THE ABC'S OF LICENSING
WHY do you need a Detroit business license?
To meet its responsibility to protect the safety, health and welfare of its citizens, the Detroit City Council and Mayor issue ordinances which govern the operations of businesses located in the city limits. A Detroit business license is the City's "stamp of approval" that your business meets the standards established by ordinance.
WHAT business needs a Detroit business license?
The Detroit City Council decides by ordinance which business must be licensed. Basically, a license is required for any business that needs inspection or special monitoring to ensure safe operation within the community. To check your business’ requirements, contact the Business License and Information Center at (313) 224-3179.
WHO needs a Detroit business license?
Those persons, who conduct, engage in, maintain, operate or manage a business or occupation which is required by ordinance to be licensed. A separate license is required for EACH LOCATION in Detroit where you do business.
WHERE can businesses be located?
Zoning ordinances govern the location of businesses within Detroit. The Detroit Buildings and Safety Engineering Department enforces these zoning ordinances to ensure that Detroit businesses are located in the appropriate business, commercial or manufacturing zone. For zoning information, visit Room 402 of the City-County Building at Two Woodward Avenue, Detroit, Michigan 48226.
WHEN does a Detroit business license expire?
Detroit business licenses are valid for one year. You are responsible for the timely renewal of your business license(s) each year. Please consult the requirements for your specific license for more detailed information.
Can anyone else use my Detroit business license?
NO. A Detroit business license is NOT transferable to a person or entity other than the one to whom the license was first issued.
BEFORE YOU APPLY FOR YOUR LICENSE
STEP #1 YOU MUST OBTAIN A SALES TAX NUMBER
If you have any type of business in Detroit, you must have a sales tax number. The sales tax number form is available at the Michigan Department of Treasury, Collections Division, 1200 Sixth Street (at Howard), Room 301, Detroit, MI 48226 (517-363-4600).
STEP #2 CHOOSE A NAME FOR YOUR BUSINESS
If you conduct business in Detroit under an assumed name (a name other than your real name) you must file an application for an Assumed Name Certificate with Wayne County. Assumed Name application forms are available at Assumed Names-Wayne County Clerk, Room 201 City-County Building, Two Woodward Avenue, Detroit, MI 48226 (313-224-5509).
STEP #3 IF YOU INCORPORATE YOUR BUSINESS YOU MUST REGISTER
If you incorporate or establish a limited partnership, you must register with the State of Michigan. Please get legal advice about operating as a sole proprietor, a partnership, a limited partnership or a corporation. Incorporation forms are available at the Michigan Department of Commerce, 6346 Mercantile Way, Lansing, MI 48909 (517-373-9017 or 517--334-6302).
STEP #4 APPLY FOR YOUR FEDERAL TAX ID NUMBER
Corporations and partnerships require a Federal tax ID number. Obtain the federal tax ID forms at The McNamara Building, 477 Michigan Avenue (at Cass), Basement Office, Detroit, MI 48226 (1-800-829-1040, 1-800-829-3676, to order forms).
STEP #5 APPLY FOR YOUR DETROIT BUSINESS LICENSE
You must have a Detroit business license to operate a business in the city. Apply at the Business License Center, Room 105, City-County Building, Two Woodward Avenue, Detroit, MI 48226 (313-224-3178). You must pay all license fees when you apply.
HOW TO OBTAIN YOUR NEW LICENSE
VISIT OUR BUSINESS LICENSE CENTER AT ROOM 105, CITY-COUNTY BUILDING , TWO WOODWARD AVENUE, DETROIT, MICHIGAN 48226, AS FOLLOWS:
Get a business license application from the Customer Inquiry & Information counter.
A Customer Services Representative will assist you with the application.
You will need to present the following identification and documentation:
1. Assumed Name Certificate, Articles of Incorporation or partnership documents.
2. Driver's License or State of Michigan Identification Card, and,
a. You must have the names of all owners and officers.
b. For each owner and officer, you must provide a home address, phone number, social security number and driver’s license number.
3. Federal Tax ID number (for corporations or partnerships) or Social Security number (for sole proprietorships).
Register for City Taxes
The Business License Center will give you the forms needed to register for City taxes. For specific tax questions, contact the City of Detroit Income Tax Division, Room 512 City-County Building, or the City of Detroit Property Tax Division in Room 1012 of the City-County Building, Two Woodward Avenue, Detroit, MI 48226.
Schedule Necessary Inspection(s)
The City of Detroit requires that all commercial and some residential properties are inspected by its Buildings and Safety Engineering Department. These inspections are done to ensure that the building and equipment used by the business are kept in proper working order and do not pose a public hazard.
Pay Your License Fee
When you pay your License Fee, the Customer Services Representative will give you a receipt. This receipt is NOT a license. Remember, you cannot operate your business until you receive your Detroit business license.
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