Business and Alcohol License

Business License General Information

2016 DeKalb County Business License Renewal

The 2016 DeKalb County Business License Renewal period commences January 1, 2017.

Your renewal request for information will be sent to you during the month of December 2016.  You may obtain a copy of a renewal request for information by following the steps below.

To renew your DeKalb County Business License for 2017, you must submit a renewal request for information and a completed SAVE affidavit along with government picture identification.

These items should be returned to us no later than February 1st to expedite the processing of your billing statement.

Additional items that must be submitted with the 2016 "Renewal Request for Information" form are optional depending upon the type of business and are listed as follows:

  1. Effective January 2016, all owners of multifamily rental dwellings and/or multifamily rental units within unincorporated parts of the county that receive income from four or more such units and meet the requirements of O.C.G.A. Section 48-13-5 for having a location or office within the unincorporated parts of the county, shall submit the required inspection reports and file (simultaneously with their business occupation tax return), a code compliance certificate(s) for inspection of the required percent of units within the owner’s multifamily property and pay the applicable administrative fee.
  2. Agriculture Permit – a copy must be submitted for convenient stores, pest control, meat and fish markets and food warehouses for pre-packaged food businesses.
  3. Department of Community Health Certificate – a copy must be submitted for businesses such as personal care homes, community living arrangements and home health care.
  4. Bright From The Start Certificate – a copy must be submitted for child care businesses.
  5. Professional State License – a copy must be submitted for businesses such as accountants, architects, attorneys, barbering, chiropractors, cosmetologist, certified public accounts, dentist, electrical contractors, embalmers, engineers, exterminators, funeral directors, general contractors, heating and air conditioning, land surveyor, low voltage, massage therapy, nurses, plumbing, nail salons, professional counselors, psychologist, real estate brokers, social workers, used car brokers and veterinarians.

STEP 1.  Please click on one of the links below to obtain the appropriate copy of the "Renewal Request for Information."  (Please review the corresponding form for more detailed instructions.)

Renewal Request for Information Form 2016 (Legal)
Renewal Request for Information Form 2016 (Professional)
Renewal Request for Information Form 2016 (General)

Please remember to complete the applicable E-VERIFY item on the renewal request for information.

STEP 2. For non-U.S. Citizens Only Please click on the link below to obtain a copy of the SAVE Affidavit.

Affidavit Verifying Status for County Public Benefit Application (SAVE)
List of eligible government picture identification

STEP 3.  Submit your Information to DeKalb County Business License Office.

Please complete and submit your renewal request for information, SAVE (Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlement) affidavit, government picture identification and other optional items mentioned above to:

1.   FedEx or UPS

DeKalb County Business and Alcohol Licensing
330 West Ponce de Leon Ave.
2nd Floor
Decatur, GA 30031
2.   Regular Mail

DeKalb County Business and Alcohol Licensing
P.O. Box 100020
Decatur, GA 30030

If you want to have the renewal processed in person, please visit the office located at 330 West Ponce de Leon Ave. – 2nd Floor, Decatur, GA 30030.  Office hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Renewal request for information will not be accepted by fax.

An incomplete "Renewal Request for Information" will be returned and will delay processing of your business license.

If you have any questions concerning the 2016 business license renewal process, please contact us at (404) 371-2461.

DeKalb County Alcohol Renewal Season - 2017

The 2017 Alcohol Renewal Season commences October 1, 2016 and ends December 31, 2016.

DeKalb County Code Section 4-52 requires licensees to submit the renewal application and payment of the license fees by November 30, 2016 for the 2017 year.  Renewal applications and payment of the 2017 license fees must be received in our office before 3:00 p.m. local time, or postmarked by the U.S. Postal Service no later than November 30, 2016 to avoid assessment of a ten percent late payment penalty and interest charges of one percent.

No renewal of an alcoholic beverage license shall be accepted after December 31, 2016.  Any previously licensed business that fails to renew by December 31, 2016 will be required to reapply as if no previous alcohol license had been issued.  Selling of alcoholic beverages on an expired license or without a license subjects the licensee and business to denial of a new or renewal license.

The licensee on record with our office must sign and notarize the renewal application.  Failure to fully complete the alcohol renewal application will delay processing of your renewal because incomplete applications will be mailed back to the business operator to be fully completed.  In addition, all alcoholic beverage establishments must have a current 2016 occupational tax certificate prior to the completion of the 2017 Alcohol Renewal and the release of the alcoholic beverage license.

Alcoholic beverage licenses are not transferable and any change of ownership, not authorized by Code Section 4-53 automatically cancels the last alcohol license issued to your business.  If changes in licensee, location, and/or ownership have occurred, please contact our office via the numbers referenced below.

If there were no ownership or licensee changes, please fully complete the renewal application to include requested corporate data as is current, and mail it back to us with a cashier's check or money order for the exact amount due.


DeKalb County Alcohol License Renewal - The alcohol license renewal is to be used to make your 2017 alcohol license selections.

Please click on the link below to obtain a copy of the DeKalb County alcohol license renewal form.

DeKalb County Alcohol License Renewal

Sunday Sales Application - A Sunday sales application is to be used as a worksheet to calculate and report the percentage of food and beverage service for the last twelve months is derived from the sales of food and food products.  This worksheet is to be used by consumption-on-premises establishments only.  Sunday sales is of no cost to retail establishments (convenience stores, packages stores, etc.).

Please click on the link below to obtain a copy of the Sunday sales application (if applicable).

Sunday Sales Application


Please complete and submit your DeKalb County alcohol license renewal and Sunday sales application (if applicable) to:

1.   FedEx or UPS

DeKalb County Business and Alcohol Licensing
330 West Ponce de Leon Ave.
2nd Floor
Decatur, GA 30031
2.   Regular Mail

DeKalb County Business and Alcohol Licensing
P.O. Box 100020
Decatur, GA 30030

If you have any questions concerning alcohol license renewals please contact the Business License Office at (404) 371-2461 and (404) 371-2948.

Hours of Operation

The window hours for Business and Alcohol Licensing are 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, (holidays excluded), which is consistent with window hours at the Building Services Division and the Land Development Office.  These hours ensures that staff have ample time to provide quality customer service, answer all inquiries in a timely manner, complete service requests in a timely manner and complete training requirements.

This information is provided as a public service to assist those persons interested in establishing and conducting a business in unincorporated DeKalb County. It is not deemed to be all-inclusive. Any error or omissions herein will not relieve the business owner of responsibility, obligation or liability in fulfilling all legal requirements.

Presented here is general information that applies to all business and some that applies to only specific activities. You will also find a directory of governmental and non-governmental agencies that you may be required to comply with, or who can offer businesses assistance.

Authority To License

The State of Georgia permits counties to license for both revenue and regulation (Official Code of Georgia, Chapter 13 of Title 48). Municipalities and some counties license business for revenue to broaden the tax base because a business uses, or causes to be used, more municipal services than a residence. County Code Sec 15-28 states that anyone who carries on a business or profession without procuring the license is guilty of a misdemeanor.

DeKalb County’s business tax ordinance is detailed in Chapter 15 of the DeKalb County Code.

When the business tax is paid, a business license certificate is issued. This is commonly called a business license and the terms “business license,” “business certificate” and “business regulation” are used interchangeably.

If you have any questions concerning your registration or other requirements, our staff members will gladly assist you.

Who Needs A Business License?

A separate license/certificate is required for each branch or separate location of business. Any person, including but not limited to an individual, partnership, corporation or limited liability company, who wishes to conduct any business within Unincorporated DeKalb County either directly or indirectly, must secure a business license. County law states that no person shall engage in business or transact and carry on a business activity, show, or exhibition, without complying with any and all applicable provisions of Chapter 15 of the County Code.

All businesses require our Zoning Department’s approval, while regulated businesses require some additional approvals prior to obtaining the business license.

Home-Based Business
A Home-Based business is allowed if it merely serves as the base of operations and the activity does not create any traffic or noise, does not involve customers at the home, and there are no identifying signs. The use of residential property for business purposes requires the completion of our Home Occupation Supplemental Registration Form (HOP). For information or questions regarding Home-Based Business and Zoning, please contact the Planning and Sustainability Department at (404) 371-4915.

Owners of Residential or Commercial Property
Owners of residential and/or commercial rental properties must have a business license.

Independent Contractors
Independent contractors are in business for themselves and must obtain a business license prior to commencing work. Generally, if payroll taxes are not deducted from your pay, you are an independent contractor.

Business Basics For the New Business Owner

Planning/Zoning and Sign Approvals
The Zoning Department reviews all new applications and changes of addresses to ensure compliance with zoning regulations for that business location. They must approve the business activity to be conducted at that location prior to issuance of a Business and Occupational Tax Certificate.

