How to Get Business Licenses in Utah | A Comprehensive Guide

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Utah Business License

Starting a new business is an exciting venture, but it’s essential to understand the various licenses required to operate legally within Utah. Forming an LLC in Utah requires licenses, as different industries and locations have specific regulations. This article will provide a comprehensive guide to Utah Business Licenses, helping you navigate the process and ensure your new venture complies with all necessary requirements. By understanding the permitting landscape in Utah, you can ensure that your business is fully prepared to succeed while avoiding potential legal pitfalls.

Webinarcare Editorial Team will help you easily obtain a business license in Utah. You must be guided by all the factors gathered in this article.

What is a Business License in Utah?

A business license is a legal authorization, permit, or document that allows a business to operate within a specific jurisdiction, such as a city, county, or state. Utah business licenses are issued by Utah Secretary of State and ensure businesses comply with applicable laws, regulations, and standards in their respective industries.

A business license protects public health, safety, and welfare by ensuring businesses operate responsibly and lawfully. Acquiring a business license often involves registering the business, paying applicable fees, and meeting specific requirements or qualifications for the type of business.

Business licenses can vary greatly depending on the location and nature of the business. Some common types of business licenses include:

1. General Business License: This is a basic license required for most businesses to operate within a specific jurisdiction, such as a city or county.

2. Professional and Occupational Licenses: These licenses are specific to certain industries or professions, such as healthcare, construction, real estate, or cosmetology, and are typically issued by state licensing boards or agencies.

You must have a professional and occupational license to form Utah General Partnership and offer your service. 

Here are some examples of Professional and Occupational Licenses:

  • Medical License: Physicians, surgeons, and other healthcare professionals must obtain a medical license to practice medicine in a specific state. The Utah medical board issues this license after verifying the applicant’s education, training, and examination results.
  • Realtor License: To become a realtor in Utah, you must obtain a real estate license to buy, sell, or lease properties on behalf of clients. Utah has its own real estate commission or board responsible for issuing licenses and regulating the industry.
  • Contractor License: General contractors, electricians, plumbers, and other construction professionals must often have a contractor license to work in Utah. 
  • Cosmetology License: Professionals in the beauty industry, such as hairstylists, estheticians, and nail technicians, must obtain a cosmetology license to provide services. Utah Boards of Cosmetology oversee licensing and regulations for this industry.
  • Certified Public Accountant (CPA) License: Accountants who wish to become a CPA in Utah must designate and provide specific services, such as auditing financial statements and obtaining a CPA license from Utah’s Board of Accountancy.
  • Architect License: Architects must obtain a license to practice architecture in Utah. This typically involves meeting education and experience requirements and passing the Architect Registration Examination (ARE).
  • Attorney License: Utah Business Attorneys must obtain a license to practice law in a particular jurisdiction, typically by passing the state’s bar examination and meeting other requirements set by the Utah bar association.

3. Health and Safety Permits: Utah businesses involved in food service, hospitality, or other industries directly impacting public health and safety may require specific permits from local health departments or regulatory agencies.

4. Environmental Permits: Utah businesses that involve activities that may impact the environment, such as waste disposal, air or water emissions, or hazardous materials handling, may require permits from local, state, or federal environmental agencies.

5. Sales Tax License: Utah businesses that sell goods or services may be required to collect sales tax from customers and remit it to the appropriate tax authority. A sales tax license is typically required to collect and remit sales tax legally.

Utah business owners must research the specific licensing requirements for their business in their jurisdiction and obtain all necessary licenses and permits to operate legally and avoid potential fines, penalties, or legal troubles.

Requirements For Getting Business Licenses in Utah

If you start an LLC or any other type of business, you must wait until your Utah business registration is complete. Once you have completed the necessary steps to register your business in Utah, you must be prepared with the required documents to apply for business licenses.

