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Business Licensing - FAQs

1. What documents do i need to get a business license?

Depending on the types of licence you require, you normally need to provide your legal entity document, shareholder/director information, business plan, and some others such as finance statement audit, rental office agreement etc. Rest assured we will support you to do it all.

2. Which licences do One IBC® Group provide?
Depending on your business, we can support you to get any licence required from the local government.Contact to us for further details.
3. Do I need a business license if I have an LLC?

Generally, there is no need for any business license when forming an LLC. However, depending on the state and the industry in question, an LLC will need appropriate business licenses when operating. There are many types of license, issued at different levels, from federal all the way down to local town hall. Some states have laws making general business licenses compulsory regardless of the company’s type of business.

In order to avoid any trouble regarding business licenses for your LLC, check with the state government office or consult a corporate service provider like One IBC® to have a list of all potential required business licenses.

Some industries require a federal license. In other words, if an LLC operates in any of these sectors, they need to apply with the federal government for their business licenses:

  • Mining and drilling
  • Nuclear energy
  • Alcohol manufacturing, importing or selling
  • Aviation
  • Commercial fisheries, fishing and wildlife
  • Agriculture
  • Firearms, ammunition, or explosives
  • Radio and television
  • Transportation

The location of the LLC and business license requirements - Most popular states guide

All businesses operating in Alaska must have a state business license. The Occupational Licensing Section of the Division of Corporations, Business & Professional Licensing handles this.

In California, there is no standard state business license. However, companies have to apply for local business licenses at the city's offices or city hall.

The Delaware Division of Revenue requires business licenses, even for companies doing business outside of the state. City and/or county business licenses are also compulsory as well.

Florida business license is applied at the Department of Business and Professional Regulations Application Center. Most counties in Florida also require business/occupational licenses or business tax receipts.

The Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development has a list of statewide business licenses and a list of any counties’ special licenses or permissions, very convenient to check if the company needs any license in this state.

In New York, there is no standard state business license, but there are some industry specific and/or local licenses.

There is no statewide business license in Texas. In most Texas cities, a local business license is not necessary as well. However, some industries require their own specific licenses.

A state business license is compulsory in Washington, processed by the Business Licensing Service. Local business licenses are required in Washington as well.

4. What is my business license number?

The business license number is located at the top of the business license certificate or it is usually corresponding with a certain other number issued by the government office during the application process. The business license number can also be looked up at the local business license office using said other number if the certificate is not available.

The type of business license number (also known as a company license number) depends on the city, county or state in question. Most companies, regardless of their size, must register for a business license number and apply for any additional necessary licenses. Some firms need to have a business license number ready before starting their business operation.

In some cases, simply having a tax identification number (such as the EIN) is sufficient. This depends on the type of business, as well as the location in which it is located and operates. Bear in mind, a tax identification number is not the same as the business license number because it is used solely for federal financial purposes.

5. What types of business licenses and permits will I need for my business?

Your company may need to obtain one or more types of business licenses and permits in order to legally operate in the country it is registered in. The types of business license will depend on the jurisdiction you reside in, products and/or services you're selling, your company structure, and the number of employees you have. Because there are too many different license and permit requirements in each country/jurisdiction, there is no universal way to know exactly what type you need for your business.

Here are some common types of business licenses and permits you should know:

  • Seller’s permit/license: to collect sales tax on any taxable goods/services
  • Professional license: required for some specific businesses such as: accounting, legal counsel, plumbing work, massage therapy.
  • Financial services licensing: can be divided into 4 types:
    • Broker license: A must-have if you are doing business in trade markets
    • E-money License: For business that needs its own payment system
    • Banking License: Mainly for small credit organizations to provide banking services
    • Financial License: Important license for financial management and investment funds services
6. What types of businesses need a license?

Before starting a business, you must have wondered at some point, what types of businesses need a license? As required by government law, businesses must have at least one business license or permit issued by their local, county, or state government. The exact type of business license you need will depend on where you're operating, the products or services you're selling, and what your business structure is.

Here are some types of businesses that require a license that you need to know about:

1. Any type of business - General business license

You need a general license to run your business in almost any country and territory.

2. Product or service business - Seller's license

Businesses need a seller's license to be able to sell their products and services in-store or online. It is also possible to collect sales tax on any taxable goods.

3. Companies doing business under another name - Business license doing-business-as (DBA)

A DBA license allows you to legally operate your business under a brand name other than the one you have registered with the government. In certain areas, this license is also known as a trade name license.

4. Health-related business type - Health license

Many types of businesses such as restaurants, beauty salons, tattoo parlors must be inspected and considered for a health license. This license helps keep you and your customers safe.

