Mark Pierce, Esq.
For companies and individuals that wish to do business legally, a business license is the legal registration of the said company. It allows the business to operate in the state, and within the industry of choice. Most state, county, and local governments require both licenses and permits. Within the United States alone there are more than 150,000 filing jurisdictions. You might need multiple licenses and permits depending on your industry.
Does Wyoming Have a Business License?
One of the most common questions clients have after they create their LLC is where to get their business license. Fortunately, there is no general Wyoming business license per se. For most businesses in the state of Wyoming, a business license isn't necessary, so there are no extra fees to pay or forms to file. You must only pay for an annual report and maintain a registered agent in Wyoming.
This should come as a pleasant surprise to clients used to doing business in other states. Other states, such as Nevada, charge exorbitant sums for a business license after the company has been created. Most of the time, other states' required business licenses are just an excuse to collect a fee from you. For instance, Nevada's license costs several hundred dollars per year. However, in Wyoming, since it's not necessary to obtain a business license, you're free to use that money for your business instead!
For most companies, simply filing articles of organization with the Wyoming secretary of state is sufficient to begin doing business. It's important to make sure that's all you need, though, as some industries are exceptions and do require a WY business license.
Why is a Business License Required?
Business licenses legally register your company within industry and jurisdiction. Business licenses have been put in place to benefit counties. These licenses allow them to generate revenue and have control over zoning. It also keeps registration and documentation of everything happening within the business.
How to Get a Business License
Getting a business license should begin with a call to your state's secretary of state. You can also contact any colleagues in the same industry. You need to know what licenses you need to get started. If you work in a specific industry then there may be more licenses to obtain to essentially prove you should be allowed to operate in that industry.
Step-By-Step Process to Get a Business License
- Go online, or call your city or county office to find out what license you need
- Register your business with the Department of Revenue.
- Fill out a form with your business information.
- Pay a fee, in the state of Florida this should cost
What Companies Need
a Wyoming Business License?
Some of the most common industries that require a business license include:
General Contracting: All contractors, with the exception of electrical contractors, have local licensing requirements. In Wyoming, a general contractor's license is issued by the local jurisdiction; the state government does not involve itself in this process.
Food Products: If you sell or manufacture food, then you need to contact the Department of Agriculture in Wyoming to secure a license.
Transportation: The Department of Transportation regulates businesses involving commercial vehicles.
Trust Companies: Public and private trust companies must register with the Wyoming Banking Division.
Companies Using Protected Terms: Particular words require approval to be used in a company's name. These include "education," "academy," "college," "institute," "bank," and "trust."
How Much Do Business Licenses cost?
The cost of your business license and permits can depend on different factors. First off, each state and city has different prices. Other factors that will generate the cost of your business license is the type of business you run, as well as processing fees and compliance fees.
On average you can expect to pay between $50 and a few hundred dollars plus renewal fees. Despite this being the average, in some states, a business license can cost $500 plus fees to file an annual list of officers and directors. This is why it is essential to explore the costs in your states.
Different Types of Business Licenses
Since there are so many industries that require business licenses, it’s important to know exactly which license your business is required to have. Below you will find a list of different types of business licenses companies can qualify for.
- Business operating license: Always obtained in either the state or city, an operating license will give you permission to operate. Most often you will need to apply for this license at both the city and state levels because there are different requirements for each.
- DBA (doing business as) license or permit: If you operate your business under a different name than what you are registered as you will need to get a DBA license.
- Planning and zoning permits: Each municipality has different regulations for where businesses can operate. You also need to verify that you can legally operate in the city that you wish. If you cannot because of zoning, then you will also need to apply for a zoning variance. This is used to show that your business will not “disrupt the community.”
- Building permits: These permits show that where you operate is legally habitable and safe to operate from.
- Fire department permits: The fire department will typically come to verify that you are operating safely and in compliance with fire codes. This may include checking on flammable materials and walkways.
- Tax regulations: Especially if you resell goods, you will need to comply with various tax permits and licenses. Almost every business needs to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN), which will allow you to hire employees and also collect payroll taxes. If you resell goods then you will need a seller’s permit, known as a sales tax license or permit.
- Health licenses and permits
- Environmental licenses
- Sign permits
What Happens if You Fail to
Get a Business License?
Every county has different business license requirements and regulations. If you fail to comply with these regulations and obtain a business license, there are different fines in each location. For example, these may include late fees or fines, penalties, or even the inability to operate. This is why it is essential to hold the licenses and permits you need before operation.
Do I Need a Business License if I Have an LLC?
Although you will need to pay to establish an LLC, this is not the same as a business license. You will need to first establish your LLC before getting a business license and then obtain the license. This is because the license will require the legal name of your business and if you have not established it yet it will not be possible.
How to Get a Business License in Wyoming
If you're involved in an industry that will require a Wyoming business license, how to go about getting one will vary depending on the licensing rules for your specific type of business. For instance, if you're going to be a general contractor, you'll need to contact your local municipal officials for guidance on their requirements. If you plan to sell food, you must follow the Department of Agriculture's rules. And if your business will deal in bait, fur, taxidermy, or fisheries, you should contact the state Game and Fish Department.
How Much Does
a Wyoming Business License Cost?
If your business is in an industry that requires a WY business license, the cost can vary widely. For instance, if you want to be a general contractor in Cheyenne, you'll pay between $250 and $650 for a business license depending on the specific class of work you'll be doing. Meanwhile, if you're opening a bakery in Laramie, you'll need a $100 food service license from the city plus a $200 food license from the state Department of Agriculture.
Keep in mind that if you're selling taxable goods or services, you'll need a sales tax license as well, which costs $60.
Wyoming Business FAQ
How Do I Register a Wyoming LLC or Corporation?
Companies are registered by filing their articles of organization with the secretary of state. You may either do this yourself or hire a professional formation service such as ours. In either case, you must maintain a registered agent, whether it is you or a professional.
Are There Any Required Federal Filings?
You should obtain an EIN and file your taxes. Certain industries, such as gambling and alcohol, will be subject to additional federal regulations as well.
Do Sole Proprietorships Need to Register?
No, sole proprietorships are not required to register with the state. You may apply for a trade name (DBA) if you want to avoid doing business in your name. However, we strongly advise creating a company to limit your personal liability.
What Are the Wyoming LLC Fees?
The cost to run an LLC in Wyoming is $102 to file your articles of organization and $52 to file an annual report each subsequent year.
Where Can I Perform a Business Search?
You can search Wyoming businesses on the secretary of state's website to make sure that the name you choose for your business is unique before you file your articles of organization.
Other Requirements for Business Owners
Sales Tax: Sales tax is generally only owed on sales made in Wyoming. However, you should contact the Department of Revenue to determine your exact sales tax obligations. You will need a sales tax license if you sell taxable products or services in the state.
Unemployment Insurance: This is a required fund for Wyoming employees that pays out to eligible workers for job loss.
Set Up Your Wyoming Business Today
Wyoming works hard to keep its LLCs and corporations highly competitive, and one of the ways they do this is by not imposing onerous burdens on our companies, such as needless business licenses. Most companies will only ever need to file their articles of organization and their annual report. Doing business in Wyoming really is that easy. And it's even easier when you leave the details in the hands of the capable professionals at Cloud Peak Law Group.
Contact us today!