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Kansas Business License Basics

Kansas Business License Basics

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Kansas Business License Basics

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

Related: Guide to starting a business in Kansas 

Setting Up the Business

Sole proprietorship: In Kansas, a sole proprietorship is an unincorporated business owned by a single individual. The owner has complete control over the business but is personally liable for all debts and obligations. No formal registration is required, making it the simplest and most common form of business structure.

General partnership: A general partnership in Kansas is an unincorporated business owned by two or more individuals who share management responsibilities, profits, and losses. Partners have unlimited personal liability for the partnership’s debts and obligations. No formal registration is required, but a partnership agreement is recommended to outline the partners’ roles and responsibilities

Corporation: A corporation in Kansas is a legal entity separate from its owners, providing the owners (shareholders) with limited liability protection. Corporations are the most complex business structure to set up and have specific administrative requirements. 

Limited Liability Company (LLC): An LLC in Kansas combines aspects of sole proprietorships and corporations, offering flexibility in management and taxation. Owners, called members, have limited personal liability for the LLC’s debts and obligations, but they aren’t as complex as corporations. 

Related: Comparison of Business Structures

What Licenses Do Kansas Businesses Need?

With the business structure out of the way, we can begin looking at the different types of registrations businesses in Kansas 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.

Business Licenses

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

  • Wichita:  Certain types of businesses in the City of Wichita require licensing, a few of which include ice cream vendors, businesses selling alcohol, massage therapists, pawnbrokers, and many others. 
  • Overland Park: The City of Overland Park requires a few types of businesses to get licensing, including; contractors, businesses selling alcohol, pawnbrokers, home-based businesses, and a few more. 
  • Kansas City: All businesses operating within the Kansas City, KS city limits are required to file an Occupation Tax application with the Neighborhood Resource Center office. Some activities, such as businesses having coin-operated devices, mobile food vendors, pawn shops, and others, have additional licensing requirements.
  • Topeka: Business registration in Topeka is only required for certain businesses, such as cleaning services, haunted houses, mobile food vendors, pawnshops, and others. Applications are filed with the City Clerk’s office.
  • Olathe: The City of Olathe issues business licenses for entities operating as massage therapists, pawnbrokers, retail businesses, and others. 

Fees for city business licenses in Kansas vary depending on the type of business and location. 

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. 

Building & Zoning Permits

Zoning: In Kansas, zoning laws are regulated by local governments, such as counties and cities. Check with your local planning and zoning department to ensure your intended use complies with the zoning district.

Building Permit: A building permit is required for most construction, alterations, or additions to structures in Kansas. To obtain a permit, submit plans, specifications, and an application to your local building department or codes enforcement office.

Signage Permit: In Kansas, most local governments regulate the size, location, and type of business signage. Before installing any signs, check with your local planning and zoning department or codes enforcement office for specific requirements and to obtain a sign permit if needed.

Kansas Business Tax License

Businesses selling goods, admissions, or providing taxable services must file a Kansas Business Tax Application with the Kansas Department of Revenue. 

Resale Exemption Certificate

Businesses purchasing merchandise to resell will usually want to obtain a Kansas Resale Exemption Certificate in order to not pay sales tax for merchandise that is being resold to customers.

Professional License

A variety of professions in the state are regulated and need to be registered before offering certain services.  A few common professions that require licensing in Kansas include contractors, bakeries, bed & breakfasts, kennels, businesses selling on the Internet, and many more.   Additional information, fees, and licensing requirements for Kansas professions are available from the State of Kansas website.

In addition to professional licenses, businesses in industries such as food establishmentsdaycaresscrap metal dealers, and many others also require licensing.

Child Care Provider License

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment requires filing the Child Care Licensing Application.

Contractor License 

In many cities, contractors must obtain a license before starting work. This typically includes general contractors and all subcontractors.  

City and County Contractor Licensing:

Cosmetology Licensing

The Kansas Board of Cosmetology oversees licensing for cosmetologists, electrologists, estheticians, manicurists, and corresponding facility permits.

Body Art Licensing

Licensing for tattoo artists, body piercers, and permanent cosmetic technicians, as well as facility permits, are issued by the Kansas Board of Cosmetology.

Tanning Licenses

Licenses for tanning facilities are provided by the Kansas Board of Cosmetology.

Barber Licensing

Licenses for barbers are provided by the Kansas Board of Barbering.

Liquor License / Tobacco License

Businesses selling liquor or tobacco products must be licensed. Visit the Kansas Alcoholic Beverage Control page for more information on licensing requirements.

Employer Identification Number (EIN)

The Kansas 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 Kansas. 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.


  • 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.

Kansas Business License Basics

Kansas Business License Basics

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