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Idaho Business License Basics

Idaho Business License Basics

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Idaho Business License Basics

Starting a small business in Idaho often means registering with several federal, state, and local agencies. Let’s review common Idaho business license registrations so your business starts off right.

Related: Guide to starting a business in Idaho 

First Step – Set Up the Business

Sole proprietorship: In Idaho, a sole proprietorship is a business owned by one person. It is the simplest form of business structure, with no legal distinction between the owner and the business. The owner has complete control over the business but is also personally liable for all debts and obligations.

General partnership: A general partnership in Idaho is an agreement between two or more individuals to operate a business together. No formal setup is needed, but a partnership agreement is wise to outline operations and responsibilities.

Corporation: An Idaho corporation is a legal entity separate from its owners, known as shareholders. It offers limited liability protection, meaning shareholders are not generally personally responsible for the corporation’s debts and liabilities. The downside is that corporations are the most complex structure to start and operate. 

Limited Liability Company (LLC): ): An Idaho LLC combines aspects of a sole proprietorship or partnership and a corporation. It provides limited liability protection to its owners, called members, shielding their personal assets from the company’s debts and liabilities, in addition to a flexible management and tax structure.

Related: Comparison of Business Structures

What Licenses Do Idaho Businesses Need?

With the business structure out of the way, we can begin looking at the different types of registrations businesses in Idaho may need. There isn’t a standard business license, as requirements vary depending on where the business is located and what it does. Here is a general overview of the different registrations your business may need.

There is no general state of Idaho business license; however, many cities require businesses to be licensed in order to operate. Rules for business registration vary depending on the location and the business’s activities. Below are a few cities that have licensing requirements.

Take the guesswork out of figuring out what licenses and permits are required to start your business with license research packages from Bizee and LegalZoom.

For as little as $99, you can save a lot of time and know your business is in compliance with local, state, and federal requirements. 

Assumed Business Name Registration

Sole proprietorships and partnerships in Idaho that want to operate under a business name other than the full name of the owner(s) will register for an Idaho Assumed Business Name (also known as a Doing Business As, DBA, or fictitious business name) with the Idaho Secretary of State.

Building & Zoning Permits

  • Zoning: In Idaho, zoning regulations vary by city and county. Zoning laws determine how properties can be used, including for home-based businesses. Before starting a business, check with your local planning and zoning department to ensure your business complies with zoning regulations. 
  • Building Permit: If you plan to construct, alter, or repair a building for your business in Idaho, you’ll likely need a building permit. Permits are issued by the local building department or planning and development services department in the city or county where the property is located. 
  • Signage Permit: Before installing any signage for your business in Idaho, you must obtain a sign permit from your local government. Signage permits ensure that your signs comply with local regulations regarding size, placement, and design. In Idaho, sign permits are typically issued by the local planning and zoning department or building department. Check with your local government for specific signage requirements and permit application processes in your area.

Idaho Seller’s Permit

Idaho requires retailers doing business in Idaho to get an Idaho Seller’s Permit (also called a sales tax ID or sales tax license) and collect sales tax on the sale of goods they ship or deliver to customers in Idaho. To register for the Seller’s Permit, you will need to file Form IBR-1, “Business Registration Form,” with the Idaho State Tax Commission.

Resale Certificate

After obtaining the Seller’s Permit, most businesses will want to obtain an Idaho Resale Certificate. This allows them to not pay sales tax on their inventory purchases meant to be resold to customers.

Occupational License

A variety of occupations in the state are regulated and need to be registered before offering certain services. A few common professions that require licensing in Idaho include; appraisers, collection agents, therapists, driving instructors, outfitters, and many more. Additional information, fees, and licensing requirements for professions are available from the State of Idaho.

Contractor‘s License

The state of Idaho requires all general contractors to register to do business. Contractor registration is applied through a mail-in application. Most types of contractors are also required to be bonded.

Liquor License

Businesses selling alcohol must obtain a State of Idaho Alcohol Beverage Control Department license in addition to a city or county alcohol license.

Employer Identification Number (EIN)

The Idaho Employer Identification Number (EIN), also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number, is a unique nine-digit number assigned by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to businesses operating in Idaho. It is used for tax filing and reporting purposes, similar to how an individual uses a Social Security number. Companies can apply for an EIN through the IRS website or by submitting a paper form.

Next Steps

While it’s a good start, there are so many different licenses that may be needed. Double-check with the City Clerk’s Office, Chamber of Commerce, and/or Economic Development office in your area before opening your doors.

Author

  • Greg Bouhl

    With over two decades as an entrepreneur, educator, and business advisor, Greg Bouhl has worked with over 2,000 entrepreneurs to help them start and grow their businesses. Fed up with clients finding and acting on inaccurate and outdated information online, Greg launched StartUp101.com to be a trusted resource for people starting a business.

Idaho Business License Basics

Idaho Business License Basics

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