Idaho Business License

An Idaho business license is not necessary for every type of business. Typically, professionals such as contractors, doctors, CPAs, and other professional individuals will need a state business license. A specific type of state business license may be required in some situations.

What Kind of Licenses Will My Business Need?

Some businesses require multiple licenses for a single location. One example is a business that sells alcohol. This type of business would need liquor licenses from the state and city. It would also need to pay the local liquor fee. A list of required professional and occupational licenses in the state of Idaho is available at http://accessidaho.org/business/licensing.html.

Certain cities require a review of commercial business license applications to ensure fire safety code, zoning, and building compliance. Businesses that prepare and handle food must also comply with the Central District Health Department codes.  

Are There Any Other Documents Needed Before Opening My Business?

Prior to doing business as an entity, you must register with the Secretary of State. Examples of entities include:

  • Partnership
  • Limited Liability Corporation (LLC)
  • Corporation

Corporations and LLCs often need federal tax ID numbers.

Sole proprietorships do not need to register with the Secretary of State. If the company will operate under a "doing business as" (DBA) or assumed business name, a separate form and filing fee are required. A business that has employees requires a Federal Employer ID Number (FEIN), which can be obtained by filing form SS-4 with the IRS. Companies with employees also need federal and state employer tax ID numbers. A wholesalers or retailer needs a sales tax ID number, also referred to as a seller's permit, wholesale license, or retail license.

What Do I Need to Apply for a Business License in Idaho?

In order to register a business in Idaho, the owner may need a number of items, such as:

  • Type of business (business entity)
  • Legal business name
  • Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN)
  • Social security number(s) of owner(s)
  • Name(s) and title(s) of officer(s)
  • Address(es) and phone number(s) of owner(s)
  • Ownership percentage for owner(s)
  • Names of the members of board of directors
  • Proof of workers' compensation and unemployment insurance
  • Name and phone number of insurance agent
  • Date of hire for employee(s)
  • Expected or actual wages paid

The fee to obtain a business license depends on the type of license. Additional requirements, such as processing fees, federal fingerprinting, and background checks, will come with additional fees. With the right documentation, a business owner should receive the license within 30 days of applying.

The city of Boise has its own business licenses for companies operating within the city limits. If the type of license requires special insurance or a bond, the purchase must be complete before submitting the business license application.

Where Do I Go to Get a Business License?

A business owner can obtain and file an application at the City Clerk's office, located in Boise on the first floor of City Hall. Applications are accepted between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Small Business Information for Idaho

The state government's website (idaho.gov) has an exclusive business information section. The state government's website's section features pages on founding, moving, and running a business. The "starting a business" page covers business entity types, finding money, training and events, and business plans.

The Idaho Small Business Development Center (SBDC) provides tools to help you start and grow a business. It also offers help with planning, marketing, and financing. Specialized services, such as help with environmental regulations, and training sessions are available as well.

There's a district office for the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) in Boise with resources, news, and upcoming events for small businesses. It also publishes a resource guide for small businesses that's Idaho-specific , available on the SBA page.

Getting One or More Licenses for Business

Certain businesses may need regulatory licenses from state agencies, such as permits relating to agriculture. On the Idaho government website, business owners can use the Regulatory Requirements Wizard to determine the necessary permits and licenses. The website also includes a list of occupations and professions that require state licenses. Most of the listings on this site include links to the state regulatory boards.

Register an Assumed or Fictitious Business Name (Trade Name)

If your business will operate under a business name, also known as a DBA, fictitious name, trade name, or assumed name, you need to file a form with the Secretary of State. The assumed name cannot be confused with other corporations, LLCs, reserved names, registered names, limited liability partnerships, limited partnerships, or nonprofit organizations. The state of Idaho approves certain designations to follow the business name:

  • Company
  • Corp.
  • Co.
  • Incorporated
  • Inc.
  • Limited
  • Ltd.

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