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Business Licenses, Fees & Permits
Services by Department
Service Description Managing Department / Division
New Business License All businesses operating in the City of Charleston are required to have an annual business license for each of its locations. If you are opening a new business, buying an existing business, or transferring a business to your ownership, you must apply for a new business license under your name. BFRC/Revenue Collections Division
Business License Renewals All business licenses expire on December 31 of each year. Typically, Business License Renewal Forms are mailed to business owners during the first week of January.
BFRC/Revenue Collections Division
Hospitality Tax  The Hospitality Tax is a uniform tax of 2% on the gross proceeds derived from the sales of prepared meals, food, and beverages sold in or by establishments, or those licensed for on-premises consumption of alcoholic beverages (beer or wine). BFRC/Revenue Collections
Tour Tax The Tour Tax is a $0.50 fee on every ticket of admission to a tour conducted on the public streets and sidewalks of the City of Charleston.   BFRC/Revenue Collections 
Building Permit Information The Building Inspections Divisions enforces adopted codes pertaining to new building construction and existing buildings through our plan review and inspections process. The Division is responsible for issuing all permits related to construction of commercial and residential projects within the City of Charleston.  Building Inspections/Public Service
Building Permit Inspection Requests  Please fill out the Inspection Requests Form and submitted to .  Please note inspection requests before noon will be scheduled for the next business day. Those requested after noon will be for 2 business days out. Building Inspections/Public Service
Engineering Permit An Engineering Permit is required for utility work or construction work in the Public Right of Way (ROW).  Some examples of work in the ROW include (1) Sidewalk blocking, replacement, or repair; (2) Construction of a new driveway or putting pipe under a driveway; (3) Excavation or boring in the Right of Way.  If you have questions about whether your project requires an Engineering Permit please contact the Engineering Division at 724-3782. Engineering/Public Service
Encroachment Permit An encroachment is defined as any privately owned items, objects or structures that are situated on, affixed to or overhanging any public right-of-way or any public property, such as a street, highway, sidewalk, parkway or alley. All encroachments require an Encroachment Permit from the City of Charleston’s Public Service Engineering Division. Engineering/Public Service
Construction Parking Permit  The purpose of a construction parking permit is to allow contractors to park at, or in close proximity of, the job site in which he/she is working. The permit allows the contractor to park at this location without the worries of receiving parking citations. Traffic and Transportation
Minority or Woman-Owned Business Certification Find out how to certify your company as a minority or woman-owned business. BFRC/Procurement
Taxicab / Chauffeur License The Police Department processes applications Monday through Friday between the hours of 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. at 180 Lockwood Blvd.    Police Department
Special Event and Park Permits  A permit is required for any organized event at any City of Charleston Park, facility or field. Please note that any event that expects a large crowd, impacts neighborhoods, serves alcohol or will have amplified sound is required to have a special event permit as well.  Recreation
Tour Guide Certification  Under the Tourism Ordinance of the City, those individuals or organizations desiring to function as a tour guide, must become certified by the Tourism Commission. Clerk of Council
Bus Tour and Parking Tour Permit   Because of the unique and sensitive nature of the Old and Historic District of Charleston, its numerous narrow streets, and the lived-in residential areas, the Charleston City Council has found it necessary to enact a comprehensive Tourism Ordinance to manage day to day tourism operations. Clerk of Council