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Nevada Business License Basics

Nevada Business License Basics

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Nevada Business License Basics

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

Related: Guide to starting a business in Nevada 

Setting Up the Business

Sole proprietorship: In Nevada, 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 Nevada 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 Nevada 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 Nevada 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 don’t have as many administrative requirements of the corporation. 

Related: Comparison of Business Structures

What Licenses Do Nevada Businesses Need?

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

State Business License

State law requires that every person or entity doing business in the state of Nevada obtain a State of Nevada Business License from the Secretary of State. The Nevada state business license fee is $200 for most business structures ($500 for corporations).

Local Business Licenses

In addition to the state business license, there may be city and county licenses as well. Rules for business registration vary depending on location and what the business does. Below are a few cities that have licensing requirements. See the full list of all local business licenses in Nevada.

Las Vegas: All businesses operating in Las Vegas will need to obtain a business license. In addition, some types of businesses will need additional permits, such as daycares, restaurants, contractors, and more.

Henderson: The City of Henderson requires all businesses to have a business license. Some businesses such as locksmiths, massage establishments, pawnbrokers, and others have additional requirements.

Reno: Businesses operating in Reno will need to obtain a business license from the Reno Community Development Department’s Business First Program. In order to get a license several items will need to be obtained before starting:

  • Zoning approval through the City Planning Department and Fire Department
  • Permit from the Department of Building & Safety
  • Food service operations obtaining approval through the Washoe County Health District
  • Police Department and City Council approval for businesses that conduct privileged business activities such as second-hand sales, businesses selling alcohol, locksmiths, and others.

Sparks: Businesses operating in the city limits will need to obtain a City of Sparks business license.

Carson City: The Business License Division of Carson City issues business licenses for all business activity within city limits

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. 

Fictitious Firm 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 Fictitious Firm Name (also known as a Doing Business As or DBA) with the County Clerk’s Office in the county where the business is located.

Building & Zoning Permits

  • Zoning: Depending on the location of the business, it’s important to verify whether the business needs an occupancy permit or has specific zoning regulations to follow. Depending on city ordinances, home-based businesses may need to apply for a home occupation permit.
  • Building Permit: In Nevada, building permits are required for new construction or significant modifications to ensure compliance with building codes. The local building department issues these permits after plan review and approval.
  • 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 Nevada, sign permit applications are typically submitted to the local building department or planning department. The permitting process varies by municipality, so businesses should consult their local authorities for specific requirements and procedures.

Employer Identification Number (EIN)

The Nevada 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 Nevada. 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.

Nevada Business Identification Number

 Anybody engaging in business selling physical products and some services or hiring employees will need to apply for a Business Identification Number through the State’s business registration portal SilverFlume During this registration, businesses selling taxable products or services can obtain a Nevada Seller’s Permit with the Nevada Department of Taxation.

Resale Certificate

After applying for the sales tax permit and receiving a Seller’s Permit Number, businesses are able to purchase inventory for resale and not pay sales tax by using their Nevada Resale Certificate.

Occupational Permits

A variety of professions in the state are regulated and need to be registered before offering certain services. A few common professions that require permitting in Nevada include; contractors, child care, cosmetologists, and many more.

Businesses involved with vehicles, such as body shops, dealers, manufacturers, rebuilders, tow trucks, and more, will need to register with the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles.

Next Steps

These are some of the most common business licenses a new business in Nevada 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.


  • 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.

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Nevada Business License Basics

Nevada Business License Basics

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