Kansas Business License

Written by: Nik Ventouris

Last updated:

Kansas Business License

If you’re starting a business in Kansas, you will likely be required to obtain at least one permit and/or business license (depending on your location and industry).

In this Kansas Business License article, we’ll break down everything you need to know to get started. This includes how your business and location can affect your licensing requirements and how you can go about applying.

Let’s take a closer look.

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Do I Need a Business License in Kansas

In Kansas, businesses are required to obtain various licenses and permits at the local, state, and federal levels. Here’s a general breakdown:

Type of Business

Below, we’ve detailed common ways in which your business type can dictate the licenses you’ll be required to obtain, as well as specific examples of these:

  • Occupational Licenses: In Kansas, many professions require occupational or professional licenses; these are issued by case-specific state boards. For example, medical professionals need to apply for a license through the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts, while architects and engineers must go through the Kansas State Board of Technical Professions
  • Sales Tax Registration: Businesses in Kansas involved in the retail sale of goods must register for a Sales Tax Certificate — this is generally done through the Kansas Department of Revenue’s website. Upon successful registration, businesses are authorized to collect sales tax from customers
  • Environmental Permits: If your business operations could have a negative environmental impact, you’ll need specific permits from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. Similarly, if your business involves the emission of any pollutants into the air, a permit from the Bureau of Air is required

However, this is not the only factor influencing the exact combination of licenses you’ll need — the location of your business within Kansas plays an important role as well.

Location

In this section, we’ve provided a succinct overview of the common business licenses and permits that your business may need due to local, state, and federal requirements:

  • Local: You may need to obtain additional licensing depending on your county and/or city. For example, a food truck operating in Wichita might need a specific mobile food vendor permit from the City of Wichita, while a retail business in Overland Park could be subject to its own set of local ordinances. It’s crucial to consult with your municipal government or city clerk’s office to ensure that you satisfy all local licensing requirements
  • State: Numerous professions and business activities are regulated at the state level in Kansas. If your business is in the alcohol industry, you’ll need to secure a license from the Kansas Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control. Those in regulated professions such as nursing, accounting, or engineering will need to obtain a professional license from boards like the Kansas State Board of Nursing or the Kansas Board of Accountancy
  • Federal: Businesses in certain sectors require federal licensing. For example, if your company is involved in commercial fishing, you’ll need a permit from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Likewise, businesses that manufacture or sell firearms must get a Federal Firearms License (FFL) from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF)

Since the exact permits and licenses your business will need are entirely unique to your situation, you’ll have to conduct thorough research into your own local, state, and federal regulations to smoothly launch your business.

Alternatively, many entrepreneurs opt to leverage the expertise of third-party services to handle this on their behalf.

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How to Get a Business License in Kansas

In order to get your business license(s) in Kansas, you will need to complete the following steps:

  • Form Your Business
  • Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN)
  • Apply for the Required Licenses and Permits

Let’s take a look at each step in more detail below.

Step 1: Form Your Business

Before setting out to obtain a business license in Kansas, it’s pivotal that you first choose an appropriate structure for your business. Sole proprietorships, general partnerships, and corporations are all common choices, however it’s often seen as the most advantageous for small businesses in Kansas to register as a Limited Liability Company (LLC). Here are a few reasons for why:

  • Limited Liability: Members are protected from personal liability for business debts, safeguarding personal assets
  • Tax Benefits: Limited liability companies typically enjoy a pass-through tax treatment, avoiding the double taxation that corporations are subjected to
  • Management Flexibility: LLCs allow for flexibility in management structure, either being member-managed or manager-managed based on the preferences outlined in the certificate of formation
  • Ease of Formation: With the Kansas Secretary of State providing forms that meet the minimum state law requirements and the option to file online, setting up an LLC is relatively straightforward

Many small business owners opt to avoid the tricky process of forming an LLC by instead leveraging the help of third-party LLC formation services.

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Step 2: Obtain an EIN

The second step you’ll need to complete before applying for your business license is to obtain your EIN. This is a unique nine-digit number assigned by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to businesses in the United States so that their financial transactions can be identified and tracked.

