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A New York business license gives your Limited Liability Company (LLC) permission to operate in a certain location or within a specific industry.
While we can’t walk you through any applicable license applications step-by-step, we do provide helpful resources like:
- information about state licensing rules
- instructions for researching municipal licenses
And if you want to just hire a company to do the research for you, we have a recommendation below.
New York Business License Requirements
After you form a New York LLC, you may need to obtain a business license or permit.
Your requirements are determined by the industry you are in and where your New York Limited Liability Company is located.
Because of the large number of industries and all of the municipalities in New York, 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.
Need to save time? We recommend hiring MyCompanyWorks (for $99) to handle the business license research for you.
How to get a Business License in New York
You can obtain a business license in New York by applying with the relevant 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 business license application typically requires basic information, such as your LLC name, EIN Number, business address, and contact information. Many also include a questionnaire that asks about your business activity.
There are three main licensing jurisdictions:
- State licensing
- Local licensing, such as county, city, township, etc.
- Federal licensing
Does New York Require a Business License?
That depends on where your business is located, and what it does.
There are two types of state-level business licenses:
- a general business license
- and an occupational license
New York General Business License
Some states have a general license requirement, which means all businesses operating in those states must have the license, regardless of what they do.
But good news: New York doesn’t require a general license to do business in the state.
Meaning, your New York LLC doesn’t need a general state business license. But depending on what type of business you run, your LLC might need an occupational license.
New York Occupational License
Most states have occupational business license requirements. This means a license or permit may be required depending on what your business does or what your occupation is. For example, if you sell used cars, or run a hair salon, you may need an occupational business license. But a license may not be required for other types of businesses.
The New York Department of State Division of Licensing Services can help you determine if your New York business needs an occupational license or permit, and which agency to contact about applying for the license.
The New York Business Express site has an interactive tool to help you find license requirements: Business Wizard. You’ll answer questions about your new LLC and the wizard will give you contact information for agencies and licensing boards that might apply to your business.
You can look through this guide on how to Apply for a Professional License from the Division of Licensing Services.
You can also contact the Division of Licensing Services with questions.
Note: Not all New York business licenses are issued by the Department of State. The Department of State is responsible for business entity administration, for example Limited Liability Company formation, and certain business licenses.
For professions that aren’t licensed by the Department of State, check with the Office of the Professions that’s part of the New York Department of Education.
Here’s a List of Licensed Professions you can check to see if this applies to your or your LLC. You can also check out the Office of the Professions FAQs.
How much is a New York Business License?
New York doesn’t have a general business license at the state level, so there are no fees there.
However, your business may need a state-level occupational license or municipal-level license or permit to operate. The filing fee for these licenses will vary depending on where you’re doing business and what industry you’re in. To be honest, we can’t predict your specific New York business license cost.
For example, licenses issued by a county that contains a large city are usually more expensive than licenses in less populated, rural counties. And licenses for regulated industries, like child care facilities, are usually more expensive than generic business licenses.
But your LLC might not need a license or permit at all. So your New York business license cost could be $0.
See LLC Cost in New York to learn about all the possible LLC fees.
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 types of municipal business licenses:
- general business license
- industry-specific license
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. Or if you’re purchasing or leasing real estate, you may need a zoning permit.
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 their local licensing requirements:
- Counties of New York State
- New York Association of Towns: New York Towns
- New York State Association of Counties: Counties
Make sure to check with your town, city, and county. For example, here’s the New York City Business Licenses list. But if you operate your LLC in New York City, you should also check your borough and the New York county requirements.
New York Sales Tax License
If you sell products to consumers in New York, you may need to collect sales tax and file a Sales and Use Tax Return.
If your business activities are subject to sales and use tax, your LLC must register with the Department of Revenue.
Note: This requirement will apply whether you sell products online or in a physical location in New York.
You can register for business tax with the Department of Revenue online with Sales Tax Web File or filing Form DTF-17 by mail.
For additional information about the Sales Tax License check out these resources from the Department of Taxation and Finance:
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 businesses in New York don’t need a federal business license. However, certain industries do need federal 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 New York EIN Number (aka Federal Employer Identification Number) and that you file taxes.
New York Business License FAQs
How much does a business license cost in New York?
New York doesn’t have a general business license for LLCs, so there are no fees there.
If your business has to get an occupational license or municipal (city or county) permit, the fees are hard to predict. Depending on your LLC’s location, and what type of business or industry you’re in, the fee varies.
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 New York licenses varies.
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 that gives a person, or a company, the right to transact business. It doesn’t create an LLC.
Does a Sole Proprietor need a business license in New York?
Sometimes a new business owner chooses to operate as a Sole Proprietorship in New York instead of an LLC.
Even if you’re just trying out a business idea as a Sole Proprietorship, you may still be subject to license requirements at the state and municipal levels. It just depends on what you will be doing, and where you will be operating your business.
Does the New York Department of State provide a business license?
That depends on what your business does. The New York Department of State handles most licensing requirements in the state. But depending on what kind of license or permit you need, there might be another government agency that you need to contact.
And don’t forget to check with your local government agency. For example, your local county or city government will have information about any local licenses.
How to start an LLC in New York
Here are the steps to starting an LLC in New York:
- Choose an LLC name and make sure it’s available
- Publish a notice in the newspaper about the company you’re planning to start
- File the New York LLC Articles of Organization
- Complete and sign an LLC Operating Agreement
- Get a Tax ID Number (EIN) from the IRS
- Publish another notice in the newspaper about the company you formed
- Research business license requirements
- Open an LLC bank account
New York City Business Licenses
NY Business Express: Business Wizard
NY Department of State: Division of Licensing Services
NY State Comptroller: Start a Business and Get Licenses
NY Department of Taxation and Finance: Business Taxes
NY Department of Education: List of Licensed Professions
NY Business Express: How to Start a Business in New York
Division of Licensing Services: Apply for a Professional License
NY Department of Taxation and Finance: Register as a sales tax vendor
NEW YORK LLC GUIDE
Follow the lessons below to form your New York LLC.