How to Apply for a Business License in Connecticut

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Swyft Filings is committed to providing accurate, reliable information to help you make informed decisions for your business. That's why our content is written and edited by professional editors, writers, and subject matter experts. Learn more about how Swyft Filings works, our editorial team and standards, what our customers think of us, and more on our trust page.

Carlos Serrano
Written by Carlos Serrano
Written byCarlos Serrano
Updated October 17, 2023
Edited by Alexis Konovodoff
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Starting a new business in Connecticut is equal parts exciting and nerve-racking. After all, you must consider numerous things as a business owner, whether you’re starting a limited liability company (LLC), a corporation, or a sole proprietorship. 

Getting and maintaining a business license should undeniably top your list of priorities, as this is often the only way to operate your Connecticut business legally and remain state-compliant.

Here’s everything you need to know about the business license requirements in the state of Connecticut.

Connecticut Business License: Key Takeaways

  • Connecticut requires all businesses that intend to sell, rent, or lease goods or taxable services to obtain a Sales and Use Tax Permit.

  • Depending on your business location, type, and industry, you might need several business licenses, such as federal and local licenses, professional licenses, and home-based business licenses.

  • Once you obtain the required licenses and permits, you must keep them up to date through regular renewals.

Navigate Connecticut Business Licensing with Ease

Ensuring you have the right business licenses and permits is crucial. Let us manage the complexities for you, so you can stay focused on what you do best — running your business.

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What Is a Business License?

A business license is a document indicating that a person or a business entity can operate a specific type of business within a defined jurisdiction. You can obtain a federal license, state license, or local license.

These different levels of licensing mean that businesses may need to acquire multiple licenses to operate legally in Connecticut. For example, a small Connecticut business might need different licenses depending on whether it’s in Danbury, Hartford, or Westport.

Keep in mind that your business might also need permits to operate. While business licenses grant you the right to run a business in Connecticut, business permits are more specialized and allow you to run specific operations. 

Some examples of business permits are:

  • Zoning permits: required to dictate precisely where your business can operate

  • Building permits: required when constructing or renovating a building for your business

  • Signage permits: required to display information designed to advertise your business

  • Health Department permits: required for businesses that involve producing or handling food products

And that’s just the beginning. There are also professional and occupational licenses, home-based business licenses, and more. Let’s dive into all the types you might need for your business.

Get Your Connecticut Business License in 7 Steps

Understanding the Connecticut business licensing process in detail and finding the specific licenses and permits needed for your business is crucial to avoid fines and legal trouble. Here’s how you can do this in seven simple steps.

Step 1: Apply for Connecticut General Business Licenses

Some U.S. states require all businesses to obtain a general business license before starting operations. Connecticut isn’t one of these states, meaning you don’t need a general business license to operate in the state.

However, specific counties and municipalities in the state of Connecticut might require your business to obtain a license. The same goes for specific industries seeking a professional license.[1]

Step 2: Apply for Federal Licenses for Connecticut Businesses

Specific business activities are regulated by federal agencies, regardless of the location of the business.[2] In other words, you'll need a federal license if you operate any of these businesses.

Here are some of the major industries that require a federal license, together with the government agency that can grant them that license:

  • Agriculture: The U.S. Department of Agriculture

  • Firearms, ammunition, and explosives: The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

  • Mining and drilling: The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement

  • Radio and television broadcasting: The Federal Communications Commission

  • Transportation and logistics: The U.S. Department of Transportation

The exact process for obtaining a federal license depends on the regulatory agency in charge of licensing. 

A street view of the Connecticut Capitol building | Swyft Filings

Step 3: Search for Connecticut Permits and Licenses

Connecticut’s primary state-level license is the Sales and Use Tax Permit, often called a seller’s permit.[3] You’ll need this license if you intend to do the following:

  • Sell, rent, or lease goods

  • Sell a taxable service

  • Operate a hotel, motel, bed and breakfast, or lodging house

However, operating in specific industries in the state of Connecticut requires additional licenses and permits. For instance, distributing, selling, and dispensing alcoholic liquor requires several special permits.[4] The same goes for businesses related to medical marijuana, drugs, and numerous other regulated activities. It’s essential to research what licenses or permits you need for your specific business.

Step 4: Search for Local County or City Connecticut Business Licenses

Cities in Connecticut can also have specific licensing requirements. For some, you’ll only need a general license, while others call for industry-specific licenses.

For instance, being a broker in New Haven comes with a lengthy list of ordinances to follow and a local-level license to obtain.[5] Similarly, those who want to run a body care facility in Greenwich, such as a nail salon, hair salon, or barber shop, must apply for the corresponding license.[6]

Contact your city's town clerk’s office to find out if your Connecticut city requires any licenses.

