Starting a New Business
Starting a new business is an exciting venture and the department congratulates you on your decision to become an entrepreneur or franchisee.
The goal of the Arizona Department of Revenue (ADOR) is to help business owners maintain tax and licensing compliance. A Guide to Taxes for Arizona Businesses is designed to do just that. It describes the types of licenses and taxes applicable in the state, and it identifies other agencies that impose taxes and/or require licensing. This publication is part of a series that discusses in detail transaction privilege, employer withholding tax and other tax matters administered by the state.
Your business must register with ADOR before conducting any taxable business activity in Arizona for transaction privilege tax (TPT) and withholding purposes.
Buying a Business
When buying an existing business, you need to register the business. Contact ADOR to ensure that you will not be responsible for the previous business owner’s tax liabilities.
Licensing and Taxes
In Arizona, not all businesses are required to have a license, and some businesses must have more than one license.
The basic types of tax licensing in Arizona include:
- Transaction Privilege Tax License – A transaction privilege tax (TPT) license (commonly referred to as a sales tax, resale, wholesale, vendor or tax license) is required for businesses selling a product or engaging in a service subject to transaction privilege tax in the state.
Please see our TPT licensing section for more information.
- Withholding Tax Registation - As an employer, you must withhold employment taxes from your employee’s wages. To do so, you need an Employer Identification Number (EIN).
Apply Online: Employer Identification Number (EIN)
Employers withholding income tax from employees in Arizona must register their Employer Identification Number (EIN) with ADOR to file withholding returns.
Visit the Employer Withholding Filing Requirements page for additional details and information on applying for a withholding registration.
- Regulatory (Professional/Special) Licensing/Permits – Special licenses, certification, permits, etc. may be required for certain businesses/professions. Business regulations vary by state, local and federal government, and by industry.
Please note: A service business may or may not be subject to regulatory licensing, TPT and/or business licensing. Businesses may use the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) Small Business Services’ Checklist Program to research business compliance requirements that may impact; may also wish to consult an attorney for assistance. Businesses needing an accountant or attorney referral, may review the Finding Professional Partners in the ACA Small Business Services’ Checklist Program under “I am thinking about starting a business in Arizona.”
- Local Business/Occupational License/Permit(s) – Each Arizona city or town in which a business operates may require licensing. For additional information, including contact information and links to download license applications, click here.
Corporate Income Taxes
Businesses are also subject to corporate income tax.
Other Taxes and Licenses
Depending on the type of business, you may be subject to other taxes or licenses, such as if you conduct business involving liquor, tobacco, or bingo.
Arizona businesses that engage in activities which are supervised and regulated by one or more federal, state or municipal government office may be required to obtain special licenses, certifications or permits. These activities may include one or more of the following examples, but are not limited to:
- Construction Contracting
- Transportation for Hire
- Adult Home Care
- Child Care
- Home Inspection
- Pest Control
- Tobacco or Liquor Sales
If you are starting a business and need help determining licensing, contact License Compliance at [email protected].
IMPORTANT – The following link is only a suggestion of the sequence and type of steps that might be needed to start a business in Arizona. We recommend you consult with knowledgeable professionals such as an accountant and an attorney to determine the particular needs of your business.
Ten Steps to Starting a Business in Arizona
Know Your Rights
Arizona Revised Statute outlines notice requirements for all licenses, fees, audits, rulemaking and written comments for small businesses.
Businesses should be aware of the following: