Thank you for your business interest in Owensboro!

A flourishing city is a cooperative effort between businesses, citizens and city government. This brochure contains information to assist you in establishing your business in Owensboro.

Owensboro is an excellent place to live, work and prosper. Numerous opportunities and superior services are provided to our residents and businesses. Our staff is easily accessible to assist you in establishing your business.

Business License Requirements

As Owensboro grows, so do the needs of the residents and business community. While fulfilling these needs, our policies are continually assessed to ensure fair business regulations and licensing fees. To assist in business registration, these regulations and fees are summarized in this brochure.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Occupational License Fee?

The Occupational License Fee is a one and seventy-eight hundredths (1.78)** percent privilege license fee levied and imposed on the earnings of a person, association, corporation or other entity engaged in any occupation, trade, profession or other activity conducted or performed in the corporate city limits of Owensboro. The fee is assessed equally on both residents and non-residents of the city.

For an employee, the license fee is withheld by the employer at the rate of one and seventy-eight hundredths (1.78)** percent of the salaries, wages, commissions and other compensation earned for work done or services performed or rendered in the city.

In the case of a non-employee classified as an individual, partnership, association, corporation, fiduciary or other entity engaged in the conduct, operation or prosecution of any business, profession or enterprise, there is imposed an annual license fee being the greater of seventy-five ($75.00) dollars or one and seventy-eight hundredths (1.78)**percent of the net profits of such business, profession or other enterprise, if and to the extent conducted in or derived from activity in the city.

What is the Occupational/Business License Registration?

Any person, partnership, corporation, or other legal entity must register with the Occupational License Division prior to conducting business inside the city limits. Registration includes completing a license application. The application must be approved and signed by our planning and zoning staff.

What does it cost to register?

There is a minimum license fee of seventy-five ($75.00) dollars* due with registration.

Will I be issued a license that must be displayed?

Yes, you will be given a license that you should display, or carry with you to a job site.

Once I complete an application, is this the only form I will complete?

No, there will be an annual form to file based on your business' net income in Owensboro. This is called a Net Profit License Fee Return, and it will be filed at the end of your company's normal tax year. For example: if your company files a Federal Return based on a calendar year end, the City Net Profit Return will be filed at the same time, with the same due date of April 15. The tax rate on the city return is 1.78%** of net profit earned in Owensboro.

*The minimum license fee may vary for special fee types.

A copy of the Federal Return for your business must accompany the City Net Profit Return. If you request an extension for filing your Federal Return, you must also request an extension with the city. To receive an extension for the city, please send a copy of the Federal request form or complete and send a City of Owensboro extension request form on or before the original due date of the return.

Will there be any other forms to file?

The occupational withholding fee of 1.78%** withheld by the employer from all employee's wages is reported using the Employer's Return of License Fee Withheld. The frequency for filing the employee withholding return is initially determined on the basis of estimated quarterly wages to be paid to employees. There are some additional informational year-end returns.

What if I want to conduct charitable solicitation in your city?

You may only conduct charitable solicitation within the City of Owensboro when the Director of Finance, or his /her designee, has certified that you are exempt from taxation, under Section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code.

How do I become certified?

Any person seeking certification should submit a completed application for certification as a tax-exempt organization to the Director of Finance or his/her designee. Written verification from the Internal Revenue Service, of the applicant's tax-exempt status under Section 501( c ) of the Internal Revenue Code, must be submitted with the application.

When this process is completed, the applicant will receive notice of certification within two (2) working days after receipt of a completed application with verification of tax-exempt status.