  • Name of your company
  • Phone number and company address
  • Employee Identification Number (EIN)
  • Your company’s legal structure (Corporation, Partnership, or LLC)
  • Your business strategy, which includes revenues and costs

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How to Get a Business License in Utah

To get a business license, you must follow the guidelines below, including determining if your Utah business requires a license or permit, identifying the appropriate licensing agencies, researching license and permit requirements, completing and submitting license applications, and maintaining license and permit requirements.

Step 1: Determine The Required License or Permit

The first step in obtaining a business license is determining if your business needs one. Some businesses may not require a license or permit, while others may need multiple licenses depending on their industry and location. Some businesses typically require some form of licensing or permit:

  • Professional services, such as medical, legal, and accounting
  • Food establishments, including restaurants, bars, and catering businesses
  • Retail businesses, including stores, shops, and online retailers
  • Construction and contracting companies
  • Manufacturing and industrial businesses

State Licenses

The licenses that you must get first are the licenses within the state. Utah state licenses require individuals or businesses to engage in certain activities or professions legally. The state government issues these licenses and serves as proof that the license holder has met certain qualifications and standards set by the state. The types of licenses vary depending on the profession or activity, including but not limited to healthcare professionals, contractors, real estate agents, and drivers.

State licenses assure the public that the license holder has undergone the necessary training and education to perform their duties safely and competently.

Federal Licenses

Federal licenses in Utah are granted by federal agencies and are required for certain activities and industries that fall under federal jurisdiction. These licenses ensure compliance with federal laws and regulations and are necessary for individuals or businesses engaged in the following services.

  • Agriculture: License issued by The U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Aviation: License issued by The Federal Aviation Administration
  • Alcohol & Tobacco: License issued by The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau
  • Ammunition, Explosive, & Firearms: License issued by The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.
  • Commercial Fisheries: License issued by The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service
  • Mining & Drilling: License issued by The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement
  • Nuclear Energy: License issued by The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
  • Radio & Television (Broadcast): License issued by The Federal Communications Commission
  • Transportation by Sea: License issued by The Federal Maritime Commission
  • Wildlife & Fisheries: License issued by The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Obtaining a federal license in Utah involves meeting specific criteria and adhering to federal laws and regulations, which can vary depending on the activity or industry.

City-Based License

City-based licenses in Utah are granted by local municipalities and are required for certain activities or businesses operating within the city limits. These licenses ensure businesses comply with local regulations and ordinances and typically cover business operations, health and safety, zoning, and permits.

City-based licenses vary depending on the location and the nature of the business, but examples may include restaurant licenses, liquor licenses, taxi licenses, and street vendor licenses. Obtaining a city-based license in Utah involves submitting an application, paying the necessary fees, and meeting specific requirements set by the local government.

Home-Based License

Home-based licenses in Utah are required for individuals or businesses that operate from their residential property. These licenses regulate and permit activities conducted within a residential setting, such as home-based businesses or rental properties. Home-based licenses ensure these activities comply with local regulations, building codes, zoning requirements, and health and safety standards.

The specific requirements for obtaining a home-based license in Utah can vary depending on the type of activity and the local municipality but typically involve submitting an application, paying any necessary fees, and meeting specific criteria set by the local government.

Professional License

Professional licenses in Utah are mandatory for individuals pursuing specific careers or professions that require specialized knowledge, skills, and expertise. The state government grants these licenses and serves to regulate and ensure the competency and ethical practice of professionals in fields such as law, medicine, engineering, teaching, and accounting.

To obtain a professional license in Utah, individuals must meet education, experience, and examination requirements specific to their profession. These licenses assure the public that they receive services from qualified professionals and protect consumers from potential harm or malpractice.

