Most businesses in Mississippi require a business license to legally operate. Typically, such a document is approved by the local city or county where the business operates, and while it does not necessarily condone business practices, it does prove the company is legal to operate. Specific regulations vary for each jurisdiction, but there are several general guidelines that apply for those wishing to get a business license in Mississippi. Most business owners choose to get their own business license, but there are also several firms that specialized in filing such applications for other companies.

Do You Need a Mississippi Business License? 

But some types of businesses don't need a Mississippi business license. if you are a sole proprietor (self-employed individual) you do not have to get a business license in Mississippi.

State licenses are typically required for real estate agents, health professionals, contractors, and restaurants. Other businesses are issued licenses on a local level. And some require both. Due to the complex nature of Mississippi business licensing requirements, it's best to visit the Mississippi Secretary of State website and answer a few questions to receive personalized guidance on whether your business needs a license.

Even if you do not collect sales tax from your customers – for example, if you manufacture a product for resale – you generally must have a sales tax certificate in addition to your business license.

Obtaining and Filling Out the Paperwork

You can visit or call your local city or town hall to find out what is required for getting a business license and to pick up the forms in person. The usual department is Licenses or Planning and Zoning in the state of Mississippi. Also, many jurisdictions have business license forms available online.

Whether you got the Mississippi Secretary of State forms in person or printed them from the Internet, follow the instructions on the forms and complete them honestly and completely. You will need to answer questions such as the nature of your business, owner name, and location of operation. Some jurisdictions require that you have your application notarized.

If paperwork is just not up your alley, consider hiring a firm to apply for your Mississippi business license on your behalf. These companies identify every license and permit you'll need to operate legally in Mississippi.

Fees Associated with a Business License Application

Take your business license application to the appropriate Mississippi local city or town hall. You will be required to pay fees for your business license depending on the number of employees you have. The amounts vary depending on community, but business owners in Jackson, Mississippi can expect to pay $20 to $150. This is a general rate throughout most of the state. Before going to file your application and pay your fees, call the office and find out what form payment must take – many offices accept credit or debit cards, but some accept only cash or money order.

Submit to any required inspections or additional licensing regulations if you are in a special business, such as a restaurant, pawn shop, dance hall, or massage parlor. Mississippi requires restaurants have Health Department inspections, and charges additional fees and investigates applications for businesses such as car washes and pawn shops. In addition, you may be required to pay additional fees for snack and amusement machines you place in your establishment.

Final Steps

Get a copy of your local Mississippi business license once all fees and relevant inspections are completed, and display it in a visible place in your company location.

Renew your Mississippi business license each year to keep your company in good legal standing.