Creating a Business Plan

Starting a business is no small task, but ifn you’ve dreamed of running your own business, this is where you can start.

Training and Assistance

The City of Tuscaloosa encourages you to take advantage of the business assistance and training programs available to help start your business. For free and low cost training the City’s partners regularly offer training and information to new and existing entrepreneurs.

To learn more about upcoming training opportunities, contact: 

The City of Tuscaloosa’s Business Opportunity Program  (

Formalizing your Business 

Formalizing a business involves the process of legally establishing and structuring your business. This can include selecting a legal structure with the Alabama Secretary of State. This process may also involve adhering to tax requirements and implementing other measures based on the nature and scale of the business.  

Decide Legal Structure 

Financial, tax, and legal obligations are impacted by the legal structure of the business entity. Speak with your legal advisor to determine the best structure for your business. The Small Business Administration is a great resource for learning more about possible legal structures for your business. 

Register your business name

While registering your legal structure with Alabama Secretary of State’s office is one way to conduct business, the City of Tuscaloosa offers numerous ways to do business.  

You can also be the sole proprietor without registering a legal structure with the Secretary of State’s Office. However, if you operate under a trade name, you will need to confirm availability of the name using the Secretary of State’s website found here

Choosing your Business Location 

Navigate the process of finding the right location and building your business in Tuscaloosa. 

Zoning & Site Selection

You are strongly advised to contact the City prior to leasing, purchasing, or otherwise committing to a property in order to confirm that your proposed business use is permitted in the property’s zoning district and that the building structure meets applicable building and life safety code requirements in accordance with the Office of Urban Development, Building and Inspections division and the Tuscaloosa Fire and Rescue department. If the building structure is going to be used differently than previously used (known as a classification change) contact the Fire Marshal’s Office for further information and requirements at 205-248-5422 or For more information regarding the property’s zoning district, visit the Zoning Look-up Application page, or contact the Office of Urban Development, Planning division at (205) 248-5100 or email at  

If you currently do not have an adequate workspace, the City encourages you to reach out to The EDGE. The EDGE features 20 offices, 100 workstations, and several conference rooms, all offered to established entrepreneurs, people seeking to build their businesses, and individuals who need working and networking space.  

Financing your Business 

Financing your business is often dependent on having a sound business plan that identifies start-up capital needs and cash flow requirements. Once this information is in hand, your next step is to find out which financing options are best for you. 

Small business financing sources may include: 

Registering for Business Taxes

Ensure you are meeting any Federal, State, or Local tax requirements for your business. 

EIN needed for federal tax and employment tax  

The Employer Identification Number (EIN) obtained through the U.S Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is important to starting your business. The EIN is often referred to as an Employer Tax ID. Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) Online here. 

City of Tuscaloosa Taxes 

There are various taxes that your business could potentially encounter. Please contact the City of Tuscaloosa’s Accounting and Finance, Revenue division if you have further questions at (205) 248-5200 or by email at 

State of Alabama Taxes 

My Alabama Taxes (MAT) is the official web portal for the Alabama Department of Revenue. Most business entities wishing to do business in Alabama must register for a unique Alabama Tax ID using MAT. A taxpayer can file City, County, and the State’s following taxes through the MAT portal: sales, use, rental of tangible personal property, and lodging tax.  

Your State Tax ID is not needed in order to obtain a State or City of Tuscaloosa Business license. State business licenses are administered through the County, so you will need to contact Tuscaloosa County Business License Division to determine if you need a license. Any applicable State business license will need to be obtained before applying for a City of Tuscaloosa business license. 

Register online for an Alabama Tax ID through the My Alabama Taxes Portal

Obtaining Licenses and Permits for Your Business or Profession  

All businesses operating in the City of Tuscaloosa must obtain specific local permits and licenses that are dependent on the type of business activity.  

Professional license

Certain professional services are licensed by the Alabama Secretary of State. Such services include: Barbers, Cosmetology, Child Care Services, Pharmacy, Architects and Interior Designers, and General and Residential Contractors. 

Business License

A business license is required to operate a business within the City of Tuscaloosa or its Police Jurisdiction. Generally speaking, the Police Jurisdiction is the three-mile area that extends past the City Limits of Tuscaloosa but not into the jurisdiction of another city. Obtaining a business license begins with submitting your application, once your application is submitted your business location will need to be approved through our code compliance process. This allows applicable departments to ensure that your selected location is meets all of the necessary requirements. 

Alcohol license

Businesses electing to sell alcoholic beverages must obtain an alcohol license through the City of Tuscaloosa’s Accounting & Finance, Revenue division. The Revenue division can be reached at (205) 248-5200 or by email at 

Building and Code Permits

The City of Tuscaloosa Office of Urban Development provides a central location for information on development plan review, permitting, and inspections. Please call (205) 248-5311 for more information. 

Opening for Business 

Congratulations on opening your business! The City of Tuscaloosa welcomes you as an integral part of the community and looks forward to assisting you with your needs. Here are some suggestions and important reminders as you begin operating your business in Tuscaloosa: 

    • Be sure to stay on top of your business tax licenses, annual reporting and fees using the links above.
    • Make sure that you understand the employer regulations and responsibilities that include hiring, training, and managing of employees in your business. See for resources.