Step 2: Identify the Utah Licensing Agencies

Once you’ve determined that your business requires a license or permit, you must identify the appropriate Utah agencies responsible for issuing these documents. In Utah, numerous agencies oversee licensing and permitting, including:

  • Utah Secretary of State: This office is responsible for issuing licenses for many professional services, including legal, medical, and accounting.
  • Utah Department of Health: Food establishments, healthcare providers, and other businesses related to health and safety may require licenses from this department.
  • Utah State Tax Commission: If your business sells goods, you may need a sales tax license or permit from this department.
  • Utah Department of Labor: Businesses that involve construction or contracting may need licenses from this department.
  • Local City or County Governments: Depending on your business’s location, you may also need to obtain licenses or permits from your local government.

Step 3: Research License and Permit Requirements

After identifying the appropriate agencies, research the specific requirements for each license or permit your business needs. This may involve reviewing the Utah agency’s website, contacting their office directly, or consulting a legal or business professional. Some common requirements for obtaining a business license or permit include:

  • Completing an application form
  • Providing proof of insurance or bonding
  • Passing background checks or inspections
  • Paying application fees

Some licenses or permits may have ongoing requirements, such as annual renewals, inspections, or reporting.

Step 4: Complete and Submit License Applications

Once you’ve gathered all the necessary information and documents, complete the application forms for each required license or permit. Be sure to carefully follow the instructions provided by each Utah agency, as incomplete or incorrect applications can lead to delays or denials.

In addition to the application forms, you may also need to submit supporting documentation, such as:

Proof of Business Registration

You can find it on the Utah Secretary of State’s website. There should be a search feature specifically for businesses. This will often be labeled “Utah Division of Corporations & Commercial Code“. In the search feature, enter the name of the business you are looking for, and once it appears, you will now have proof of your business registration.

Employer Identification Number (EIN)

Aside from opening a bank account, you must have an Employer Identification Number in Utah to file and submit for a business license. An EIN, also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number, is used by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to identify your business for tax purposes. You’ll need an EIN to open a business bank account, file taxes, and hire employees. 

The application of an EIN in Utah can be through the following:

  • Apply Online- The online EIN application is the preferred method for customers to apply for and obtain an EIN.
  • Apply by Fax- Taxpayers can fax the completed Form SS-4 application to the appropriate fax number), after ensuring that the Form SS-4 contains all of the required information.
  • Apply by Mail- The EIN application Form SS-4 can be filed via mail. The processing time frame to receive the mail is four weeks.
  • Apply by Telephone-International Applicants – International applicants may call 267-941-1099 (not a toll-free number) from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday to obtain their EIN.

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Proof of Insurance, Bonding, or Worker’s Compensation Coverage

To have a business license, you need proof of insurance, bonding, or worker’s compensation. You need to obtain a certificate or policy document as additional documents for your proof of insurance. Also, there is a database of businesses with worker’s compensation coverage or require businesses to register their insurance or bonding information. Visit your Utah Department of Labor, Department of Insurance, or another relevant agency website for information about the business’s coverage.

Professional Certifications or Licenses

As I have mentioned, if you will form a general partnership and offer your service, you must have professional certifications or licenses. 

Submit your completed applications and the Utah business license fee, which ranges from $50 – $300. The processing times for license and permit applications can vary, so plan accordingly and allow ample time for approval.

Step 5: Maintain License and Permit Compliance

Once you’ve obtained the necessary licenses and permits for your Utah business, it’s essential to maintain compliance with all requirements. This may include:

  • Keep your Utah licenses and permits current by renewing them on time, typically annually.
  • Reporting any changes to your business, such as a changing Utah LLC address. You may amend your Utah Certificate of Organization if you change anything in your Utah business.
  • Maintaining proper insurance, bonding, or worker’s compensation coverage.
  • Complying with any inspection, reporting, or record-keeping requirements.

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Additional Considerations

In addition to the steps outlined above, there are a few additional considerations to keep in mind when navigating the Utah business licensing process:

  • Licenses and permits are often industry-specific, so research your business type’s requirements.
  • Some businesses may need licenses or permits from multiple agencies at the state and local levels. Be sure to research and comply with all necessary requirements to avoid complications.
  • If your business operates in multiple locations or across state lines, you may need to obtain licenses or permits for each jurisdiction in which you operate. You can form Utah Foreign LLC
  • Stay informed about licensing and permitting requirements changes, as regulations can change over time.

