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Starting a Business

Starting a Business in Florida

We encourage you to go through the provided document on the right to review the various types of State and Local licenses, permits and regisrations that you will need to start your business.

Florida’s Business Information Portal 
The State of Florida established the portal to help individuals seeking to start and operate a business in our state. By entering the type of business you wish to start, the portal will create a checklist to help you understand governmental requirements for your business category.

The eGuide will provide you the basic tools to open your business in Florida, and provide supplementary resources to the business-specific checklists available on the portal.

Business Tax Receipt for Okaloosa County

The following is a basic guideline of information you will need to begin a business in Okaloosa County. Additional information or requirements should be addressed with the appropriate agencies.

A Business Tax Receipt (formerly County Occupational License) is issued by the Tax Collector for the privilege of operating a business. Anyone providing merchandise or services to the public, even though a one-person company or home based occupation, must obtain a county business tax receipt to operate. The Business Tax Receipt fee is $35 per location, regardless of the nature of the business. The Okaloosa County Business Tax Receipt application and appropriate fee information may be obtained at or by visiting one of six County-Wide Okaloosa Tax Collector Locations

Before an Okaloosa County Business Tax Receipt can be obtained, a business must meet all conditions required by city, county, state or federal agency regulations which apply to that business or occupation. Many businesses will be subject to zoning codes. Information about permits or inspections can be found at

Do I need a permit to operate a business out of my home?
Yes, you need a home occupation permit from the Growth Management Department to operate a business out of your home. You may operate a business out of your home if you meet certain criteria that basically requires that you not change or alter the outside appearance of your home from a residence to a commercial use, no employees outside the family, all business activities are within 25% of the home and not in any detached buildings, and that traffic and noise is not beyond normal residential limits. Get the application

City or Town Business Tax Receipts

In Okaloosa County, a business located within a city/town limit requires both a municipal license and a county license to operate. If the nature of a business takes employees inside a city/town limit to conduct business even though the business establishment is in the county, it may be necessary to obtain a city license also.

If your business will be in the city/town limits you will need both a municipal and county business tax receipt. Click here for a list of offices where you may apply for a municipal business tax receipts within Okaloosa County.

Certificate of Occupancy

After you have selected the location of your business, a certificate of occupancy must be obtained from the proper building inspection division. This also applies to zoning permits (Certificate of Use).

Okaloosa County Building Inspection Department
1250 N. Eglin Pkwy, Suite 301
Shalimar, FL 32579

You may need to obtain a Certificate of Occupancy from the respective municipality instead.

Small Business Development Center

The University of West Florida's Small Business Development Center provides consulting services to businesses in all stages of development, from pre-venture to maturity.

The Fort Walton Beach office offers Small Business Consulting, Government Contracting, International Trade Services, Marketing Services and Startup Assistance.

Members of the FWB staff include Adam McCloskey, John DiGiacomo, Bre McCastle, Ayesha Haider and Diana Jernigan.

The offices are located in the Synovus Bank building at:
815 Beal Parkway NW, Suite A, in Fort Walton Beach, FL  32547

View the SBDC Training & Events Calendar

Okaloosa Building and Sites Database

Okaloosa County has a website dedicated to powerful business information research and access to available properties and sites. This economic development tool is a partnership between the Economic Development Council of Okaloosa County and the Emerald Coast Association of Realtors. Using Geographic Information System (GIS) Software, the website provides immediate access to in-depth information that previously took weeks to research. Now, data including dynamic real estate, demographic, and industry breakdowns are available free and instantly for all cities in Okaloosa County, along with a database of available properties with images.

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