Business Licenses

Learn about the different classes of business licenses and how business taxes are collected.


Effective, January 1, 2010, payment of all Business Tax will be made to the Tennessee Department of Revenue.  Those wishing to obtain a business license will still make initial applications through the Jefferson County Clerk.

Business License

Each business has up to twenty (20) days after it opens to apply for a county business license. The initial license fee is $15.00. If a business is located within the city limits of a municipality, the business is also required to hold a city license. The city license can be obtained at city hall. If the business has gross receipts totaling $3,000.00 or less, the business is not subject to hold a business license. However, they must have an exemption statement on file. A business planning to gross between $3,000.00 and $10,000.00 per year may apply for a Minimal Activity License, which is renewable yearly at the clerk's office for a fee of $15.00 and not tax payments are made to the Department of Revnue.  Click "here" to download a business tax license application.

Business Classifications

There are five (5) - classifications based on the activities of the business. Your business will file a tax return and pay taxes based on the total gross receipts for its fiscal year.  Examples of the activities associated with each classification are listed below.

  • CLASS 1 — Gas stations, grocery stores, lumber & building supplies
  • CLASS 2 — Restaurants, car dealers, clothing stores
  • CLASS 3 — Body shops, beauty shops, janitorial services, general services
  • CLASS 4 — Contractors, sub-contractors, exterminators
  • CLASS 5 — Industrial Loan and Thrift Companies, Natural Gas Marketers

At the end of the business's fiscal year, tax payments should ge made online to the Tennessee Department of Revenue.  Click "here".  A business, unless exempt, operating without a current business license is violating state laws.

Sales Tax Certificate & Number

All sales tax matters are directed to the Tennessee Department of Revenue – Taxpayer Services in Knoxville. An application form with the address and phone numbers is available at the County Clerk’s office. The phone number for the Knoxville office is (865) 594-6100.

Personal Property Taxes

Personal property taxes are credited when filing your business license. The Assessor of Property assesses these taxes. All questions regarding Personal Property Tax should be directed to (865) 397-3326. A brochure is available at the Assessor of Property’s Office.