I want to apply for a business license in Chattanooga, Tennessee. What should I know?
Tennessee is unique from other states in the fact that if you want to be a business owner you must not only apply for a city business license, but also a county license. The business license is also known as a Certificate of Registration. This must be obtained for each separate location even if the business owner is the same.
The license must be renewed each year with both separate entities. Within 20 days of the start of your business you must obtain a business license. If your business license is not obtained within 20 days, charges and interest will apply. If you purchase an already established business you must make certain the previous owner filed final returns, otherwise you will be held liable for those taxes. The renewal date depends on your business classification. Business classification is determined from the application that is submitted. Hamilton County’s business phone number is (423) 209-6500. Chattanooga City Department of Revenue’s business phone number is (423) 757-5195.
Your business license will be processed within one day for both entities. For both applications you must submit a copy of either your driver’s license or a DMV-issued photo ID.
In applying for a business license what costs are involved?
The first part of the business license fee is at least a total of $20.00 no matter what business you set out to endeavor in. This fee is the total of a $15.00 minimum tax and a $5.00 for recording at the County Recorder’s Office. The fee must be submitted to the City of Chattanooga Department of Revenue within 30 days of completing and filing your application.
Additionally, Hamilton County requires a $15.00 fee when submitting your separate application to them. They allow a 60 day grace period for receipt of the fee. Annually, you must complete and file a gross receipts report. The tax due will be evaluated based on your business classification and your monetary receipts for the year. You are required to report this information to the Hamilton County Clerk. The time each year that the gross receipts report is evaluated varies depending on your business classification. For general information on the business classification so you may have an estimate as what to expect, please call the City of Chattanooga Department of Revenue at (423) 757-5195.
Please take note that there are two tax fees due each year, one for the City of Chattanooga and one for Hamilton County. These fees must be paid separately. You will not receive your business renewal license until both are satisfied. Businesses that are exempt from paying the county and city taxes are those that gross less than $3,000.00 annually. Additionally, the following are also exempt, no matter the gross: manufacturers, doctors, dentists, veterinarians, attorneys, accountants, schools, religious organizations, insurance agents, loan companies, security exchanges, or public utilities.
A Personality Tax may also be assessed. To determine if you will be taxed for this, please call City of Chattanooga Department of Revenue at (423) 757-5195. Payments to both entities, the City of Chattanooga Department of Revenue and the Hamilton County Clerk may be made by personal check, money order, cash, or credit card.
How do I find out if my location will be permitted?
Please call the Codes and Compliance Department at (423) 757-5105.
I want to operate my business from home What must I do?
If you are within The City of Chattooga’s limits you must obtain a home occupation application. You may contact them at (423) 757-5195.
What if I have additional questions?
Please be aware that there are two entities you must deal with when getting your business license in Chattanooga, Tennessee: Hamilton County and The City of Chattooga Department of Revenue. Hamilton County Clerk’s business license phone number is (423) 209-6500. Chattanooga City Department of Revenue’s business phone number is (423) 757-5195. The hours of operation are from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday for both the County and the City.
The City of Chattanooga Treasurer's Office address is:
City Hall, Room 100
101 E 11th Street
Chattanooga, TN 37402-4285
You can also go to the offical website of the City of Chattanooga.
Hamilton County’s address is:
625 Georgia Avenue
Chattanooga, TN 37402
You can also go to the Hamilton County Clerk's website.
The State of Tennessee Department of Revenue offers a toll-free tax information line for taxpayers: 1-800-342-1003.
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.