Licensing & Regulations
All businesses - home-based, storefront or office based - are subject to a number of permits and licenses, zoning requirements, tax obligations, and other laws at the city, county and state level. While every business may not be subject to all the requirements, it is important to carefully study the information provided by your respective city, county and state governments. Unfortunately, there is no common set of guidelines which can be given - the requirements vary from city to city, county to county and state to state. Many requirements are related to the type of business you are starting, the legal structure you choose, the estimated revenues or the number of employees.
City Hall is the first place to call to learn the requirements of the city where you plan to operate. Ask your city representatives for a copy of the home occupation guidelines and an application for a home occupation permit. Some cities do not require a home occupation permit; however, they will probably still have a list of home occupation guidelines.
The primary registration required at the county level is for business property tax purposes. You may also be required to obtain a merchant's/manufacturer's license if you deal with tangible goods. The county courthouse - usually the assessor's office - is where you seek information on registering your business at the county level.
Kansas operates a clearinghouse phone line to answer questions and inform you of the state registration requirements and tax obligations. In Kansas, call 785-296-5298, describe the type of business you are starting and they will send you a packet with the appropriate state forms for your particular business. In Missouri, visit www.missouribusiness.net/startup/. Missouri's central phone line is 1-888-751-2863 (MissouriBusiness.Net). The web page listed will provide information and direct you to local resources.
Be aware that since Kansas City business owners often cross state lines, you may be required to register your business in both states. Also, if you collect sales tax, you may be required to make separate reports to each state. To find out if doing business across the state line affects your business, discuss this matter with the representative at the state numbers mentioned earlier.
One last note, if you live in an area with a homeowners' association, be sure to check their covenants. While homeowners' associations don't fall under the classification of a level of government, their rules can sometimes be more restrictive than the city, county or the state.