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Nebraska Business License Basics

Nebraska Business License Basics

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Nebraska Business License Basics

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

Related: Guide to starting a business in Nebraska 

Setting Up the Business

Sole proprietorship: In Nebraska, 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 Nebraska 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 Nebraska is a legal entity separate from its owners, providing the owner’s (shareholders) 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 Nebraska 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 aren’t as complex as the corporation. 

Related: Comparison of Business Structures

What Licenses Do Nebraska Businesses Need?

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

There is no general State of Nebraska business license. Many cities will, however, require businesses to be licensed in order to operate. Rules for business registration vary depending on location and what the business does.

  • Omaha: The city of Omaha doesn’t have a general business license; however, some occupations are licensed, such as contractors, electricians, and plumbers, in addition to businesses selling liquor or fireworks. There may also be zoning requirements for businesses operating out of commercial locations. More information about business requirements is available from the Omaha City Clerk.
  • Lincoln: Certain types of businesses are required to get business licenses in Lincoln, including; contractors, food handlers, locksmiths, plumbers, and more.
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. 

Trade Name Registration

While not a business license, it’s common for Sole Proprietorships and Partnerships operating under a business name that is different from the full name of the owner(s) to register for a Trade Name (also known as a Doing Business As or DBA) with the Nebraska Secretary of State, Business Services Division.

Building & Zoning Permits

Zoning: Businesses should review the local zoning map and ordinances to determine if their intended use is permitted in the desired location. In Nebraska, zoning information can be obtained from the local planning department or the city/county clerk’s office.

Building Permit: Building permits ensure that construction, additions, alterations, and repairs comply with the Nebraska State Building Code. Building permit applications are submitted to the local building department or the city/county clerk’s office, and the process includes plan review and inspections to ensure compliance with state and local building codes.

Signage Permit: Businesses must obtain sign permits to ensure their exterior signage complies with local sign ordinances, which regulate the size, location, and design of signs. In Nebraska, sign permit applications are typically submitted to the local building department, planning department, or city/county clerk’s office.

Nebraska Tax Identification Number

All businesses will need to register for a Nebraska Tax Identification Number with the Nebraska Department of Revenue by completing the Nebraska Tax Application. This is a combined registration to apply for things like corporate income tax, sales tax permit, income tax withholding, and other miscellaneous taxes.

Resale Certificate

Retailers purchasing merchandise to resell will usually want to obtain a Nebraska Resale Certificate (sometimes called a Seller’s Permit) in order to not pay sales tax for merchandise that is being resold to customers.

Professional 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 Nebraska include; food establishments, architects, acupuncturists, barbers, contractors, childcare facilities, and many more.

Contractor License

All contractors and subcontractors doing business in Nebraska to register with the Nebraska Department of Labor. Electricians will need to obtain separate licensing and plumbers are licensed at the local level.

Employer Identification Number (EIN)

The Nebraska 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 Nebraska. 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

These are some of the most common business licenses a new business in Nebraska will need to register for. Be advised that while it’s a good start, there are so many different licenses that may be needed, be sure to 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.

Nebraska Business License Basics

Nebraska Business License Basics

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