Business License

The District began requiring all businesses that pay business taxes to have a valid Basic Business License under the Business Licensing Processing Adjustment Act of 2008. The license is valid for 2 years and the biennial fee is $200.

You will normally need a General Business License for your business, unless you are required to maintain a license issued by a local, state or national certification board or body. For example, having a current occupational or professional license for business activities, may exempt you. If you are a consultant operating as a sole proprietor with no separate Employer Identification Number, you do not need a business license.

The District of Columbia Regulatory Affairs, DCRA, also issues specialized license categories for food establishments, industry, and specific services, with each license category having different document, inspection, or investigation requirements.

The following is required when applying for your Basic Business License:

  • A valid Employee Identification Number (EIN);
  • Combined Business Tax Registration Statement (FR-500);
  • Certificate of Occupancy for your business premise or a Home Occupation Permit;
  • Clean Hands Certification form attesting that you do not owe more than $100 to the DC government; and
  • A Registered Agent if you are a corporation, partnership or LLC

A non-profit 501(c)(3) organization may be required to obtain a business license based on the source of funding for its funds. A non-profit that seeks funds from their members may require a general business license, while a non-profit that solicits funds through fundraising, governments or grants would require a charitable solicitation license.

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