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Licenses and Permits

What kind of licenses do I need to be able to do business in Idaho?

It depends on your business activity; there are many different types of licenses and not all business activities require a special license. To find out if your business needs one (or more) licenses, click on Licenses and review the information there. Then, go through the Business Wizard, and in Section 2, check all the items that may apply to your business. After completing the Wizard you will receive a Checklist indicating the agency that licenses or regulates each activity. If your business’s primary activity does not appear in Section 2, then you may not need a special license. However, you may still be licensed at the local (city and county), and/or Federal level. Your employees may also need individual occupational or professional licenses.

Business license – Many Idaho cities require some or all businesses to obtain a city business license. To find out if you need one, call your local city clerk’s office. If your business will be located outside the city limits, contact your county clerk or recorder’s office. You must register your business with the Secretary of State’s office before applying for a business license.

Sales tax permit – If you plan to sell a product or offer certain types of services, you may need a Sales and Use tax permit, also called a reseller’s permit. See the Taxes section of this site for information. If your business will have employees, you will complete form IBR-1. By doing so, you will register for a state withholding account and an unemployment insurance tax account in addition to the sales tax permit.

Home-based business – If you plan to have a home-based business, visit the FAQs question about establishing a home business to find out what additional licenses or permits you may need and other special requirements that may affect your business.

How do I obtain a permit to make retail sales in Idaho?

An Idaho sales tax permit is secured from the Idaho State Tax Commission by completing form IBR-1, Idaho Business Registration Application. If you plan to sell your products for only a short time, such as at a festival or trade show, a temporary sellers permit can be printed.

Businesses offering items for rent, such as construction or yard/lawn equipment, tables, chairs, tents and similar items also need a sales tax permit. Sales tax is also charged on admission to special events and on certain sports activities, such as golf and bowling. Contact the Idaho State Tax Commission for information.

What is a vendor’s license and where do I get it?

Businesses engaged in temporary retail sales or solicitation of sales for future delivery, including selling door-to-door or at festivals, events, and trade shows, may need a vendor’s license or a temporary vendor’s License, also called a solicitor’s license. Temporary food cart vendors may also need a license. Licenses are obtained from the City Clerk’s office in the city where you will do business.

If you are engaged in door-to-door sales, you and each of your employees may need a permit in every city or county where you work. Each of you will need a background check before the permit is issued and you may need to post a bond. Out-of-state applicants have additional requirements. You and each of your employees must wear your permit on your clothing in a clearly visible location.

In addition to a vendor’s license, you will also need an Idaho sales tax permit or a temporary sales tax permit. A permanent permit can be obtained by completing form IBR-1. A temporary sales tax permit for one specific event lasting less than 90 days can be printed from the Idaho State Tax Commission’s website.

If sales are made door-to-door or at a trade show, fair, festival or similar event, they are considered impulse purchases and the seller must conform with Federal and Idaho Consumer Protection laws. Consumers have the right to change their minds and cancel an order or return an item within three business days. Your cancellation policy and contact information must be clearly communicated in your contract or on your invoice. For details, contact the Idaho Attorney General’s office or visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website.

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