Over the past five years, Tucson has continued to grow and expand as a hub for millennials and entrepreneurs of all ages. If you’ve considered joining the start-up crowd, now is a terrific time to put your best foot forward, take a risk, and dive in.
A good first step is to apply for a business license. Joel Peterson, Revenue Administrator for the City of Tucson, chatted with us about the process. These are his answers to questions that might be posed by an imaginary entrepreneur.
1. I have a fantastic business idea! At what point, do I need to fill out an application for a business license?
If you are located in Tucson or will be doing business in Tucson, you need a Tucson business license. You should obtain the business license before conducting business in Tucson.
2. How much does it cost to apply for a business license and what is the process?
For most business types, there is a $25 application fee and an annual renewal fee of $45. The initial annual fee is prorated by quarter based on the start date of the business. If your business is starting between April 1 and June 30, the fee is $33.75. If your business is starting between July 1 and September 30, the fee is $22.50. If your business is starting between October 1 and December 31, the fee is $11.25. Please note: The business license is slated to go from $45 to $50 in January 2015 and the State at that time will begin collecting a Tax License of $20 on behalf of the City.
There are three different ways to apply.
City Hall – License Section
255 W Alameda
Tucson, AZ 85701
Business License in lobby area first floor
Apply by mail:
Print, complete and return the application form along with payment to:
City of Tucson – Business License
PO Box 27210
Tucson, AZ 85726-7210
3. Do I need to apply just once or annually?
You only need to apply once and the license is renewed annually.
4. Which box should I check on the form – Individual, LLC, Partnership, Limited Partnership, etc.?
This depends on the type of ownership the business will be under. If the business will be operated by a sole proprietor, the ownership type is individual. Two or more individuals operating together form a partnership. A Limited Liability Company (LLC) or Corporation is formed through the Corporation Commission. Names of LLC members and corporate officers are provided on the application. We recommend you consult you business advisor, attorney, or accountant for the specifics surrounding this question.
5. Do I need to fill out a business license in Tucson if I am starting an online business…or can I just apply for an LLC with the state of Arizona?
If the business is located inside the City of Tucson, it should have a City business license.
6. I’d love to pursue seed funding and/or work with an angel investor! Can you point me in the right direction?
7. Where can I go to apply for a business grant?
For questions 6 & 7, we can not make recommendations of this nature. Please check with the organizations under question 9 below.
8. Do I need to pay taxes quarterly or annually?
A business that is required to pay tax would be placed on a monthly filing frequency.
9. What professional organizations do you recommend for new business owners in Tucson?
Some available resources are:
- U.S. Small Business Administration
- Arizona Commerce Authority
- Small, Minority, and Women-Owned Business Commission (SMWBC)
Note from the TucsonTopia Editor: You might also want to consider these organizations –
- Arizona Small Business Association
- Caballeros Del Sol
- Greater Tucson Leadership
- Imagine Greater Tucson
- Local First Arizona
- National Association of Women Business Owners Tucson
- Southern Arizona Leadership Council
- Startup Tucson
- Tucson Metro Chamber
- Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities
- Tucson Young Professionals
10. How can I find a business mentor to help me along the way?
Please check with organizations under question 9.
Best wishes with your business venture!
Have additional questions? Call the City of Tucson’s Small Business Assistance Hotline at 520-837-4100.