Business Licensing and Taxes
Who Needs a Rutherford County Business License?
Under state law, any business located in Rutherford County, Tennessee that has a total gross income of over $3,000.00 in a tax year is required to obtain a Rutherford County Business License. A Rutherford County Business License is required whether gross income consists of wholesale and/or retail sales or services. The fee for your first license is $15.00. Licenses for businesses are renewed automatically each year by mail once required taxes are filed and paid to the Tennessee Department of Revenue.
The law provides small businesses whose gross income is between $3,000 and $9,999 annually the opportunity to apply for a minimal activity license for each year of operation. The yearly license fee is $15 and must be paid and renewed each year at the Rutherford County Clerk's Office. Businesses holding this license do not file and pay business taxes to the Tennessee Department of Revenue.
Please note that if your business is located within the city limits of Murfreesboro, Smyrna, LaVergne, or Eagleville, you must also obtain a city business tax license from the respective city recorder's office. You would also be subject to paying business taxes for each city to the Tennessee Department of Revenue in the same way as described above.
Who is Exempt from a Rutherford County Business License?
State law exempts certain businesses from licensing and required business tax payments. Examples of these include services provided by accountants, security agent/broker/dealer/investment advisors, attorneys, dentists, engineers, physicians, psychologists, veterinarians, and others. Manufacturers selling their products from their manufacturing location only are generally exempt from business tax as well. Visit the Department of Revenue's website at www.TN.gov/revenue for more information.
How Can I Obtain a Rutherford County Business License?
Apply for your business license online at http://www.tncountyclerk.com. The application form can also be obtained from the Business Tax Department in the Office of the Rutherford County Clerk. Once completed, the form provides the information necessary to create a record of your business; classify the business; and issue a license. The Business Tax Department charges $15.00 for the initial business license. Our staff will help you determine which business tax classification is necessary as part of your registration. Please contact the Business Tax Department in the office of the Rutherford County Clerk at (615) 898-7800 if you would like more information about this topic or visit the Department of Revenue's website at www.TN.gov/revenue.
Where Can I renew my business license and pay business taxes?
As of January 1, 2010, Business tax returns will now be filed with the Tennessee Department of Revenue (www.tn.gov/revenue), instead of the county clerk and/or city official. For more tax information, call toll free 1-800-342-1003 (out-of-state) or (615)253-0600 for the Nashville area.
Once you receive your business license, state law requires that you display your current license in your place of business.
Every business owner must keep and preserve records showing the the gross amount of sales tax owed to the State of Tennessee and the amount of gross receipts taxable under the Business Tax Act. All such books and records shall be open to inspection at all reasonable hours to the County Clerk or other proper tax collecting official or any person duly authorized by the State or County Clerk. All such books and records shall be maintained by the taxpayer for a period of three (3) years.
Detailed information about business tax laws in Tennessee is available by visiting the Tennessee Department of Revenue's website at http://www.TN.gov/revenue or by calling 800/342-1003 or 615/253-0600 during normal business hours.
Termination of Business License
Tennessee Code Annotated 67-4-721 states the following with regard to termination of a business:
If any person liable for any tax, penalty or interest levied hereunder shall sell out the person's business or stock of goods, or shall quit the business, the person shall make a final return and payment within fifteen (15) days after the date of selling or quitting the business.
The person's successor, successors, or assigns, if any, shall withhold sufficient of the purchase money to cover the amount of such taxes, interest and penalties due and unpaid until such former owner shall produce a receipt from the County Clerk in the case of counties, and proper city collector in the case of cities, showing that they have been paid, or a certificate stating that no taxes, interest or penalties are due.
If the purchaser of a business or stock of goods shall fail to withhold the purchase money as above provided, the purchaser shall be personally liable for the payment of the taxes, interest and penalties accruing and unpaid on account of the operation of the business by any former owner, owners, or assigns.
Nothing in this section shall apply to any licensee transferring a business from one location to another, within the same municipality, on a one-time basis during any annual taxable period.
Succeeding transfers by the same licensee, within the same annual taxable period, shall be subject to a final return and payment within fifteen (15) days, plus a new minimum business license and recording fee for the new location.
If you are terminating your business please contact the Tennessee Department of Revenue at (615) 253-0600 or at www.tn.gov/revenue
Business License/Tax Reporting
Once you have obtained a business license, you will automatically receive a renewal form at the end of the fiscal year for your specific business classification. The renewal form is also the form used to assess your gross receipts for business taxes. If you do not have any gross receipts, the charge to renew is still only $22.00, if paid by the due date.
It is the duty of every business owner to keep and preserve records showing the gross amount of sales tax owed to the State of Tennessee, and the amount of gross receipts taxable under the Business Tax Act, and other books of account as may be necessary to determine the amount of business tax to be collected. All such books and records shall be open to inspection at all reasonable hours to the County Clerk or other proper tax collecting official or any person duly authorized by the State or County Clerk. All such books and records shall be maintained by the taxpayer for a period of three (3) years.
Please contact the Business Tax Department in the Office of the Rutherford County Clerk at (615) 898-7800 for additional information.
For information about the State Sales Tax call the Tennessee Sales Tax Division at (615) 253-0600.
Is a privilege tax on the occupancy of any rooms, lodgings, or accommodations furnished to transients by a hotel, inn, tourist court, tourist cabin, campground motel, or any place in which rooms, lodgings, or accommodations are furnished transients for a consideration in Rutherford County.
Is due by the 20th of each month following the month for which report is due. Penalty and Interest accrue daily on delinquent Hotel/Motel Tax.
Can be filed quarterly if operator collects less than $100.00 tax monthly. Quarterly Reports will be due on the 20th of April, July, October and January.