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  • -Licenses- 

    On This Page: 

     

    - Most Common Types of Business Licenses
    - Steps to Starting a Business in Syracuse
    - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
    - Local Resources for New Businesses


     
     Licenses are the city’s way of ensuring of certain types of businesses are following safe practices. They establish a legal connection between businesses and their owners. The license fee helps cover the cost of services like police and fire that businesses may require more assistance from. 

    Steps to Starting a Business in Syracuse:

    1. Decide what kind of business you want to start

      1. Decide on a business structure

      2. Register your business name

      3. File your “DBA” (Doing Business As), if required

      4. Apply for a FEIN (Federal Employer Identification Number) if you need one

    2. Decide where you want your business to be located

      1. Explore the Zoning Discovery Portal: See where you are eligible to operate your business in the City and if you will need a special permit.

    3. Determine necessary permits and approvals

      1. Determine if you need a business permit and when you need to renew it

      2. Apply for a seller’s permit, if needed

      3. Apply for other licenses like a NYS Liquor License as needed

        1. Change of Occupancy

    4. Display your permit and license at your place of business

     
     

    Applying for a Business License 

    Not every business in Syracuse needs a business license. There are different types of licenses, depending on your type of business. You can find the list of business license applications here. If you have questions about whether your business needs a license, call the Central Permit Office. 


     


     

     


    FAQ’s:

    • Q: Who needs a business license?

      • A: Certain types of businesses need a business license. Business Licenses intend to protect the general public, and make sure the business is meeting public safety requirements. Failure to follow licensing requirements may result in extra fees, penalty payments and/or operating restrictions.

    • Q: Does every business need a business license?

      • A: No, not every business in Syracuse needs a business license. There are different types of licenses, depending on your type of business. You can find the list of business license applications here.

    • Q: How do I get a business license?

      • A: Submit the correct License Application and fees (check or money order) to the Central Permit Office. Some types of licenses also need extra documents, such as a driver’s license or proof of insurance.  

    • Q: How does the City review my application?

      • A: On every kind of business license the Central Permit Office will check to be sure the applicant doesn’t owe the City any money (water bills, taxes, parking tickets, etc.). Some licenses also require a background check, and some require an inspection of the business location by the Fire Prevention Bureau, Code Enforcement, and Zoning. 

    • Q: How long does it take to get a business license?

      • A: The time it takes depends on the complexity of your business. Some types of business licenses can be issued over the counter, while others could take weeks or months. Speak with Development Services, County Health, or Fire depending on the requirements for your business location and business type. Those are the departments that will take time with plans, inspections, corrections, and permits, etc. The Business

    • Q: How long does a business license last?

      • A: Most licenses last for one year; each license application will specify the applicable time (ex: the Certificate of Use is renewable every two years). All licenses must renew before their end date. 

        • RENEW: Some licenses renew yearly and some renew every 2 years. When your license is issued, you will be notified whether it is for one or two years.

        • RENEW BY MAIL: For Certificate of Use, a renewal notice is mailed to the license address 60 days before the due date. The renewal reminder letter from the City includes instructions on how to pay by mail. All other business license types do not receive a notice. You are still responsible for payment even if you do not receive a notice

        • LATE FEES: All licenses except taxi licenses must be paid by the date of expiration. Taxi licenses have a 10 day grace period.

    • Q: Who do I contact if I have questions?

      • A

    Pam Dalton, Business Licensing Coordinator

    Phone: (315) 448-8474 

    Email: BusinessLicense@SyrGov.net

    CENTRAL PERMIT OFFICE 

    City Hall Commons - Room 101

    201 E. Washington St., Syracuse, NY 13202

     

    • Q: What is the difference between a license, a permit, and an inspection?

      • A

        • Licenses: Licenses are the City’s way of ensuring of certain types of businesses are following safe practices. They establish a legal connection between businesses and their owners. The license fee helps cover the cost of services like police and fire that businesses may need more assistance from.

        • Permits: Permits are proof that your plan follows City, County, or State rules (“code”) and are safe for you, your employees, and your customers. You must apply for permits before beginning construction.

        • Inspections: As you complete each phase of construction, you will need to have inspectors visit to make sure that the work meets New York State’s building code. Most inspections are performed before approval of a Certificate of Occupancy or Certificate of Use.

    • Q: How much does a business license cost?

      • A: Each type of business license has a fee that is based on the cost of staff time to approve. It is listed on the application form.

    • Q: Once I file an application, is the information available to the public?

      • A: Information on most license and permit applications becomes part of the public record. Exceptions include information such as social security number, federal tax ID, and New York State driver’s license number. These would not be provided in a public records act request. A subpoena would be needed to get that information.

    • Q: Can I make edits to my business license?

      • A:

        • Mailing address change: If you change your mailing address during the year, contact the CPO to report the change.

        • Change of location: Change of location: If you change your location during the year, you may have to reapply for a license. Please call the business license desk before you change locations to find out if you need to reapply.

        • Closing your business license: You must cancel your business license if you are no longer operating your business in Syracuse.

    • Q: Do I need to display my business license?

      • A. You must clearly display your license at your place of business.

        • For businesses operated from a vehicle:

      1. An identifying decal issued by the City must be affixed to the vehicle, and

      2. The business license must be carried by the licensee.

    Local Resources for New Businesses: 


 
       
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