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Obtain a Business License

Occupation Tax Certificate

An occupation tax certificate, commonly known as a business license, is a certificate issued by government agencies. The certificate is evidence that an individual or company has paid an occupation tax as required by the local ordinance. 

"Engaged in business is when a person or entity is carrying on a trade, occupation, profession, or other commercial enterprise for gain or profit, direct or indirectly, including, but not limited to, selling real or personal property or services, leasing or renting real or personal property, or sales or services of the character as made by a wholesaler or retailer; or who is involved in any of the functions performed as a manufacturer; or who is involved in the development or construction of real property." (Cobb County Code 78-1)

Any individual, partnership, corporation/LLC, or entity engaged in business must obtain an Occupation Tax Certificate for each location in Cobb County prior to engaging in these activities. This includes any activity, full or part-time, performed from a permanent, transient, residential or commercial location as well as any activity performed temporarily or on a transient basis in Cobb County. Activities include selling, soliciting or representing products or services, leasing or renting of commercial real property, retail sales, wholesale activities, administrative office activities, manufacturing, providing services, consulting, etc.

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Flowchart: How to Apply for a New Business License

Obtaining an Occupation Tax Certificate / Business License

To obtain a Cobb County Occupation Tax Certificate:

  1. Determine if your business is in unincorporated Cobb County
  2. Complete the Application Packet for your business type
    1. All documents must be signed by the same person.
  3. Obtain the fee amount
    1. To obtain the fee amount for a new business establishment, please e-mail your completed application to [email protected]

Download an Application Packet

In addition to this application packet, applicants must provide:

  •  One secure and verifiable document, (i.e. driver's license or passport)
  • Immigration documents, if applicable
  • A copy of the Georgia Secretary of State Certificate for Corporation or LLC, if applicable
  • A copy of any State license, if applicable

You will need to have the Adobe “Acrobat” reader installed on your computer to view these files.

NOTICE:

Obtain a Cobb County Certificate of Occupancy as required by State law and / or local ordinance for the commercial business address listed on the application. Every new business, tenant, or building is required to have a Certificate of Occupancy.  This certificate indicates that the building or tenant meets the minimum adopted building and fire codes.  Please contact the Fire Marshal’s Office at (770) 528-8310 if you have any questions regarding a Certificate of Occupancy. This does NOT apply to residential businesses/customary home occupations.

Personal Care & Group Homes

All persons providing personal care assistance on residential-zoned property must have a Cobb County Occupation Tax Certificate. Persons caring for two or more unrelated people must also obtain a license through the Georgia Department of Community Health

Applicants must meet the group home ordinance requirements with Code Enforcement prior to zoning approval. View the group home codes and checklist.

Group homes and personal care homes must also be approved by the Zoning Division prior to the issuance of an Occupation Tax Certificate. Personal care homes and group home providers must contact the Cobb County Fire Marshal to file an application for inspection and to receive a Certificate of Occupancy (CO). The CO must be obtained prior to the business opening.

Day Care

All persons providing day care in Cobb County are required to obtain a Cobb County Occupation Tax Certificate. Home care providers with six or more children are required to register with the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning.

Residential Businesses

Businesses located on property zoned residential are limited in the activities that can be conducted. Generally, persons operating a business from a residence cannot have employees, clients, or any inventory located at the residence. No exterior evidence of the business (such as signs) is allowed. Additional zoning restrictions prohibit mechanical equipment and no more than one commercial vehicle may be present at the business.

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Home Business Ordinance

Contractors

A State License to conduct business as a residential and/or General Contractor is required prior to any permits being issued for such work. For State license information visit sos.georgia.gov.

All individuals/contractors in the construction industry are required to have a valid occupation tax certificate prior to operating in unincorporated Cobb County. 

Individuals or contractors have the option to:

  1. Report gross State revenue to the Business License Division if operating solely in Cobb County
  2. Report gross State revenue to each jurisdiction if operating in multiple locations in Georgia

Businesses located outside of unincorporated Cobb are required to register with the Business License Division before conducting any business activity in this jurisdiction. In order to register, a business must complete all application documents and provide a copy of the occupation tax certificate issued to said business from the other Georgia jurisdiction.

Any business with a business address outside unincorporated Cobb County, who cannot provide a copy of a valid registration certificate from their local jurisdiction, will be required to obtain a Cobb County Occupation Tax Certificate in order to operate in unincorporated Cobb County.

Contractors who are required to be licensed by the Secretary of State’s Office MUST provide a copy of their state certification card in order to purchase any permits or obtain an Occupation Tax Certificate. Contact the Development and Inspections Division at (770) 528-2060 for residential permit requirements and (770) 528-2071 for commercial permit requirements.

Professionals

Individuals engaged in any of the following professions have the option of:

  1. Paying an occupation tax on gross receipts of the business 
    OR
  2. Paying an annual professional occupation tax of $400 per professional.

Practitioners of professions as described in O.C.G.A. § 48-13-9(c)(1)—(18), namely:

  • Lawyers;
  • Physicians licensed under O.C.G.A. tit. 43, ch. 34 (O.C.G.A. § 43-34-1 et seq.)
  • Osteopaths licensed under O.C.G.A. tit. 43, ch. 34 (O.C.G.A. § 43-34-1 et seq.)
  • Chiropractors
  • Podiatrists
  • Dentists
  • Optometrists
  • Psychologists
  • Veterinarians
  • Landscape architects
  • Land surveyors
  • Practitioners of physiotherapy
  • Public accountants
  • Embalmers
  • Funeral directors
  • Civil, mechanical, hydraulic or electrical engineers
  • Architects
  • Marriage and family therapists, social workers and professional counselors