5. Businesses related to alcohol and beer - Liquor license

You will need this license regardless of the type of business that serves alcohol, including bars, restaurants, event venues and more. You should also consult the laws and permits from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau before starting to operate.

6. Businesses providing certain professional services - Professional license

Certain types of companies as well as employees require a professional license before operating. Most of the companies that need this type of license operate in the service sector such as accounting, legal advice, infrastructure repair.

7. How to get a business license?

When you start a new offshore business, it is likely that you will have to apply for a business license and other necessary permits to run your company legally.

The industry and location you run your business will determine which types of license and permit you need. The license fee will vary accordingly. Because it takes time and resources to get a business license, it is important to find an expert to get the advice on what you need to get a business license.

There are 5 simple steps to get a business license with One IBC®:

  • Step 1: Do a license research.
  • Step 2: Make your payment.
  • Step 3: Prepare the required licensing documents.
  • Step 4: File your application form
  • Step 5: Receive your business license.

For more information, please visit here to learn about steps and what you need to get a business license for your offshore company.

8. What licenses do I need to start a business?

Almost all businesses will need some type of license, and many businesses will need to apply for several different types of permits. This depends largely on where you live and the type of industry you're in. Here are the licenses and permits needed to start a business that you should know.

  • General Business License: Businesses are often required to have a general business license to operate. These are also considered indispensable licenses and permits needed to start a business.
  • DBA (Doing-business-as) License: You will need this license if you are operating your business under a fictitious business name (also known as a DBA name).
  • Federal and State Tax Identification Numbers: Applying for a federal EIN, also known as a tax identification number, is almost mandatory for most businesses.
  • Tax sales license: If your business sells goods, you may need to apply for this type of business license.
  • Zoning permit: There are some regions or localities that have laws that prohibit the sale of certain products or services. You will have to learn to apply for this license before proceeding with business.
  • Home Residency permit: This permit is applicable to home-based businesses.
  • Professional license: All types of businesses, especially in the professional services industry, companies and employees need this license.
  • Health Permit: You will need this if you are in the food industry or are involved in employee and customer health.
  • Special federal permits: A federal license will be required if your business engages in activities supervised by a federal agency.

Above is a brief list of licenses and permits needed to start a business, which we hope has provided the necessary information for you and your future business.

+ Singapore

1. What are some of the reporting requirements for licensed financial advisers?

Licensed financial advisers are required to prepare and lodge with MAS a true and fair profit and loss account and a balance sheet made up to the last day of its financial year in accordance with the provisions of the Companies Act (Cap. 50), where applicable. The above documents are to be lodged together with an auditor‘s report in Form 17. In addition, they are required to submit Forms 14, 15, and 16, where applicable. These documents are to be lodged within 5 months, or within such extension of time as may be permitted by MAS, after the end of the financial adviser‘s financial year

2. Why does MAS regulate certain aspects of financial planning and not the full range of financial planning activities? What is the distinction between a Financial Advisor and a Financial Planner?

The types of services provided by financial planners vary widely. Some planners assess every aspect of their clients' financial profile, including savings, investments, insurance, tax, retirement, and estate planning, and help them develop detailed strategies to meet their financial objectives. Others may call themselves financial planners, but only provide advice on a limited range of products and services.

MAS regulates all financial planning activities related to securities, futures, and insurance. Tax and estate planning activities do not come under our regulatory ambit. Hence, only financial planners who conduct activities regulated under the FAA are required to be licensed as a financial adviser. A financial planner may conduct other activities such as tax planning, but these are not subject to supervision by MAS.

3. Who is exempt from holding a financial adviser's license?

Banks, merchant banks, finance companies, insurance companies, insurance brokers registered under the Insurance Act, holders of a capital markets services license under the Securities and Futures Act (Cap 289). are exempt from holding a financial adviser's license to act as a financial adviser in Singapore in respect of any financial advisory services. Nonetheless, exempt financial advisers and their appointed and provisional representatives are required to comply with the business conduct requirements stipulated in the FAA.

4. Is there a need for a licensed financial adviser to renew its license?

There is no need for a licensed financial adviser to renew its license. The license is valid until – 

  • The licensed financial adviser ceases to act as a financial adviser (pursuant to the Financial Advisers Regulations [―FAR‖], the licensed financial adviser would need to notify MAS within 14 days of its cessation by submitting Form 5); 
  • Its license is revoked by MAS; or 
  • Its license lapses in accordance with section 19 of the FAA.

+ Cayman Islands

1. What is a Master Fund in Cayman?

A "master fund" means a mutual fund incorporated or established in the Cayman Islands that holds the investments of and conducts trading activities on behalf of one or more regulated feeder funds. A "regulated feeder fund" means a CIMA regulated mutual fund that conducts more than 51% of its investing through another mutual fund.

