Things to keep in mind when obtaining a business license in DC

All businesses that are based in the District of Columbia must obtain a valid business license. The type of business license required depends on the business activity conducted in the District of Columbia. This will determine if a Basic Business License is required, and which other licenses are required to legally practice as a business. The process of starting a business can be easier than one might think, and it is strongly recommended to consult with an attorney to file for the right business entity that fits your needs.

 

Business licenses can be filed three ways

A Basic Business License can be filed in three ways: online, via mail, or in person. The processing time is currently around 30 days for Washington DC applications. If you are in a rush, consider filing for your Basic Business License online or in person. After you obtain the license, it has to be renewed every two or four years depending on the entity type.

 

Several business licenses

Several business licenses must be obtained for businesses with different locations or separate business entities. However several activities may be combined on one application as long as appropriate documentation required for each activity is provided. The requirements for that will depend on the nature of the business. The important thing to remember is that an entity name you obtain for one state’s business license may not be available in another municipality’s, so it’s important to check all the databases before you settle on the name of your business! The last thing any business owner needs to worry about is managing several different entity names across all their territories.

 

Different kinds of licenses

Different licenses are needed for different types of activities businesses engage in. For example, many retail and office operations require a General Business License. Businesses with an active business license are often exempt from needing to obtain a General Business License. Specialized licensing is needed for food establishments, industry, specific services, or medical practices.

 

The Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs provides several resources about business licenses under: https://dcra.dc.gov/node/545242

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