New York Business License
Obtaining a business license in New York is an important step for entrepreneurs and businesses to start operating legally. Without the right documentation, businesses are not allowed to open their doors and begin business operations.
This New York Business License guide will help you understand how you can obtain professional licensing, including the application process and what documents are needed.
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How to Get a Business License in NY
You can get a general business license online by applying with the correct licensing or regulatory agency for your business.
The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance oversees all business licenses in the state, which means that most applications are filed with them.
Depending on the type of license your business will need, you might also need additional licenses from other agencies like the Department of Health or Environmental Conservation.
You must submit your applications along with any required supporting documents and your federal employer identification number so that they can be reviewed for approval.
There are three main licensing jurisdictions:
State of New York Business Licensing
The main state-level permit or license in New York is the Certificate of Authority for sales tax, also called a seller’s permit or general vendor license.
You must obtain a Certificate of Authority if you:
- Are engaged in business in New York (sole proprietorships, limited liability company, general partnerships, corporation, or other registered business entities)
- Intend to sell or lease products or provide services that are subject to state sales tax. You must collect sales tax to conduct business in the State of New York. This is the minimum for state tax requirements to be met.
Visit the Department of Taxation and Finance to obtain a seller’s permit.
Additionally, New York requires businesses in certain professions to acquire specific licenses as well. The state’s Professional License website provides more information, and New York Business Express has a checklist that will tell you which licenses your business may need.
Steps for Obtaining a Business License in New York
New York Certificate of Authority
You can register for a New York certificate of authority for sales tax online. If you haven’t already, you will need to register for an NY.gov business account. There is no filing fee.
Apply for a New York Certificate of Authority
Apply Online With New York Business Express
Other New York Business Licenses
The processes for obtaining other New York business licenses vary. Over 30 different licenses are issued by the Department of State. The New York Business Express website provides more information about various state licenses and how to obtain them.
Check with your local New York town or county government office for more information about how to get local business licenses.
The sales tax certificate of authority is renewable at the discretion of the Department of Taxation and Finance. Vendors are randomly selected by the state for renewal and then mailed a letter of notification with instructions.
Professional business licenses that are issued through the Department of State have various renewal policies. For licenses issued by other state agencies, contact the relevant state agency for more information.
Check with your local New York town or county government office for more information about renewal procedures for local business licenses.
Local New York Business Licensing
In New York, you may need other licenses or permits from your local government, i.e. county clerk, depending on your business activity or location. Local licensing requirements vary by city and each city may have its own local licenses and permits.
For example, New York City has a long list of different local permits, licenses, and registrations that various businesses need. They also offer a tool where you can provide information about your business and see which licenses and permits you will likely need.
Check with your local New York town or county government office for more information.
Federal Business Licenses and Permits
You can get a business license by applying with the correct licensing and regulatory agency for your business. Business licensing requirements depend on your business’s activity and location (zoning requirements).
If your business conducts activities that are regulated by the federal government, you will need to apply for the appropriate business license or permit.
Choose a business activity below to learn how to apply:
Firearms, ammunition, and explosives
Fish and wildlife
Mining and drilling
Radio and television broadcasting
Transportation and logistics
Recommended: Consider having a professional service help you research and apply for business licenses and permits.
NY Business License FAQ
Who needs a New York business license?
Any business that sells taxable goods or services needs a Certificate of Authority for sales tax in New York. Businesses in certain professions or locations within New York may need additional licenses to operate a business.
What licenses do I need to open a business in New York?
Most businesses will at least need a Certificate of Authority for sales tax. Businesses in certain professions or locations may need additional licenses.
What is a seller’s permit?
A seller’s permit is the common name for a license or permit that allows you to sell products or services. In New York, this is called a Certificate of Authority for sales tax.
How much does a New York business license cost?
There is no fee to register for a sales tax certificate of authority. The cost of other licenses varies.
How do I get a New York business license?
You can register for a New York certificate of authority for sales tax with the New York Business Express website. The processes for obtaining other licenses vary. Business wizard site can help limited liability companies and other business entities in New York State.
Do I have to renew my New York business license?
The sales tax certificate of authority is renewable at the discretion of the Department of Taxation and Finance. Check with the relevant government office for renewal requirements for any other licenses you may have.