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How to get a business license in New York?

If you are planning to start a new business then there are several processes involved that makes a business operational. One of the foremost requirements is that of obtaining a New York business license or permits. A business license helps in creating credibility with vendors and customers and is often required for starting a business bank account. This article will provide you with detailed information on the need for a business license, different types of New York business license and permits required, and obtaining the licenses applicable to your business.

Business License in New York

A New York business license is a type of permit that is issued by the state or any government entity to a variety of businesses. The license or permit helps a new business to conduct operations in the state. The type of license is often dependent on the business activity and this criterion may vary from one state to another. There are some businesses that might not require a license at all while others may need to obtain multiple licenses or permits. In order to understand how you can obtain a New York business license, it is important to identify whether you need one and what types of business activities or businesses actually require one.

Who needs a New York business license?

Normally, every business that has or is planning to generate a revenue stream in any state of the USA will need to obtain a business license, permit, or tax registration to conduct its business legally. The said business will have to be compliant with the licensing regulations as defined by the Federal or state government. If you are planning to operate your business in New York then you will be required to apply for and obtain a New York business license.

You may be thinking whether your startup needs a New York business license or not, then it is important to identify the various factors that govern licensing in the state. These factors are:

  • If you are operating a brick-and-mortar business like a retail store or an accounting firm
  • If you are selling goods or are in the manufacturing business
  • If you are providing a service that according to state laws require you to apply for a license
  • If you are planning to operate an e-commerce store or an online business then a different category of licenses will be applicable

What business license do I need in New York?

If you are planning to form a startup in New York then your business may require a single license or permit or multiple licenses. The type of New York business license required by your company will vary according to the category in which your business is classified. The three categories for New York business license and permits are:

  • Industry – The industry that your business is classified under like Agriculture, Transportation, Health, Recreation, and Manufacturing among others.
  • Occupational – The professional or occupational skills required by you or your employees to aid in the operation of your business like certified public accountant, interior designer, or landscape architect.
  • Local – The city or county you are planning to operate your business from like Manhattan, Brooklyn, Long Beach, and New York City among others. You may be required to be compliant with the zoning requirements of the city or county.

Each state has their licensing regulations and this stands true for a New York business license as well. The licensing or permit regulations, zoning rules, fees, and renewals for New York business licenses and permits will vary in the state according to the above categories.

What business licenses will you need in New York?

Obtain Professional Licensing

One of the important forms of New York business license is a professional license or an occupational license. A professional license is considered to be a type of license, certificate, permit, registration, or even a qualification that enables a person to pursue a specific professional or business legally. You can apply for and obtain a New York business license or professional license from the New York Office of the Professions. The type of license required would depend primarily on the profession chosen by you.

What is a New York State professional license?

The professional license is a type of New York business license that has rules and regulations which are different from that of general business licensing. A professional license indicates that a person or an individual has met the minimum requirements as mentioned by the NY Education Law for entering a practice or using a professional title within the state. Once you obtain a New York business license or professional license, it will be valid for the life of the applicant unless it is annulled, revoked, or suspended by the NY Board of Regents.

The issuance of this type of licenses is handled by different agencies in different states. For example, in New York State (NYS), the licensing is handled by the New York Office of the Professions while in Florida; it comes under the Florida Department of State, Division of Library and Information Services.

Which professions require licensing?

The New York State Board of Regents is responsible for overall or general supervision of all types of education related activities within the state including the licensing of professions. Medicine was the first profession to be licensed by the New York State Board of Regents. Today, there are over 30,000 business entities indulged in professional practice. If you want to obtain a New York business license to conduct professional practice then there are 50 professional areas that you can choose from.

