Is a Business License the Same Thing As an Occupational License?


Aspiring business owners must obtain legal licenses and permits as part of starting and launching a business in all states in the United States. These legal licenses and permits are categorized into sections, including required licenses and industry-required licenses. Permits give permission to complete different actions in the public sphere for different businesses in specific industries.

Business License

A business license is a legal document that proves a given business owner has been approved to operate a given business based on a completed registration. The business license provides the name of the business owner, the name of the business, an identification number used for taxes and identification with the state and a date of validity. A business license is granted by the Secretary of State, the Department of Revenue or by the local county office, depending on the legal registration requirements of the state where the business is located. Business licenses are given to all business owners operating in the United States.

Occupational Licenses

Occupational licenses is a term used to describe additional licenses a business owner must obtain to operate legally in the United States based on the specific occupations or industries the business falls into. For instance, beauty-service businesses must obtain occupational licenses in cosmetology or barbering. Other occupational licenses include construction licenses, medical provider licenses, child care licenses for child services or day cares and alcohol beverage and food safety licenses for a restaurant business.

Business Permits

Permits are specific licenses issued by the local government or county where the business is located. Permits allow the business owner to complete different actions in regards to the business according to local laws and regulations. Business permits include building permits to alter property, signage permits to market the business with signs around the community and a health permit to perform health-related services or sell health products to the local county.

Tax ID Number

A business owner is also required to gain additional licenses for completing annual business taxes for the state where the business is geographically located and with the IRS. The license is essentially a tax ID number, which the owner uses on the tax documents when filing quarterly or annual tax payments.

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