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Business License

State law requires that all businesses (with some exceptions as outlined in state law) operating inside the City of Oak Ridge have a business license.  The Business Tax Guide outlines the Tennessee business tax laws.  

Initial Business  Licenses:   A business license application must be completed and remitted to the City of Oak Ridge Utility Business Office along with a $15.  You may also pick up the application in person at the City of Oak Ridge Utility Business Office located at 200 S. Tulane Ave., Oak Ridge, TN  37830.  (865) 425-3406.

If the business is to be operated from the home, a home occupation application is required with approval by the City’s Community Development Department prior to a business license being issued.  No fee is required for this application.

Renewal Business Licenses:  Chapter 530 of the Public Acts of 2009 amended various provisions of the Tennessee Business Tax Act for purposes of simplifying the tax and shifting its primary administration from the local level to the state level.  Beginning with Classification 1 taxpayers, due Feb. 28, 2010, all business tax returns will now be filed with the Tennessee Department of Revenue.  Return forms and instructions may be obtained at the attached link for the State of Tennessee.  Once the business tax return has been processed by the State of Tennessee, the State will notify the City of Oak Ridge who will issue the actual business license to the taxpayer.   

Business taxes, unlike property taxes, are not based on an assessment performed by a government agency.  Business taxes are assessed against the gross receipts during a certain time period.

The following are examples of businesses in each class of business license. This list is not exhaustive:

Class I (Jan. 1- Dec. 31)
Service stations (gasoline), grocery stores, food wholesalers, hardware stores, building materials suppliers, feed stores, food brokers, beer package stores, beer wholesalers, wholesale gasoline and diesel fuel suppliers.

Class II (April 1- March 31)
Advertising specialty dealers, automobile and motorcycle dealers, boat and camper dealers, department stores, florists and plant stores, home furnishing stores, appliance and electronic stores, restaurants, liquor stores, liquor wholesalers, and all businesses not enumerated elsewhere.

Class III (July 1- June 30)
Antique dealers, delicatessens, jewelry stores, card shops and book stores, pawn shops, beauty and barber shops, schools, architectural and artist supply stores, stores dealing in hearing aids, razors, luggage, optical and ophthalmological supplies, typewriters, sporting goods and business services.

Class IV (Oct. 1-Sept. 30)
General contractors, subcontractors and produce dealers.



Business licenses expire on the due dates listed, but a 60-day grace period is allowed for reporting gross receipts, paying applicable taxes and purchasing a new license.  Penalty and interest accrue as of the delinquent date.





Dec. 31

March 1


March 31

June 1


June 30

Sept. 1


Sept. 30

Dec. 1



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