Signs are strictly regulated. For information about zoning and signs, contact the Planning and Sustainability Department at (404) 371-4915.

Trade Names/Doing Business As (TN/DBA)
Anyone using a trade name (also referred to as a DBA or “doing business as”) must record the name with the Clerk of Superior Court. Trade names are a separate legal requirement, and are not business licenses. For information about trade names contact the section at (404) 371-2836.

Ownership Types
Business ownership is classified into one of the following types of ownership entities (legal business structures): Sole proprietor, partnership, limited partnership, limited liability company, corporation. To determine which type of organization best suits your needs, contact your legal or tax professional. Information is also available through the Small Business Administration.

How To Obtain A Business License

Obtaining the Application
The initial steps to register a business begin in the Business Registration Office on the second  floor of the Clark Harrison Building at 330 West Ponce de Leon Ave. The licensing process begins with the submission of the DeKalb County Business Registration Application. Applications may be obtained via this website, or in person at the office.

Completing the Application
Read the Business Registration Application thoroughly and complete all sections that apply.

Every application must contain at least the following:

  • Business name
  • Type or line of business to be conducted.
  • Business location.
  • Contact phone number(s).
  • Number of employees.
  • Copy of certificate of incorporation and listing of owners or corporate officers.
  • Appropriate tax payment.
  • A valid signature.
  • Government issued photographic identification (driver license).
  • Notary certification signature and stamp.

*Post office boxes and mail handling facilities can be used for the mailing address, but cannot be used for a business location. The applicant’s residence address must be used if there is no other place of business.

If more than one person is an owner, all owners must be listed. In the case of a corporation, all corporate officers must be listed.

Sanitation Requirements

Please call (404) 294-2900 or (404) 294-2903 for questions pertaining to sanitation requirements for businesses.

Other Regulated Businesses
Additional documentation may be required  if you wish to operate a business in any of thefollowing categories. All business types listed will require additional review, approval or a permit. Businesses are subject to review and approval by any or all of the following: Business Licensing, County Board of Commissioners, Fire Department, Planning and Zoning and/or Police Department. Certain business will also be required to submit to Law Department review.

Automobile Sales (1) Bakery (2)
Amusement Games Arcade Barber Shop (1)
Braiding Salon (1) Burglar Alarm 1&3
Butcher (2) Catering (4)
Child Care (5) Chiropractors (1)
Circus/Carnival (13) Dances/Dance Hall
Firearms Dealer/Sales (3&6) Doctor/Dentist (1)
Fortune Teller (3) Heating & Air-Condition (1)
Hotel/Motel Business (7&8) Ice Cream Shops (4)
Limousines (9,10,&11) Massage Estab./Parlor (1&3)
Massage Therapist (1&3) Non-Profit Business (12)
Pawn Broker/Shop (3) Peddler/Door to Door Sales
Personal Care Home (4&5) Pest Control (1)
Physical Therapy (1) Plumbing Business (1)
Pools & Billiards Room Precious Metals and Gems (3)
Private Patrol/Security Guards (1&3) Produce Stand (2)
Real Estate Agents (1) Restaurants/Night Club (4)
Seafood: Retail/Wholesale (2) Specialized Contractors (1)
Taxi/Vehicle for Hire (3&11) Welding Shop
  1. State License
  2. Agriculture Department Letter
  3. Police Background Clearance
  4. Fire and/or Health Inspection
  5. DHR State License
  6. Federal Firearms License
  7. Tourist Permit
  8. PSC Registration
  9. Regulatory Enforcement App.
  10. Proof of Insurance
  11. IRS 501C3 Letter
  12. BOC Permit

Completed applications should be delivered or mailed to our mailing address. The application becomes effective when all necessary approvals have been received. The Business License Certificate will be mailed normally within two weeks.

Business Categories

All business and/or business activities will be categorized into one of the following:

A. Commercial Business Generally includes all businesses located within the county (i.e. shops, restaurants, offices, hotels, etc.) and some located out of county conducting business with the county. Also includes commercial and residential rental/lease property.
B. Building Contractors Engineers, General and Specialty
C. Contract Employees Those persons not specifically considered employees under state and/or federal regulations.
D. Home Occupations Includes all home-based businesses and home offices.
E. Delivery Vehicles All commercial delivery vehicles require a business license.
F. Miscellaneous Includes all business activity not categorized above.

