CT Corporation's ongoing compliance tool CLiC will ensure that your business files every renewal and pays every license fee on time. For additional help please contact CT Corporation.

  • What is a business license?

    A business license is an approval or permit issued by a government agency that authorizes a business to operate within a specific jurisdiction. This license is often an additional requirement beyond the registration of a business at the state level. Whether a business is required to have a specific license depends on such factors as the nature of the business, types of products sold, and location.

  • What is the fastest way to check whether all my business licenses are still valid?

    CT Corporation offers a service for businesses to verify the status of your entire portfolio of licenses. Clients receive a comprehensive report detailing the license, licensing jurisdiction, and any renewal date.

  • What should I do if I am unsure what type of licenses my business needs?

    Please contact the business license experts at CT Corporation to learn more about our License Research package.

  • Who issues business licenses?

    Government agencies and divisions at the Federal, State, County or Municipal levels can issue business licenses.

  • Why do I need a business license?

    A new business is like a newborn baby. It requires a lot of attention and investment of both your time and money in order to grow into a successful enterprise. In order to start off on the right foot, every business owner needs to obtain the business licenses required under law.

    Having a business license helps identify your business to potential customers as a legitimate business. With a business license you can confidently advertise yourself as a “licensed” business. Not only will this increase you confidence as a business owner, but it may potentially bring in business as your customers will feel secure in knowing you are appropriately licensed. With a business license you can become a member of the Better Business Bureau and other occupational groups that will make customers feel more comfortable about working with you.

    Proof of a business license will also be needed to grow and expand your business. For example, in most cases, you will need a business license to open a business bank account, rent business space, or open a wholesale buying account. Further, according to research by Professors Kleiner and Krueger, licensed business owners can make up to 15% more than unlicensed individuals with similar skills. Having a business license gives you a competitive edge and the advantage of greater earning potential.

    Not maintaining the appropriate licenses, permits and tax registrations before doing business can expose you to expensive penalties and put your entire business in jeopardy. The ramifications of a blunder can seriously impede operations, destroy good will and unnecessarily cost companies thousands of dollars. Regulators do not discriminate—an enforcement action may be imposed whether the company is a mom-and-pop corner store or an established corporation. Aside from monetary penalties, cessation of operations, and potential criminal sanctions, citations also impair the morale of businesses. These penalties can apply to both wilful and ignorant violations.

    Having the appropriate licenses is a mandatory aspect of operating almost any business. However, with thousands of different licensing jurisdictions across the U.S., it can be extremely challenging for a new business to understand all of the requirements and time-consuming to manage ongoing compliance. The licensing process can involve completing confusing applications, gathering supporting documentation from many different departments, and interacting with state and local bureaucracy. The experts at CT Corporation can take over all license research, assembly, and filing. Our goal is to prepare everything related to the license application except the client’s signature so you can concentrate on more important day-today duties of your business.

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