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Don't Forget About Licenses, Permits And Insurance


In this section, we examine some of the other items you have to take into consideration in order to operate you business.


In Oklahoma, there are state laws that require various types of businesses, or their owner(s), to obtain professional or occupational licenses or permits.

Traditionally, obtaining an operating license requires the owner or certain employees pass a qualifying examination. On the other hand, obtaining a permit usually only requires submitting specific information pertaining to the business. However, certain agencies call the authorizing document they issue a license, even though the application does not require an exam, but instead mirrors the process required for a permit.

While several types of businesses in Oklahoma are required to have a state license or permit to operate, many others are not. For instance, a state license is required to operate a plumbing service, an insurance agency, or a hair salon; while one is not required to operate a travel agency, a janitorial cleaning service, or a general construction company.


A license or permit is needed to operate a trucking company, a public accounting service, or a day care center; while they are not required to operate an auto repair service, a photography studio, or a carpet cleaning service.


Retail businesses sell tangible items to the general public for final use (grocery, clothing, appliance and hardware stores). Retail business owners in Oklahoma are not required to obtain a traditional license. However, they are required to obtain sales tax permits for their locations from the Oklahoma Tax Commission (OTC) ( and to collect and remit sales tax revenue


Additional special permits may also be required for selling specific items such as beer, cigarettes, and motor fuels, which are sold in large volumes at convenience stores. Wholesalers and manufacturers are required to get exemption permits regarding state sales taxes from OTC.


New businesses in Oklahoma, with employees, must set up an account with the OTC for withholding and remitting state income taxes from the wages and salaries paid to their employees.


Such businesses must also contact the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission to file an OES-1 Application for Oklahoma UI Tax Account Number so that their unemployment insurance tax liability can be determined. If it’s determined that the business is liable to pay unemployment insurances taxes, they must report the wages subject to unemployment insurance and pay their allotted portion of unemployment taxes on a quarterly basis.


Each employer’s unemployment insurance tax rate will be calculated individually based on that specific employer’s situation.


Likewise, business owners with employees are required to obtain the necessary form and set up accounts with IRS to withhold and pay federal income and Social Security taxes from the wages and salaries of their employees.


It may not be the first thing you think about when starting a business, but if you don’t purchase proper insurance, all your hard work could disappear in the blink of an eye.


Consult an insurance broker to determine what types of insurance you need.

  • Property: Covers fire and other loss to buildings, building contents, inventory, and home-based businesses. Add-ons such as business interruption insurance can expand this coverage.

  • Liability: Covers bodily injury and property damage to others caused by accidents on your property, such as if a customer slips and falls at your place of business.

  • Motor vehicle: Covers bodily injury and property damage resulting from the business use of  your motor vehicles, such as if an employee drives a company van to make deliveries.

  • Umbrella Liability: Provides additional liability insurance above the limits in your basic automobile and general liability policies.

  • Worker’s compensation: Covers injuries, death, and loss of wages to workers injured on the job, including the owner, and protects you against employee lawsuits for damages.

  • Health: If you rely on your current job for health insurance, you’ll need to look into private health insurance options before starting your business.

  • Life: Many business partners buy “key man” life insurance on partners in the business. If one owner dies, the proceeds enable the surviving partners to buy his or her share from their heirs.

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