2. What are the Requirements for AML in Cayman?

The Cayman Islands anti-money laundering and countering terrorist financing (AML) regime requires mutual funds to maintain AML procedures as appropriate to the size of the fund.

The requirements include: 

  • Adoption of a risk-based approach to monitoring investors and financial activities, together with adequate systems to identify risk (including checks against all applicable sanctions lists) in relation to persons, countries, and activities of the mutual fund; 
  • Observance of the list of countries that are non-compliant, or do not sufficiently comply, with the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force; 
  • Procedures for: 
    • investor identification and verification 
    • risk-management;
    • suspicious activity reporting;
      monitoring, and testing the systems for, compliance with AML and proliferation financing regulatory requirements; and 
    • Other internal control and communication procedures (eg a risk-based independent audit function)
3. Which entities fall within the scope of the revised definition of Private Funds?

The revised definition both clarifies the position for certain entity types and extends the scope of the PFL to additional entities. This clarification and extension may have changed the position for a number of entities, including but not limited to certain master funds, certain alternative investment vehicles and funds formed for a single investment.

4. Is there a transitional period for private fund registration?

The PF Law provides that private funds covered by the legislation must be registered by 7 August 2020. This applies both to private funds that were carrying on business on the date of the commencement of the PF Law (being 7 February 2020) and private funds that commence business within the six-month transitional period from 7 February 2020 to 7 August 2020. Private funds that launch on or after 7 August 2020 will need to comply with the registration timing requirements contained in the PF Law, as summarised below.

5. What does the Securities Investment Business Law consider to be securities?

Securities Investment Business Law (SIBL) defines "securities" as:

  • Shares or stock of any kind of the share capital of a company (endnote)
  • Debentures, loan stock, bonds, certificates of deposit, and any other instrument that creates or acknowledges debt (excluding various banking and monetary instruments e.g. cheques, mortgage instruments, and land charges).
  • Warrants and other instruments that allow the holder to subscribe to certain securities
  • Certificates or other instruments which confer contractual or proprietary rights
  • Options on any security and on any currency, precious metal or an option on an option
  • Futures
  • Rights under contracts for differences (e.g. cash-settled derivatives such as interest rate and stock index futures, forward rate agreements and swaps)
6. Is there a minimum net worth requirement for a Securities Investment Business licensee and if so, what is the minimum?

Under the Securities Investment Business (Financial Requirements and Standards) Regulations, Securities Investment Business licensees are required to have base financial resource requirements. In the case of broker-dealers, market makers, and securities managers, the base financial resource requirement is CI$100,000 and in the case of all other licensees, the requirement is CI$15,000.

7. Is a Securities Investment Business Licence required to have an insurance policy in place?

All Securities Investment Businesses licensed under the Securities Investment Business Law (the “SIBL”) must have and maintain adequate insurance coverage. The licensee must have insurance to cover 

  • Professional Indemnity, 
  • Professional Liability of Senior Officers and Corporate Secretaries, and 
  • Business Interruption, as required by Section 4(1) of the Securities Investment Business (Conduct of Business) Regulations.

Please refer to Authority’s Statement of Guidance – Professional Indemnity Insurance for Trust, Insurance, Mutual Fund Administrator, Securities Investment Business and Company Management Licensees and Directors for guidance.

+ Cyprus

1. What is Electric money?

Electronic money is a monetary value represented by a claim on the issuer, which is: 

  • Electronically-including magnetically-stored (e.g. chargeable internet based account, magnetic card). 
  • Issued on receipt of funds for the purpose of making payment transactions (conversion of bank money into electronic money). 
  • Accepted by a natural or legal person other than the electronic money issuer.
2. Why do I need to get a Business License in Cyprus?

The establishment of a PI or an EMI in Cyprus seems to be a natural strategic decision mainly driven by the following key factors: 

  • EU member states are compliant with EU laws and regulations. 
  • Eurozone member, making penetration in EU markets easier. 
  • Strong fundamentals for PI and EMI operations and a growing demand basis for such activities from many industry verticals active in Cyprus. 
  • Cost-effective setting up and on-going operational services. 
  • English is the language of Business. 
  • Business-friendly and transparent regulatory system. 
  • Opportunities in the local corporate and institutional market. 
  • Convenient time zone for conducting 24 hours a day business. 
  • Access to an extensive network of double tax treaties allowing for tax-efficient structuring. 
  • Favorable tax system. (e.g. no withholding tax on dividend distributions to foreign shareholders, 12.5% corporation tax with the possibility to drop up to 2.5% thanks to Notional Interest Deduction (NID), tax incentives for non-domiciled tax residents, etc.). 
  • Availability of a number of highly qualified professional service providers (e.g. accounting firms, legal firms, consultancy firms, etc.). 
  • Favorable tax regime for Intellectual Property (IP) rights, under specific requirements. 
  • Efficient regulator Central Bank of Cyprus (CBC) which provides streamlined procedures, reduced bureaucracy, and lower regulatory fees. 
  • Sophisticated infrastructure.

