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Liquor License Fees Getting Expensive


In Rome, GA, they are discussing an increased liquor license fee. Most municipalities typically create a limited number of alcohol licenses in the first place. Then all the businesses have to vie for those available licenses. It does not seem to be the case for Rome, GA, but we have been seeing that more and more localities are limiting the amount of licenses available.

“An informal survey conducted by the Rome News-Tribune found that Rome’s volume-based rate is relatively rare.

Dalton charges businesses $750 annually each for beer and wine pouring licenses, and $2,000 for liquor, while Cartersville only provides a combined beer-wine pouring license for $900, and a liquor pouring license for $1,500.”

To learn more about the proposed fees, read the article here.

To learn about how we can help you stay on top of liquor license fees and the process to obtain one, please contact us

Business License Fee Structure Changing for Hospitals and Warehouses


The city of Alabaster, AL is trying to strike a compromise with hospitals and warehouse owners on an amended business license fee structure. 

"The revision approved by the council in June removed a $15 million cap on gross receipts used for calculating a business license in various categories."

"For both categories, the city created a multi-tiered method for implementing the new fees."

To learn more about the specific fee changes, read more here.

It is not uncommon for cities to adopt multi-tiered business license fees. To learn how to stay on top of business license fee changes, contact us.  We can help. 

Liquor License Fee Changes Proposed


Obtaining a liquor license and paying liquor license fees can be complex and expensive depending on where you operate your business. In Mankato, MN, there is a discussion on revisiting the way liquor licenses should be charged as consumer behavior regarding drinking has changed.

“City officials are looking at kitchen facilities as one way to define which businesses are primarily restaurants and which businesses are primarily bars, Miller said. Restaurants with commercial grade burners, ovens, range hoods and larger refrigeration units are more likely to be considered a business that is focused as much on selling food as alcohol.

To read more about this, visit

To learn how we can help your business obtain the licenses necessary to operate your restaurant or bar, Contact Us.

City Partnering with Businesses to Help them Get Licensed

 In Butte County, Montana, the police are cracking down on unlicensed businesses and penalties can include fines. However, the tax clerk is partnering with local businesses to help them get licensed so they can avoid run-ins with the police.



“Businesses are required to register annually, but the county prefers to work with people to get licensed instead of taking a punitive approach. If people don’t, police can ticket and fine them.”


To read more, visit


To stay on top of licenses in this county and others, sign up for a free demo of our Business License Management System (BLMS) tool.

Tracking Your Workforce


The big takeaway from the New Hampshire Business Review’s article about the state’s new healthcare licensing laws:

  “If you are a health care provider subject to the law, you should promptly educate your workforce about the licensing and reporting requirements. You should also consult with legal counsel to implement appropriate policies and procedures for ensuring compliance with this law.”

  We know from experience that healthcare providers struggle with tracking not just their company’s business licenses but also their workforce’s business licenses. We recently delved into the topic in a recent healthcare compliance webinar which you can access here. In particular, look for the first question in the Q&A about telemedicine and the third question about individual pharmacists. Lorraine Cody’s responses are very insightful.

  While you’re at it, also request a demo of the BLMS module that helps track professional licenses. This is exactly what it’s designed to do.

Professional Licensing and Public Safety


You can’t work with licensing authorities for a living without getting moderately cynical and we half-heartedly plead guilty to that charge. Earlier this year, we conducted a public poll of licensing experts and found that we were in good company – cynicism is widely shared among our colleagues in tax and legal departments across the country and that world-weary cynicism is perfectly encapsulated by the question, “Why do licensing authorities pass new compliance laws?” Overwhelmingly, people responded that the main reason is to close revenue gaps in the municipality. To protect the public’s safety and well-being was a distant second.


That widespread perception may have been influenced by the sour state of America’s economy (it really is true that local municipalities are starved of much needed revenue) or it may be a permanent fact of the business license compliance landscape. Either way, we take satisfaction in highlighting instances of licensing authorities ramping up their enforcement of laws and even creating new laws when there really is a strong public safety concern at heart.


Yesterday, New Hampshire passed a new law that will require medical technicians to seek licensure from the New Hampshire Board of Registered Medical Technicians prior to practicing or advertising services in New Hampshire. These licenses will require applications and fees along with fingerprints and criminal history reports.


Why the fuss? It all dates back to 2011 when a traveling medical technician named David Kwiatkowski infected dozens of patients at Exeter Hospital with Hepatitis C. The New Hampshire Business Review has all the details on the new law and what it means for healthcare companies in the region.

What Happens When Your For-Profit School is Without a License?


