Michigan Business License Requirements
After you form a Michigan LLC, you may need to obtain a business license or permit.
Your requirements are determined by the industry you are in and where your Michigan LLC is located.
Because of the large number of industries and all of the municipalities in Michigan, it’s not possible for us to explain them all. However, you can use the search tools below, call your local municipality, or hire a company for help.
Tip: Save time by hiring an expert. We recommend using IncFile ($99) to handle the business license research for you.
How to get a Business License in Michigan
You can obtain a Michigan business license by applying with the necessary licensing or regulatory agency. The agency you apply with will depend on where your business is located and what business activities it engages in.
The application typically requires basic information, such as your LLC name, EIN Number, business owner address, and contact information. Many also include a questionnaire that asks about your business activity.
There are three main licensing jurisdictions:
- Local municipality (county, city, township, etc.)
State Business License in Michigan
There are two main types of state-level business licenses: general business licenses and industry-specific licenses.
For example, if the state has a general business license requirement, all businesses operating in the state must have the license, regardless of what they do. Michigan doesn’t require a general business license at the state level.
Most states have industry-specific business licenses or permits, which means a license or permit may be required depending on what your business does. For example, if you sell used cars, or run a hair salon, you may need an industry-specific business license. But a license may not be required for other types of businesses.
The Michigan.gov: State Business License Search helps you determine what state-level licenses and permits your Michigan business may need. You can search by keyword, such as “food truck” or “barber”.
Alternatively, you can browse all of the business licenses:
Michigan.gov: Alphabetical list of licenses and permits
Or you can call the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs via their contact page.
Municipal Business License
Municipal business licenses can be issued by the city, town, county, parish, township, borough, etc. We refer to all of these as a “municipality” to keep things simple.
There are two main types of municipal business licenses: general business licenses and industry-specific licenses.
For example, if a municipality has a general business license requirement, all businesses operating in that municipality must have the license, regardless of what they do.
And if a municipality has industry-specific business licenses, a license or permit may be required depending on what your business does. For example, if you operate a food truck, or run a daycare, you may need an industry-specific municipal business license.
But a license may not be required for other types of businesses, like making wedding invitation templates or offering marketing consulting.
You can contact your municipality to check on your license and permit requirements.
Michigan Sales Tax License
If you sell products to consumers in Michigan, you may need to collect sales tax and have a sales tax license.
You can get this sales tax license from the Michigan Department of Treasury.
You can read more information about sales tax here:
- Michigan Dept of Treasury: Who Needs a Sales Tax License
- Michigan Dept of Treasury: New Small Business Registration
- Michigan Dept of Treasury: Streamlined Sales and Use Tax
- Michigan Dept of Treasury: Online Registration FAQs
If you have any questions, you can contact the Sales Tax division of the Michigan Department of Treasury at 517-636-6925.
Tip: Save time by hiring an expert. We recommend using TaxJar. They'll help you register for, collect, and pay sales tax.
Do I need any federal business licenses?
Most Michigan businesses don’t. However, certain industries need federal business licenses:
|If your business…||Contact this agency about business licenses|
|Transports animals, plants or biotechnology over state lines||Department of Agriculture|
|Imports or exports animal products, wildlife, or products derived from wildlife (including fish)||Fish and Wildlife Service|
|Fishes commercially||Fish and Wildlife Service|
|Broadcasts on radio or TV||Federal Communications Commission|
|Makes alcohol and sells it at a retail store||Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau|
|Makes or sells firearms, ammunition or explosives||Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives|
|Transports cargo by sea||Federal Maritime Commission|
|Transports goods or people by air||Federal Aviation Administration|
Check out the Small Business Administration’s Licenses and Permits page for a full list of industries with federal license requirements.
If your business isn’t one of these special cases, then the only federal requirements are that your LLC get a Michigan EIN Number (aka Federal Employer Identification Number) and that you file taxes.
Michigan Business License FAQs
How much does a business license cost in Michigan?
Michigan doesn’t have a state-level general business license, so there are no fees there.
However, your business may need a state-level industry-specific license or municipal-level license or permit to operate. The filing fee for licenses will vary depending on where you’re doing business and what industry you’re in.
And you might not need a business license at all!
Unfortunately, we can’t say what your LLC’s business license costs would be, because it depends on several factors and the cost of Michigan licenses varies.
See LLC Cost in Michigan to learn about all the fees for starting an LLC.
Is an LLC considered a business license?
No, an LLC is not a business license. They are two completely different things.
An LLC is a type of business structure created by filing a document with the state government.
And a business license is a document, which gives a person, or a company, the right to transact business.
Do I need a business license if I’m a Sole Proprietor?
Sometimes a new business owner chooses to operate as a Sole Proprietorship in Michigan instead of an LLC.
Even if you’re just trying out a business idea as a Sole Proprietorship, you are still subject to license requirements at the state and municipal level.
How to start an LLC in Michigan
Here are the steps to starting an LLC in Michigan:
- Select a business name for your Michigan LLC
- Choose your Registered Agent
- File the LLC Articles of Organization with the state
- Complete and sign an LLC Operating Agreement
- Get a Tax ID Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
- Open an LLC bank account
- Check whether you need a business or sales tax license in Michigan
Michigan LARA: e-License
Michigan LARA: Licensing Division
Michigan LARA: Business License Fees
Michigan State Business License Search
Michigan Dept of Treasury: Sales and Use Tax
Michigan LARA Licensing Division Contact Info
Michigan Occupational Code, Section 339-411
Small Business Administration: Federal Licenses and Permits
Michigan Occupational Code and Skilled Trades Act, Chapter 339