Business License Information
Who is required to have a Business License?
Any business physically located within the town of Bluffton is required to have a business license. Additionally, any business that is located outside of the town of Bluffton, but comes into the town to do business, is also required to have a business license.
How do I find out whether or not my business or a clients' home/business is located inside the Town limits?
Go to Bluffton Explorer.
How do I apply for a Business License?
To apply for a Town of Bluffton Business License, you may contact our office at 843-706-4501 or you may apply in person at the Theodore D. Washington Municipal Building located at 20 Bridge Street, Bluffton, SC so that we can assist you in selecting the correct classification and rate and answer any other business related questions you may have.
To fill out the New Business License Application form, you will need the following information:
The business name
Type of business activity (retail, restaurant, construction, etc.)
Physical and mailing address - Business phone number and fax number
Contact person phone number and mailing address
Business organization (C-Corp, S-Corp, LLC, Partnership, Sole Proprietorship, etc.)
Name and phone number of owner(s), partners or chief officer
Owners Social Security Number or business' Federal Identification Number (FIN)
State licensing number(s) (if applicable)
If you are located in the Town of Bluffton but work from your home, you will also need to complete a Home Occupation Application.
How long does a business license last?
All business licenses expire on December 31st of each year. Renewals must be paid no later than April 15th for all businesses. If you do not plan on doing business the following year or your business has closed, please contact the Business License Department so we may finalize your account.
All new accounts opening from 7/1/13 to 12/31/13 are required to pay only 50% of the "Application Fee" shown on the Fee Schedule, after determining your classification using the Rate Classification Index based on your type of business and location.
What are the penalties for businesses that are late renewing their business license?
Business License renewals postmarked April 16th or later by the U.S. Postal Service will be assessed a 5% penalty. This penalty will increase 5% each month.
Can business license penalties be waived?
Per Town ordinance, and in compliance with equal protection clauses of the South Carolina and United States constitutions, business license officials are not permitted to waive penalties under any circumstance.
Should my business license be under the D.B.A. name or the actual company name?
We recommend that you apply for your Town of Bluffton business license under your D.B.A. name, but include the company name on your application. For example, if your company name if Bluffton's Carpentry, Inc., but your vehicles, signs, and phone directory listing are all advertised under Carpentry of the Low Country, we recommend that you fill in "Bluffton's Carpentry, Inc." under company name and "Carpentry of the Low Country" under D.B.A. on your application.
What if my physical/mailing address changes?
If you business location changes or your mailing address changes you can write a letter on company letterhead that includes your business name, current physical/mailing address, your new physical/mailing address, and a phone number in case we have any questions about the change.
What do I do if I have a change in FIN/EIN/SSN due to business restructuring or purchase of the business?
If a business restructuring occurs, the ownership structure of an existing resident business changes from/to sole proprietor, LLC, corporation, LLP, partnership or any other form of ownership, and there is no purchasing of the assets of the existing licensed business, a new business license is not necessary. However, we do require that you notify the Business License Department, in writing, of the change so that we may update the information in our system.
If an ownership change occurs or a new business purchases the assets of an existing business resulting in a FIN/EIN/SSN change, a new business license is required.
If you have any questions regarding business restructuring and ownership changes please contact the Business License Department at 843-706-4501.
Can other people operate under my license?
Any W-2 employee can operate under you business license. Any 1099 or subcontractor must have their own separate business license. This would include subcontractors working for a general contractor, janitorial services, caters, etc., that are hired by you to perform work on your behalf or for you. Just remember that if the person or company is not on your payroll with all Sate and Federal taxes taken out, they need their own license.
If you have any questions or comments regarding business licenses, please contact the Business License Department at 843-706-4501 or email
Requirements (if applicable):
SC Department of Revenue - New businesses should contact the SC Department of Revenue to determine legal requirements for reporting state tax revenue. If operating a retail business, a State Retail License must be obtained. 803-896-1350 or www.sctax.org.
Internal Revenue Service - To obtain a Federal Identification Number or apply for 501-C status. 800-829-1040 or www.irs.gov.
SC Department of Labor, Licensing & Regulation - State licensing for real estate agents, cosmetologist, building contractors, etc. 800-896-4300 or www.llr.state.sc.us.
SC Department of Health & Environmental Control - Any food related business, such as a meat market, restaurant, or grocery store, must comply with health standards before receiving a business license. Beaufort County Health Department: 843-757-6441 or www.scdhec.gov.
SC.gov is the official website of the State of South Carolina. At the SC Department of Revenue you can apply for several types of licenses, including a South Carolina Retail License or a State Alcohol Beverage License. At the Department of Labor, Licensing & Regulations you can apply for a CPA License, Veterinarian License, etc. These are just a a few of the options available at this site.
Depending upon the type of business you start or purchase and where you locate, other types of accounts or permits may be required to get started, including:
Serving prepared food and/or beverage: Hospitality Tax Account (2%) HTAX Ordinance
Operating a hotel, motel, etc. or renting your home or condo/villa: Accommodations Tax Account (3%) ATAX Ordinance