Utah Business License

Written by: Mary Gerardine

Last updated:

Utah Business License

If you’re thinking about starting a business in Utah, you should know that you may be required to obtain certain licenses and/or permits in order to operate legally.

Generally speaking, whether you need to get licensed or not will come down to your location and sector, as well as the types of services that you offer.

In this Utah Business License guide, we break down everything you need to know to get started, including the local and state regulations you’ll need to know and how you can go about applying.

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Do I Need a Business License in Utah

In Utah, 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:

  • Sales Tax Registration: If you sell tangible personal property or taxable services in Utah, you will be required to collect sales tax from your customers and remit it to the Utah State Tax Commission. You can do this via a Sales Tax Registration
  • Professional Licenses: The Division of Professional Licensing, which is a part of the Utah Department of Commerce, issues licenses to certain professionals (e.g., accountants, social workers, etc.). This means that, depending on your niche, you may be required to obtain additional licensing in order to operate legally
  • Environmental Permits: Some businesses also need health and environmental permits to operate in the state. Such permits include the Wastewater Discharge Permit, which is issued by the Utah Department of Environmental Quality

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

Location

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

  • Local: You will generally need a license from the city or county in which your business is based in order to begin operating. Keep in mind that, before getting a license, you may need to meet local permits for health, zoning, building, and parking
  • State: Businesses selling tangible goods or taxable services in Utah must get a sales and use tax permit. This requirement applies even if your business is physically located outside of Utah but conducts business within the state
  • Federal: In Utah, many businesses don’t need federal licenses. However, if you’re based in fields that the federal government oversees — such as farming, broadcasting, selling alcohol, or dealing with firearms — you will be required to obtain additional federal licensing

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 Utah

In order to get your business license(s) in Utah, 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 Utah, 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 Utah 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: LLCs 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 Utah 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 businesses 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: How you can go about applying will depend on your exact location. If your business entity is based in an area which is not part of a city, it will be under county control, meaning that you will need to check with your local county office for specific instructions relating to each business license’s application process
  • Statewide Licenses: If you’re looking to get a sales tax registration in Utah, you can apply either online or by mail. When applying online, you can either register at the Taxpayer Access Point (TAP) or opt for the OneStop Business Registration website. Once you’ve registered online, they will email you your state sales tax number and license. If you prefer applying by mail, you can fill out the Form TC-69 and forward it to the Utah State Tax Commission
  • Federal Licenses: While the federal government doesn’t mandate licenses for general business operations, if your business 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 detailed information on cities, towns, and counties and their respective websites, check out Utah’s Division of Corporations and Commercial Code — Business Licensing page.

Step 4: Renewal of Licenses and Permits

In Utah, business license renewal periods differ based on your business type and location. For example, the Utah Motor Vehicle Enforcement Division (MVED) dealer licenses end on June 30th each year. Meanwhile, the Utah Division of Corporations and Commercial Code sends license renewal reminders to city and county businesses 60 days before expiration.

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 business license for 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 Utah

The cost of a business license depends on the city or county where your business is located within the state.

For example, businesses looking to obtain a new business license in Salt Lake City will be required to pay a $100 application fee, whereas businesses located within the unincorporated limits of Utah County will be subject to a $150 flat fee, plus an additional $6 per employee.

Keep in mind that there is no cost for a sales tax registration — also known as a seller’s permit — in Utah.

All in all, knowing the cost of Utah business licenses can help you plan your budget, stay out of legal trouble, and make smart financial choices. If you believe that you’ll struggle to look all of this up independently, you can use a third-party service (recommended) or a business attorney instead.

Utah Business License FAQ

Does Utah require a business license?

Yes. Utah requires businesses to obtain a license. Each city or county in Utah has its unique set of licensing requirements depending on your business location and type. Therefore, it’s advisable to consult with the local municipality or county to understand your specific licensing needs. Get started with your Utah Business License today.

How much does a Utah business license cost?

The cost of business licenses in Utah is based on your city or county. For example, Salt Lake City requires businesses to pay a $100 application fee when applying for licenses. In contrast, Utah County adopts a slightly different structure, implementing a $150 flat fee plus additional charges per employee. It’s best to check local rates for the proper licensing fees.

What does it take to get a business license in Utah?

To get a business license in Utah, you’ll need to register a business name, determine your business structure, and secure an EIN. Once you complete these prerequisites, you can then proceed to apply with the local city or county where your business plans to operate. For state-specific information on business licenses, see our How to Get a Business License page.

How hard is it to get a business license in Utah?

Getting a Utah business license is straightforward for most businesses. The process involves filling out forms, paying fees, and possibly undergoing inspections. However, the difficulty depends on your business activity and location. Some sectors might have stricter requirements. It’s best to research and follow local guidelines.

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