Business License FAQs
The City of Myrtle Beach is an ever-growing and thriving place to open and operate a business! The Business License Division is housed within the Financial Services Department. The Financial Services Department is located in the City Services Building, 921 North Oak Street.
TO DOWNLOAD BUSINESS LICENSE APPLICATION AND ALL APPLICABLE TAX FORMS, VISIT THE DOCUMENT CENTER'S "BUSINESS LICENSE & TAX FORMS" FOLDER.
Below you'll find answers to frequently asked questions regarding the business licensure process. To see lists of recently approved business licenses, visit the New Business Licenses page.
Who needs a business license?
Every person, firm, corporation or other legal entity engaged in business or maintaining an office, or acting as an agent within the city limits of Myrtle Beach, must obtain an annual license.
When is the business license fee due? How is the license fee calculated?
The Business License year starts June 1 and ends May 31. Business License renewal forms are mailed to business license holders on or before April 1. Renewals are due June 1, but are not considered delinquent until July 1.
Beginning on July 1, penalties are assessed at the rate of 5% per month, with a maximum penalty of 30% until all license fees and penalties are paid. New businesses or new owners of existing businesses must purchase the business license prior to operation within the city limits. A 5% penalty per month is assessed for opening a business prior to obtaining a business license.
Fees are calculated using the gross receipts of your business. Gross receipts are the total revenues generated by the business. Taxes collected for a governmental entity, or income which cannot be included for computation of the tax pursuant to State and Federal law, are not deemed income and are exempt. Gross receipts from business done outside the city limits for which a license tax is paid to another municipality or county are also exempt.
The license fee for a new business is calculated on an estimation of gross receipts from the first day of operation until May 31. The reporting period for renewals is based on the preceding calendar or fiscal year. (Further information and instruction can be found on the reverse side of the business license application form.)
Are rental properties required to have a business license?
Yes. On June 10, 2014, City Council adopted a new business license ordinance effective June 1, 2015. The ordinance requires a business license for ALL rental properties which include short-term, long-term, residential and commercial.
Will one license cover my business?
A separate license is required for each place of business and for each classification of business conducted at one place/location. If gross income cannot be separated for each classification at one location, the business license fee will be computed on the combined income for the classification requiring the highest rate.
What happens if I operate without a license?
Violations are misdemeanors, subject to a maximum fine of $500 (plus court costs) and/or up to 30 days in jail, upon conviction. Each day of violation is considered a separate offense.
Can the city refuse to license a business?
A license will not be issued one of the following applies...
- The application is incomplete.
- Prior year’s license fees and penalties have not been paid in full.
- The business location is not zoned for your type of business.
- A violation of City Ordinance exists.
- The applicant is delinquent in the payment to the municipality of any tax or fee.
How long does it take to obtain a business license?
The approval process depends on the classification of the business. Applications are subject to approval by city departments and state agencies. These include, but are not limited to: Planning & Zoning Department; Construction Services & Building Department; Fire Department; Police Department; South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SC DHEC); and, the South Carolina Department of Revenue Alcohol Beverage Licensing.
Do I have to display the license?
Yes. The Business License Ordinance requires the license to be conspicuously displayed for the public to view. Transient or non-resident businesses must carry the license upon their person or in their vehicle.
Where do I apply for a business license?
The Business License Office is located in the City Services Building, 921 North Oak Street. The office is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and the telephone number is 843-918-1200. To download the Business License Application Packet, click here.
What is the Hospitality Fee?
A 1% fee is imposed on transient accommodations, paid admissions to places of amusement and the purchase of prepared or modified food and/or beverages intended for immediate consumption.
Who is responsible for collecting and remitting the Hospitality Fee?
Any business is responsible that provides transient accommodations, paid admissions or sells prepared or modified food and/or beverages for immediate consumption. The fee is to be collected from the patrons of these businesses and then remitted to the City of Myrtle Beach.
When is the Hospitality Fee due and how is it reported?
Fees are remitted to the City of Myrtle Beach on a monthly basis. The taxpayer may request to remit fees monthly or quarterly.
Businesses are required to file a report for every reporting period. If the business had no sales, a report showing zero gross must be filed.
The reporting period is defined as the prior month or quarter. Remittance is due on the 20th day following the end of the reporting period. Every remittance must be accompanied by a completed Hospitality Fee Reporting Form.
NOTE: PLEASE DO NOT REMIT THIS FEE TO THE SC DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE. THIS FEE IS NOT A LOCAL OPTION SALES TAX.
When is the Hospitality Fee considered late?
If the stated due date falls on a weekend day or legal holiday, the following business day is the due date. Any reports mailed MUST BE POSTMARKED BY THE US POSTAL SERVICE ON THE DUE DATE to be considered filed on time.
What if the Hospitality Fee is remitted late?
A 10% penalty, in addition to the hospitality fee due, must accompany all delinquent remittances.
What sales are affected by the Hospitality Fee for restaurants, bars and other feed establishments?
All food, beverage and alcohol sales are affected.
What sales are affected by the Hospitality Fee for convenience stores and grocery stores?
Affected sales include all food and/or beverage items that are prepared or modified and available for immediate consumption.
