Business Licensing Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any restrictions to obtaining an Occupation Tax Certificate (Business License)?

We are not allowed to issue any business licenses to people using a PO Box, mail box businesses (UPS Store, etc.), or multi-family dwelling (apartments, trailer parks etc.) as their primary business location. Businesses must be located in a single-family dwelling (for home occupations) or in a commercially zoned property and in a permanent structure. Under some circumstance multiple businesses can co-locate in the same location. However, there may be restrictions to the types of businesses. There are special restrictions when applying for a home occupation and you should check with the City Hall for details on those restrictions.

Who must apply for a business license?

Anyone that is operating a business at a physical location within the City Limits of Lake City must have a license. Operating can mean, but is not limited to, the earning of gross receipts through the sale of goods or services (i.e. auto repair, restaurant, consulting, grocery store, etc.) or the use of employees for the benefit of the organization or public (i.e. storage warehouse, charity organizations, etc.)

What is the process to start a business?

1. Fill out and submit a Certificate of Zoning/Ordinance Compliance. This is to ensure your business meets the minimum requirements of the Zoning and City Ordinances. If approved, you can proceed to the next step. If disapproved, you will not be able to establish your business at the location you listed. There is no charge for this process and generally can be approved or disapproved on the same day.

2. Apply for a Certificate of Occupancy by submitting an application for a Fire Marshall's inspection with the Clayton County Fire Department. This inspection is to ensure your business location meets the minimum requirements under the Fire and Life Safety Codes in accordance with the International Fire Code. After receiving your final and approved inspection from the Fire Marshall you can proceed to the next step. You cannot proceed until the Fire Marshall has indicated you are approved for a Certificate of Occupancy. The cost of this inspection is determined by and paid to the Clayton County Fire Department. This step is not required for individuals applying for a "home occupation".

3. Apply for your Occupational Tax Certificate (business license). Once the application is processed you will receive a bill which will include your application processing fee, occupational taxes (license fee) and any other fees due. After paying this, you will receive your certificate (license).

What is the charge for an Occupational Tax Certificate?

Fees vary and are based on the gross receipts of the business and/or a flat fee determined by the number of employees.

Does the City Have an Opportunity Zone?

Yes, the City of Lake City has been approved for an Opportunity Zone Designation in several commercial corridors this fiscal year. Eligible businesses located within the designated areas will be able take advantage of a Tier 1 Job Tax Credit designation which carries dramatic tax advantages. Contact the City Hall (404) 366-8080 for more details.

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