Tax Rates

Business License taxes consist of four parts (1) a $75.00 non-refundable administrative fee, (2) an per worker employee fee, (3) a $50.00 minimum flat tax, and (4) a gross receipt tax based on an estimated gross receipts figure.

Listed below are general business license fees only. These fees will not necessarily apply to all business types. Additionally, there may also be other permit, inspection or background fees depending on your business activity. The business’ tax class is based on the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). Contact Business Licensing at (404) 371-2461 or (404) 371-9274 to obtain your proper classification.

Business & Occupational Tax Rates
Tax Class Administrative Fee Employee Fee Gross Receipts Tax - Minimum Rate Per Dollar Gross Receipts
Class1 $75.00 $4.00 $50.00 0.000300
Class2 $75.00 $6.00 $50.00 0.000500
Class3 $75.00 $8.00 $50.00 0.000700
Class4 $75.00 $10.00 $50.00 0.000900
Class5 $75.00 $12.00 $50.00 0.001100
Class6 $75.00 $14.00 $50.00 0.001300

Important Information About Business Licenses

Change of Business Activity, Business Location or Ownership
A Business License Certificate is not transferable. The certificate is terminated when business ownership changes. It also becomes inactive when a business changes location. Changes in business activity/description require zoning approval. Advise the Business License Office immediately of any changes to your business registration application, especially if the business has ceased to operate.

Posting of Business License Certificate
All Business License Certificates must be displayed on the premises of the place of business. It must be posted in a conspicuous place and open to public viewing.

Business Tax is Payable in Advance
Payment must be made on or before commencement of business activity. Payment is for the privilege of conducting business in the periods ahead. Applicants shall provide an estimate of their gross receipts and number of employees for the rest of the year. The estimate will be changed to actual figures when renewed for the following year.

Business License Renewals
Once your business has obtained a Business License Certificate, a courtesy “Request for Information Form” renewal notice will automatically be mailed to you at the end of each year. Request for Information Forms should be completed and returned prior to February 1st of each year. The Request for Information Form enables us to compare estimates with actual figures, and results in the generation of the "Occupational Tax Billing Statement." If you do not receive a renewal notice, please contact Business Licensing. Failure to receive a renewal notice does not relieve the business ownership of responsibility to renew the business registration.

Occupational Tax Certificate renewal payments are due by April 15 of each year and the tax must be paid by April 30 to avoid late penalties of 10 percent and interest of one percent.

Business License Refunds
All business license refunds must be requested in writing. The administrative fee will not be refunded except in cases whereas the application and taxes were submitted outside of the appropriate county or municipality.

A refund request may not be approved in cases whereas the business has moved to another municipality and notification to our office was not provided in a timely manner (60 days), unless verification is provided to us which shows that the business has obtained a business license from the municipality in which they have relocated.

Regulated Businesses and Privilege Licenses

Alcoholic Beverages
The Business Licensing Section processes all alcoholic beverage licenses and annual renewals. In addition to zoning approval and other requirements, alcohol related business must have a business license. The applicant/licensee and all owners with a share of ten percent (10%) or more must pass a background investigation as conducted by the DeKalb County Police Services Department. All information must be provided in duplicate. Other documentation required includes: 1) driver’s license, 2) birth certificate or naturalization certificate, and 3) two original pictures. Public Safety and the Finance Department enforce the alcohol rules and regulation, and the Regulatory Enforcement Unit issues permits for employees to work in alcohol related businesses. Regulatory Enforcement may be reached at (404) 297-3934. If your business plans to sell or serve alcoholic beverages, please contact the section manager at (404) 371-2948.

Adult Establishment License
In addition to zoning approval requirements, all applications for sexually oriented businesses, as defined by DeKalb County Code, will be reviewed by the business license manager. For additional information, please contact the section manager at (404) 371-2948.

DeKalb County, Georgia


General Information Line (404) 371-2000
Board of Commissioners (404) 371-2886
Code Enforcement (404) 417-1240
Contract & Compliance (404) 371-4795
Child Care Permits (404) 371-4915
Fire Department (404) 294-2348
Gun Permit (404) 371-4962
Planning Department (404) 371-2155
Property Tax (404) 298-4000
Regulatory Enforcement (404) 297-3934
Sanitation Service (404) 294-2890
Water Department (404) 378-4475