Business Licensing Guide

Business Licensing Guide for Louisville Metro, Kentucky

This step-by-step Business Licensing Guide was created and developed to assist Metro Louisville business license applicants to successfully acquire all of your necessary business licenses.  This guide is pertinent to the majority of businesses seeking an Occupational License, Business License, or Liquor License to operate or conduct business within Metro Louisville and the State of Kentucky.  Please read through every step before starting your license process!

Note: Some professions and careers (e.g., attorney, cosmetologist/barber, psychologist, mortician, etc.) require additional State of Kentucky licensing or certification requirements.  Please check with the specific department of the State of Kentucky in which your area of expertise may be handled.  A list of those departments may be found in the “blue pages” of the telephone directory.  The state chapter of your professional association may also be able to assist you regarding these additional requirements.

We wish you much success.

Louisville Cityscape for Business Licensing Guide Image

Thank you for opening and operating a business in Metro Louisville!

Contact information for all Metro Louisville, Jefferson County, State of Kentucky, and federal government departments referenced in the following steps are listed at the end of this guide.

Step 1:

Will your business be located within the boundaries of Louisville Metro, Kentucky?

Or,

Will you conduct business within the boundaries of Metro Louisville?

Yes

Go to Step 2.

No

Stop!  You do not need a Metro Louisville Business/Occupational License.

 

Step 2:

Will your business operate out of your home?

Yes

For state regulations, go to:

Department of Housing, Buildings and Construction’s Division of Building Code Enforcement Then, go to Planning and Design Services and/or the Department of Codes and Regulations for local information on home-based business compliance issues.

Then, continue to Step 3.

No

Go to Step 3.

 

Step 3:

Will you be using a sign to advertise your business?

Yes

Go to:

The Property Maintenance Division of the Department of Codes and Regulations for the necessary sign standards and to obtain the proper permits.

Then, continue to Step 4.

No

Go to Step 4.

 

Step 4:

Will you need to know if your business is zoned to conduct your type of business in your part of town?

Or,

Will you need to know if the property/space you are about to rent will pass building and fire code requirements?

Yes

First, go to:

Planning and Design Services for zoning requirements

Next, go to

Department of Codes and Regulations’ Administration, Licenses and Permits Division for building codes, and

Finally, to request a fire inspection, go to the

Louisville Fire Department if your business is located within the Urban Services District or Jefferson County Fire Services if your business is located outside the Urban Services District.

Then, continue to Step 5.

No

Go to Step 5.

 

Step 5:

Will any building construction or tenant improvements be required for your business?

Or,

Will there be a change in property use from the previous business occupant?

Yes

First, go to:

Planning and Design Services to verify that the proposed property use is allowed.

Then, go to the Department of Codes and Regulations’ Administration, Licenses and Permits Division for any necessary permits.

Then, continue to Step 6.

No

Go to Step 6.

  

Step 6:

Will food preparation be involved?

Yes

Go to:

Louisville Metro Public Health & Wellness for information concerning all of the requirements and plan approval. 

Then, continue to Step 7.

 ** If meat products will be prepared, contact the Food & Drug Administration for required federal licenses.

No

Go to Step 7.

 

Step 7:

Will your business sell or serve liquor?

Yes

First go to:

Kentucky Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control for state licensing.

Then, contact the ABC/Licenses & Permits Division of the Department of Codes and Regulations for local licensing.

Then, continue to Step 8.

No

Go to Step 8.

 

Step 8:

Are you a general (prime) contractor or subcontractor?

Yes

First, go to:

Kentucky Department of Housing, Building and Construction and/or the Secretary of State, and then, the Department of Codes and Regulations’ Administration, Licenses and Permits Division to register if you are an electrical, plumbing, and HVAC contractor.

Then, continue to Step 9.

No

Go to Step 9.

  

Step 9:

Will you be using personal property (desks, computers, etc.) for business purposes that has an assessed value in excess of $100.00?

Yes

First, contact:

The Jefferson County Property Valuation Administrator and the Department of Revenue’s Division of State Valuation for information regarding property tax liability on equipment.

Then, continue to Step 10.

No

Go to Step 10.

 

Step 10:

Will you be using your own or someone else’s vehicle(s) to transport people or products for a fee?

Or,

Will you be allowing other people to use your vehicle(s) on a fee-for-hire basis?

Or,

Will your business involve retailing, wholesaling, auctioning, brokering, manufacturing/distributing, or transporting autos, or recycling vehicle parts?

Or,

Will your business be an automobile title business?

Yes

First, contact:

Kentucky Department of Transportation, and then, the Jefferson County Clerk for answers to any of the above questions.

Then, continue to Step 11.

No

Go to Step 11.

 

Step 11:

Will you be a manufacturer?

Yes

First, go to:

Kentucky Department of Environmental Protection and the Department For Natural Resources for state environmental permits and licensing.  Then, go to the Louisville Metro Air Pollution Control District for Air Quality Permits and the Metropolitan Sewer District regarding industrial sewage discharge.