FAQs

What is the purpose of obtaining a business license in Utah?
The purpose of obtaining a business license in Utah is to legally operate a business within the state.
Do I need a business license to operate a business in Utah?
Yes, you need to obtain a business license to operate a business in Utah.
Who needs to obtain a business license in Utah?
Anyone who wants to do business in Utah, including individuals, corporations, and partnerships, needs to obtain a business license.
How do I obtain a business license in Utah?
You can obtain a business license in Utah by contacting the Utah Department of Commerce.
How much does it cost to obtain a business license in Utah?
The cost of a business license in Utah varies depending on the type of business you are operating.
What types of businesses require a business license in Utah?
Most businesses operating in Utah require a business license.
Do I need a business license to operate a home-based business in Utah?
Yes, you need a business license to operate a home-based business in Utah.
Are the requirements for obtaining a business license in Utah different for a sole proprietorship than for a corporation?
No, the requirements for obtaining a business license in Utah are the same for all types of businesses.
How long does it take to obtain a business license in Utah?
The time it takes to obtain a business license in Utah varies depending on the type of business and the specific requirements involved.
What information do I need to provide when applying for a business license in Utah?
You will typically need to provide information about the nature of your business, your business location, and contact information for your business.
Do I need to register my business name to obtain a business license in Utah?
Yes, you need to register your business name to obtain a business license in Utah.
Are there any special requirements for obtaining a business license in Utah for a specific industry?
Yes, some industries have specific licensing requirements in Utah.
Can I obtain a business license in Utah if I don’t have a physical business location?
Yes, you can obtain a business license in Utah even if you don’t have a physical business location.
Can I apply for a business license in Utah online?
Yes, you can apply for a business license in Utah online.
Do I need a Federal Tax ID to apply for a business license in Utah?
Yes, you typically need a Federal Tax ID (EIN) to apply for a business license in Utah.
How often do I need to renew my business license in Utah?
In Utah, you typically need to renew your business license annually.
What happens if I operate a business without a license in Utah?
If you operate a business without a license in Utah, you may face fines and legal penalties.
Can I transfer my business license if I move my business location within Utah?
Yes, you can typically transfer your business license if you move your business location within Utah.
Will I be subject to taxes in Utah if I obtain a business license?
Yes, you will be subject to taxes in Utah if you obtain a business license.
What types of taxes will I need to pay if I obtain a business license in Utah?
You may need to pay sales tax, use tax, state income tax, and other taxes depending on the nature of your business.
Is Utah a good place to start a business?
Yes, Utah is a great place to start a business with a low cost of living, vast business opportunities, and a thriving economy.
What is a local business license?
A local business license issued by a city, county, or municipality is required if the business operates within the city, county, or municipality.
Do I need a separate license to sell alcoholic beverages in Utah?
Yes, there are specific licenses required to sell alcohol in Utah.
Do I need to file for a DBA (doing business as) in Utah?
Yes, if you want to use a name other than your own personal name in your business, you need to file a DBA in Utah.
Can I operate a business based outside Utah in Utah with the same business license of my home state?
No, you cannot operate a business based outside Utah in Utah with the same business license of your home state. You have to obtain a business license in Utah as well.
Where can I find more information about obtaining a business license in Utah?
The Utah Department of Commerce website has detailed information about how to obtain a business license in Utah.
Can I obtain a business license in Utah if I have a criminal record?
Each case is reviewed on individual basis by regulators in Utah.
How can I get help if I need assistance with obtaining a business license in Utah?
You can contact the Utah Department of Commerce, Small Business Administration, or SCORE to get assistance.
What agency issues business licenses in Utah?
The Utah Department of Commerce issues business licenses in Utah.
When do I need a business license in Utah?
You need a business license in Utah if you are conducting business within the state.
What types of businesses require a license in Utah?
Most businesses require a license in Utah, including sole proprietors, partnerships, limited liability companies, and corporations.
How do I apply for a business license in Utah?
You can apply for a business license in Utah either online or in person through the Utah Department of Commerce.
