To administer the Business License Ordinance according to the law and enforce it in a reasonable and non-arbitrary manner to all who are subject to the ordinance.
This Division is responsible for the collection of Business License fees, Hospitality Tax, Tourism and Development Fund, Garage Sales, and Smoking Ban Ordinance. The Business License Division is located on the first floor of 1339 Main Street, corner of Main and Washington Streets. Our hours of operation are Monday – Friday, 8:30 – 5:00pm. Our mailing address is: P.O. Box 147, Columbia, SC 29217. We can be reached by phone at 803-545-3345 or fax at 803-988-8025.
APPLY FOR A BUSINESS LICENSE
The City of Columbia requires every person engaged or intending to engage in any calling, business, occupation or profession in whole or in part within the limits of the city to pay an annual license fee and obtain a business license as provided in the ordinance.
Application for a Business License is made at the Business License Division located at 1339 Main Street, first floor. Along with the business license application, a clearance form is also required which may involve one or more of the following approvals: (1) Zoning (2) Building Inspection (3) Fire Marshall (4) DHEC.
The Business License fee is based upon the type of business, location, and the projected gross income of the business for the balance of the calendar year. All business licenses expire on December 31st of each year.
New Business Checklist
- Prepare a business plan
- Draft partnership agreement or incorporate
- Open checking account
- Talk with accountant about bookkeeping systems
- Set up bookkeeping system
- Research insurance needs
- Develop brochure or logo
- Develop rate structure
- Print brochure or letterhead
- Prepare training manual
- Develop pay structure – employees/contractors
- Develop billing procedures
- File appropriate state and federal tax forms
- Complete research for marketing/advertising
- File for a Business License
BUSINESS CHANGES & CLOSURES
A name change must be reported to the Business License Division within ten days. A change of address must be reported to the Business License Division within ten days of the business relocating to a new location. The license will be valid at the new address upon compliance with Zoning, Building Codes and approval of other departments as determined by the licensing division.
A business license shall not be transferable. Any transfer of ownership shall be considered a termination of the old business and as the establishment of a new business which will require a new business license, based on the income of the old business. Please notify the Business License Division immediately if this occurs.
BUSINESS LICENSE RENEWALS
All Business Licenses expire on December 31st. As a courtesy, the Business License Division mails renewal forms at the beginning of the year in January. Automated phone calls are made in early April to remind businesses of the renewal. License fees for businesses physically located within the city are due no later than April 15th. Beginning April 16th, a late penalty of five percent (5%) of the unpaid fee for each month or portion thereof is due until paid.
Out of city businesses must renew their license prior to conducting business in the new calendar year. If you do not intend to conduct business in the city limits, please indicate this on your renewal form and return it to the Business License office.
If you do not receive your renewal form, please contact the Business License Division.