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Obtaining a Small Business License in South Dakota

If you’re based in South Dakota, and you’re interested in launching a small business, there are a few things you’ll have to do first. It may be necessary for you to secure state licenses or permits. You may have to register your business with the state. Below, you’ll find more information about the steps you might have to go through, as well as resources that will help you to complete these steps.


South Dakota Business License

Starting a Small Business in South Dakota

If you’d like to find out more about starting a small business in South Dakota, or if you need additional information or assistance for your current business, you’ll want to visit, the official government website for South Dakota. From there, you should navigate to the site’s Business section. Here, you’ll find information on financing a business, getting a new business off the ground, operating and growing your business, and shutting a business down. You can find additional information on the GOED (Governor’s Office of Economic Development) site. Here, you can download documents that include a directory of resources for businesses and a checklist for new business owners. You’ll find information on launching and licensing a business as well. Other sites you should visit include the South Dakota DOR (Department of Revenue) site and the United States SBA (Small Business Administration) site. There is an SBA district office located in Sioux Falls.

Secure the Business Licenses You Need

It isn’t always necessary for a South Dakota business to obtain a license. With that said, certain types of businesses must obtain at least one license or permit. Some businesses may require even more. These licenses and permits cover many different matters, including health and safety, the environment, and sales tax.

There are a number of agencies that issue regulatory permits and licenses. On one of the downloadable documents on the GOED site, you’ll find a list of licenses and the agencies that issue them, including the Departments of Health, Environmental and Natural Resources, Labor and Regulation, and Agriculture. You’ll also find a document on the site titled “Licensing and Registering Your Business.” The detailed document spans 60 pages and contains essential information.

A South Dakota Tax Application will allow you to apply for a number of licenses related to taxes, including excise tax, sales tax, taxes on alcoholic beverages, and manufacturer’s task. This application can be completed on the DOR website.

Along with licenses issued by the states, there are some types of licenses that are locally issued. It’s possible to find out more if you consult the site for the city you’ll be operating out of. It should be noted that state or federal law may exempt businesses from local licensing requirements.

Filing Business Records

In addition to securing any permits or licenses that are required, there are certain forms of business, like LLCs (limited liability companies) and corporations must file records with the state. These documents must be filed with the SOS (Secretary of State) in South Dakota. To learn more, visit the SOS website and head to the section on Business Services.

Obtaining Professional Licensing

Depending on your occupation, it may be necessary for you to be licensed by South Dakota. State licensing for professionals is handled by the South Dakota DLR (Department of Labor and Regulation). If you visit the DLR site and head to the section on Occupational Licensing Agencies, you’ll find a list of state boards and agencies that are responsible for regulating different occupations and professionals. You can find a searchable list of licensing boards and agencies on the South Dakota Boards and Commissions Portal. On these sites, you’ll also be able to find in-depth information about these professions and occupations.

Certain occupations, like attorneys and physicians, aren’t listed on the sites above. If you need information on these occupations, you’ll need to visit the site for the board that regulated them.

Registering a Fictitious or Assumed Business Names

In many cases, small businesses operate under a business name rather than the name of the owner. Beyond that, it isn’t unusual for a business to register under a state using one name but operate under a different name later on. It’s especially common to see LLCs and corporations doing this. In a scenario like this, the alternative name could be referred to as a fictitious name, an assumed name, a trade name, or be referred to as a DBA, which stands for “doing business as.” South Dakota law states that if a partnership, corporation, or LLC is doing business under a name other than the one on file with the SOS, that business needs to file a fictitious name reservation. This is also necessary for a proprietorship that does not have the surname of all proprietors in the name. If you’d like to find out more, you can visit the SOS site’s section on Fictitious Business Name Registration.

Registering Service Marks, Trade Names, and Trademarks

Service marks, trade names, and trademarks all have their own legal definitions. In a general sense, however, all of these terms can be utilized to provide unique identification to a service, product, or business. This can help to distinguish businesses, products, and services from competitors. It’s possible to register service marks and trademarks with South Dakota. It’s important to note that this is separate from federal registration. If you’d like to find out more, visit the SOS site and view the section on Trademark Name Registration.

Additional Resources