Business License

Business License
(Chapter 13, Columbia Code of Ordinances)

A business is defined as “all kinds of vocations, occupations, professions, enterprises, establishments, and all other kinds of activities and matters, together with all devices, machines, vehicles and appurtenances used therein, any of which are conducted for private profit or benefit, either directly or indirectly, on any premises in this city, or anywhere else within its jurisdiction, as permitted by the statutes of Missouri, and as provided for by the charter of the City”. (Section 13-18, Columbia Code of Ordinances)

Any person shall be deemed to be in business or engaged in nonprofit enterprise when he/she does one act of: (a) selling any goods or services; (b) soliciting business or offering goods or services for sale or hire; or acquiring or using any vehicle or any premises in the City for business purposes.

How does a new business apply for a license?

To apply for a Business License, an application must be completed along with the appropriate supplemental forms. These forms are available at the Business License Office, 701 East Broadway, 5th Floor, Columbia, MO 65201, by calling 573/874-7378 or download a Business License Application form.

Complete the forms and return to the Business License Office along with the proper payment. Your business license will be mailed after payment has been received and all required information has been obtained, and upon application approval by the Business License Administrator. This license must be posted in a conspicuous location at the place of business.

A Missouri sales tax number, if applicable, may be obtained by contacting the Missouri Department of Revenue, Jefferson City, MO, or phone (573)751-3505.

An Affidavit of Exemption for Workers’ Compensation Insurance Form must be submitted if your construction industry business is exempt.

If you plan to operate your business out of your residence located inside the City limits, please review and complete the forms pertaining to home occupations.

How much are the application fees?

A criminal records check from the applicant’s resident state will be obtained by the Business License Office upon the completion of a “Disclosure and Authorization Form to Obtain Background Report” by the applicant.  The investigation fee for a Missouri records check is $15.  Please contact the Business License Office to receive fee information for out of state records checks.  The application must be accompanied by a $30.00 application fee as well as the license fee which is based on the annual gross receipts of the business:

  • Annual gross receipts less than $25,000…………………….$15.00 license fee
  • Annual gross receipts between $25,00 and $100,000…..$25.00 license fee
  • Annual gross receipts over $100,000………………………..$0.25 per thousand
    (multiply the number of thousands by .25 up to a maximum fee of $750.

Example: Your business has gross receipts of $200,000. Multiply 200 by .25 to determine the license fee of $50.00.

Businesses that serve or sell food or drink shall pay an annual inspection fee based on annual gross receipts according to the following schedule:

  • Annual gross receipts less than $250,000 ………………….$185.00
  • Annual gross receipts between $250,000 – $750,000 ………$260.00
  • Annual gross receipts over $750,000 ………………………$480.00

Do I need to provide proof of workers compensation insurance?

Proof of Workers’ Compensation insurance, in the form of a Certificate of Insurance, must be provided by all construction industry businesses with one (1) or more employees. The City of Columbia must be included as the certificate holder.

What is the term of the business license?

The term of a Business License is July 1 of each year until the 30th of June of the following year. A renewal notice shall be mailed to each licensee on or before June 1 informing him/her that the license shall expire on June 30 of that year unless otherwise renewed. For each month that such license fee remains unpaid, a fee of 15% of the business license fee is assessed.

If you have a change of business address, please complete the Business License Change of Address form and return to the Business License Division.

All businesses must abide by all laws and regulations, including zoning, fire codes and health directives. Failure to comply could result in suspension or revocation of the business license.

Physical Address: 701 East Broadway, Columbia, MO 65201  
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 6015, Columbia, MO 65205
Phone: (573) 874-7378 or 874-7549  
Fax: (573) 874-7761