What are some examples of prepared and/or modified food and beverage items affected by the Hospitality Fee?
- Heated or prepared foods (pizza, nachos, hot dogs, sandwiches, salads, meats, vegetables, etc.)
- Fountain drinks, frozen drinks, coffee, and cappuccino.
- Meals that are prepared and then packaged for sale.
What are some examples of prepared and or modified food and beverage items NOT affected by the Hospitality Fee?
Examples of items NOT included...
- Packaged food or beverage items found in a grocery or convenience store that are not part of a meal.
- Ground coffee and loose tea for sale by the pound.
- Deli meats and cold salads sold by the pound in a grocery store or deli, if not part of a prepared meal.
What sales are affected by the Hospitality Fee for food service as an accessory to the primary business (arcades, amusements, theaters, etc.)?
Prepared or modified food and beverage items are affected. Examples include fountain drinks, popcorn, nachos, etc.
What sales are affected by the Hospitality Fee for accommodations?
The rental charge for rooms, campground spaces, lodging or sleeping accommodations furnished to transients for less than 90 consecutive days and those guest charges that are affected by accommodations tax.
What sales are affected by the Hospitality Fee for paid places of amusement, and what are some examples?
All paid places of amusement that are affected by admissions tax, unless exempted by the South Carolina Code § 12-21-2420, are affected by the Hospitality Fee. Examples include theater admissions, night club admissions, miniature golf admissions, amusement ride admissions, green fees, etc.
What is the Local Accommodations Tax?
The tax is a one-half percent (.5%) tax on short-term or transient accommodations.
Why was it necessary to implement a Local Accommodations Tax?
Tourism is the major industry in the City of Myrtle Beach, and it accounts for millions of visitors annually. This industry has been supported by the ad valorem taxation of the local stable population of the city. The local accommodation tax helps fund the cost of providing special or enhanced services required by the tourism industry.
Who is responsible for collecting and remitting the Local Accommodations Tax?
The business affected by this fee is liable for the collection of this fee from patrons. The aforementioned busiess must remit collections to the City of Myrtle Beach.
When is the Local Accommodations Tax due, and how is it remitted?
Fees are due to the city on a monthly basis. Fees are to be reported on the form provided by the city. Upon request, the taxpayer may remit fees monthly or quarterly.
Businesses are required to file a report for every reporting period, even if no fee is due for the period. The reporting period is defined as the prior month or quarter. Remittance is due on the 20th day following the end of the reporting period.
A completed Hospitality Fee and Accommodation Tax Reporting Form must accompany each remittance. The due date for each remittance is printed on each form. Quarterly filers are required to use the designated reports in the booklet (the first four forms).
NOTE: PLEASE DO NOT REMIT THIS FEE TO THE SC DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE. THIS FEE IS NOT A LOCAL OPTION SALES TAX OR STATE ACCOMMODATIONS TAX.
When is my Local Accommodations Tax considered late?
If the stated due date falls on a weekend day or legal holiday, the following business day is the due date. Any reports mailed MUST BE POSTMARKED BY THE US POSTAL SERVICE ON THE DUE DATE to be considered on time.
What if my tax payment is late?
A 2% penalty per month (or fraction of a month, when applicable), in addition to the Local Accommodation Tax due, must accompany all delinquent remittances.
What sales are affected by the Local Accommodations Tax?
The gross proceeds derived from short-term or transient accommodations are affected. The rental charge for rooms, campground spaces, lodging or sleeping accommodations furnished to transients and those guest charges that are affected by tax.
What are short-term or transient accommodations?
Accommodations that are provided on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, as defined in S.C. Code 1976 & 12-36-920. Any stay of ninety (90) or more consecutive days in the same place is NOT considered a short-term accommodation.
- Business Licenses are not transferable with a change of ownership.
- A change of address must be reported to the Business License office within 10 days, and the business must be in compliance with zoning and building codes and any other City or State Codes. Failure to report the change of address shall invalidate the license, and the business can be prosecuted for operating without a business license.
- License fees are not refundable.
- License fees are not pro-rated. On the initial license application, gross receipts estimate is pro-rated based on the number of months remaining in the license year.
- Non-resident businesses are charged only for business done within the city, but their rate is double the resident rate.
- Certain home occupations are not permitted. (Please contact the Planning & Zoning Department for more information.)
- An coin-operated vending and amusement machines require a city-issued decal, in addition to any requirements of the SC Department of Revenue.
- General contractors, mechanical contractors (HVAC, Electrical, or Plumbing), residential builders and residential specialty contractors must meet state standards and be licensed by the State of South Carolina, if required.
- Fire protection sprinkler contractors and alarm installers must be licensed by the State of South Carolina.
- Burglar alarm installers must be licensed by the State of South Carolina.
- Taxi owners must have a Certificate of Convenience and Necessity issued by the City of Myrtle Beach, must provide proof of insurance to the city's Risk Manager and must have their vehicle inspected by the city's Police Department.
- Wrecker/Tow service operators must provide proof of insurance to the city's Risk Manager and the wrecker/tow truck must be inspected by the city's Police Department.