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 Business License is July 1st of each year until the June 30th of the following year. A renewal notice shall be mailed to each licensee on or before June 1st informing him/her that the license shall expire on June 30th 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.

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 573-874-7549 or 573-874-7378 or by downloading a Business License Application Form

Click here to view a Help Sheet for filling out a Business License Application.  

Please complete the forms and return them to the Business License Office along with the proper payment for applicable fees. Your business license will be mailed to you after payment has been received, 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 in Jefferson City, MO at (573)751-3505, prior to submitting your application. 

An Affidavit of Exemption for Workers’ Compensation Insurance Form must also 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?

The fiscal year for business licenses begins on July 1 and ends on June 30 of each calendar year. Businesses opening at anytime during this period are asked to estimate their gross receipts to the end of this fiscal period. All applications must be accompanied by a $30 application fee

The investigation fee will be charged to cover the cost of a criminal record check on the business license applicant upon the completion of a “Disclosure and Authorization Form to Obtain Missouri Background Report” as a part of the application process.  The investigation fee for a Missouri records check is $17.  Please contact the Business License Office to receive fee information for out of state records checks.  The Disclosure and Authorization Form to Obtain an Out-of-State Background Report can be found here

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 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.


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