Business Tax License Information
The following information is intended to inform you of Business Taxes in general, and is not designed to completely address all laws and regulations. After reading the information outlined below, direct your questions accordingly:
- For questions regarding tax law, filing or paying business taxes, call 1-800-342-1003.
- For questions regarding Knox County Business Tax Licenses, please call 865-215-2392.
Business Tax License Application Process
Most businesses within Knox County must obtain a business license. Those businesses located within the municipal boundaries of the City of Knoxville must also register with the City of Knoxville Department of Finance .
The business license should be obtained prior to engaging in business. To apply, you may either complete the online application at the link above, apply in person at any of our locations or download an Application for Business Tax License. Mail the completed application along with the fee of $15.00 payable to:
Knox County Clerk’s Office
Business Tax Division
P.O. Box 1566
Knoxville, TN 37901
Annual Business Taxes
Tennessee businesses pay business tax each year to the Tennessee Department of Revenue based on their gross receipts during a certain time period.
Additional information is available at the Tennessee Department of Revenue’s website, or by calling 1-800-342-1003. The call center is available Monday through Friday 8:00 to 5:00 CST.
Renew Minimal Activity License
Businesses with minimal activity licenses may renew it each year by completing the form below and remitting a required $15.00 fee to the Knox County Clerk’s office on or before the expiration date listed on the license.
Businesses with minimal activity licenses that had sales in the previous tax period equal to or greater than $10,000 should contact our office so that we can update your account information.
These applications may be submitted in four convenient ways:
- In person at any Knox County Clerk location
- Mail with personal check or money order:
Knox County Clerk
Business Tax Division
P.O. Box 1566
Knoxville, TN 37901
- Fax: 865-215-3156
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
We will contact businesses submitting the application by fax or email at the telephone number you list on the application, and you may then provide credit/debit card information for the transaction. Please allow 1-2 hours for a return telephone call to your fax or email. The total charge for credit/debit card payments will be $15.38 (see payment information note at bottom of page)
New Business Tax Workshops
The Tennessee Department of Revenue sponsors free tax workshops for new businesses. The sessions normally include business tax, sales and use tax, and state unemployment tax. To register for the free course, download the Registration Form , and fax or mail the completed form to the contact information listed.
Frequently Asked Questions
My business tax license has expired. How do I renew it?
Contact the Tennessee Department of Revenue to file and pay your business taxes. This office will automatically mail your updated business license upon notification from the Department of Revenue that the annual business tax has been paid.
I am closing my business. What do I need to do?
If you decide to close your business, you must file a final business tax return with the Department of Revenue and pay any tax that is due within 15 days of the closing date. Additionally, you must advise the Property Assessor's Office regarding the closure and remit any taxes due to the Trustee's office.
One Stop Business Resource
Here you can decide on a business name, file a Business Charter, obtain a State Tax ID Number, and obtain an Unemployment Insurance Number.
Sales Tax Number
Sales tax is imposed on all retail sales, leases and rentals of most goods, as well as taxable services. Contact the Tennessee Department of Revenue at 1-800-342-1003 or online at www.tn.gov/revenue.
US Small Business Association
SBA provides small business counseling, mentoring and training through a variety of programs and resource partners, located strategically around the country.
Smoke Free Tennessee: Tennessee Non-Smokers Protection Act
For additional questions contact the Tennessee Department of Health at 1-800-293-8228.
State of Tennessee Business Name Availability
Search the Business Entities database to determine if a proposed business name is available for use in the State of Tennessee.
Business Tax Guide (December 2013)
The business tax guide is intended as an informal reference for taxpayers who wish to gain a better understanding of Tennessee business tax requirements. .
Still have questions?
You may email your inquiry here: Email the County Clerk.
Responses are provided Monday - Friday 8:00am to 4:30pm.
The Knox County Clerk's Office accepts cash, checks, and credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, and American Express). We cannot accept credit cards Passport services. A fee of 2.5% is assessed by the electronic processing company on all credit and debit card transactions. This fee does not go to the Knox County Clerk's Office. When you submit a check, you are authorizing electronic movement of funds from your account to the Knox County Clerk's account for payment of your transaction. There is a $30.00 NSF fee on all returned checks that are processed electronically. For those checks that are not processed electronically, the following statutory penalties will apply: the amount of the check on any amount owing less than or equal to twenty dollars, $20.00 on any amount owing greater than twenty dollars but less than two thousand dollars, and 1% on any amount owing greater than two thousand dollars. (T.C.A. § 9-1-109)