How to Get a Business License in Missouri

by William Adkins - Updated September 26, 2017

Missouri business licenses are issued at the city/county level, usually through the city or county clerk’s office (in St. Louis, you contact the License Collector’s Office). Licenses are issued or renewed annually. Be sure you ask what type of business license you need, since some jurisdictions issue different licenses depending on the nature of your business. You will need a separate business license for each location or trade you operate in.

Verify that you have the necessary credentials to follow a particular profession or trade in Missouri. A variety of occupations, including skilled trades and professions, require special educational credentials or licenses. These documents must be in order before a business license will be issued.

Register a Fictitious Business Name (FBN). The procedure for this varies depending on the type of business organization you are forming (sole proprietorship, corporation, etc.). An FBN registration prevents others from using your business name and allows you to accept checks, pay bills and conduct other transactions using your business name. Contact the Secretary of State’s office at (573) 751-4153 to request the application forms.

Obtain a federal employer identification number (EIN). You can get the required forms online at You will also need a Missouri employer withholding number. Contact the Missouri Department of Revenue at (573) 751-5721 to get a copy of Form 2743 to apply for the withholding number.

Determine your responsibility for unemployment compensation and make arrangements for worker's compensation. For unemployment compensation, you must file Form 2699 with the Missouri Division of Employment Security at (573) 751-3328 or (573) 751-3215. For information on how to secure worker's compensation insurance, call the Missouri Department of Workers Compensation at (573) 751-4231.

Get a Missouri sales tax number if you will be making retail sales of any kind. If your business engages only in wholesale transactions, it will be exempt. However, you must file Form 149 (Sales/Use Tax/Exemption) with the Missouri Department of Revenue in either case. You can order the form by calling (573) 751-2836.

Apply for your business license(s) at the county or city clerk’s office or the License Collector’s Office in St. Louis. In addition to the above documents, licenses, and permits, you must to have your business location approved for occupancy. Fees vary from one jurisdiction to another but must be paid before your business license will be issued.


  • If your business is a sole proprietorship and you do not have any employees, you can eliminate obtaining the federal and state employer numbers, as well as making arrangements for unemployment and workers compensation. Most of the forms you need are available online on different websites. The link bellow will take you to a web page with all the necessary links.

About the Author

Based in Atlanta, Georgia, William Adkins has been writing professionally since 2008. He writes about small business, finance and economics issues for publishers like Chron Small Business and Adkins holds master's degrees in history of business and labor and in sociology from Georgia State University. He became a member of the Society of Professional Journalists in 2009.

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