How much does a business license cost in Utah?
The cost of a business license in Utah varies depending on your business type, location, and other factors.
How long does it take to get a business license in Utah?
The processing time for a Utah business license depends on the volume of applications submitted at any given time, but it typically takes approximately four to six weeks.
Do I need a business license if my business is based outside of Utah but doing business in the state?
Yes, you will need a Utah business license if you are conducting business within the state, regardless of where your business is based.
How often do I need to renew my Utah business license?
You need to renew your Utah business license every year.
Can I operate my business without a Utah business license?
No, it is illegal to operate a business in Utah without a proper license.
Can I apply for a Utah business license before choosing a business name?
Yes, you can apply for a business license in Utah before choosing a business name, but you must provide a legal business name before the final license is issued.
What documents do I need to apply for a Utah business license?
You will need to provide your business name, physical address, mailing address, contact information, business structure information, and other relevant details when applying for a Utah business license.
Do I need to register my business before getting a Utah business license?
Yes, you need to register your business with the Utah Division of Corporations and Commercial Code before applying for a business license.
Do I need to apply for a business license if I am a subcontractor for another business?
Yes, as a subcontractor, you must have your own Utah business license.
What is the penalty for operating a business without a Utah business license?
The penalty for operating a business without a Utah business license can include fines and the forced closure of your business.
Is a business license transferable if I relocate my business to a different Utah jurisdiction?
If you relocate your Utah business, you may need to apply for a new business license, depending on the jurisdiction and specific rules.
Can I get a Utah business license if I have a criminal record?
It depends on the nature of your criminal history; some crimes may prohibit you from obtaining a Utah business license.
Do different types of businesses require different types of Utah business licenses?
Yes, different types of businesses may require specific licenses in Utah, depending on their industry and services or products offered.
Do nonprofit organizations need a Utah business license?
Yes, nonprofit organizations must obtain a business license in Utah if they plan to engage in any business activity.
Can I operate my business from my home in Utah, and do I need a business license to do so?
You can operate a business from your home in Utah, but you may still need a business license, depending on the nature of your business and where you are located.
How can I check whether a business has a valid Utah business license?
You can check the Utah Department of Commerce’s License and Permit Verification page to verify whether a business in Utah has a valid license.
Can I apply for a Utah business license online?
Yes, you can apply for a Utah business license online by visiting the Utah Department of Commerce’s CREATE (Cryptography Renamed Enhanced Advanced Trusted Engine) application system.
Can I renew my Utah business license online?
Yes, you can renew your Utah business license online through the Utah Department of Commerce’s Chrome River application system.
Will I be notified when my Utah business license needs to be renewed?
Yes, the Utah Department of Commerce will send you notice when your business license is due for renewal.
Do I need any additional permits to operate my business in Utah besides a business license?
Yes, most businesses require some additional permits, depending on the nature of their business activities.
Will I need to collect sales taxes as a business in Utah?
Yes, most businesses in Utah need to collect sales taxes on goods and services sold to customers.
What are the sales tax rates in Utah?
The sales tax rate varies depending on the location within Utah, ranging from 4.85% to 8.35%.
Do Utah business licenses expire at a specific time of the year?
Utah business licenses expire on December 31st each year.
Can I use my Utah business license to operate in other states?
No, your Utah business license is only valid for operating your business within the state of Utah.
Can I appeal a business license denial in Utah?
Yes, you have the right to appeal a business license denial in Utah.

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Conclusion

Obtaining the necessary licenses and permits is crucial in starting a new business in Utah. Following the steps outlined in this guide and consulting with the appropriate agencies or professionals, you can ensure that your business complies with all state and local requirements. This will protect your business from legal issues and help establish your reputation as a responsible and trustworthy business operator.

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