How to Apply for a Business License in New Mexico

Taos, New Mexico, USA at Rio Grande Gorge Bridge over the Rio Grande at dusk

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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.

Charlie Mitchell
Written by Charlie Mitchell
Written byCharlie Mitchell
Updated October 17, 2023
Edited by Carlos Serrano
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After your new business completes the business registration process by forming a limited liability company (or other business structure) and obtaining a Federal Tax ID (EIN) from the IRS, there’s just one more critical batch of paperwork left: getting every business license you need from the Federal government, the state of New Mexico, and your local city and county. 

New Mexico Business License: Key Takeaways

  1. All New Mexico businesses must obtain a general business license, known as “business registration,” with the state's taxation and revenue department to pay the gross receipts tax.

  2. Certain business activities in New Mexico, such as transporting animal and plant products or engaging in firearm and weapons manufacturing and sales, may require additional federal licenses or permits.

  3. New Mexico entrepreneurs should be aware that local city and county governments may impose other licensing requirements, and some professions, like plumbers or physical therapists, may need state-issued professional licenses.

Navigate New Mexico 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.

Apply For My Business Licenses

What Is a Business License?

You will need a business license or permit to perform certain types of business in different jurisdictions legally. A business license may be required for these and other business activities:

  • General business activities in certain municipalities requiring a general business license.

  • Selling certain regulated or taxed products, such as liquor, tobacco, or gasoline.

  • Practicing a regulated or certification-based profession, such as law, medicine, or childcare.

  • Building or modifying structures or property that engages with zoning laws or requires a permit.

  • Using a different name than the official business name you used to form your limited liability company (LLC) during business registration. This is known as a “doing business as” or DBA. (This doesn’t apply to New Mexico, but it does in most states.)[1]

You’ll need to check these jurisdictions carefully, all of whom might require you to have a business license for different types of business:

  • The federal government

  • The state of New Mexico

  • Your city or county government

To receive most business licenses, you will need to have completed the business registration process, including:

  • Forming a limited liability company (LLC) or other corporation with the New Mexico secretary of state.

  • Obtaining an Employer Identification Number (EIN) at

Sole proprietorships may need specific licenses as well.

Now, we’ll help you search for all the business licenses your New Mexico small business needs.

Get Your New Mexico Business License in 7 Steps

Here, you’ll learn about the general business license required of all New Mexico businesses and explore the additional licenses you may need depending on your type of business. A general state license is called an occupational tax certificate in some states. 

Step 1: Apply for New Mexico General Business Licenses

There is one general business license that every small business in the state of New Mexico must obtain. The state of New Mexico calls this “business registration” with the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department, but it’s easier to think of this as a business license. This process registers businesses to pay the gross receipts tax in New Mexico.

You can get your New Mexico state license by completing the business tax registration application online or using this form. There’s no filing fee. Once it’s accepted, you’ll receive your state tax identification number as well as additional state tax ID numbers for other state taxes if they are relevant to your business.[2]

While this business license is required, it’s not a substitute for any other professional license or local license you may need.

Step 2: Apply for Federal Licenses for New Mexico Businesses

The Federal government requires business licenses or permits for several business activities, including[3]

  • Transport of animal and plant products. The Department of Agriculture oversees this.

  • Media broadcasting (radio and television).

  • Manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages.

  • Aviation and maritime transport.

  • Firearm and other weapons manufacturing and sales.

  • Fishing and wildlife activities.

  • Mining and drilling on federal lands.

Business owners should take these additional licenses seriously because violating Federal law is no way to start a new business.

Step 3: Search for New Mexico Permits and Licenses

So, after you get your general state license through the business tax registration, what other licenses might you need from the state of New Mexico? Here are some possibilities. You can contact the state government with any questions or concerns. This page has a list of agencies with contact information available.

  • To sell cannabis in New Mexico, you’ll need to register with the cannabis control division of the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department.[4]

  • Many businesses will require permits or licenses from the New Mexico Environment Department. This guide can help you check if this applies to you.[5]

  • Tobacco and alcohol licenses are administered by the alcohol beverage control division of the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department.[6]

  • Food establishments need to complete significant permits and inspections with the Environmental Health Bureau of the New Mexico Environment Department.[7]

Aside from these licenses and permits, the state will likely have professional licenses you’ll need, which we’ll go over in step five. Building permits, covered in the next step, are usually handled locally.

Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA downtown at night

Step 4: Search for Local County or City New Mexico Business Licenses

Do you know how local zoning, ordinances, and weird laws can create red tape that no one expects? While you build your business, you’ll want to contact your local county and city or town government to see if additional licenses, sales tax permits, or building permits are required to proceed with your business. Food businesses should contact their local health department.

