County clerks and city officials issue business licenses. Businesses must pay a one-time fee of $15 for their initial license and businesses renewing a minimal activity license must pay a $15 fee for the annual renewal. Businesses are not allowed to operate until the license is obtained and posted in the business location. Out-of-state taxpayers with no business locations in Tennessee that are not Classification 4 contractors are not required to get a license.
However, contractors outside Tennessee with no in-state business location must get a county license in counties where their sales exceed $100,000. Contractors must also get city business licenses in each jurisdiction where the contractor has over $100,000 in sales for the tax reporting period.
(Please note – contractors outside Tennessee with sales exceeding $100,000 are “deemed” to have a location in Tennessee and must also register with the Department of Revenue to file and pay business tax on such sales.)
Reference: Tenn. Code Ann. § 67-4-723.
Note: This article was updated on May 12, 2023, as a result of a law change. The previous version of BUS-14 is available here.