Business Licenses: Are They Required For Freelancers?

Are you thinking about becoming a self-employed freelancer? One question you may have is whether or not you need a business license. The answer this question is not simple, and it will mostly depend on where you plan to live. The following questions cover some information you will need to know if you plan to become a freelancer in the near future.

Is A Business License Required?

Whether or not you will need a business license will not only depend on the state you live in but also what your occupation is. There are a handful of states that require a business license no matter what your job is. There are some states that will only require a business license for freelancers who will be working in the fields of medicine, law, or architecture for example. However, most states do not require any special licensing for freelancers. You will need to check the laws in your state to be sure.

What About Local Laws?

In many cities and counties, you will be required to have a local business license for any small, freelance, one-person operation. This is an easy license you can get. You will only be required to pay a fee. If you aren't sure if you will need a local business license, you can check with your municipality. Some places to ask about these licenses are the city tax office, department of public works, the county or city clerk, or the planning and zoning department. You can check with your chamber of commerce also.

Do Zoning Laws Apply To Freelancers?

Yes, sometimes they do. Before you apply for a local business license, you will need to ensure that you are allowed to have a business inside your home. Some cities and counties will not allow a home business. You could face consequences if you apply for a local business license to work from home. Once you provide your business address, which will also be your home address, they will see that you are working out of your home. Before you will be given a license, they will want to make sure your neighborhood is zoned for home businesses.

Is A Local Business License Required?

In the areas for which it is required, yes you will need a license. Some freelancers who work from home do not bother with getting a local business license. Whether it is intentional or unintentional, you can face fines if your local municipality discovers that you're running a business in your home without a license. However, the odds of them finding out about your business is slim, especially if the bulk of your work is computer-based or otherwise quiet so that you are not making yourself known.

If you are unsure about business licensing laws in your area, contact a company like Souders Law Group for more information.