Business License

Business License (as defined by 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.

What is the term of the business license?

The term of a 2021 Business License is August 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021.  For each month that such license fee remains unpaid, a fee of 15% of the business license fee is assessed.

How does a new business apply for a license?

To apply for a Business License, please complete and submit the application formopens PDF file as well as any other pertinent forms.  

You may mail or email the completed application form(s) and payment to the Business License Division, or you may place the documents in the Business License drop box located on the 1st Floor of City Hall.

Mail:  City of Columbia, Business License Division, PO Box 6015, Columbia, MO 65205

Email:  Business.License@CoMo.Govcreate new email

Phone:  573-874-7549 or 573-874-7378

Completion of the Home Occupation Forms is required if you are operating your business out of your residence that is located inside the City Limits of Columbia.

If you are operating a retail business, a Missouri Sales Tax Number must be provided.  A sales tax number is issued by the Missouri Department of Revenue.  You can obtain this number by calling 573-751-5860 or on the Missouri Department of Revenue website .

The Disclosure and Authorization Form to obtain a Missouriopens PDF file Criminal Background Report is required if you have lived in Missouri the past five (5) years.  A Disclosure and Authorization Form to obtain an out-of-stateopens PDF file Criminal Background Report is required if you have lived outside of Missouri the past five (5) years.  The fees for out-of-state criminal background reports can be found hereopens PDF file .

An Affidavit of Exemption for Workers’ Compensation Insurance Form is required if your construction industry business is exempt from State workers’ compensation insurance coverage.

How much are the application fees?

All applications must be accompanied by a $30 application fee

There is a $17 investigation fee for a Missouri criminal records check on the business license applicant.  This is part of the application process.  Completion of a “Disclosure and Authorization Form to Obtain Missouri Background Reportopens PDF file ” is required.  The Disclosure and Authorization Form to Obtain an Out-of-State Background Report can be found hereopens PDF file . Fee information for the background check can be found hereopens PDF file

The license fee is based on the annual gross receipts of the business. New businesses must project their first year’s earnings when computing the license fee. The schedule follows:

  • 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 also 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: $220.00
  • Annual gross receipts between $250,000 – $750,000: $305.00
  • Annual gross receipts over $750,000: $570.00

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 if I have a change of address? 

If you have a change of business address, please complete the Business License Change of Address formopens PDF file  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.


Mailing Address: P.O. Box 6015, Columbia, MO 65205