Do I need to register my business in Missouri?
Most businesses must register with the Missouri Secretary of State in order to operate in the state. The only exceptions are sole proprietors and general partnerships that conduct business under their own name and that name does not suggest the existence of additional owners. The actual type of registration will depend on the business form you have, such as corporation, limited liability company, limited partnership, etc. All businesses must also register for business tax, and depending on the nature of the company, may also need to register for unemployment tax and sales/use tax.
THE LINK TO YOUR CITY BELOW TO APPLY FOR A BUSINESS
Does Missouri require businesses to be licensed?
There is no one general business license that all businesses operating in Missouri must have, but the state does require certain businesses to be licensed based on the goods and services being offered. This includes businesses such as commercial driving, certain food production, and entertainment venues to name a few. You can find out whether your business needs a business permit by checking at www.business.mo.gov/lookup/PermitSearch.aspx.
Missouri also has thirty-nine licensing boards that are responsible for licensing several trades and professions. If your business or the services provided by your employees is covered by one of these licensing boards, then there are usually educational and licensing requirements that you must meet in order to operate anywhere in the state.
Besides state requirements, many municipalities also have licensing requirements for local businesses.
What are the local licensing requirements in Missouri?
Local licensing requirements vary depending on where your business is located. Generally, all businesses must obtain a local business license in order to operate within that municipal area. Professions that are regulated by the state are often exempt from this requirement, but not always. The type of license you must apply for depends on the type of business you are operating and some businesses may need more than one license. For example, some cities, including St. Louis, require that individuals running a business out of a home office to also have a home occupancy permit in addition to their general business license. Because local licensing rules are established by city ordinances, it is best to always check with your local city business division to know what specific requirements your business must satisfy.
If your business is in an unincorporated area, then local licensing will be done by the county government. Again, licensing requirements vary from county to county in terms of what businesses need to be licensed and how. Some counties such as St. Charles County also require home occupancy permits for home offices while others do not. Note that depending on the location and nature of your business, you may need to be licensed by both the city and the county. Even if your business does not need to be licensed by the county, all businesses are responsible for county tax and must usually register with the county for tax purposes.
Disclaimer: This site is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, financial or tax advise. The information on this site should not be relied upon as an official source of information and should be independently verified.