How to Apply for a Business License in Mississippi

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Carlos Serrano
Written by Carlos Serrano
Written byCarlos Serrano
Updated October 17, 2023
Edited by Alexis Konovodoff
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One of your main focuses as a business owner in the state of Mississippi should be to remain in good standing with the Secretary of State. A lot goes into retaining your certificate of good standing, and getting and maintaining a business license is one of the most important steps.

Whether you need a general license or additional permits will be the topic of this article. We’ll tell you all you need to know to help keep your limited liability company (LLC) or corporation legal.

Mississippi Business License: Key Takeaways

  • A business license permits your business to sell products or services within a specific jurisdiction legally.

  • Mississippi doesn't mandate a general state business license, but you may still need a federal, city, or professional license, depending on your business activities.

  • Maintaining your business licenses through regular renewals is crucial to avoid penalties and preserve good standing with the Secretary of State.

Navigate Mississippi 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?

Suppose you’ve already started a small business in the state of Mississippi. You’ve reserved your business name, doing-business-as (DBA) name, filed a certificate of operation, drafted an operating agreement, and applied for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Plus, you may have hired a registered agent service for service of process receipts and annual report filings.

It’s a massive burden off your shoulders, but you should now turn your attention to obtaining your business license. A business license is a permit that enables you to sell products or services in a particular area. The authorization you need for your enterprise depends on various factors, such as your city, municipality, and the type of business you own.

Keep in mind that business permits in Mississippi don’t just come from state agencies. You can acquire them from many other government levels:

  • Federal 

  • Municipal

  • County

  • City

  • Local

In some cases, the nature of your company requires you to obtain a license from multiple licensure bodies. For example, a permit acquired on a state level might not be enough to legalize your business activity. You may need to supplement it with federal or local licensing.

It’s also worth noting that registering an organization isn’t the same as getting a business license. A registration only legitimizes the existence of your company. You must complete your business license application to receive tax permits and start selling your offerings.

Get Your Mississippi Business License in 7 Steps

When discussing business licenses, your business structure is pretty much irrelevant. That’s because every organization must have a specific permit. 

So, there’s no other way around it. You need an appropriate federal, local, or state license to set up a proper enterprise in Mississippi. The upcoming sections will be the crux of this article, as they’ll lay down the required licenses for your type of company.

Step 1: Apply for Mississippi General Business Licenses

In some states, filing for a business license goes like this: you apply for a general state license, wait for a few days or weeks, and receive your permit. That’s not the case for Mississippi.

The state of Mississippi doesn’t require you to get a general permit for your small business. But, as previously indicated, the Mississippi Department of Revenue and other authorities may mandate you to obtain a different kind of permit.

Step 2: Apply for Federal Licenses for Mississippi Businesses

The federal government regulates many aspects of launching a new business entity. For instance, they may need you to submit a lot of paperwork to collect your sales and use tax. Other than that, they also provide several additional licenses.

Many departments and organizations provide these permits, including:

  • Department of Agriculture: License to import and transport animals, biotechnology, plants, and related products across states

  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service: License to fish for commercial purposes

  • Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives: License to produce, sell, and import explosives, weapons, ammunition, and other associated goods

  • Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, Local Alcohol Beverage Control Board: License to make, import, or sell alcoholic beverages as a retailer or wholesaler

  • Federal Communications Commission: License to broadcast a satellite, cable, wire, television, or radio program

These are just a few examples of business activities and industries that need a license from the federal government to do business. For a comprehensive list, head to the U.S. Small Business website.[1]

A view of Jackson, Mississippi from above | Swyft Filings

Step 3: Search for Mississippi Permits and Licenses

In addition to federal permits, you should research additional licenses provided on the state level. 

For instance, some areas require a building permit for any construction project. Without it, you risk severe penalties, and the authorities may even require you to tear down the structure.

Mississippi business license requirements are similar. First, every retail company must acquire sales and use tax permission to start collecting tax legally.[2]

And second, the state requires you to obtain a specific type of license, depending on the nature of your enterprise:

  • License to provide healthcare services of varying levels issued by the Mississippi Department of Health

  • License to perform pharmaceutical, physical therapy, and funeral services issued by various state boards

  • License to sell and produce alcoholic beverages issued by the Mississippi Department of Revenue, Alcoholic Beverage Control

  • License to dispose of toxic waste and perform other activities that may harm the environment issued by the Department of Environmental Quality, Environmental Permits Division

  • License to run a food facility, catering business, or make food issued by the Mississippi Department of Health

It’s essential to thoroughly research all the permits required to run your company on the state level.

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

A general business license isn’t necessary for your business. However, you do need to acquire a so-called privilege license in many counties. It allows you to do business for a profit if you’ve started a for-profit entity type, such as a Mississippi LLC.[3]

For example, you can file for a privilege license in Jackson County with their Planning Department. In most cases, you must submit your business permit application and privilege tax license application form to the tax collector’s office.[4] If you’ve already obtained all zoning permits, you shouldn’t have to wait too long for your license.[5]

Otherwise, the authorities will need more information about your business, including:

  • Business description

  • Business survey information

  • Contact information of relevant personnel

For more information about the licenses required in your city, county, or municipality, consult the local tax office.

Step 5: Search for Mississippi Professional Licenses

Next up is your professional license. It’s the license you have to obtain for your specific profession. Keep in mind that not every company needs this permit. It’s only required for a select group of occupations.[6]

Here are a few examples of professions that require a professional license:

  • Plumbers

  • Attorneys

  • Dentists

  • Massage therapists

  • Electricians

  • Home inspectors

  • Roofers

  • Other commercial and residential contractors

To apply for a professional license, you must contact the organization that oversees your particular trade.

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

If you’re a home-based business, your home occupation doesn’t exempt you from some business license requirements. Whatever your business location, you must acquire certain permits to operate legally.

In addition to a home-based business license from the Health Department, building and zoning permits might also be required.

Step 7: Maintain Your Mississippi Business License

After getting a business license, the rest of the work comes down to maintaining your permit. If you renew your license on time, you’ll preserve your good standing with the Secretary of State. Plus, you won’t incur fines for not having a permit.

Apply for a Mississippi Business License Online

What if you could complete your business license application online? That’s precisely what you can do with Swyft Filings. 

Our Business License service is a match made in heaven for small business owners who want to apply for their permits quickly and confidently. You need only provide basic information about your enterprise, and we’ll apply for your license and renew it on your behalf, allowing you to get a smoother start and avoid penalties.

Stay Compliant in Mississippi 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 Mississippi?

You can get a business license in Mississippi by filing with the relevant federal, state, or local authority.

Does Mississippi require a general business license?

No. Mississippi doesn’t require a general business license. However, depending on your business, you might need federal, city, or professional licenses.

Can you sell things in Mississippi without a license?

The state of Mississippi doesn’t allow you to sell products if you’re unlicensed.

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

In most cases, no. You don’t need special licenses for your online business.

Can I collect sales tax in Mississippi without a license?

You can’t collect sales tax in Mississippi if you don’t have a business license. Your local tax office typically issues tax licenses.

How much does a Mississippi business license cost?

The fees for a Mississippi business license vary, depending on your business structure, county, and city.

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

The penalties for not having a business license can range from minor fines to losing your good standing with the Mississippi Secretary of State.


  1. U.S. Small Business Administration. “Apply for licenses and permits.” Accessed July 26, 2023.

  2. Mississippi Small Business Development Center. “Do You Need a Mississippi Business License?” Accessed July 26, 2023.

  3. Jackson County. “Privilege Licenses.” Accessed July 26, 2023.

  4. The City of Jackson. “Privilege Tax Application Form.” Accessed July 26, 2023.

  5. Jackson County Planning Department. “Business Permit Application.” Accessed July 26, 2023.

  6. Mississippi State Department of Health. “Professional Licensure.” Accessed July 26, 2023.

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