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How to Get a Business License in Mississippi
Written by: Coralee Bechteler
Coralee is a business writer with experience in administrative services, education, and software testing.
Edited by: David Lepeska
David has been writing and learning about business, finance and globalization for a quarter-century, starting with a small New York consulting firm in the 1990s.
Updated on May 2, 2023
How to Get a Business License in Mississippi
- Why are business licenses required in Mississippi?
- Which agency issues business licenses in Mississippi?
- Steps to Get a Mississippi Business License
- Types of Business Licenses
One of the most important elements of starting a business in Mississippi is making sure you have all the requisite licenses and permits. The requirements vary by state, some of which have as many as 300 different licenses and permits.
This article is too short to list them all, but it’s crucial that you’re aware of which ones your business needs and that you follow the steps for application and put your business on the road to success.
In Mississippi, businesses need certain licenses and permits to legally operate as a business. The regulatory hurdles required vary depending on the type of business, its location, and the products and services offered.
To help you launch your new business, this article lays out the most commonly needed permits and licenses in Mississippi— and details the steps required to acquire them.
Why are business licenses required in Mississippi?
Business licenses and permits are issued to certify that a business and its products and services are safe for the public. This explains why food businesses, for instance, require more licenses than most other business types.
Which agency issues business licenses in Mississippi?
In Mississippi, the Department of Revenue issues the vast majority of licenses and permits, though some are issued by the Department of Public Safety and the Alcoholic Beverage Control Division. For instance, the state Department of Health issues food permits, while the Motor Carrier Safety Division issues truck driver’s permits.
Some licenses and permits are issued by cities or counties. So if you live in Tupelo, you’ll need to check with the city to see if licenses or permits are required for your business.
Before you apply, it’s important to know which state or local agency issues the license you need. Check the state’s guidelines here to learn more.
You could also check this SBA guide for your state’s requirements, but we recommend using MyCorporation’s Business License Compliance Package. They will research the exact forms you need for your business and state and provide them to ensure you’re fully compliant.
Steps to Get a Mississippi Business License
In Mississippi, the steps for acquiring specific licenses and permits vary widely, so it’s important to be aware of what you need and how to get it.
Determine the Types of Licenses That You Need
In Mississippi, many businesses require at least a business license from the local city or county government that they’re located in. Businesses operating with the intention to sell will need a sales tax permit.
The additional licenses your business needs in Mississippi will reflect the general type and nature of your business along with its associated regulations.
For example, a convenience store seeking to sell tobacco products must first acquire the necessary licensure from both the state of Mississippi and their local government.
Submit Your Business License Application
Businesses in Mississippi can apply for a sales tax permit online using the Taxpayer Access Point service.
Additional licenses are filed with various departments of Mississippi, so it’s best to double-check where to file a given form with the Department of Revenue, or you can contact the agency directly for more information at the number below.
How much does a Mississippi business license cost?
Business license fees differ in Mississippi depending on which license is being applied for within which county. Costs span a broad range, such as just $0 for a state sales tax permit, $26 for a business license in Aurora County, or $1,000 for a business license to manufacture beer.
In Mississippi, and most US states, jumping through all the hoops to acquire the necessary licenses and permits can be exhausting. But if you want to operate your business, you’ll have to wade through all the red tape. So get started on these regulatory hurdles as early as possible and clear the way for your entrepreneurial journey to success.
How fast can I get a business license in Mississippi?
If you apply online for a sales tax permit for your business in Mississippi, you can expect processing to take about two weeks.
Processing times for additional licenses will vary depending on the business license you’re applying for, the city or county your business is located in, and if online applications are available. For example, Jackson provides a PDF of the county’s business permit application, but Jackson County doesn’t offer an online filing service.
Renew Your Licences When Needed
In Mississippi, license renewal requirements vary. Some state licenses, such as permits to sell beer, must be renewed annually. Business licenses in Aurora County, however, are renewed biennially.
Be sure to check with the state and your local city or county’s revenue department for renewal regulations and fees regarding the licenses your business needs.
Types of Business Licenses
Your business may need local, state, and/or federal licenses and permits, depending on your type of business. Fees for these vary, but most costs are minimal.
Federal regulations associated with starting your business include doing business as (DBA), health licenses and permits from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other intellectual properties, as well as industry-specific permits.
The most common permits and licenses include:
- Business operating licenses may be required by the city and the state to allow you to operate.
- Industry-specific licenses may be required, depending on your type of business. Businesses involved in construction, childcare, plumbing, electrical, food and liquor, insurance, finance, landscaping, and architecture all require licensing, for example. In some highly regulated industries, you may require licensing from a federal agency, such as the FDA or Department of Transportation.
- Zoning permits are issued by municipalities to ensure you’re operating in an area in which you’re allowed to operate.
- Building permits verify that the building you’re operating in is up to code. Home occupation permits, which some areas require, allow you to operate a business from your home.
- DBA permits allow you to do business under a name that is different from your legally registered business name.
- Sales tax permits allow you to sell products and collect sales tax.
- An employer identification number (EIN) is required if you plan to have employees, no matter what your business entity type.
- Health licenses and permits are required for certain businesses based on industry, and you will be required to maintain health and safety standards. Environmental permits are also required for certain industries in some locations.
- Fire permits certify that your business is up to fire safety codes. Depending on your location, this may be required for all businesses, while in other areas it’s required only if you work with flammable materials.
- Sign permits may be required for your location or other signage if there are rules about sign size and location.
Check with the state and local government offices for specific requirements for your location and industry.
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