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Kentucky Business License

Once you have decided to form a business in the Bluegrass State, you need to ask yourself: what else do I need to make my business operational? Apart from the registration of your business, you will require a business license to operate in the state. The licenses, their fee, and issuing authority vary according to the type of business or industry and the physical location of your business.

It is important to know that the state of Kentucky does not have a statewide business license or one license that applies to all types of businesses. There are specific business types that would require a special permit or license to legally operate in the state. Depending on the type of business, you may even require more than one license.

Kentucky Business License Requirements

What are the requirements for obtaining a business license in Kentucky? Which business entities require a license and who requires permits? Who is the issuing authority for these licenses? These are some of the important questions that you might be confronted with and hence, we have created a guide that will help answer some of these questions.

The most important step towards acquiring a Kentucky company license is identifying the type of business.

The Industry or Business Type

Which industry is your business entity a part of? In the state of Kentucky, the requirement for a permit or business license is dependent on the type of industry.

Let’s look at an example to understand this well.

Type of Business or Industry – Automobile

  • Issuing Authority – Kentucky Motor Vehicle Commission
  • License or Permit – If you are planning to start an automobile business then you require a business license in Kentucky. Some of the common license types issued by the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control include:
    – Motor Vehicle Dealer/Dealership
    – Automobile Manufacturer
    – Motor Vehicle Distributors
  • Application for License – You can download Kentucky company license application and submit at the office of the Motor Vehicle Commission along with the fee. You can also submit or renew online.
  • Fee – This type of business license fee will depend on the type of dealer like the fee for “New Motor Vehicle Dealer” is $100.

Type of Business or Industry – Alcohol Sales

  • Issuing Authority – Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control
  • License or Permit – If you are planning to set up a pub, bar, manufacturing facility, alcohol distribution hub etc., then you will require a business license in Kentucky. Some of the common license types issued by the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control include:
    – Restaurant Drink Liquor License
    – Temporary Retail Beer License
    – Wholesale Liquor and Wine License
    – Brew on Premises License
    – Caterer’s License
  • Application for License – You can download Kentucky company license application and submit at the office of the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control along with the fee. You can also submit or renew online.
  • Fee – There are different types of business license issued and the fee will depend on the type of license you require like the fee “Brewer’s License” is $2,580 for one year while that of a “Distributor’s License” is $520 for one year.
    Note: You can even apply for a half yearly license or eve pay for two years.

Apart from this, there is another aspect that you need to consider – location of your business! There are some businesses for which a license or permit will not be issued by the state. Instead the issuing authority will be the city or county your business is situated in.

There are certain businesses where you will be required to get an approval from the county licensing authorities or board prior to applying for a state business license. In the City of Winchester, if you are planning to start a business that requires a “liquor by the drink license” then you will need the approval of the local licensing board governed by Ord. No. 864, § 3, 11-17-90, prior to applying for a license with the State Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

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