Business License Info & FAQs

Anyone doing business in the City of Decatur is generally required to obtain a business license. Depending upon your particular type of business there may be some prerequisites to licensing. For example, a certificate of occupancy, certificate of insurance and trade qualifications for building contractors, or food permits for restaurants or convenience stores. The cost of the license depends on the type of business and the amount of gross receipts estimated for the licensing year. The licensing year for the City of Decatur is the same as the calendar year. Because there are many variables associated with licensing, direct contact with the department is necessary to complete the licensing process. You are welcome to use a form to submit initial information by email. This application will help determine if a license is necessary and can expedite the process if a license is required.

*Please be aware that state laws and city ordinances are to be upheld in your business establishment within the City of Decatur and our police jurisdiction. Any illegal activity taking place under your business name or at your place of business can result in license revocation.

Business License Renewal Notice

License renewals are due no later than January 31 each year. Beginning February 1 of each year, you are considered delinquent and will be charged a penalty.

If you have not received a renewal notice, email us at and we will email one to you.

For additional information:
Revenue Department
(256) 341-4546 or

Q: Do I need a City of Decatur Business License?

A: If you can answer yes to any of the following you will need a City of Decatur Business License.

  • Will your business have a location in Decatur?
  • Does your business perform service, repair, or installations in Decatur?
  • Will your business have sales representatives calling on customers to take orders and/or service accounts in Decatur?
  • Do you deliver merchandise into Decatur using vehicles owned, leased, or controlled by your business?
  • Do you rent or lease any merchandise (vehicles, machinery, office equipment, etc.) to any business or resident in Decatur?

Q: How do I get a City of Decatur Business License?

A: If you will have a business location in Decatur you will need to apply for a Certificate of Occupancy from the Building Department. When the Certificate of Occupancy is issued we can then issue the business license. There may be other prerequisites for your particular business type so we suggest you contact us directly to eliminate unnecessary delays.

If you will not have a business location in Decatur but are required to have the license you can provide the information via email by completing the following application . We will contact you for any further information necessary and/or provide the necessary form via email.

Q: What is the cost of the business license?

A: The cost of a license will vary depending on the type of business (retail, wholesale, building contractor, service, etc.) and the amount of gross receipts generated by the business. Our current rates provide increments of gross receipts corresponding to license amounts. As the gross receipts increase, the license amount increases. There is always a minimum license amount and this is generally in the $75 to $100 range. A few business license rates are established by State of Alabama law based on population of our city or simply a fixed rate.

Q: What if I want to operate a business from my residence?

A: If you live within Decatur, current zoning rules do not allow for the issuance of a business license from a residence without you first receiving a zoning variance. This type variance is granted through the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BOZA) based on guidelines for not creating a negative impact to the existing neighborhood. The application  for this variance is available online.

Q: What if I am not required to have a business license but I need to register for tax reporting?

A: Some businesses are not required to have a business license because they have no physical presence in Decatur. Yet, they are still required or elect to collect certain taxes such as sales tax or seller’s use tax. If this is the case for your business, please click on the following link to obtain an application for this purpose.