What Licenses Do I Need for an Ice Cream Truck?

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Even though you can probably operate an ice cream truck as a one-person operation, to do so legally, you will need to take care of a number bureaucratic requirements. You must register with revenue-collection authorities at the municipal and state levels. You will also need to register your truck and obtain any necessary food-service permits, depending on your jurisdiction.

Business License

  • Generally, you must obtain a business license from the city or county in which your business is located. Some jurisdictions require you to get a business license if you operate in their jurisdiction, even if your offices and facilities are not located there.

Excise or Sales-Tax License

  • Some jurisdictions will require you to forward sales tax to revenue-collection authorities. Your city, county or state government may add a sales or excise tax to your transactions. You will need to register with revenue-collection authorities in order to comply with these tax requirements.

Food-Service Licenses

  • You will generally have to get a food-service or safety permit from your state department of health or from county officials. If you serve unwrapped food -- such as ice cream in a cone or bowl, or snow-cones -- you may have to submit to periodic inspections of your food-preparation area.

Taxpayer ID Number

  • If you are driving a vehicle for a living, chances are good that you will want to form a corporation or limited-liability company. If you have an accident, that will help prevent someone who sues you from taking everything you own. To form a corporation or limited-liability company, you will have to file articles of incorporation or organization with your state's office of the secretary of state. You will also need to obtain a taxpayer ID number for your business, which you can get from the Internal Revenue Service.

Workers' Compensation Insurance

  • If you plan on having an employee, most jurisdictions will require you to purchase workers' compensation insurance. This protects you against having to liquidate your business in case a worker is injured on the job, while also ensuring your employees that they will have their medical needs taken care of in case of a work-related injury.

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