What should I know about business licenses in North Carolina?
A lot has changed in North Carolina since the days when nearly every jurisdiction in The Tar Heel State required a general business license for operating a business. Specifically, what changed was House Bill 1050 during fiscal year 2015.
The bill eliminated the authority of municipalities to levy a business license tax and, consequently, existing business licenses in NC no longer needed to be renewed.
It would be quite a stretch, however, to argue that this has made life easier for business owners in the state. Working around the new law, some municipalities started to require business registrations (as opposed to business licenses) and many municipalities created specialty licenses to regulate beer/wine, home occupancies, push cart vending, massage parlors, pawn brokers, and many more.
No doubt HB 1050 was intended to make it simpler to open a business in North Carolina, but the reality is way more complex. The key takeaway, however, is simple. It's worth getting help from professionals to make sure that you're not missing any of the specialty business licenses you may need in North Carolina.
How many business licenses do you need?
The number of business licenses you need in North Carolina depends on a number of unique factors.
These factors include...
- Within which city/county will you operate your business?
- What business activities will you be conducting?
- How heavily regulated is your industry? Etc.
To put it in perspective, we ran the following queries through our own business license research tool. Here are some authentic results:
This may include a state-specific North Carolina IFTA license. One document that's often associated with this license is the Motor Carrier License and Decal Application.
This may include a state-specific North Carolina cosmetology shop license. Our database of forms and documents indicates that, at the very least, there are two documents relevant to this license — an Application for Cosmetological Establishment License and an Application for Mobile Salon License.
This may include a state-specific North Carolina pharmacy license. To obtain this license, business owners often need to submit an Application for Registration and Permit to Conduct an In-State Pharmacy, an Application for Prescription Drug Registration (Out-of-State), an Application for Registration for Controlled Substances, and a License Application for In-State Wholesale Prescription Drug Distributors.
See where you might owe sales tax
Need to know where and when you owe sales tax? Get a free Economic Sales Tax Risk Assessment for your nexus analysis today.
Common North Carolina business license questions
Let Avalara help you with your business licenses in the Home of the Tar Heels. See some of our common business license questions to learn more.
The State of North Carolina does not have one single business license issued that every business must have. However, in order to operate one in North Carolina, special licensing is subject to state, city, county and/or federal requirements.
You’re in luck! The cost isn’t too steep, ranging between $50-$125, depending on your business type.
Once you’ve registered and obtained a business name and location, you will need to find out what type of license you’ll need for your business. There are occupational licenses, environmental permits, and/or meeting certain zoning requirements dependent upon your specific type of business and its location.
You can save time and cut through some of the processes with managed license services from Avalara. We can help you determine the appropriate licenses and put together your applications.