Step 5: Search for Connecticut Professional Licenses

The state of Connecticut requires specific professions to obtain a license, regardless of their exact location. These include accountants, architects, doctors, pharmacists, plumbers, and real estate agents. 

You can find the full list of these professions on the Department of Consumer Protection’s website. Remember that obtaining a professional license isn’t necessarily all you need to stay in good standing. You might still need additional licenses at the state and local levels.

Step 6: Apply for a Connecticut Home-Based Business License

It’s perfectly legal to run a home-based business in Connecticut. But to do so, you might have to obtain specific home occupation permits and licenses. 

For instance, daycare facilities are often home-based businesses and require a license and several permits to ensure safety and compliance.

It’s critical to review your home-based business activities to see if it requires a license or permit.

Step 7: Maintain Your Connecticut Business License

Once you’ve discovered which licenses and permits your business needs and apply for them, your job isn’t over. You must regularly renew all licenses and permits in Connecticut. You can expect hefty fees from the state if caught with an expired business license.

For instance, the Sales and Use Tax Permit must be renewed every two years. Failing to do so can result in a $250 penalty for the first day you engage in business without a permit and $100 for each following day.

To avoid this unfortunate scenario and always remain in good standing with the state, entrust a third-party service with your business licenses. Let us take care of your compliance, and you can focus on running your business.

Apply for a Connecticut Business License Online

Obtaining and maintaining a license in Connecticut can be a breeze with our business license service. From helping you figure out which licenses and permits you need to handling the tedious paperwork, we've got you covered every step of the way. You only need to provide some basic information, and we’ll take it from there. 

Stay Compliant in Connecticut Without the Hassle
  • Focus on Your Business: Dive into your passion while we handle the intricacies of acquiring the necessary local, state, and federal business licenses and permits.

  • Simplify Your Paperwork: Complete our straightforward questionnaire, and we’ll handle all the required filings for you, accurately and promptly.

  • Stay Compliant: Avoid the risks and severe repercussions of non-compliance. We’re here to ensure your business remains in good standing.

Begin My License Application Today


How do I get a business license in Connecticut?

To get a business license in Connecticut, you must first research the type of license(s) you’ll need. Then, follow the steps outlined by the governing body, and you’ll have your business license in no time. 

If you find this process overwhelming, leave it to a third-party service, like Swyft Filings, and only worry about running your business.

Does Connecticut require a general business license?

No, Connecticut doesn’t require a general business license. You only need to register your business entity with the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services and obtain a State Tax Registration Number. Note that this number is not the same as the Employer Identification Number issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). 

Depending on your business, you might still need state, city, or professional licenses.

Can you sell things in Connecticut without a license?

No, you can’t sell things in Connecticut without a license. To do this, you must obtain a Connecticut Sales and Use Tax Permit from the Department of Revenue Services. You might also need additional licenses and permits depending on your business activities and location.

Do I need a special license for an online business in Connecticut?

No, you don’t need a special license for an online business in Connecticut. You only need a Sales and Use Tax Permit. However, you should consult your local town clerk’s office to see whether you need specific local licenses or permits.

Can I collect sales tax in Connecticut without a license?

No, you can’t collect sales tax in Connecticut without a license. You must obtain a Sales and Use Tax Permit from the Department of Revenue Services.

How much does a Connecticut business license cost?

The Connecticut Sales and Use Tax Permit, required for all businesses intending to sell, rent, or lease goods in Connecticut, costs $100. The filing fees for other Connecticut business licenses depend on the license type, business industry, and location.

What’s the penalty for not having a business license in Connecticut?

Operating without a business license in Connecticut can result in various penalties, including fines and imprisonment. However, the exact penalty will depend on the circumstances of your non-compliance. For instance, failing to obtain a Sales and Use Tax Permit can result in a fine of up to $500 or imprisonment of up to three months.


  1. Connecticut State Department of Consumer Protection. “License, Permit & Registration Forms.” Accessed July 25, 2023.

  2. U.S. Small Business Administration. “Apply for licenses and permits.” Accessed July 25, 2023.

  3. Connecticut State Department of Revenue Services. “Sales and Use Tax Information.” Accessed July 25, 2023.

  4. Connecticut State Department of Consumer Protection. “Liquor Control Division.” Accessed July 25, 2023.

  5. City of New Haven. “Permit & License Center Applications.” Accessed July 25, 2023.

  6. Greenwich, Connecticut. “Business Licenses.” Accessed July 25, 2023.

Originally published on September 18, 2023, and last edited on October 17, 2023.
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