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 or less, the business is not subject to hold a business license. However, they must have an exemption statement on file. Click "here" to download a business license application.

Business Classifications

There are four (4) classification periods based on the activities of the business. Your business will file a tax return and pay taxes based on the total gross receipts for the tax period. The tax periods are listed below along with an example of the activities associated with that classification.

  • CLASS 1 — January 1 to December 31…gas stations, grocery stores, lumber & building supplies
  • CLASS 2 — April 1 to March 31…restaurants, car dealers, clothing stores
  • CLASS 3 — July 1 to June 30…body shops, beauty shops, janitorial services, general services
  • CLASS 4 — October 1 to September 30…contractors, sub-contractors, exterminators

When the tax period has elapsed, tax returns are mailed which must be filed with the County Clerk within sixty (60) days or it becomes delinquent. Penalty and interest are added to delinquent accounts on a daily basis. Seriously delinquent accounts will receive a distress warrant. A distress warrant is served by the Sheriff’s Department and allows the deputy to collect immediately on the debt. 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.