An EIN is often necessitated when applying for various permits and licenses as it allows local and state governments to ensure your business is operating within the confines of the law. You can obtain it in a number of ways:

  • Online: You can apply for your EIN on the IRS’s official website by using the EIN Assistant. You should be granted your EIN shortly after completing this application
  • By Fax/Mail: After completing Form SS-4, you can apply for an EIN by submitting it to the IRS via mail or fax
  • By Phone: International applicants and business entities located outside US Territories are required to call the IRS at (267) 941-1099 to obtain their EIN — which they should receive during this call

Note: If you are a sole proprietor, you will be able to use your Social Security Number (SSN) instead (as long as you do not have employees).

Step 3: Apply for Licenses and Permits

After settling on the appropriate structure for your business and initiating the application for your EIN, the next step is to focus on securing the necessary licenses and permits to operate legally within your locale and industry.

  • Local Licenses: To apply for local licenses, you will need to visit the official website of the municipality in which your business is located. Many cities offer downloadable forms and checklists to help you understand what’s required. For instance, Kansas City has specific City Tax Forms for businesses based in commercial locations, homes, or for those that are not physically located in but operate within the city
  • Statewide Licenses: The Kansas Business Filing Center’s website offers a centralized platform for statewide licensing requirements. Here, you can find all of the forms, applications, and checklists that you’ll need to complete the state-specific licensing process
  • Federal Licenses: While the federal government doesn’t mandate licenses for general business operations, if your general business activity falls under any government-regulated category, such as agriculture, fishing, firearms, and alcohol sales, it may be required to obtain additional federal licenses or permits

Note: For more information on different commercial licenses and permits in Kansas, visit the Kansas Business One Stop. This platform is an inter-agency collaboration and serves as your one-stop-shop for all regulatory information, including how to pay taxes, file annual reports, and register your business.

Step 4: Renewal of Licenses and Permits

In Kansas, businesses must renew their Certificate of Authorization every two years. The renewal window is from November 2nd to December 31, with a grace period of up to March 1. If you’re uncertain whether you need to renew any of your business’s licenses, make sure to reach out to the agency that issued your licensing for additional clarification.

Alternatively, you can use a third-party service or a professional attorney for this process. This can be a good choice if you want to ensure that you avoid potential fines, as well as if you want to be as time-efficient as possible.

If you’re interested in finding out more about this process, see our article on How to Get a Business License.

How Much is a Business License in Kansas

In Kansas, the cost of a business license largely depends on the industry you’re in and the municipality in which you’re operating. For example, if your business is in a regulated industry like child care, you may find that the licensing fees are considerably higher, potentially ranging into the hundreds of dollars. On the other hand, more generic business licenses may come at a lower cost, sometimes under $100.

Location also plays a role in determining the cost. Businesses operating in populous cities or counties generally face higher licensing fees than those in rural areas. This could mean a difference of several hundred dollars in some cases.

Some cities also have additional requirements that can add to your overall licensing costs, such as zoning permits or industry-specific municipal licenses, which can vary widely in price.

To get a concrete idea of what your total business license cost will be, you will likely need to reach out to the relevant state agencies or seek legal advice.

Kansas Business License FAQ

Does Kansas require a state business license?

While Kansas doesn’t issue a universal state business license, your business may still need to obtain licenses or permits at local or state levels in order to conduct business legitimately. This will depend on its industry and location. Interested in finding out more? Check out our How to Get a Business License article.

How much is a business license in Kansas?

The cost of acquiring a Kansas business license varies depending on several factors such as the type of business and its location. While some specialized industries may require expensive permits, some general business licenses could be more affordable, often below $100.

What do you need to open a business in Kansas?

To successfully launch a business in Kansas, you’ll first need to determine your business structure, such as an LLC or a sole proprietorship. Next, you’ll need to acquire an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for tax-related transactions. Finally, you may be required to secure specific permits or regulatory licenses depending on your business (e.g., sales tax permit, etc.).

How do I find out if a business is licensed in Kansas?

To verify the licensing status of a business in Kansas, you will need to utilize the Business Entity Search Station (BESS) page, which is available on the Secretary of State’s official website. This platform allows you to conduct a comprehensive search through various databases, providing accurate and official information relating to business licenses.

For all related articles, have a look at our How to Get a Business License page.