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What Kind of Business License Do I need?
Minimal Activity Business License Application & Renewal
Online Business Application for New Business
Department of Revenue Business Tax Classifications
IRS Small Business/Self-Employed Website
Online Business Search & Reports
Non-Smoker Protection Act
Contact Info for Business Licenses
Under the Tennessee Business Tax Act most businesses, vocations, and occupations operating within Hamilton County are required to obtain a business license and report gross receipts to the TN Dept of Revenue on a yearly basis.
What Kind of Business License Do You Need?
  1. The Standard Business License is for businesses that gross more than $10,000 annually that are not exempt (see “Exempt” businesses below). To obtain the initial license remit an  application along with $15 to the County Clerk’s office. Then at the end of the business tax year, a tax return stating annual gross receipts is filed with the Tennessee Department of Revenue. Note that a tax year is not necessarily based on the calendar year but is based on the fiscal year end of the business.  Online Application  or Paper Application
  2. The Minimal Activity Business License is for businesses that gross more than $3,000 and less than $10,000 annually. To obtain the annual license remit an application along with $15 to the County Clerk’s office. No annual tax return is required. The license must be renewed at the end of the fiscal year end of the business.  Online Application  or Paper Application  
  3. The following businesses are exempt from Business License requirements per TCA 67-4-712. a) Businesses that gross less than $3,000 annually.
    b) Manufacturers as described in Division D of the SIC.
    c) Services (not including tangible property sales) listed under the provision of TCA 67-4-708(3)(C) and so described in Division I of the SIC. Exempt services generally include, but are not limited to: doctors, dentists, veterinarians, attorneys, accountants, schools, religious organizations, nonprofit membership organizations, insurance agents, loan companies, security exchanges, and public utilities. If providers of any exempt service also provides sales of tangible personal property and/or taxable services, they are subject to business tax on such sales. If you are unsure of your exempt status, please call 423-209-6500 for assistance
  1. Opening a Business: A business license must be obtained from the County Clerk within 20 days after commencement of business. Applications are available at the County Clerk's office or via our forms webpage . Anyone purchasing an existing business should be certain the previous owner filed a final gross receipts tax return with the Department of Revenue, or the new owner can be held liable for any tax due.
  2. Closing a Business:
  1. Terminating the License
    a) Standard Business License—A final Business Tax Return must be filed with the   
        Department of Revenue within 15 days of closing.
    b) Minimal Activity Business License—You need only notify the County Clerk’s Office
        at 423-209-6500.
  2. The Hamilton County Assessor’s Personal Property department must be contacted at 423 209-7323 to close your account. Failing to close your account will result in future forced assessments.
  3. The Hamilton County Trustee’s office must be contacted at 423-209-7270 to determine if any personalty tax is owed.
Contact Information for Business Licenses
County Clerk’s Office, (423) 209-6500,, 625 Georgia Avenue, 201 Courthouse, Chattanooga, TN 37402

For tax filing information: Tennessee Department of Revenue, (800) 342-1003,
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