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ABOUT US | NEWSROOM | LIVING IN DEKALB | DOING BUSINESS WITH DEKALB | VISITING DEKALB
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  Business License
Finance
 
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layout graphic DeKalb County > Finance > Business and Alcohol License
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Business License General Information

NOTICE TO CUSTOMERS

Incorporation of the City of Brookhaven

The incorporation of the City of Brookhaven was voted on and was passed on July 31, 2012.  DeKalb County will continue to process business and alcohol licenses for individuals and businesses, within the boundaries of Brookhaven as outlined below.

From 12:01 a.m. December 17, 2012 until midnight January 17, 2013, notwithstanding any provision of the Code of DeKalb County, as revised 1988, to the contrary, there shall be a complete moratorium on the County’s acceptance, review and processing of any applications for new alcohol and business licenses beginning December 17, 2012 at 12:01 a.m. and ending at midnight on January 17, 2013 for property located within the municipality boundaries of the City of Brookhaven as specifically described in House Bill 636.

This moratorium will not affect the County’s ability to issue annual renewal alcohol and business licenses to individuals and businesses for 2013 so long as the individual or business is only renewing a valid County-issued business license or alcohol licenses that the individual or business possessed on or before 12:01 a.m. on December 17, 2012 and the County will retain all associated customary fees for providing such services.  The County’s ability to issue such renewal licenses shall end at midnight on January 17, 2013.

Change in the Hours of Operation

Effective December 10, 2012 the window hours for Business and Alcohol Licensing will be 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, (holidays excluded) which is consistent with window hours at the Building Services Division and the Land Development Office.  This change ensures staff has ample time to provide quality customer service, answer all inquiries in a timely manner, complete service requests in a timely manner and complete training requirements.




This information is provided as a public service to assist those persons interested in establishing and conducting a business in Unincorporated DeKalb County. It is not deemed to be all-inclusive. Any error or omissions herein will not relieve the business owner of responsibility, obligation or liability in fulfilling all legal requirements.

Presented here is general information that applies to all business and some that applies to only specific activities. You will also find a directory of governmental and non-governmental agencies that you may be required to comply with or who can offer businesses assistance.

Authority To License

The State of Georgia permits counties to license for both revenue and regulation (Official Code of Georgia, Chapter 13 of Title 48). Municipalities and some counties license business for revenue to broaden the tax base because a business uses, or causes to be used, more municipal services than a residence. County Code Sec 15-28 states that anyone who carries on a business of profession without procuring the license is guilty of a misdemeanor.

DeKalb County’s business tax ordinance is detailed in Chapter 15 of the DeKalb County Code.

When the business tax is paid, a business license certificate is issued. This is commonly called a business license and the terms “business License”, “business certificate” and “business regulation” are used interchangeably.

If you have any questions concerning your registration or other requirements, our staff members will gladly assist you.


Who Needs A Business License

Generally
A separate license/certificate is required for each branch or separate location of business. Any person, including but not limited to an individual, partnership, corporation or limited liability company, who wishes to conduct either directly or indirectly, any business within Unincorporated DeKalb County must secure a business license. County law states that no person shall engage in business or transact and carry on a business activity, show, or exhibition, without complying with any and all applicable provisions of Chapter 15 of the County Code.

All businesses require our Zoning Department’s approval, while regulated businesses require some additional approvals prior to obtaining the business license.

Home-Based Business
A Home-Based business is allowed if it merely serves as the base of operations and the activity does not create any traffic or noise, does not involve customers at the home, and there are no identifying signs. The use of residential property for business purposes requires the completion of our Home Occupation Supplemental Registration Form (HOP). For information or questions regarding Home-Based Business and Zoning please contact the Planning and Sustainability Department at (404) 371-4915.

Owners of Residential or Commercial Property
Owners of residential and/or commercial rental properties must have a business license.

Real Estate Sales Agents
Real estate sales agents are in business for themselves. Although they must be affiliated with a licensed broker, each agent is responsible for payment of his/her own business license.

Independent Contractors
Independent Contractors are in business for themselves and must obtain a business license prior to commencing work. Generally, if payroll taxes are not deducted from your pay, you are an Independent Contractor.


Business Basics For the New Business Owner

Planning/Zoning & Sign Approvals
The Zoning Department reviews all new applications and changes of addresses to ensure compliance with zoning regulations for that business location. They must approve the business activity to be conducted at that location prior to issuance of a Business and Occupational Tax Certificate.

