How to obtain business license in Minnesota

Updated on December 21, 2023


Securing a business license is essential for legal operation in Minnesota. This guide covers licensing needs, available license types, the application process, costs, necessary documents, compliance maintenance, and industry-specific considerations in Minnesota.

Who Needs a Business License in Minnesota?

Nearly all commercial business entities require licensing in MN including retailers, restaurants, service providers, rental property owners, contractors, and independent professionals.

Penalties for non-compliance include fines up to $2,000 per violation, business closure after multiple offenses, and potential criminal prosecution.

Understanding Minnesota Business Licenses

Common Minnesota business license types:

  • Local city licenses – Required by most municipalities
  • Sales & use tax permits – For charging/remitting sales tax
  • Professional licenses – For occupations like law, real estate, cosmetology etc.
  • Industry-specific licenses – Healthcare, alcohol, gambling etc.

Preparing to Apply for a License

Identify permits and registrations using Minnesota’s Business Permits & Licenses tool. Prepare your business formation documents, ownership details, and lease agreements. Fees differ based on license types.

Step-By-Step Guide to Apply

To apply for licenses in Minnesota, create an account on the e-Services Portal, use the Finder tool, select required licenses, provide business details, upload documents, pay fees, and await approvals.

To apply online:

  1. Create an account on Minnesota’s e-Services Portal
  2. Access Business Permits & Licenses page
  3. Use the Finder tool and select your required license types
  4. Provide requested business and ownership details
  5. Upload supporting documents as needed
  6. Pay fees
  7. Obtain approvals

After Submitting an Application

Online applications typically process within 15 business days. Check your status via the e-Services Portal.

If issues occur, administrators will contact you needing clarification or additional documents.

Maintaining Compliance

To remain compliant in MN once approved:

  • Prominently display license certificates onsite
  • Complete renewal applications prior to expiration
  • Remit timely sales, payroll, liquor etc tax payments
  • Maintain legally required insurance policies
  • Report changes in ownership, activities, locations

Obtaining Federal Registrations

Typical federal registrations also needed:

  • Employer ID Number (EIN)
  • Trademarks and copyright protections

Special Considerations

Verify specific licensing requirements for businesses like liquor stores, healthcare providers, and construction contractors with state regulatory agencies.

Registering Your Business Name

File “Doing Business As” name certificates via your local County Recorder’s/Auditor’s office in Minnesota.

Minnesota Tax Permits

Common tax permits include Sales and Use Tax Permit, Alcohol & Tobacco Tax Permits, and Motor Fuels Licenses.


Who Needs a Minnesota Business License?

Nearly all commercial entities in Minnesota require licensing, including retailers, restaurants, and professional service firms.

What Do Licenses Cost in Minnesota?

License costs in Minnesota range from $10 to over $200, varying based on the license type. Renewal fees also apply.

How Long Does It Take to Get a License in Minnesota?

The typical processing time for obtaining a business license in Minnesota is approximately 15 business days for online applications. However, this duration may vary depending on the license type and application requirements.

Additional Resources

Explore more information and resources on the official Minnesota state websites.

Final Thoughts

Licensing your business in Minnesota is crucial for legal operation and avoiding penalties. Utilize the online application options for efficient processing.

Priyank Singh

Priyank Singh, co-founder and Chief Technology Officer at Stilt, specializes in technology-driven financial solutions. He is having experience of starting FinTech Company, understanding regulations and coming up with creative solutions to solve difficult problems.