What Kind of License Do I Need to Become a Food Vendor in Indiana?

Indiana does not specifically license food vendors doing business in this state. Instead, Indiana leaves special licensing requirements up to local governments. This does not mean, however, that you may open up a vending business without proper documentation or certification from regulators. Some local governments do require special licensing for social events, and you must be certified before offering food to the general public.

  1. Business Structure

    • Indiana requires that you have a proper legal business structure before doing business. You must set up a sole proprietorship with the county clerk in the county where you live or file corporate documents and set up a corporation in the state. The business structure you choose largely depends on your business goals and needs.

    Sales Tax Registration

    • You'll need to register with the Indiana Department of Revenue. Specifically, Indiana assesses sales tax and food and beverage tax on all food items you sell. You must collect this tax from your customers and remit this to the state. However, you must fill out the appropriate tax forms before you start doing business.

    Food Handlers Certification

    • You must obtain a food handler's certification from the Indiana Department of Health. Even though there is no specific license required to operate a food vending business in the state of Indiana, you will need this certification before you can prepare and sell food to the general public. This certification ensures you meet the state's minimum requirements for food safety. You'll also be subject to regular audits and food safety inspections by the Department of Health.

    Special Local Licenses

    • Local governments may require licenses or permits, even when the state does not. These licenses may consist of zoning permits and special licenses to set up a temporary vendor stand at a public event. Each county and local government sets the requirements for this, however, so whether you need one or not depends entirely on where you live within the state.

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