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Business Licenses

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Under the Tennessee Business Tax Act most businesses, vocations, and occupations operating within the City of Franklin are required to obtain a business license from both the City of Franklin as well as Williamson County and report gross receipts to the TN Department of Revenue on a yearly basis.

What Kind of Business License Do You Need?

  1. The Standard Business License is for businesses that gross more than $10,000 annually that are not exempt (see “Exempt” businesses below). To obtain the initial license remit an application along with $15 to the Customer Service Dept.Then at the end of the business tax year, a tax return stating annual gross receipts is filed with the Tennessee Department of Revenue.Note that a tax year is not necessarily based on the calendar year but is based on the fiscal year end of the business. Click Here for Application
  2. The Minimal Activity Business License is for businesses that gross more than $3,000 and less than $10,000 annually.To obtain the annual license remit an application along with $15 to the Customer Service Dept.No annual tax return is required.The license must be renewed at the end of the fiscal year end of the business. Click Here for Application
  3. All home-based businesses are also required to complete a Business Use Zoning Certification & Determination form and submit along with their application.  Click Here for Zoning Certification Form.
  4. The following businesses are Exempt from Business License Requirements.
    1. Businesses with gross receipts of less than $3,000 annually
    2. Manufacturers as described in Division D of the SIC
    3. Service (but not tangible property sales) listed under the provision of TCA and so described in the Division C of the SIC.Exempt services generally include but are not limited to doctors, dentists, veterinarians, attorneys, accountants, schools, religious organizations, insurance agents, loan companies, security exchanges and public utilities.If providers of any exempt service also makes sales of tangible personal property and/or taxable services, they are subject to business tax on such sales.If you are unsure of your exempt status, please contact Customer Service at (615) 794-4572.

Important Information About Opening and Closing Your Business

  1. Opening a Business:A business license must be obtained from the City of Franklin within 20 days after commencement of business. Applications are available at our Customer Service office or you can click here. Anyone purchasing an existing business should be certain the previous owner filed a final gross receipts tax return with the Department of Revenue, or the new owner can be held liable for any tax due.
  2. Closing a Business:
  • Terminating the License
    1. Standard Business License—a final Business Tax Return must be filed with the Department of Revenue within 15 days of closing.
    2. Minimal Activity Business License—you only need to notify the Customer Service Department at (615) 794-4572.
  • The Williamson County Assessor’s Personal Property Tax Department must be contacted at (615) 790-5708 to close your account.Failing to close your account will result in future forced assessments.
  • The Williamson County Trustee’s office must be contacted at (615) 790-5709 to determine if any personal property tax is owed.

Contact Information for Business Licenses

Customer Service Dept, (615) 794-4572 or you can click here with questions.  The office address is 109 Third Avenue South, Suite 141, Franklin, TN 37064

For tax filing information: Tennessee Department of Revenue, (800) 342-1003 or (615) 253-0600, 

Questions related to zoning and location should be addressed to: Building and Neighborhood Services at 615-794-7012 or you can click here with questions. 

Businesses located within the city limits of Franklin must also have a business license for Williamson County.  This license may be obtained from the Williamson County Clerk’s office, (615) 790-5732 Administrative Complex, 1320 West Main Street, Suite 135, Franklin, TN 37064


Professional Privilege Tax

Professionals pay a privilege for performing services in the State.  The application is made and the license is issued by the State. Annual licenses are obtained thru the State by paying the tax due.  The privilege tax is due by June 1st and filing may be done online at 

Transient Vendors, Peddlers, Solicitors and Itinerant Merchants

The State of Tennessee has specific tax considerations for businesses operating in the State.  For business operating temporarily in the State (Transient Vendors), local jurisdictions may issue a license for the period the business operates temporarily in the State.  A license is available after payment of $57, is good for two weeks and may be renewed.   Click here [PDF] for an application.

In addition to provisions of the State of Tennessee for licensing businesses to operate in the State, there are local permissive use requirements.  A Peddler - Solicitor Permit is required for operating from a temporary location in the City of Franklin or from going door-to-door and is $50.  Permits are required for peddlers, solicitors, and itinerant merchants in accordance with Title 9 of the Franklin Municipal Code. Peddlers who operate in Franklin with a Tennessee Business License from another jurisdiction should present the business license when applying for a local permit.  Transient vendors who hold licenses outside the State are required to obtain and pay a local peddler permit when operating in the City of Franklin in addition to the State Transient Vendor permit.  The Peddler - Solicitor permit provision also applies to charitable solicitors and the State has specific regulations pertaining to professional solicitors.  An application is available here.  You may also contact the City business licensing office at (615) 794-4572.

Property Tax

The State of Tennessee allows local jurisdictions to enact taxes on real estate and personal property.  The Williamson County Assessor determines the valuation of property and Tennessee applies an assessment rate based on the use of the property.  Commercial and Industrial properties are assessed at 40% and personal property is assessed at 30%.  The City tax rate is set by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen annually.  The City of Franklin has set acurrent  at $0.465 per $100 of assessed value.  Property taxes are billed and collected locally.

Hotel-Motel Tax

Hotels and motels pay a privilege tax [PDF] on gross receipts from occupancy. Monthly filing reports are submitted in accordance with Title 5 of the Franklin Municipal Code.  These filings and remittance of the tax is due to the business licensing address above.

Alcohol Sales

In Tennessee, the sale of beer is obtained locally and includes beverages having an alcohol content of 5% or less.  The City of Franklin Beer Board issues beer permits to sell beer for on-premises and off-premises consumption.  In addition, special event permits are issued for one time events.  All businesses that sell beer must apply for a beer permit and appear before the beer board for approval. Requirements are provided in Title 8 of the Franklin Municipal Code.  Applicants are required to complete an application, pay an application fee of $250.00 and obtain approval from the Franklin Beer Board.  Certain zoning provisions apply.  The license is renewed annually by paying the annual privilege tax of $100.00.

All businesses that sell wine or liquor must contact the Alcoholic Beverage Commission to apply for a liquor-by-the drink license and must pay an annual privilege tax to the City of Franklin.  The tax is based on seating capacity of the facility. You can contact the Alcoholic Beverage Commission at (615) 741-1602 to obtain additional information and apply for a liquor-by-the drink license.

The sale of alcohol, including wine, is governed by State law and local ordinance.  Please contact Lanaii Benne in Administration prior to applying for a business license to determine requirements for retail package liquor requirements.  She can be reached in Suite 103 of City Hall or by calling (615) 791-3217.


All commercial businesses are required to have an alarm permit and must pay an annual fee. Click here to apply. Contact the Records Department at 791-3234 with questions.

All businesses that sell beer must apply for a beer permit and go before the beer board for approval as required in Title 8 of the Franklin Municipal Code.  Businesses are required to pay an application fee of $250.00 and an annual privilege tax of $100.00. 

All businesses that sell wine or liquor must contact the State of Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission to apply for a liquor license and must pay an annual fee to the City of Franklin which is based on seating. You can contact the Alcoholic Beverage Commission at (615) 741-1602. 

Liquor sales are governed by State law and are limited based on population in the City of Franklin.  All liquor package stores must contact Lanaii Benne at (615) 791-3217 prior to applying for a business license to check availability.

Businesses operating in Tennessee must meet non-smoker provisions of State law as identified here.

The State collects various taxes from businesses.  Please refer to the State of Tennessee Department of Revenue web site for additional information.

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