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.
Visit or call your local city or town hall to find out what is required for getting a business license. 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 them 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.
Take your forms to the applicable 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 massage parlors, car washes and pawn shops. In addition, you may be required to pay additional fees for amusement machines you place in your establishment.
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.
Remember that if you are a sole proprietor (self-employed individual) you do not have to get a business license in Mississippi.
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.
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. There are several links to such companies in the Resources section near the end of this article.
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