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Sample Tennessee Business License

Tennessee Business License

Do you have a solid business plan and want to turn it into a reality? Are you interested in starting your business in Tennessee and are in need of accurate information about how to get your work authorized by the state? Stay with us as here we will discuss the main processes of obtaining a business license, state-specific requirements, the expenses to operate your business in Tennessee, and more.

How do I get a business license in Tennessee?

Prior to obtaining your TN business license, there are several steps you need to perform. Here we outlined the main state-level requirements that will lead to your business licensing in Tennessee:

  • Choose your business entity: Whether it’s LLC, partnership, or sole proprietorship you need to select the form of your business.
  • Register your unique business name with the Tennessee Secretary of State
  • Obtain Employer Identification Number (EIN)
  • Determine the type of licenses or permits you need to run your business
  • Register for sales tax permits with the Tennessee Department of Revenue
  • Register with the TN Department of Labor& Workforce Development for State Unemployment Tax
  • Appoint a registered agent: Must be a TN resident or a business in the state providing registered agent services.

Tennessee offers two types of business licenses that you can obtain through the local government offices:

  • Minimal Activity License: Gross receipts are $3,000- $10,000
  • Standard Business License: Gross receipts exceed $10,000

To operate your business in Tennessee there are certain categories of licenses (sometimes called regulatory permits or licenses) that are issued on the state level. Otherwise, licenses and permits are offered by the local government of your city or county. We summarized the requirements of getting a business license in major cities and counties of the state.

Nashville, Davidson County

Davison County offers two types of business licenses: business tax license and minimal activity license. To obtain your business license in Nashville city you should fill out the application form and include the following information:

  • Business name, address, telephone number
  • Owner’s name, home address, telephone number, and social security number
  • A copy of the owner’s driver’s license
  • Signature of each owner

City of Brentwood

To operate your business in Brentwood you must hold a business tax license. The application form must be filled out and mailed to the following address along with the $15 application fee:

City of Brentwood
PO Box 788
Brentwood, TN 37024

Is a business license required in Tennessee?

If your business has taxable sales of $10,000 or more you must obtain a state-wide license which is issued by the Tennessee Department of Revenue. If your gross receipts exceed $3,000 but are less than $10,000 the minimum activity license is needed.

The requirements of business licenses or permits in Tennessee depend on the nature of your business. There are several licenses and permits that are issued on the state level and can be obtained from the following agencies:

  • Alcoholic Beverage Commission
  • Department Agriculture’s Consumer and Industry Services
  • Health Dept.
  • Dept. of Environment and Conservation

Aside from state-issued licenses and permits usually the local authority of each city, the county handles the licensing process. You may need two or more licenses or permits depending on the nature of the business, location, or size. For instance, if your business is in the waste industry you must apply both for hazardous waste and landfill permits.

Can you run a business without a business license in Tennessee?

If your business makes less than $3, 000 a year, you don’t have to obtain a business license to operate in Tennessee. However, businesses that have taxable sales of more than $3,000 a year must hold a minimum activity business license. The standard business license is offered when the business has taxable sales of more than $10,000.

The state of Tennessee doesn’t offer a general business license instead the local government o each city or county issues standard or minimal activity business licenses. To sell products or certain services, you must register for a Sales Tax Permit with the Tennessee Department of Revenue.

How much does it cost to start an LLC in Tennessee

To operate your LLC business, you need to file the Articles of Organization with the Tennessee Secretary of State. The application is possible both online and in-person. The filing non-refundable fee is set 50$ for each member although you need to pay a minimum fee of $300. To register your LLC business with the Tennessee Secretary of State you can complete this application form online or  download the form, fill out and mail it to the following address:

6th floor – Snodgrass Tower
Attn: Corporate Filing
312 Rosa L. Parks Ave.
Nashville, TN 37243

Mary H

Being a skilled creative writer and SEO content writer, with 2+ years of experience I can't imagine any other profession to fulfill my life as much as writing does. As a proud member of geek culture, I enjoy reading, writing, watching Sci-Fi gems, while also advocating the involvement of young, bright-minded girls and women in STEM research. Latter was largely the result of working at UNESCO Chair, Life Sciences International Postgraduate Educational Center as an editor of scientific journals.

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