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Important Information from the City of Columbia Business License Division

By May 15, 2020May 17th, 2020No Comments

The Business License Division remains closed to the public until further notice to protect citizens and minimize opportunities to spread COVID-19 in our community.

Please note the important details below regarding our services:

  1. The 2020 business license renewal deadline has been extended from April 15 to May 15. 
  2. All in-city businesses must submit a copy of their 2019 IRS Tax Return and paid Business Personal Property Tax receipt along with the 2020 business license renewal application. If you have not yet filed a 2019 tax return, the following documents will be accepted:
    – Income Statement
    – Profit & Loss Statement
    – Sales & Use Tax Report (retail businesses only)
    – Prior Year 2018 IRS Tax Return (This is for estimates only. The 2019 tax return must be submitted once filed, and any necessary adjustments will be made prior to issuing the business license).
  3. Penalties for current hospitality tax and tourism development fees have been deferred until June 30, 2020. 
  4. All applications, payments, and correspondences can be submitted by mail and drop box at the location listed below. You may also contact us by phone, email, or fax. 

Applying For a New Business License
The City of Columbia requires every person engaged or intending to engage in any calling, business, occupation or profession in whole or in part within the limits of the city to pay an annual license fee and obtain a business license as provided in the ordinance. New businesses pay license fees on projected gross income from the start of business date through December 31st of that year.

Please see the application steps below for obtaining a new business license:

  1. A New Business Application must be completed and returned to the Business License Division via mail, email, fax, or drop box.
    A copy of the application can be downloaded from the Business License Webpage under the link New Business License.
  2. If the business activity will take place in a commercial location within the city limits of Columbia, one or more of the following clearance approvals may be required:
    – Zoning – $10 zoning fee required
    – Building Inspection
    – Fire Marshall
    – DHEC
    – Engineering 
  3. Please note that the timeframe for the completion of clearance approvals could vary up to 10 business days. 
  4. Once the business license application is complete, a staff member will contact the business owner to provide a payment invoice. Payments can be made by mail or dropbox. 
  5. The business license will be issued once the payment is processed. 


Due to modified operations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, there may be some delay in the processing of new business applications.

The business license staff is here to assist you with any questions or concerns you may have. A detailed overview of our services can also be found on the Business License webpage.

Contact Information:
Payment Drop Box: 1136 Washington Street, Columbia, SC 29201 (Right side of double doors)
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 147, Columbia, SC 29217
Phone: 803-545-3345 | Fax: 803-988-8025
Email: [email protected]

Contact: Business License Division at [email protected] or 803-545-3345