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.
Things to know before you get started
Before applying for a Business License/Occupation Tax Certificate, the place of business should meet all applicable Zoning requirements. You must obtain Zoning sign-off before submitting your application. Please check with the Zoning Division to verify that the business activity is allowed at the designated address prior to submitting your application. The Zoning Office is in the same building as the Business License Office and may be reached at (770) 528-2035.
All businesses located in a commercial space are required to obtain a Cobb County Certificate of Occupancy as required by State Law and/or local ordinance. Every 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. The Fire Marshal's Office is located at 1595 County Services Parkway, Marietta, GA 30008. They may be reached at (770) 528-8310. This does NOT apply to businesses operated from a residence.
How to obtain a Cobb County Business License (Occupation Tax Certificate)
To obtain a Cobb County Occupation Tax Certificate:
- Determine if your business is in unincorporated Cobb County
- Complete the Application Packet for your business type
- All documents must be signed by the same person.
- Obtain the fee amount
- To obtain the fee amount for a new business establishment, please e-mail your completed application to [email protected]
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.
All 1099 independent contractors are required to obtain their own Cobb County Business License/ Occupation Tax Certificate.
Notice: Certificate of Occupancy
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.
Business Personal Property
Georgia Voters in November 2010 approved exempting all inventory of a business from state ad valorem tax. This does not however exempt this same inventory from local (county, city, school, etc.) ad valorem tax. Business personal property inventory REMAINS TAXABLE for the county, school, municipal, etc. purposes. Businesses that fail to timely report inventory will be subject to appropriate penalties.
- Business Personal Property assets are any furniture, fixtures, equipment, machinery and inventory used in the normal course of your business.
- Assets owned as of January 1st of each year must be returned on or before April 1st of each year.
- Business Personal Property assets must be reported on form PT-50P.
- Filing can be done via E-File, Mail and hand delivered.
- A 10% Non-filing Penalty will be added to all taxable unreported or late reported assets.
Peddlers in Cobb
What is a Peddler?
Any person who sells or solicits any new or used goods, wares, merchandise, produce, service or other things of value in unincorporated Cobb County from any location that does not possess a certificate of occupancy. (examples: vehicle, trailer, tent)
No peddlers shall operate in unincorporated Cobb without first obtaining a permit from the Cobb County Business License Division.
Peddlers must park the business vehicle on asphalt or concrete out of the right-of-way.
Business may only be conducted in locations zoned general commercial and in accordance with section 134-267 of the Cobb County Code of Ordinances.
Peddlers shall not be located at one location for more than 30 days.
Merchandise, Business License & Permission
Peddlers must maintain all merchandise on a vehicle.
Peddlers must have possession of their business license at time of operation. Proper property owner authorization must also be in possession during operation.
Tents & Tables
No tents, tables, boxes, chairs, or any accessory to the business is allowed.
Anything associated with the business, with exception of personnel, that is not on the vehicle is in violation.
Only one sign permitted by the Code Enforcement Division is allowed and shall meet the limits provided in the zoning ordinance and sign ordinance.
The sign must be on the vehicle.
All vehicles must be presented to and approved by the Cobb County Business License Division prior to obtaining a permit.
Substitute vehicles must all be approved.
Only one vehicle is allowed for each location.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- Report gross State revenue to the Business License Division if operating solely in Cobb County
- 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.
Individuals engaged in any of the following professions have the option of:
- Paying an occupation tax on gross receipts of the business
- 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:
- 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.)
- Landscape architects
- Land surveyors
- Practitioners of physiotherapy
- Public accountants
- Funeral directors
- Civil, mechanical, hydraulic or electrical engineers
- Marriage and family therapists, social workers and professional counselors