Signs are strictly regulated. For information about Zoning and Signs, contact the Planning and Sustainability Department at 404-371-4915.

Trade Names/Doing Business As (TN/DBA)
Anyone using a trade name (also referred to as a DBA or “doing business as”) must record the name with the Clerk of Superior Court. Trade names are a separate legal requirement, and are not business licenses. For information about trade names contact the section at 404-371-2836.

Ownership Types
Business ownership is classified into one of the following types of ownership entities (legal business structures): Sole Proprietor, Partnership, Limited Partnership, Limited Liability Company, Corporation. To determine which type of organization best suits your needs contact you legal or tax professional. Information is also available through the Small Business Administration.


How To Obtain A Business License

Obtaining The Application
The initial steps to register a business begin in the business registration office on the second (2nd) floor of the Clark Harrison Building at 330 West Ponce de Leon Avenue. The licensing process begins with the submission of the DeKalb County Business Registration Application. Applications may be obtained via the DeKalb County Website, or in person at our office.

Completing The Application
Read the Business Registration Application thoroughly and complete all sections that apply.

Every application must contain at least the following:

  • Business Name
  • Type or Line of Business to be Conducted.
  • Business Location.
  • Contact Phone Number(s)
  • Number of Employees
  • Copy of Certificate of Incorporation and Listing of Owners or Corporate Officers.
  • Appropriate Tax Payment
  • A Valid Signature
  • Government Issued Photographic Identification (driver license)
  • Notary Certification Signature and Stamp.

*Post Office Boxes and mail handling facilities can be used for the mailing address, but cannot be used for a business location. The applicant’s residence address must be used if there is no other place of business.

If more than one person is an owner, all owners must be listed. In the case of a corporation, all corporate officers must be listed.

Sanitation Requirements

Please call (404) 294-2900 or (404) 294-2903 for questions pertaining to Sanitation requirements for businesses.

Other Regulated Businesses
If you wish to operate a business in any of the following categories, additional documentation may be required. All business types listed will require additional review, approval or a permit. Businesses are subject to review and approval by any or all of the following: Business Licensing, County Board of Commissioners, Fire Department, Police Department, Planning and Zoning. Certain business will also be required to submit to Law Department review.

Automobile Sales (1) Bakery (2)
Amusement Games Arcade Barber Shop (1)
Braiding Salon (1) Burglar Alarm 1&3
Butcher (2) Catering (4)
Child Care (5) Chiropractors (1)
Circus/Carnival (13) Dances/Dance Hall
Firearms Dealer/Sales (3"6) Doctor/Dentist (1)
Fortune Teller (3) Heating & Air-Condition (1)
Hotel/Motel Business (7&8) Ice Cream Shops (4)
Limousines (9,10,&11) Massage Estab./Parlor (1&3)
Massage Therapist (1&3) Non-Profit Business (12)
Pawn Broker/Shop (3) Peddler/Door to Door Sales
Personal Care Home (4&5) Pest Control (1)
Physical Therapy (1) Plumbing Business (1)
Pools & Billiards Room Precious Metals and Gems (3)
Private Patrol/Security Guards (1&3) Produce Stand (2)
Real Estate Agents (1) Restaurants/Night Club (4)
Seafood: Retail/Wholesale (2) Specialized Contractors (1)
Taxi/Vehicle for Hire (3&11) Welding Shop
  1. State License
  2. Agriculture Department Letter
  3. Police Background Clearance
  4. Fire and/or Health Inspection
  5. DHR State License
  6. Federal Firearms License
  7. Tourist Permit
  8. PSC Registration
  9. Regulatory Enforcement App.
  10. Proof of Insurance
  11. IRS 501C3 Letter
  12. BOC Permit

Completed applications should be delivered or mailed to our mailing address. The application becomes effective when all necessary approvals have been received. The Business License Certificate will be mailed normally within two weeks.


Business Categories

All Business and/or business activities will be categorized into one of the following:

A. Commercial Business Generally includes all businesses located within the county (i.e. shops, restaurants, offices, hotels, etc.) and some located out of county conducting business with the county. Also includes Commercial and Residential rental/lease property.
B. Building Contractors Engineers, General and Specialty
C. Contract Employees Those persons not specifically considered employees under State and/or Federal regulations.
D. Home Occupations Includes all home based businesses and home offices.
E. Delivery Vehicles All commercial delivery vehicles require a business license.
F. Miscellaneous Includes all business activity not categorized above.

