Business Licesnes Q&A: Sharing Personal Information on Application

Question:
My main question is: why, when filling out a business license application, does a jurisdiction need the officers home address, birth date, social security # and/or driver’s license #?  Seems pointless.  And is there a way to deny this information?

Answer from Amanda Gannon :
The answer varies based on the authority and we can usually determine requirements based on experience. It also depends on the license type. Take state tax registrations: some authorities will reject applications that don’t have the requested personal information. In the case of online registrations, the personal information may be a required field so you will not be able to proceed without entering something. Generally speaking, heavily regulated filings like contractor licenses, vehicle dealer licenses, secondhand dealer licenses and collection agency licenses (to name a few) will absolutely require personal information

It is sometimes possible to get around these requirements and if we don’t already have the information in our notes, we can contact the authority to confirm exactly what can and what cannot be left blank. For online filings, you are sometimes able to enter all 9's or all 0's instead of an actual SSN and still have a license issued. Or fields for certain information may not be required at all. For home address, we can almost always use the business address. If there is a parent entity, you can sometimes enter that company’s name, FEIN and date of formation in lieu of officer information and still receive a license. In the case of large corporations, county and local licensing authorities will sometimes make an exception about personal information, since the questions on those license applications are generally geared more toward small businesses. Authorities understand that in the case of large entities with many levels of leadership, the people filling out the forms are most likely not those who will be listed on the application, and it would be virtually impossible to list personal information for all officers.

To deal with this issue, some customers request that we confirm with authorities when personal information is absolutely required in order for the application to yield a license. We also have customers that provide personal information for just one officer and we use that on all applications (that is not always an option across various licenses). I should note that these exceptions generally would apply to corporations, since officers don’t always have ownership. In the case LLCs or partnerships, where the officers are owners by definition, authorities are more likely to required personal information about the members/partners.