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Businesses that have a basic business license in a different classification than the general business license typically do not need a general business license as well. Only businesses with elevator, retail cigarette, patent medicine, food product, or vending machine classifications will need to apply for the additional general business license. Nonprofit organizations generally hold a charitable solicitation license instead of a general business license.
To obtain a general business license, the organization must:
obtain a tax registration or exemption
obtain their certificate of clean hands
obtain a certificate of occupancy if they have a physical presence in the district
apply for the general business license
What is “Clean Hands”? (DC Code § 47-2862) During the Basic Business License application process, all applicants must certify that no more than $100.00 is owed to the District of Columbia Government as a result of fees, penalties, interest, or taxes. This must be obtained in one of two ways:
If you are a District of Columbia individual or business taxpayer, you must log-in to your MyTax.DC.gov account to generate the request. If you do not have a MyTax account and are required to pay District of Columbia taxes (business or individual), you must first create a MyTax.DC.gov account. Once the account has been created, you can utilize the self-service feature to execute the request.
If you are not required to pay District of Columbia taxes and require a Certificate of Clean Hands, a manual request can be requested here.
In either case, the Certificate of Clean Hands will expire 90 days from the date of issuance.
Harbor Compliance does not provide tax, financial, or legal advice. Use of our services does not create
an attorney-client relationship. Harbor Compliance is not acting as your attorney and does not review
information you provide to us for legal accuracy or sufficiency. Access to our website is subject to
Filing fees depend on your individual situation. We do our best to calculate your filing fees
upfront and collect those fees today so we can get started. Your specialist will determine your
exact filing fees and invoice additional fees if required.