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December 21, 2014

The Red Tape Guide: Where to go to get your business going

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Posted: Friday, July 18, 2014 1:50 pm | Updated: 12:58 am, Sun Jul 20, 2014.

CITY OF ANNISTON

For a company planning to operate in Anniston, the owner must apply for a business license with the city.

To do that, stop by Anniston’s Planning and Development Services Department at City Hall and pick up an application.

According to revenue compliance specialist Mary Motley, there is no application fee, and the fees for licenses are based on sales. For emerging businesses, it would be based on projected sales. License fees can vary from $10 to thousands, depending on sales numbers.

In addition to projected sales, applicants must provide a description of the business, its location, the number of employees and contact information, Social Security numbers and driver’s license numbers for all owners or corporate officers. Also required is a federal employer identification number, which can be obtained by contacting the Internal Revenue Service. If an owner is a sole proprietor, a Social Security number can be used instead.

Anniston’s business application also asks for a North American Industry Classification System code. This six-digit number allows federal agencies and other entities to statistically classify business establishments in a uniform way. NAICS codes are available at www.naics.com.

The city doesn’t require owners to form a limited liability corporation or have a company bank account to receive  a business license.

Before an application is approved, the business must be inspected by the planning department, which ensures the applicant adheres to the city’s zoning requirements. The Anniston Fire Department also must confirm the business meets all fire codes.

Once those two departments are satisfied, the business can receive a license — provided it meets all state regulations concerning the industry.

The Planning and Development Services Department is in City Hall, 1128 Gurnee Ave., Anniston, 256-231-7720.

CALHOUN COUNTY

Calhoun County License Commissioner Barry Robertson said state regulations concerning occupations can be extensive.

Alabama’s code has more than 500 sections pertaining to regulations and requirements of professions, he said. There are requirements for ticket salesmen, swimming pool insulation installers and even antiquated jobs like typewriter salesmen and mimeograph operators.

Because his office acts as an agent for the state, he and his staff must interpret the descriptions provided by business license applicants and see which state fees apply.

Robertson said that’s why it’s important that applicants provide a detailed description of their businesses.

For example, barbers are charged an extra $3.50 for each chair in their shop, and auto repair businesses must pay $7.50 for each technician on staff.

Those hoping to sell their services door-to-door must have a transient vendor license and a $10 license from the county in addition to a standard business licence, Robertson said.

He added that several professions such as doctors, lawyers, engineers and veterinarians don’t pay for county business licenses.

Robertson said applicants for a business license with the county must provide the location of their business so his staff can ensure they have any city licenses needed.

Whatever additional documentation an applicant might need, Robertson said, his staff does all they can to help them find it.  

County business licenses are also based on sales, and the fees vary from $10 for companies with annual sales of $10,000 or below, to $100 for companies with $100,000 or more in sales.

Robertson said the state employs inspectors to ensure business comply with all regulations. His office also has one inspector that oversees the county’s 5,000 businesses.

OTHER CITIES

Municipal departments issuing business licenses include:

Town of Hobson City, Town Clerk’s Office

715 Martin Luther King Drive

256-831-4941

City of Jacksonville, Finance Department

320 Church Avenue SE

256-435-7611

Town of Ohatchee, Town Clerk’s Office

7801 Alabama Highway 77

256-892-3233

City of Oxford, Finance and Revenue Department

City Hall, 145 Hamric Drive E., Oxford

256-831-3183

City of Piedmont, Revenue Department

109 North Center Ave.

Phone: (256) 447-3560

City of Weaver, City Clerk’s Office

500 Anniston Street

Weaver, AL 36277

256-820-1121

PERMITS, INSPECTIONS, ETC.

Calhoun County Probate Judge’s Office, Recording Division

1702 Noble Street, Suite 102

256-241-2825

Accepts incorporation applications for the Secretary of State’s Office and for Calhoun County.

Calhoun County License Commissioner’s Office

1702 Noble St., Suite 107

256-241-2900

Issues county business licenses, state professional licenses, door-to-door sales licenses, etc.

Calhoun County Health Department, Environmental Health Division

3400 McClellan Blvd.

256-237-4324

Inspects and issues permits for all food service establishments in Calhoun County. Also inspects hotels, public pools and body art businesses.

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