+ Mauritius

1. What is Global Business?

Global Business (GB) is a framework available in Mauritius to a resident corporation which proposes to conduct business activities outside Mauritius. GB is regulated by the Financial Services Commission (the ‘FSC’) under Section 71(1) of the Financial Services Act 2007 (FSA). There are 2 categories of Global Business Licences: 

  • Category 1 Global Business Licence (GBL1);
  • Category 2 Global Business Licence (GBL2).
2. What is the Corporate requirement for Investment Dealer in Section 2.2?

Corporate Requirement:

  • Certificate of Incorporation;
  • Certificate of current standing (where applicable);
  • A certified true copy of any licence/registration/authorisation held;
  • List of controlling shareholders and directors;
  • Latest audited financial statements; 
  • Corporate Profile - in case the latest audited accounts are not available;
  • Confirmation from the applicant/Management Company to the effect that it holds on record CDD documents on the controlling shareholders of the corporate body and that these will be made available to the Commission.
3. What are the activities that Investment Dealer

According to the FSC Investment Dealer (Broker) for Section 2.2 can do the following activities: 

  • Procedures with respect to onboarding and risk profiling of clients;
  • Details on the trading platform to be used; 
  • Process and transaction flow;
  • Execution of trades;
  • Details on trade confirmations to clients;
  • Details on monitoring of clients activity. 
4. What are the minimum capital requirements for Investment Dealer?

The applicant shall maintain a minimum stated unimpaired capital of Mauritian rupees 7 00,000 or an equivalent amount and submit evidence pertaining thereto. 

For a Global Business Company, the following should be submitted: 

  • An undertaking that the applicant shall at all times maintains the prescribed minimum stated unimpaired capital (currently, MUR 700,000 or it’s equivalent in another currency).
  • An undertaking that the applicant will not start its operations, trade, or incur any liabilities prior to meeting its minimum unimpaired stated capital of MUR 700,000 
  • An undertaking that within one month of the licence being issued evidence that the proceeds of the share issue amounting to MUR 700,000 or its equivalent have been credited to the applicant’s bank account will be submitted to the Commission. 

For a domestic company applying for an Investment Dealer (Full Service Dealer excluding Underwriting) Licence, the following should be submitted: 

  • The applicant should ensure that the stated capital of MUR 700,000 is injected prior to the licence being issued.
  • Certified true copies of statutory filings with respect to the share capital.
  • Confirmation that the stated capital is fully paid

+ Vanuatu

1. What is the benefit of Foreign Exchange Business License in Vanuatu?

With Foreign Exchange License in Vanuatu, Businesses can be accepted by all clients in the world. Moreover, businesses can be advertising their services & products in any way it might be deemed appropriate for it under the circumstances

2. Why Vanuatu Foreign Exchange business License

Some key characteristics of the Vanuatu Foreign exchange Business License include but are not limited to the very low costs compared to most regulated jurisdictions, the recognition it receives on an international level for its efforts in combating money laundering (important if later the broker will apply for a license with another jurisdiction), the swift adaptation in controlling and supervising uninterrupted relative to the increase in demand for its forex licenses, the favorable tax conditions (no tax on profit or capital gains).

If you have an Institutional business as a network and operate through a forex IB or White Label program, jurisdictions like Vanuatu are a great option to start your own brokerage, before moving forward into more complex and expensive alternatives. Unlike working unregulated, Vanuatu will provide comfort to your clients who need a regulated broker to support their trading needs.

3. What are the documents required for the Foreign Exchange Business License in Vanuatu?

Businesses will need this list of the document below:

  • Each beneficial owner, shareholder, director, authorized signatory and secretary must provide
  • CV of the director/shareholder dated and signed, showing at least 5 years on related experience in fund management securities and investment
  • A notarized copy of a valid passport (an English translation of the certification)
  • A notarized copy of proof of residential address (ex. utility bill that is not older than 3 months) (an English translation of the certification)
  • Independent references confirming CV and showing at least 5 years on related experience in fund management securities and investment (x2)
  • Criminal record from the native country of the applicant and notarized translation of it into English (if needed)
  • Notarized copies of university Diplomas in English, certified transcripts
  • A second ID of the shareholder(s) / director(s)
  • Professional letter / bank reference on director / shareholder (x2)
  • Bank statement proving the source of funds

Businesses also need the document for Account Opening and AML officer (Detail in the document required tab)

4. How long do I need to obtain Foreign Exchange Business License in Vanuatu?

From 4-6 Months

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