Licenses & Permits
Every business needs one or more federal, state or local business licenses or permits to operate. Business licenses can range from a basic operating Florida business license to very specific Cape Coral permits, such as environmental permits. Regulations vary by industry, state and locality, so it's very important to understand the licensing rules. Not complying with licensing and permitting regulations can lead to expensive fines and put your business at serious risk.
Cape Coral Business Permits and License Requirements
As do most communities, Cape Coral has established a system of licenses and certificates to ensure that businesses comply with building codes and land use, zoning and life-safety regulations. Two city departments are primarily responsible for business licenses and permits: the City Clerk and the Department of Community Development (DCD). We urge all business owners to investigate these business permits and license requirements before signing a lease.
The Business Tax Receipt (BTR), formerly called an Occupational License, is an annual tax for exercising the privilege of engaging in business. The BTR is issued by the City Clerk.
The Certificate of Use (CU) indicates that the business location is consistent with zoning regulations and that inspections have been completed. The CU is issued by the City Clerk after approval by the zoning section of the DCD Planning Division. All businesses located in a commercial location (not home-based) must apply for a CU and BTR.
The Certificate of Occupancy (CO) indicates that the structure in which the business is housed is habitable. The CO is issued by the Permitting/Building Services Division. Typically, eligible home-based businesses may be granted a Business Tax Receipt by the City Clerk without the necessity of a CO or CU.
However, when a business will become located in a leased or purchased facility, the Business Tax Receipt will not be granted until the CO (if the building is under construction), Fire Department and CU inspections are completed. Therefore, businesses may wish to apply for all at the same time.
To facilitate cost-effective decisions about selecting locations, businesses are advised to consult with the zoning section of the Department of Community Development (DCD) Planning Division to determine whether there are any issues before entering into a lease or purchase agreement.
In addition, one of the significant factors in considering applications for Certificates of Use is the business classification used by the city. An incorrect or incomplete classification may result in confusion or delay. Therefore, businesses may wish to pay particular attention in working with city staff to ensure that their business classification accurately represents the nature and extent of their services or products.
The city administration wants to facilitate accurate and rapid processing of business applications.
Department of Community Development
Zoning, Permitting, Inspections and Planning
Opening a new business location may involve a variety of permits and inspections. To guide the business owner through the process, the city provides direct assistance.
General information and submittal requirements may be obtained from the Planning Division at (239) 574-0553.
The Department of Community Development is located at Cape Coral City Hall. Call (239) 573-3172 to request information or schedule an appointment.
Florida ADA Accessibility Implementation Act
|Cape Coral Business Tax Receipt
All businesses — including home-based businesses — as well as some individual professional employees, require a City of Cape Coral Business Tax Receipt. The City Clerk’s office can advise you about licensing requirements for specific occupations or professions. Many application forms and other information are available online.
Here are some common situations:
- If your business is operating under a fictitious name or as a corporation, you will need to register with the Florida Department of State Division of Corporations.
- If you hold a state license, such as attorney, accountant or physician, proof is required at the time of application. Business Tax Receipts are renewed yearly.
- State-certified contractors doing business in Cape Coral must register in person with the City Clerk’s office to obtain a competency license and Business Tax Receipt (if applicable).
- Home-based businesses are not permitted to have employees except family members that reside at the home-based business location.
License fees vary depending upon the type of business, but the majority range from $22 to $110.
Cape Coral City Clerk
1015 Cultural Park Blvd.
Cape Coral, FL 33990
Business Tax Receipt / Licensing:
|Lee County Business Tax Receipt
Lee County also requires that businesses obtain a county Business Tax Receipt after obtaining the city tax receipt. Fees for the county tax receipt normally range from $30 to $100, but vary depending upon the type of business and number of employees.
Businesses that do not produce hazardous waste have the option to apply for a hazardous waste fee exemption. Businesses must apply for this hazardous waste fee exemption prior to applying for a Lee County Business Tax Receipt. To learn more about this exemption, contact the Lee County Natural Resources Department.
Lee County Natural Resources
1500 Monroe Street
Fort Myers, Florida 33901
As with the Cape Coral Business Tax Receipt, if your business is operating under a fictitious name or as a corporation, a copy of your papers as filed with the Florida Secretary of State are needed upon application. Contractors must provide proof of state licensing or a competency license.
Lee County Tax Collector
1039 SE 9th Place
Cape Coral, FL 33990
Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR)
The State of Florida, through the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR), requires a license for a number of industries and occupations. The list of businesses licensed by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation is exhaustive. Even though your business might not be listed here, it is still possible that a state license may be required. The Cape Coral Economic Development Office recommends that businesses check the DBPR website to verify specific requirements or to determine the appropriate licensing department for your business.
Highlights of licensing divisions for selected industries:
Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco
Division of Professions
Community Association Managers
Electrical Contractors' Licensing Board
Farm and Child Labor Program
Surveyors and Mappers