We don’t wade into public controversies, we haven’t researched this particular issue, and we have nothing – neither positive nor negative – to say about Donald Trump. However, this licensing incident does highlight an important message that we’ve spent years trying to promulgate. When you get smacked with a noncompliance charge, the damage to your brand can significantly outweigh the monetary costs to your balance sheet.

“Donald Trump is personally liable for operating a for-profit investment school without the required license, a New York judge ruled in a lawsuit brought by the New York Attorney General against the real estate entrepreneur.

New York state Supreme Court Justice Cynthia S. Kern said he was notified by the state in 2005 that his Trump Entrepreneur Initiative - known as Trump University until 2010 - was in violation of state education law." Read more here.

“Damages will be determined later, “ the article goes on to say. Well yes, but this headline (“New York judge finds Donald Trump liable for unlicensed school”) has been picked up by news outlets across the globe. Damages aside, it’s fair to say that the harm to Donald Trump’s reputation has already been signed, sealed, and delivered.

Business Licenses Q&A: Closing a Store


Audience Question: Are there licensing issues involved in closing stores? Is it safe to just let business licenses, food licenses, and health licenses expire/run out?

Andrea Jaffe's Response: There are definitely licensing issues involved in closing a store, and we strongly recommend that you do not just let a license lapse and assume that if you have no activity, then there is no risk. Many municipalities require a license to be closed proactively, so that they do not keep the account active. We have seen municipalities impose late filing fees and penalties (and keep accruing them!) if a license is deemed active, even if the location has closed. Additionally, if a new business enters the premises and incurs violations, this could negatively impact your license account because the authority may associate the violation with the open license at the address that belongs to the previous business.

Joe Vitulli's Response: I completely agree with Andrea. There absolutely are issues involved with closing stores. Failure to actively close out licenses may lead to penalties and double taxation for a company. Don’t assume that you can just let a license expire. In many jurisdictions the Authority will not close out an expired license, but simply put it into a “Failure to Renew” state and charge interest and penalties and then contact a collections agency to get the money.

Editor's Note: This question actually helped give rise to a webinar that we are now planning for July 16th, 2014. It's called Launching Locations: How to Avoid Regulatory Fines When Opening Retail Stores and it will cover compliance issues both during the opening and closing of retail locations.

(Author's Note: Business Licenses, LLC hosted a webinar on June 10th, 2014. During the Q&A, the audience submitted questions. We are going to periodically post those questions to this blog along with answers from the panelists.)

By Alan Ruttenberg

Business Licenses Q&A: Do I Need a License Or Not?


Audience Question: I am currently working on a business license for Kansas City MO. There is confusion as to filing a business license or not. Our registered agent contacted the authority and they were not very clear. Can you make any recommendations on what I can do to get clarification or a site that I can go to that might have clear business license guidelines for this particular jurisdiction?

Joe Vitulli's Response: Kansas City has very vague and very broad license requirement. Most businesses will require a license but the category of license varies greatly. In this case, the best option will probably be to read the Code and website information.

Andrea Jaffe's Response: This is a common scenario. The person that you reach on the phone may not be completely knowledgeable regarding the requirements of imposition, especially if the business activity is “non-standard.” We always recommend that you do some background research and try to identify any potential relevant references in the municipality’s statutes. These can often be found on the municipality’s website, or at Once you have that information in hand, it is a good idea to ask for the City Attorney, rather than a clerk in the licensing office, who may be able to clarify a more obscure determination for imposing a business license.

(Author's Note: Business Licenses, LLC hosted a webinar on June 10th, 2014. During the Q&A, the audience submitted questions. We are going to periodically post those questions to this blog along with answers from the panelists.)

By Alan Ruttenberg

e-Cigarettes Licenses


We were asked recently -- and not for the first time -- about licenses for e-cigarettes so it's probably helpful to publicly state the following:

First, based on the number of requests we get for this industry, the e-cigarette business is one of the fastest growing industries in North America.

Second, most authorities in the United States have not yet figured out the proper way to regulate e-cigarettes or the sale of e-liquid. We find that some authorities are lumping e-cigarette vendors together with the sale of tobacco products. Therefore, it's necessary for vendors to obtain tobacco related licenses, even though it is not a tobacco product. Other authorities are working out ways to regulate them without requiring a tobacco license and are in the process or coming up with specific e-cigarette licenses.

The bottom line is that while most states do not yet require e-cigarette dealers to obtain a tobacco or cigarette dealer license, some do and others will be requiring it soon.

We would be remiss if we didn't mention that one easy way to find out which authorities require which licenses is to subscribe to our License Determination Tool. It saves you a lot of headache!

By Alan Ruttenberg

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