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business licenses

We, at the City of Greenville, recognize that business owners have time, effort, money and dreams invested in their business. And even though reaching a proper balance between residents and businesses is sometimes difficult, we at the City of Greenville, are committed to doing our part to help business owners and employees meet their dreams for business success.

We are often asked questions on what is needed or required for starting a business in the City of Greenville. These pages should be helpful in providing some insight on things that you need to do when starting a business. We have also included list of requirements on the Federal, State and City level as well as agencies and telephone numbers.

The City of Greenville has strived to make the process more convenient and customer friendly, for businesses coming into our City, by centrally locating Building, Zoning and Business License, all on the 4th floor of City Hall. We refer to this division as our "One Stop Shop," for all your Building, Zoning and Business License needs in the City of Greenville.

summary of federal, state and city regulations

federal regulations & resources

Hiring Employees – IRS Requirements

There are several federal and state requirements to meet if you plan to hire employees. You file a form SS-04 with the Internal Revenue Service, and the IRS will assign an employer identification number to your business. You will then be liable for Federal withholding taxes and FICA. The toll-free number to order the SS-04 is 1-800-829-FORM(3676).

Federal Resource List

Internal Revenue Service: 1-800-829-4477

IRS Toll-Free Forms: 1-800-829-FORM (3676)

Social Security Administration:

Report W2 information for employees, verify employee Social Security numbers, and much more online at

state regulations & resources

State Agencies and Functions

Retail licenses are required by some businesses and are issued by the SC Department of Revenue. There is a branch office in Greenville and they may be contacted at (864) 241-1200 for information on these and other State required licenses and permits.

Restaurant, grocery stores, or other businesses that handle food must obtain the approval health department prior to operation. If any alcohol is served, an ABC Permit is required by law.
Many professions and contractors must also be licensed by the State of South Carolina, and to work in Greenville contractors must obtain a SC State Contractors or Home Builder’s license prior to approval for a city business license.
You may contact the State Contractors board at (803) 896-4834 (Residential) or (803) 896-4686 (Commercial), for more information on State requirements.

State Resource List

SC Department of Revenue:
Greenville: 864- 241-1200
Columbia: 803- 898-5300

SC Department of Revenue ABC Permit:
830- 898-5864

Greenville County Health Department –
Food Service Permit: 864- 282-4100
(A local office of the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control)

South Carolina Contractor Licensing Board – Contractor’s License:
Residential: 803- 896-4696
Commercial: 803-896-4686

Have more questions? Additional information can be found at MYSCGOV.



city regulations & resources

Business License Requirements

Any business that is located within the City of Greenville or any non-resident business that comes into the city that engages in, causes to be in, and/or represents himself/herself to be engaged in, any occupation or activity with the object of gain, benefit, or advantage, either directly or indirectly are required to purchase a business license each year (January 1st to December 31st). Temporary and one-time licenses are issued when appropriate and are valid for the specified time period on the License.

Hospitality Tax Information for Restaurants and Bars

The Greenville City Council authorized the levy of a two percent local hospitality tax on prepared meals and beverages, inclusive of alcoholic beverages, beer and wine sold in establishments effective July 1, 2001. These funds will be used for tourist related activities and improvements. All city restaurants, bars, lounges and private clubs serving food and/or alcohol are required to pay this tax. For questions regarding this tax, contact 864-467-4543.
To download a copy of the tax form click here. To refer to the hospitality tax table, click here.
To download a copy of the Hospitality Tax Handbook, click here.

How to Obtain a Business License

We recognize that business owners have time, effort, money and dreams invested in their business. In order to better serve the needs of all business owners, resident and non-resident, the City has created a "One Stop Shop", on the 4th floor of City Hall. The "One Stop Shop", has Building, Zoning and Business License all in one location which helps to streamline the process of meeting the requirements for obtaining a business license, permit, etc., making it as simple and convenient as possible.

Business license applications and rate sheets may be obtained at the Business License Division, P.O. Box 2207, 206 S. Main Street, Greenville, SC 29602. All businesses must meet:

– Building Codes
– Zoning Codes
– Fire and Life Safety Codes
– Sign Ordinance
– Business License Ordinance/Code

We will be happy to assist you with the application process at 864-467-4550.

Contractors wanting to operate within the City of Greenville will be required to provide a copy of their SC State Contractors or Home Builder’s license prior to approval for a city business license. You may contact the State Contractors Board at 803-896-4834, for more information on the State requirements.
Residential 803- 896-4696 Commercial 803- 896-4686

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