We're Closing. Thank You.

Doug Cook is retiring and Steve Cook has moved to an in-house counsel position. As such, we are no longer accepting new clients. Thank you.

Arizona Business Licensing

Some business activities are regulated at the federal level, e.g, banking, and some are regulated at the state level, e.g. sale of liquor at a restaurant.


Business activities that require federal licensing or are subject to federal regulation include the following:

  • Agriculture
  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • Aviation
  • Firearms, Ammunition and Explosives
  • Fish and Wildlife
  • Commercial Fisheries
  • Maritime Transportation
  • Mining and Drilling
  • Nuclear Energy
  • Radio and Television Broadcasting
  • Transportation and Logistics

More information on those activities that require federal licensing is available from the Small Business Administration


In Arizona, there are three broad categories of non-federal licensing to which businesses or business activities are subject: 1) Transaction Privilege Tax Licensing; 2) Regulatory/Profession Licensing; and 3) Municipal Licensing.

1) Transaction Privilege Tax License

Often called "sales tax", transaction privilege tax is a tax levied upon businesses for the privilege of transacting business. While this tax is levied upon businesses themselves, businesses often pass this tax burden onto customer/clients. In Arizona, the sale of most products and some services are subject to transaction privilege tax. Transaction privilege tax license applications are available through Arizona's Department of Revenue.

2) Regulatory/Profession Licensing/Permitting

Business or business activities that require state licensing or are subject to to state regulation include the following:

  • Accounting
  • Acupuncture
  • Appraisal
  • Barbers
  • Behavioral Health
  • Boxing
  • Charter Schools
  • Chiropractic
  • Contracting
  • Cosmetology
  • Dentistry
  • Education
  • Funeral Services
  • Law
  • Liquor
  • Medicine
  • Nursing
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Pharmacy
  • Physical Therapy
  • Real Estate
  • Veterinary Medicine

More information about which businesses/professions are subject to federal of state regulation can be found at the Arizona Commerce Authority's Checklist Program website.

3) Municipal Licensing

Some cities and towns requires business to operate within their limits to obtain additional licenses. More information about which city/towns require which licenses is available at the aforementioned Arizona Commerce Authority website.

This brief overview of some important considerations associated with Arizona business licensing is by no means comprehensive. Always seek the advice of a competent professional when making important financial and legal decisions.

Steve Cook is an attorney at Cook & Cook. Although his office is located in Mesa, Arizona, he represents clients throughout the Phoenix, Arizona Metropolitan area including the following east valley cities: Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Tempe, Chandler, & Gilbert.

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