OpenICON2011Business Licensing


In 1994 by public vote, the fees for a standard business license in the City of Fort Smith were replaced by the "one-cent" tax. While the standard business license requires no fee to maintain, other factors dependent upon the nature of the business determine other licensing and fees required.

Why am I required to pay for all of these licenses?

The licenses are required to protect the general public by guaranteeing that a business is legally entitled to perform commerce related activities in the area, along with meeting criteria and regulation for public safety. Not only is it for the public's safety, but for the business owner's protection as well.

Application Process


The City of Fort Smith welcomes businesses of all shapes and sizes, encouraging the growth of commerce by facilitating the information needed to become a legally operating business. As there are many different scenarios that require special consideration, we hope to offer an informed direction to help you begin your entrepreneurial endeavor.

The process to obtain a business license in the City of Fort Smith begins with the business application. Once this is filled out, it will need to be turned in to the Planning & Zoning department where they will determine proper zoning for the place of business. After Planning & Zoning give their approval, the application then goes to City Collections for review and class code assignment. Depending on the codes assigned, City Collections will disperse the application to the necessary entities for processing and review. Upon completion, all paperwork is returned to City Collections where they finalize the application.

While the application process may seem unclear at first, the City Collections department is able to provide assistance as you go through all steps in obtaining a business license.