Then, continue to Step 12.

No

Go to Step 12.

 

Step 12:

Will you manufacture, use, or store hazardous materials, including fireworks?

Yes

First, go to:

Division of Fire Prevention for information on major hazard categories and state regulationsThen, based on the location of your business, go to either the Fire Prevention Division, of the Louisville Fire Department or Jefferson County Fire Services.

Then, continue to Step 13.

No

Go to Step 13.

 

Step 13:

Do you want to do business with Metro Louisville?

Yes

First contact: 

Purchasing, a division of the Louisville Metro Office of Management & Budget, for the necessary forms and instructions.

Then, continue to Step 14.

No

Go to Step 14.

 

Step 14:

Will your business be a Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, Corporation, S-Corporation, or a Limited Liability Company?

Or,

Is your business registered in another state?

Yes

First, go to:

The Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development to obtain a copy of the “Kentucky Business Guide” to assist in your decision-making process.  Second, register your business with the Kentucky Secretary of State.

Then, continue to Step 15.

No

Go to Step 15.

  

Step 15:

Will you need to protect your trade name or “doing business as” name?

Yes

Go to:

The Jefferson County Clerk and the Kentucky Secretary of State for information and instructions.

Then, continue to Step 16.

No

Go to Step 16.

 

Step 16:

Will you have one or more employees other than yourself?

Yes

First, go to:

The Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development to obtain a copy of the “Kentucky Business Guide” which contains information concerning federal, state, and local employer responsibilities.

Then, continue to Step 17.

No

Go to Step 17.

 

Step 17:

Will you need State of Kentucky sales tax information, including information on use tax, employee withholding tax, or wholesale tobacco tax information?

Yes

First go to: 

Kentucky Department of Revenue for a state licensing application and tax information.

Then, continue to Step 18.

No

Go to Step 18.

 

Step 18:

Do you need Federal Internal Revenue Service forms or other tax information?

Yes

First contact:

U.S. Internal Revenue Service for a kit of forms and instructions.

Then, continue to Step 19.

No

Go to Step 19.

 

Step 19:

Do you need a Louisville Metro Occupational License?

Yes

Go to:

eMINTS for a Registration Application for a Tax Account Number and additional occupational tax information.

 

GOVERNMENTAL OFFICES AND CONTACT INFORMATION

Metro Louisville

Department of Codes and Regulations - Phone: (502) 574-3321 and (502) 574-3591

Planning and Design Services - Phone: (502) 574-6230

Louisville Fire Department, Fire Prevention Bureau - Phone: (502) 574-3701

Louisville Metro Public Health & Wellness - Phone: (502) 574-6650

Louisville Metro Air Pollution Control District - Phone: (502) 574-6000

Metropolitan Sewer District - Phone: (502) 587-0603

Office of Management & Budget, Purchasing Division - Phone: (502) 574-5769

Economic Development Department - Phone: (520) 574-4140

Jefferson County

Jefferson County Clerk - Phone: (502) 574-5700

Jefferson County Fire Services - Phone: (502) 572-3455

Jefferson County Property Valuation Administrator - Phone: (502) 574-6860

State of Kentucky

Department for Environmental Protection - Phone: (502) 564-0323

Department for Natural Resources - Phone: (502) 564-6940

Department of Housing, Buildings and Construction

Division of Building Code Enforcement - Phone: (502) 573-0365

Department of Workers’ Claims - Phone: (502) 564-5550

Division of Fire Prevention - Phone: (502) 573-0382

Kentucky Alcoholic Beverage Control - Phone: (502) 564-4850

Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development - Phone: (502) 564-7140 or 1-800-626-2930

Kentucky Chamber of Commerce - Phone: (502) 695-4700

Kentucky Department of Revenue - Individual Income Tax Division: (502) 564-4581 and Corporate Tax Division - (502) 564-8139

Kentucky Department of Transportation - Phone: (502) 564-4890

Kentucky Office of Employment and Training - Phone: (502) 564-7046

Kentucky Office of Employment and Training, Unemployment Insurance Program - Phone: (502) 564-5331

Kentucky Secretary of State (Corporate Name Availability and Corporate Filings) - Phone: (502) 564-3490

Federal

Food & Drug Administration - Phone: 1-888-463-6332

Immigration and Naturalization Service - Email Address: info@usimmigrationsupport.org

U. S. Internal Revenue Service - Phone: (502) 582-6700 or 1-800-829-4933 for an FEIN 

SCORE, Small Business Administration - Phone: (502) 582-5976

 

KY Small Business Dev Center Image for Business Licensing GuideIf you have additional questions, contact the Louisville Small Business Development Center at (502) 574-1378.

Congratulations and Thanks Again For Opening and Operating Your Business in Metro Louisville!

 

 

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