Business License Office

The Business License Office, a division of the Finance Department, assists the local business community with the highest quality of customer service. We facilitate the issuance of business licenses, event licenses, food truck permits, and the collection of hospitality and accommodations fees.

Any business physically located within the City of Beaufort (resident) is required to obtain a business license. All nonresident businesses that conduct business within the City of Beaufort must also obtain a business license.

How to get a business license

The attached flow chart explains the  process involved in getting a business license: Flow chart PDF

Business license tax

South Carolina State Law §5-7-30, and City ordinance, provides for the assessment of a business license tax against the gross income of business operations. This tax is an excise tax. The City of Beaufort assesses the tax based on the business classification according to the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). Taxes are applied to all businesses operating in the City, including those businesses whose operations are based outside the City limits.

Hospitality fees

All businesses serving prepared foods are required to assess a hospitality fee to customers. There is a 2% local fee imposed by the business on each customer for the purchase of prepared foods or beverages. This 2% hospitality fee is then reported and paid monthly to the Business License Office.

Accommodation fees

A 3% local fee is imposed by the business on each customer's nightly accommodations provided by hotels, motels, inns, beds and breakfast, etc. This 3% accommodations fee is then reported and paid monthly to the Business License Office.