How to obtain a business license in South Dakota

Updated on December 21, 2023


Securing a business license is essential for legal operation in South Dakota. This guide offers comprehensive insights into licensing requirements, application processes, costs, necessary documents, compliance, and special considerations for various industries in South Dakota.

Who Needs a Business License in South Dakota

Most commercial business entities require licensing in SD, including retailers, restaurants, hospitality companies, construction contractors, consultants and independent professionals.

Penalties for non-compliance include fines of up to $200 per offense. Willful unlicensed practice can also result in criminal charges after multiple violations.

Understanding South Dakota Business Licenses

Common South Dakota licenses needed:

  • Sales tax licenses – To collect/remit sales tax
  • Local business licenses – Requirements set by SD municipalities
  • Professional/vocational licenses – For services like cosmetology, real estate, etc.
  • Industry licenses – Liquor, gaming, cannabis, etc.

Preparing to Apply for a License

Utilize South Dakota’s Business Portal resources to determine necessary permits and registrations. Gather business formation documents, ownership details, lease agreements, and financial statements. Fees vary by license type.

Step-By-Step Guide to Apply

To apply for licenses in South Dakota, visit the SD Business Portal, use the Licensing Tool, select required licenses, provide business information, pay fees, and await approval.

To apply digitally:

  1. Access SD Business Portal
  2. Utilize the Licensing Tool and Fee Calculator
  3. Select required license types
  4. Provide requested business and owner details
  5. Pay fees
  6. Obtain approvals

After Submitting an Application

Online applications are typically processed within 15 days after submitting all documentation. Monitor your status via the Business Portal.

If issues occur, administrators contact applicants by phone/email to resolve concerns

Maintaining Compliance

To remain legally compliant in South Dakota once licensed:

  • Prominently display licenses at your place of business
  • Renew licenses annually prior to expiration
  • Remit timely tax and licensing fee payments
  • Maintain necessary insurance policies
  • Report changes in ownership, activities, locations

Obtaining Federal Registrations

Don’t forget federal registrations such as an Employer ID Number (EIN) and trademark protections in South Dakota.

Special Considerations

Verify specific licensing requirements for businesses like liquor stores, casinos, and healthcare providers with South Dakota regulatory agencies.

Registering Your Business Name

File trade name certificates via the South Dakota Secretary of State if operating under “Doing Business As” names.

South Dakota Tax Permits

Common tax registrations include Retail Sales Tax Licenses, Contractor Excise Tax Licenses, and Alcohol and gaming Licenses.


Who Needs a South Dakota Business License?

Most commercial entities in South Dakota, including retailers, contractors, and hospitality companies, require a license.

What Do Licenses Cost in South Dakota?

License fees range from $10 to over $400, depending on the type of license. Multiyear discounts are sometimes available.

How long does it take to get a business license in South Dakota?

Online applications for business licenses in South Dakota are typically processed within 15 days after submission of all required documentation. Paper applications may take longer to process.

Final Thoughts

Adhering to licensing protocols in South Dakota is essential for legal operation and avoiding penalties. Utilize digital registration 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.