Tax Rates

Business License taxes consist of four parts (1) a $75.00 non-refundable administrative fee, (2) an per worker employee fee, (3) a $50.00 minimum flat tax, and (4) a gross receipt tax based on an estimated gross receipts figure.

Listed below are general business license fee only. These fees will not necessarily apply to all business types. Additionally, there may also be other permit, inspection, or background fees depending on your business activity. The business’ tax class is based on the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). Contact Business Licensing at 404-371-2461 or 404-371-9274 to obtain your proper classification.

Business & Occupational Tax Rates
Tax Class Administrative Fee Employee Fee Gross Receipts Tax - Minimum Rate Per Dollar Gross Receipts
Class1 $75.00 $4.00 $50.00 0.000300
Class2 $75.00 $6.00 $50.00 0.000500
Class3 $75.00 $8.00 $50.00 0.000700
Class4 $75.00 $10.00 $50.00 0.000900
Class5 $75.00 $12.00 $50.00 0.001100
Class6 $75.00 $14.00 $50.00 0.001300

Important Information About Business License

Change of Business Activity, Business Location or Ownership
A business License Certificate is not transferable. The certificate is terminated when business ownership changes. It also becomes inactive when a business changes location. Changes in business activity/description require zoning approval. Advise the Business License Office immediately of any changes to your business registration application, especially if the business has ceased to operate.

Posting of Business License Certificate
All Business License Certificates must be displayed on the premise of the place of business. It must be posted in a conspicuous place and open to public viewing.

Business Tax is Payable in Advance
Payment must be made on or before commencement of business activity. Payment is for the privilege of conducting business in the periods ahead. Applicants shall provide an estimate of their gross receipts and number of employees for the rest of the year. The estimate will be changed to actual figures when renewed for the following year.

Business License Renewals
Once your business has obtained a Business License Certificate, a courtesy “Request for Information Form” renewal notice will automatically be mailed to you at the end of each year. Request for Information Forms should be completed and returned prior to February 1st of each year. The Request for Information Form enables us to compare estimates with actual figures, and results in the generation of the Occupational Tax Billing Statement.. If you do not receive a renewal notice, please contact Business Licensing. Failure to receive a renewal notice does not relieve the business ownership of responsibility to renew the business registration.

Occupational Tax Certificate renewal payments are due by April 15th of each year and the tax must be paid by April 30th to avoid late penalties of 10% and interest of 1%.

Business License Refunds
All Business License Refunds must be requested in writing. Regarding the refund of the Administrative Fee, except in cases whereas the application and taxes were submitted outside of the appropriate county or municipality, the Administrative Fee will not be refunded.

Refund request may not be approved in cases whereas the business has moved to another municipality and notification to our office was not provided in a timely manner (60 days), unless verification is provided to us which shows that the business has obtained a business license from the municipality in which they have relocated.

Regulated Businesses & Privilege Licenses

Alcoholic Beverages
The Business Licensing Section processes all Alcoholic Beverage licenses and annual renewals. In addition to zoning approval and other requirements, alcohol related business must have a business license. The applicant/licensee and all owners with ten percent (10%) or more must pass a Background investigation as conducted by the DeKalb County Police Services Department. All information must be provided in duplicate. Other documentation required includes, 1) Driver’s License, 2) Birth Certificate or Naturalization Certificate, and 3) Two Original Pictures. Public Safety and the Finance Department enforce the alcohol rules and regulation, and the Regulatory Enforcement Unit issues permits for employees to work in alcohol related businesses. Regulatory Enforcement may be reached at 404-297-3934. If your business plans to sell or serve alcoholic beverages, please contact the section Manager at 404-371-2948.

Adult Establishment License
In addition to zoning approval requirements, all applications for sexually oriented businesses, as defined by DeKalb County Code, will be reviewed by the Business License Manager. For additional information, please contact the section Manager at 404-371-2948.

Directory
DeKalb County, Georgia

Website Address:  www.dekalbcountyga.gov

General Information Line 404-371-2000
Board of Commissioners 404-371-2886
Code Enforcement 404-417-1240
Contract & Compliance 404-371-4795
Child Care Permits 404-371-4915
Fire Department 404-294-2348
Gun Permit 404-371-4962
Planning Department 404-371-2155
Property Tax 404-298-4000
Regulatory Enforcement 404-297-3934
Sanitation Service 404-294-2890
Water Department 404-378-4475


 
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