How to Get a Business License in NY
You can get a business license online by applying with the correct licensing or regulatory agency for your business.
Business licensing requirements generally depend on your business’s activity and location (zoning requirements).
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.
You must obtain a Certificate of Authority if you:
- Are engaged in business in New York
- Intend to sell or lease products or provide services that are subject to state sales tax.
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.
Local New York Business Licensing
In New York, you may need other licenses or permits from your local government depending on your business activity or location.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
NY Business License FAQ
What is a business license?
A business license is a permit issued to businesses by a government office that allows the business to operate in a particular area. They can be issued by federal, state, or local governments. There are typically different licensing requirements for different businesses and different locations.
What are the types of business licenses?
There are many types of business licenses. These include licenses at the local, state, and federal levels, licenses related to sales tax and other taxes, and specific licenses for various professions. There are also environmental licenses, zoning permits, and more.
Is there a national business license?
Most businesses don’t need a federal business license, but some industries, including broadcasting, investment advising, and drug manufacturing, do have federal regulations and licenses.
Is an EIN the same as a business license?
No. An employer identification number (EIN) is issued by the IRS to identify and keep track of businesses, but it does not license them to operate.
Is an LLC considered a business license?
No. An LLC is a type of business structure. While you are required to register as an LLC, it is not a business license.
Who needs a New York business license?
Any business that sells taxable goods or services needs a Certificate of Authority for sales tax. Businesses in certain professions or locations may need additional licenses.
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.
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.