How to Apply for a Business License in Kansas

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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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Whether you’re starting your first business in Kansas or expanding your enterprise to this state, getting a license should be your priority as a business owner. A business license allows your limited liability company (LLC) or corporation to operate legally and sell goods or services according to the rules of the Secretary of State.[1]

But what’s the specific license you need to launch a new business in Kansas? Also, how do you apply for your license(s)? Coming up are the answers to those and many other relevant questions.

Kansas Business License: Key Takeaways

  • A Kansas business license is a formal authorization that allows your business to operate legally within the state, ensuring compliance with state regulations.

  • Business licenses in Kansas come in various forms, including federal, state, county, municipal, and city licenses.

  • Depending on your business’s operations and location, you may also need professional licenses and home-based business permits.

Navigate Kansas 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 formal authorization to do business in a specific area.[2] If you obtain a license in Kansas for your limited liability company, you’re free to manufacture and sell products legally in the state. It helps you remain in good standing with the Secretary of State and puts your small business on the map of credible enterprises.

Keep in mind that the term “business license” isn’t all-encompassing. In other words, there isn’t a license that lets you do business in every part of the country. Instead, you may need to apply for a specific type of license:

  • Federal license

  • State license

  • County license

  • Municipal license

  • City license

It’s also important to note that having a business license isn’t the same as registering your company. For instance, suppose you’ve chosen your business name and registered your enterprise. You may decide to start selling services or products immediately on the spur of the moment, but this can be a major mistake.

Why? Because you’re not yet legally authorized to do so. That’s where your business license comes in. It proves you can operate in a certain place by the state, municipal, federal government, or any other authorized body, such as the Business Services Division.[3]

Get Your Kansas Business License in 7 Steps

How do you file for a state license in Kansas and any additional licenses to get your occupational tax certificate? Our seven-stage guide will shed light on this procedure.

Step 1: Apply for Kansas General Business Licenses

In some states, the first step in obtaining a small business license is to apply for a general business license. This rule holds true for all enterprises, regardless of the type of business you want to establish.

However, Kansas is different in this respect since it doesn’t have a general state license. This is good news, especially if you want to get your company underway as soon as possible. The fewer steps involved in the formation process, the faster you can complete your LLC formation or incorporation.

Does this mean you don’t need any license in Kansas? No. There are several specific licenses at different government levels to consider in the absence of a general permit.  

Step 2: Apply for Federal Licenses for Kansas Businesses

Some federal requirements are nothing more than red tape. Others, such as licensing requirements for any new business owner, are useful. They allow customers to distinguish between legitimate and illegitimate providers.

Hence, don’t forget to consult the U.S. Small Business Administration website when looking up your licensing requirements.[4] You may discover that your company needs one of the following permits:

  • Aviation license from the Federal Aviation Administration

  • Agricultural license from the Department of Agriculture

  • Firearm license from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives

  • Alcohol license from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau

  • Maritime transportation license from the Federal Maritime Commission

The copper dome building in downtown Topeka, Kansas | Swyft Filings

Step 3: Search for Kansas Permits and Licenses

A federal permit isn’t the only authorization you may need to operate legally in the state of Kansas. Additional licenses might also be required:

  • Sales tax license provided by the Kansas Department of Revenue

  • Food license provided by the Department of Agriculture

  • Building permits provided by various building divisions

  • Alcohol license for the sales and distribution of alcoholic beverages provided by the Alcoholic Beverage Control department

  • Tobacco license provided by the Department of Revenue

  • Hazardous waste disposal and transport license provided by the Kansas Division of Environment

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

We continue to deconstruct the licensing process one layer at a time. We’ve already dissected some of the permits you may need from the federal and state governments. In addition to those authorizations, you may also need licenses, a sales tax permit, and ordinances from a municipal or city body.

An excellent way to determine if that’s the case is to consult your local tax office or city hall. Here’s what you can expect if you’re incorporating or forming an LLC in the following Kansas cities:

  • Topeka: You need a license for liquor distribution, ambulance services, fireworks stands, salvage yards, and sidewalk vending.[5]

  • Kansas City: You need a license for alcohol sales and distribution, live entertainment, massage therapy, taxi services, and flea markets.[6]

  • Lenexa: You need a license for cereal malt beverages, drinking establishments, home occupation, and precious metal dealerships.

Step 5: Search for Kansas Professional Licenses

Furthermore, you might need a professional license to get your company underway. Some of the contractors that must obtain a permit include:

  • Plumbers

  • Lawyers

  • Dentists

  • Doctors

  • Real estate agents

  • Architects

Keep in mind that a professional license isn’t all-encompassing. You may need to supplement it with a few other licenses from federal or state agencies to legalize your business activity.

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

Having a separate business location is convenient, but a home office can be even better. If you’ve taken this route when setting up your small business, you may need to hit a few more steps to complete your business formation.

For instance, the local government might require you to follow certain zoning and building requirements. You may also need a health and safety-related permit if you have a home-based daycare business, massage parlor, or similar organization.

Step 7: Maintain Your Kansas Business License

After acquiring your business license and occupational tax certificate, the responsibility is on you to keep it. By preserving your license, you also hold onto your certificate of good standing with the Secretary of State and other key authorizations. So, renew your permits according to state rules and stay up-to-date with local requirements.

Apply for a Kansas Business License Online

Applying for and maintaining a business license couldn’t be simpler with Swyft Filings. You only need to provide your contact information, and we’ll handle the business license applications and renewals to help protect your good standing with the Kansas Secretary of State.

Our services are affordable, easy to use, and perfect for any new business owner who dreams big. Head over to our Business License questionnaire to get started with your application.

Stay Compliant in Kansas 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 Kansas?

You can get a business license in Kansas by applying with the authority that oversees the area where you’re doing business. The Kansas Business One website encourages you to research the county and city of your enterprise to shed light on the filing process.

Does Kansas require a general business license?

No. You don’t need a general business license in Kansas to operate legally in this state. That said, you may need a variety of other licenses to avoid legal issues if you specialize in certain products or services, such as alcoholic beverages and tobacco.[7]

Can you sell things in Kansas without a license?

No. You can’t sell products in Kansas if you don’t have a business and industry-specific license. Consult your city or county’s local office for more information about the necessary licenses for your enterprise.

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

In general, no. The state of Kansas doesn’t require online companies to obtain a business license. Keep in mind that there might be a few exceptions to the rule. One of the situations that may require you to get a license is if you have a presence in multiple states, but consult local authorities to be sure.

Can I collect sales tax in Kansas without a license?

No. You can’t collect sales tax in Kansas if you don’t have a license.

How much does a Kansas business license cost?

There are no fees for getting a business license in Kansas because there isn’t a general business license in the first place. Industry and city-specific permits, however, do come with fees. The amount depends on the type of business entity you’ve registered and your location.

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

There are no penalties for not having a general business license in Kansas. Nevertheless, you may face fines and inability to do business if you don’t have specific permits required by your city, county, or the federal government.


  1. State of Kansas Secretary of State. “Starting a New Business in Kansas.” Accessed July 24, 2023.

  2. Cornell Law School.” Business license.” Accessed July 24, 2023.

  3. State of Kansas Secretary of State. “Business Services.” Accessed July 24, 2023.

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

  5. City of Topeka City Clerk. “Licenses.” Accessed July 25, 2023.

  6. Wyandotte County Kansas City. “Licenses, Applications & Permits.” Accessed July 25, 2023.

  7. Kansas Department of Revenue. “Business Registration.” Accessed July 24, 2023.

Originally published on September 14, 2023, and last edited on October 17, 2023.
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