Licenses, Permits, Inspections and Taxes
Business License/Tax Office
State law requires that all businesses (with exceptions for professions,
manufacturers, and certain disabled persons) inside the city of Knoxville
have both city and county business licenses.
A simple form is completed on each business and a fee for the issue of the initial business license is levied.
Business taxes, unlike property taxes, are not based on an assessment performed by a government agency. Business taxes are assessed against the gross receipts during a certain time period.
Each year, gross receipts reporting forms are sent to all licensed businesses. The business owner must file gross receipts figures, take certain deductions allowed and figure the tax owed.
The following are examples of businesses in each class of business license. This list is not exhaustive:
Class I (Jan. 1- Dec. 31)
Service stations (gasoline), grocery stores, food wholesalers, hardware stores, building materials suppliers, feed stores, food brokers, beer package stores, beer wholesalers, wholesale gasoline and diesel fuel suppliers.
Class II (April 1- March 31)
Advertising specialty dealers, automobile and motorcycle dealers, boat and camper dealers, department stores, florists and plant stores, home furnishing stores, appliance and electronic stores, restaurants, liquor stores, liquor wholesalers, and all businesses not enumerated elsewhere.
Class III (July 1- June 30)
Antique dealers, delicatessens, jewelry stores, card shops and book stores, pawn shops, beauty and barber shops, schools, architectural and artist supply stores, stores dealing in hearing aids, razors, luggage, optical and ophthalmological supplies, typewriters, sporting goods and business services.
Class IV (Oct. 1-Sept. 30)
General contractors, subcontractors and produce dealers.
Business licenses expire on the due dates listed, but a 60-day grace period is allowed for reporting gross receipts, paying applicable taxes and purchasing a new license. Penalty and interest accrue as of the delinquent date.
|| Sept. 1
Payments can be made by cash, personal check or money order.
The downtown Business Tax Office is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday
through Friday and is located in room 450 of the City County Building,
400 Main Street, in downtown Knoxville. Download our Business
Tax License Application [PDF].
Financial information supplied to the city is confidential according to state law. The city cannot give this information to anyone other than the business owner or his/her authorized agent unless the records are under subpoena by a court.
Common Errors to Avoid
Paying city and county taxes together. The taxes are handled by two different agencies and payments should be sent to the proper office.
Not signing your tax return and your check. Include your taxpayer ID number on your check and sign check and tax form.
Errors in calculations. The figures are checked by the Tax Office and a license will not be issued if payment is incorrect.
Not calling the Business Tax Office if you need help. A phone call can clear up questions and insure that your report will be processed in a timely manner.
Dogs on Patios
The City now allows restaurants with outside dining areas, such as patios, to provide for dog owners to bring their dogs with them to the outdoor area.
Dogs cannot be taken through the inside area of the restaurant, but must be taken directly to the outside dining area. Restaurants must get a permit from the City to allow dogs and must post rules governing dogs in their place of business.
The special permit, which has a $20 application fee and does not have to be renewed, pertains only to pet dogs, not to service animals. Additional information and the application form are available here.
The form can be submitted in person at the City of Knoxville, Department of Finance and Accountability, Business Tax Section, Room 450 of the City County Building, or by mail to the City Business Tax Section, P. O. Box 1028, Knoxville 37901.