How Much Is A Business License In Tennessee?

Business licenses are required for any businesses and companies who want to operate from or within Tennessee. A business license and sales tax permit are considered essential documents for any business to remain legal in Tennessee, and without it businesses could face severe repercussions.

How much is a business license in Tennessee? Business license costs in Tennessee begin at $50 and higher. Tennessee business license application forms must be accompanied by the correct permit fees stated on the application, or the application is not considered valid.

The state of Tennessee requires all companies to have a business and sales tax license, even online sales businesses and companies who only want to open a branch. Tennessee does not have a general business license for the whole state, but permits and license applications are all done through the individual Tennessee city.

Business License Registration in Tennessee

Tennessee issues business licenses by-city, and not by state like some areas in the United States. A business who wants to register for operations in Tennessee will have to approach their closest city office or web portal for applications and renewals.

Most cities in Tennessee carry a general business license that covers tax compliance in that area. Other business types can require additional permits to be valid, though this is up to the type of business – and usually, it’s indicated on the forms.

Business license applications in Tennessee start at $50 for a basic license, though there are differences from city to city. Special business registrations like a Limited Liability Corporation will automatically cost more than a basic license.

A Tennessee city business license can be applied for online or at a physical city office. Online applications are recommended for most, and will process through the system faster – usually, in just a couple of days.

Most city business licenses are valid for a period of 1 to 2 years after the approval date. Because licenses are issued by-city and not for the entire state, there can be differences in how long a permit lasts for.

It’s recommended to check the individual expiration date of each permit. Renewals must be submitted either on or before the stated deadline, and most business licenses throughout Tennessee do not renew automatically.

License and application fees are nonrefundable for both online and physical form applications. It’s true even if an application was unsuccessful or rejected. Applicants are encouraged to check that their applications are correct, or follow city guidelines.

Businesses who practice without their business licenses in Tennessee can be shut down by the state, or issued hefty fines for noncompliance with their city’s law.

All businesses require a by-city license in Tennessee to operate within the law; other state permits and city licenses can still be necessary for some business types.

Types of Business Licenses

An LLC or CompanyAn LLC is a specific type of company that can be registered at a higher cost than a regular business license. Costs can vary by each city.
A General Operating LicenseA general operating license is the document that all businesses in Tennessee will require from their city.
A Food LicenseFood licenses are only required for Tennessee businesses who intend to trade in, sell or serve food-related items.
A NonprofitNonprofit organizations require no registration fees, but have to be registered through a different form than regular licenses. 

Tennessee License Facts

• All businesses in Tennessee will need to get a business license from their state for their operations to be considered legal and tax-compliant.

• The cost of a basic business license in Tennessee can be different from one city to the next.

• Operating without a business license in Tennessee cities can get a business fined or closed down until their licenses are up to date.

• Business license applications in Tennessee can be made online, or through the city office closest to the intended location of the business.

How long does a business license in Tennessee take?

Tennessee business license applications can take up to 2 weeks to process in some cities, although online applications are recommended for being much faster. Applications that are done online can be much faster.

When does a business license in Tennessee expire?

Tennessee business licenses are considered valid for at least 1 to 2 years after they have been approved, but this depends on individual licenses and cities. It’s up to the business to make sure their permits and licenses remain up to date. 

How do I register for a nonprofit license in Tennessee?

Nonprofit licenses for Tennessee are also issued by each city authority, and not by the entire state. No application fees are involved to register a nonprofit in this state, though a different form is needed.

What if my business license is delayed?

Delays are normal if a business license was applied for through a physical city office, or at a busy time of the year when application volumes are high. 

Business Licenses in Tennessee

All corporations, companies and single-owner small businesses in Tennessee require a business license from their city to operate and pay legal tax.

Additional licenses or permits can be necessary for specific industries. In most cases, a basic business license is still the first requirement to trade. 

Business license cost in Tennessee is likely to vary from one city to the next: business license registration does not cost the same everywhere in Tennessee!

Without adequate licenses, the state could force businesses to close until their licenses have been brought up to date. Tennessee also holds businesses responsible for noncompliance with hefty fines issued against them.

A business license is one of the most important documents any Tennessee business or corporation can require: business is considered illegal in the state without one.

Here are the business license costs in other states: