Almost all businesses in Alabama must obtain at least one type of license or permit to operate legally. The three main business licenses in Alabama are the commercial privilegeregistration for business tax and store license. It can be difficult to determine what additional license(s) you need to obtain to operate in your specific industry. Depending on the type of business you operate, you may need to obtain local, county, state, or federal business licenses for specific purposes. You can consult the Alabama Department of Revenue to determine some of the additional licenses you may need.
Local business licenses in Alabama
The most common type of business license you’ll need in every municipality is what Alabama calls a privileged business license, commonly referred to as a “business license” or “general license.” If you have a physical location, you will also need to obtain a store license for each location where you do business. These are the most common licenses and will apply to virtually any type of business. These will be nearly identical in every city and county in Alabama.
Any business in contact with the public serving food, providing accommodation or otherwise related to or impacting the health of customers will need to obtain a public health license. Some cities and counties do not require a public health license if one is obtained at At the state level, while some municipalities require both. These permits often require some form of training and/or testing.
Additional local permits
Additional permits you may need to obtain at the city or county level when starting your business in Alabama include:
- Zoning and land use permit. These are necessary if the land you are building your business on is not properly zoned for the type of business you are running.
- Building permit. If you are constructing a new building or renovating an existing building, you will likely need planning permission.
- Firefighters license. These are necessary if your business uses flammable materials and is open to the public, such as restaurants, gyms, daycares, hotels, or nursing homes.
Although these permits are not the same as business licenses, you should research whether you need to obtain one before starting your business.
Alabama Statewide Licensing
In Alabama, businesses are also regulated statewide with what is called a “business tax registration.” Sometimes referred to as a “vendor’s permit,” business tax registration is required for all businesses carrying on business in Alabama that intend to sell or lease tangible personal property that would normally be subject to business tax. sale if sold at retail. You can register for your business tax registration with the My Alabama Tax Website.
A number of other Alabama state licenses may be required for certain types of businesses or professions. The list is long, so be sure to check with the Alabama Department of Revenue (ADOR) to determine which occupations require additional licensing. ADOR offers an exhaustive list of the different types of professions requiring specific licenses and the services or organizations to contact for these licenses. See his spreadsheet here.
Federal licenses and permits
Depending on the size or activities of your small business, you may need to obtain federal authorization Licence. If your small business operates in one of these industries, you’ll likely need a federal license:
- Sale, service, distribution or importation of alcohol
- Firearms, ammunition and explosives
- Fish and wildlife
- Commercial fisheries
- Maritime transport
- Mining and drilling
- Nuclear energy
- Broadcasting and television broadcasting