On June 25, 2009, Governor Bredesen signed Public Chapter 530, shifting the administration and collection of business tax from local municipalities and counties to the Department of Revenue. Annual business tax returns will now be filed with the taxes paid to the Tennessee Department of Revenue, and the department will collect all delinquent taxes and handle all necessary audit functions. Any and all questions about your returns that are filed or to be filed with the State of Tennessee must be directed to the State at 1-800- 342-1003. New businesses will continue to obtain their first business licenses from the County Clerk, license must be obtained within 20 days after commencement of business. Applications are available in the County Clerk's office or online. Applicant must remit a $15.00 fee at time application is processed. The County Clerk’s office will continue to administer transient vendor licenses.Businesses in a county with less than $3,000 in annual sales or services do not have to apply for a business licenses. However, businesses with annual sales or services between $3,000 and $100,000 must pay $15 each year to get a "minimal activity license" from the County Clerk’s office. Businesses with annual sales or services of $100,000 or more must get a standard business license from the County Clerk’s office. A $15 license fee is required for all new businesses. All ‘minimal activity license’ owners must reapply to the County Clerk’s office each year to maintain a current license. All standard licenses will be processed and handled by the State, with the County Clerk’s office mailing your current license once they receive the file from the State.
In certain cases, gross income received by the following Tennessee businesses may be exempt from business tax: manufacturers, doctors, dentists, veterinarians, attorneys, accountants, schools, religious organizations, insurance agents, loan companies, security exchanges, or public utilities. Please call the Tennessee Department of Revenue at 800/342-1003 for more information or visit their website.The new Tennessee Works Tax Act increases Business Tax filing Threshold (link below)