There is an extensive list of professions for which you will need to apply for a New York business license. Some of the top professions include:

  • Architecture
  • Athletic Training
  • Dentistry
  • Mental Health Practitioners
  • Social Work
  • Veterinary Medicine
  • Pharmacy Establishments
  • Engineering
  • Geology
  • Nursing
  • Interior Design
  • Public Accountancy

Other New York Business Licenses

If you are an entrepreneur or a small business owner thinking of starting a new business then one of the primary requirements is that of a New York business license. The type of license you will require is dependent on several factors like profession, physical address of the business, and activity. Apart from professional licenses, there are other categories of New York business licenses and permits and one of the most important is the seller’s permit.

Seller’s permit (Certificate of Authority)

The seller’s permit is often known as the General Vendor license or even the certificate of authority. If your business will be transacting in New York or will be selling merchandise, products or taxable goods and services in this state then you will be subjected to sales tax. Hence, you will be required to register with the Department of Taxation and Finance and obtain a Certificate of Authority, which is a form of New York business license also known as the seller’s permit.

The Certificate of Authority will give the right to a business to collect tax on taxable sales as well as accept and issue sales tax exemption certificates in New York. You will have to register with the Department of Taxation and Finance at least 20 days prior to starting your business so that you can receive your Certificate of Authority or New York business license and permits for sellers. It is important to note that there are two types of Certificate of Authority and they are:

  • Regular Certificate of Authority – This type of New York business license is required by those businesses that plan to make taxable sales from a shop, store, home, or any facility owned or rented by the business.
  • Temporary Certificate of Authority – This is applicable for those businesses that are expected to make sales in not more than two consecutive taxable sales quarters within a 12 month period in New York.

Local New York Business Licensing

There are five boroughs and 62 counties in New York and if you are planning to start a business here then you will need to obtain a New York business license according to the industry and also on the local or county level. The process for obtaining a New York business license will vary depending on the type of license required by your business. There are over 30 different licenses and permits that are issued by the Department of State and to determine the permits required, you need to conduct a New York business license search. The New York Business Express website provides detailed information about various state licenses and how you can obtain them.

On the county level however, the issuance of New York business licenses and permits may be different for different counties. In order to obtain a local license, you will need to conduct a New York business license search for identifying whether your business activities require licensing and if they do, then what local licenses or permits are applicable.

Example: If you plan to start food service establishments in Suffolk County then you will need to identify the type of establishment like a Restaurant (with or without seating), Delicatessen, or even an in-home catering service. After conducting a New York business license search, you will be able to identify your establishment type. The next step will be to apply for a FOOD Establishment Permit Application with the Suffolk County Department of Health Services along with an annual New York business license and permits fee. The fee would be different for different establishments like the fee for a Delicatessen is $425 while that of an in-home catering service is $130.

IncParadise offers a “Business License Research Report” service to help you identify the licenses required by your business in New York. This is a detailed research report that contains a list of filing instructions, supporting document requirements, and fees for all business licenses and permits for your business in New York.

Building & Zoning Permits

One of the important aspects of conducting business is to ensure you have the required New York business license and permits including the building and zoning permits. All businesses are not required to obtain these permits and you can conduct a New York business license search to identify whether your business requires such permits.

Some businesses may require construction of a new structure or making alterations or other construction related work to serve the purpose of occupancy or egress. In another scenario, you want to conduct your business in a specific commercial or residential district. In either case, you will need to check the zoning laws and building regulations of the New York State so that you can obtain the necessary New York business license or zoning permits. You can identify your zoning requirements by using the NYCCityMap. You can also contact the Zoning Information Desk of the NYC Department of City Planning to get detailed information pertaining to your zoning requirements and permits.

Need any Assistance in Obtaining Your NY Business License?

If you are planning to start a new business in New York then one of the foremost requirements is ensuring you obtain a New York business license. A license or permit will provide you with the authorization to transact business in the state. Depending on the type of business activity, industry, and county, your company may require a single New York business license or multiple licenses and permits.

This is where IncParadise can help you by providing information pertaining to licensing in New York and can help answer any queries you may have pertaining to licenses and permits in the state. We also provide additional services to New York businesses including incorporation or formation of a new business.

What business licenses & permits are needed in New York?