What is a business license, and why do I need one?

Tennessee tax law requires that every business in Tennessee with business taxable receipts of over $3,000 get a business license. You can get your licenses from the county clerk and city official (if the city imposes business tax) of the county and city in which the business is located. (Note that you will need to get a city license and a county license for each of your business locations.)  Your licenses must be displayed at your business location. Your license indicates to the public whether your business must pay business tax or not, and if so, that you are properly registered for the tax.

If your taxable receipts are between $3,000 and $9,999, you only need to get a minimal activity license.  The license is $15, and it must be renewed each year for $15.  If you have a minimal activity license, you are not required to register for and pay business tax.

If your taxable receipts are $10,000 or more, you must get a standard business license. Standard license holders must register for and pay at least the minimum $22 business tax.  The standard license is also $15, but is automatically renewed after you have filed and paid your business tax owed.

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