Do you own a business operating in the state of Delaware? If so, you may need to acquire licenses and permits to ensure that your company operates in a compliant fashion.

But how do you determine which permits and licenses you need (if any), and where do you acquire them? In this guide to Delaware business licenses and permits, we’ll answer all the tough questions about this process.

Are There Federal Licenses That My Business Needs?

First off, let’s discuss the matter of federal licenses and permits. There are many business activities that are regulated by various federal agencies, from agriculture to transportation and logistics. We recommend taking a look at the U.S. Small Business Administration’s guide to federal licenses and permits to make sure you’ve got your bases covered.

In addition, most businesses should acquire a federal tax ID number, also known as an EIN (employer identification number). This is essentially a social security number for your business, and it enables you to hire employees, pay business taxes, open business bank accounts, and more. You can acquire an EIN from the IRS for free.

What State-Level Licenses and Permits Apply in Delaware?

Every Delaware business is required to obtain a business license to operate in the state. Additionally, many businesses require occupational, environmental, or other types of licenses in order to be in compliance with state regulations.

Thankfully, Delaware’s One Stop Business Portal makes it easy to determine your licensing needs and register for any applicable permits. The website will ask you various questions about your business to narrow down the relevant licenses, and then assist you in your registration.

Occupational Licenses and Permits

There are various occupational licenses that apply in Delaware, from acupuncture to podiatry, and many points in between. Depending on the nature of your business, you might need one or more of these permits. You can easily check for applicable licenses on the Professional and Occupational License Page.

Environmental Licenses and Permits

Finally, Delaware also has some environmental permits that can apply to specific business types and activities. For example, depending on the nature of your business, you may need to apply for Air Contaminant Equipment Registration or obtain one of several Septic Licenses. You can learn more about these requirements right here.

Which Tax Registrations are Required for Delaware Businesses?

In addition to occupational licenses and permits, there are a number of state-level tax registrations, which are based on the industry you operate in and which business structure your company uses.

Most LLCs operating in Delaware will need to pay an annual franchise tax of at least $300, while corporations must pay corporate income tax. Additionally, many businesses will need to pay gross receipts taxes and withholding taxes.

Delaware also has industry-specific tax requirements, from real estate development to tobacco products. You can learn more about these tax requirements on the Delaware state website.

Are There Local Licenses, Permits, or Registrations in Delaware?

The answer to this question obviously depends on where in Delaware you’re operating your business, but there are indeed quite a few licenses, permits, and tax registrations required by Delaware localities.

All county business permits are managed at the local level, so you will need to contact your local government office for more information.

There are also some licensing requirements at the city/municipal level. For example, WilmingtonDoverNewark, and Middletown all have business resource websites that explain their respective regulations for local businesses.

If we were to break down the exact rules and regulations regarding permitting in every locality in the state of Delaware, this article would become excessively lengthy. With that in mind, we’ll simply say that every business owner should check with their local government to determine whether there are licenses, permits, or tax registrations required to operate in compliant fashion.

Can I Hire Someone to Research Licenses and Permits for My Business?

If this process sounds like a bit of a hassle, that’s because it certainly can be. If you would rather hire a reputable business services provider to handle this for you, that is always an option.

ZenBusiness can research the necessary licenses and permits for your company on the federal, state, county, and municipal levels. We’ll then send you the applications you need to acquire these permits and licenses, meaning all you need to do is fill them out and mail them in. Plus, if you need help with company formation, we can help with that filing as well.


There is no one-size-fits-all answer for the question of which licenses and permits your business might require to operate in the state of Delaware. Instead, it’s important that you know how to access the resources to determine which permits your company needs to operate in a compliant fashion.

We hope this article helped you to do just that, and we wish you good fortune in your business future!

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