For example, the cities of Albuquerque and Santa Fe have a business registration process similar to the state of New Mexico. You’ll need a tax ID number from NM taxation and revenue to register your business.[8], [9]  You’ll receive a business tax certificate upon approval. 

Rio Arriba County and Bernalillo County also have required business licenses, with provisions for building permits and other licenses.[10] [11]

We’ll show you how to find the professional license you might need to start your business.

Step 5: Search for New Mexico Professional Licenses

Another type of state license is a professional license that allows you to demonstrate your qualifications for your work. Most of these are administered by the state, but cities or counties may require an additional license.

Examples of licensed professions in New Mexico include plumbers, engineers and surveyors, physical therapists, public accountants, and many more.[12] The online services page of the New Mexico Department of Licensing and Regulation has resources to help you secure a state license for your trade.[13]

Step 6: Apply for a New Mexico Home-Based Business License

Suppose your business location happens to be where you live. In that case, your city or county may require a separate business license called a home-based business license or home occupation license. 

New Mexico doesn’t have a general home occupation license requirement. Still, cities and counties across the state have this requirement to ensure your new business’s needs don’t violate their zoning laws. If your type of business doesn’t bring a lot of noise or traffic, this probably won’t be too demanding.

Child care and early education, a sector commonly based in homes, has a comprehensive licensing process in New Mexico, including a registered homes program.[14]

Step 7: Maintain Your New Mexico Business License

Once you acquire a business license in New Mexico, it must be renewed consistently. Making sure you comply with all the regulations at every municipal level, from the Federal government on down, is a huge task — and business owners have more important things to do.

So get Swyft Filings on board, and we will take the entire business license process off your hands, from business registration with the New Mexico secretary of state to renewals and compliance for each business license you maintain. Your occupational and business tax certificates will be available online for you to securely access.

Views of Santa Fe New Mexico

Apply for a New Mexico Business License Online

You don’t have to hunt for every business license you need and fill out the applications by hand. Your small business requires you to do more meaningful work.

A third-party service like Swyft Filings can turn the business license puzzle into a significant win for a new business, saving hours of precious time for a more than reasonable cost. Our services include:

  • Business registration with the New Mexico Secretary of State

  • Business license applications and renewals

  • Registered agent services

Stay Compliant in New Mexico 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 New Mexico?

Use the business services tool on the New Mexico taxation department website.

Does New Mexico require a general business license?

Yes, all New Mexico businesses must file a business tax registration application, a general business license for the state.

Can you sell things in New Mexico without a license?

No, New Mexico businesses should first register with the New Mexico taxation department.

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

Online businesses do not need a specific state-level New Mexico business license, but they will need one in some counties, cities, and towns.

Can I collect sales tax in New Mexico without a license?

You must first register your business with the New Mexico Taxation Department.

How much does a New Mexico business license cost?

The New Mexico business registration application is free.

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

Fines or imprisonment may result from failing to secure a business license in New Mexico.


  1. Chamber of Commerce. “How to file a DBA in New Mexico.” Accessed June 15, 2023. 

  2. New Mexico Taxation & Revenue. “Who must register a business?” Accessed June 15, 2023.

  3. U.S. Small Business Administration. “Apply for licenses and permits.” Accessed June 15, 2023.

  4. New Mexico Taxation & Revenue. “Cannabis Excise Tax.” Accessed June 15, 2023.

  5. New Mexico Environment Department. “Permits & Licenses by Business M-Q.” Accessed June 15, 2023.

  6. New Mexico Regulation & Licensing Department. “Alcoholic Beverage Control.” Accessed June 15, 2023.

  7. New Mexico Environmental Department Environmental Health Bureau. “Application for Permit to Operate Food Establishment, Mobile Food Establishment, Food Processing Plant, or Mobile Support Unit.” Accessed June 15, 2023.

  8. City of Albuquerque. “Business Registration FAQs.” Accessed June 15, 2023.

  9. City of Santa Fe. “New Business License.” Accessed June 15, 2023.

  10. Rio Arriba County Planning & Zoning Department. “County of Rio Arriba Business License Application.” Accessed June 15, 2023.

  11. Bernalillo County Planning and Development Services. “Business License & Registration.” Accessed June 15, 2023.

  12. New Mexico Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers & Professional Surveyors. “How to Get Licensed.” Accessed June 15, 2023.

  13. New Mexico Regulation & Licensing Department. “Online Services.” Accessed June 15, 2023.

  14. New Mexico Early Childhood Education & Care Department. “Child Care Licensing and Registered Homes.” Accessed June 15, 2023.

Originally published on September 22, 2023, and last edited on October 17, 2023.
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