If you run a business in Utah, you’ll likely need a Utah business license, permit, or certificate in order to operate. And you might even need more than one of these documents, depending upon the work that you do and where you do it.
Federal Licenses and Permits
For most small businesses, the federal government doesn’t require licenses or permits. But there are certain types of activities that are regulated by one or more federal agencies, and those activities might require a federal license or permit, like:
- Alcoholic beverages
- Firearms, ammunition, and explosives
- Fish and wildlife
- Commercial fisheries
- Maritime transportation
- Mining and drilling
- Nuclear energy
- Radio and television broadcasting
- Transportation and logistics
If you’re involved in any federally regulated activity, contact the federal agency that’s in charge of that activity. Find out what the requirements are and then follow through so that you can conduct business legally. For example, if your business is involved with transportation and logistics, you’d be regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation. That’s the place to go for more information.
Tip: You can access a list of all federally licensed activities, along with links to more information, by visiting this website maintained by the U.S. Small Business Administration.
What about Utah state business license requirements?
There are a few states where all businesses need to obtain state business licenses, in addition to any required local licenses. Those states are Alabama, Alaska, Delaware, Ohio, Nevada, and Washington State. Yup you read right! Utah isn’t on that list which means it doesn’t have a state-wide requirement to obtain a Utah business license.
However, just like all other states, it does have license and/or certification requirements for business activities and occupations that require extensive training or expose consumers to potential hazards, such as:
- Medical professionals
- Building contractors and other construction-related occupations
- Barbers and cosmetologists
- Architects and engineers
- Real estate brokers and salespersons, and
- Private investigators and other security services
For example, if you want to work as an Architect, you’ll need to get a license from the Division of Occupational Licensing.
The Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing (DOPL) is the main agency that oversees professional occupational licenses. Click the “List All” button at the DOPL Apply for/Renew a License web page for a comprehensive list of the professions and occupations DOPL regulates.
Also good to know: The steps for getting your Utah state business license varies by occupation. You might have to meet certain educational or training requirements or need experience in the field. Also, you might have to take and pass a written exam and, usually, there’s a license fee that you’ll need to pay.
Do you really need to get your state business license in Utah?
Yes! If the state discovers that you’re working in an occupation without a required license, a host of bad things can happen: you’ll undoubtedly be ordered to stop doing business, you might also be fined and, depending upon your occupation, failure to obtain a Utah business license could even constitute a crime.
Plus, the Utah business license search enables people to search your name and profession to see what licenses you hold. So, even though it’s a pain, we always recommend going through the proper steps to obtain the correct licenses for your business.
Getting a local Utah business license
Let’s say that you aren’t required to get a federal or a state license. You probably think that your business license journey is over. Think again!
All Utah businesses must be licensed with the city or county where they are doing business.
Each Utah city and county has its own licensing requirements, forms and procedures. If you’re conducting business within a city’s limits, check with your city government to determine licensing requirements.
On the other hand, if you’re in an unincorporated area, check with the county government. And if you have an office in more than one city or county, you might need to get a license for each one.
How to get a business license in Utah
The good news is that getting your local Utah business license is pretty easy.
If you register your LLC certificate of organization online with the One Stop Business Registration System, you’ll receive all of the information you need to go to your local city or county to apply for a business license. Also, the Utah Business Licensing & Registration Guide contains contact information for most Utah city licensing offices.
Once you know where to go, you may have the option of applying for your license online. Otherwise, you can download an application, email it to the appropriate party or just mail it in.
Here’s what you need to provide when submitting an application for a business license in Utah:
- Social Security Number or Federal Employment Identification Number
- Description of your business activities
- Legal business name and any assumed name or “dba”
- Business start date
- Number of employees and your expected annual sales
- Business address and contact information
- Each business owner’s contact information
- Business sales tax number, if any
After submitting your application, you’ll usually receive your license or certificate with a business license number within a few weeks in the mail. Once you have it in your possession, you may be required to post it at your place of business.
Usually, you have to pay a fee to get a local license in Utah. Fees vary by locality and could range from as low as $15 to as high as a few hundred dollars. Fees can also be based on your projected gross revenue (for example, 10 cents per $1,000 of projected revenue).
Just keep in mind that you’re required to renew your business license in Utah periodically and that might involve an additional fee. Typically, a renewal is required every one to three years. Be sure to mark your calendar so you don’t get hit with a late fee.
Is a local Utah business license really necessary?
It’s true that many self-employed individuals, especially those who work from home, never get a business license in Utah. But if your local government finds out that you’re running an unlicensed business, you might be fined, or even be prevented from doing business until you obtain the license.
So it’s always best to avoid problems by researching the license(s) you need and applying for them so you can do business without having to worry.
Getting a Utah business license is part of doing business in Utah
Business licenses are necessary in Utah, on both a state and local level. It can become challenging to keep up with all of these requirements, but Collective is here to support you.
Collective helps you sort through all of the important details regarding what licenses you need to get. Plus we’ll let you know when it’s time to renew your licenses so you stay on top of your paperwork and keep your business legit.
Stephen has dedicated his career as an attorney and author to writing useful, authoritative and recognized guides on taxes and business law for small businesses, entrepreneurs, independent contractors, and freelancers. He is the author of over 20 books and hundreds of articles and has been quoted in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, and many other publications. Among his books are Deduct It! Lower Your Small Business Taxes, Working with Independent Contractors, and Working for Yourself: Law and Taxes for Independent Contractors, Freelancers & Consultants.