Business Licenses


Business Licenses

 City Code requires an Isle of Palms business license for any paid work performed in the City. To avoid a ticket or fine, business licenses should be applied for and obtained prior to beginning any work.


Applicants who do not have a current business license have one option:

  1. Fill out THIS application to get a new business license.


Applicants who have a current or previous year’s license and need to renew have two options:

  1. You can fill out THIS application and just renew your Isle of Palms Business License.
  2. You can visit and renew all municipal or county business licenses within South Carolina at one time.
    1. Your business license number can be found on your most recent business license.
    2. You can look up your NAICS number here:


Business License Rates and Classes

Please click HERE to see our Rate Schedule. Please note, this gives the rate for “on island” businesses.  Unless otherwise specifically provided, all taxes and rates are doubled for “off island” businesses.

Please click HERE to view a business license class schedule.  This list does not include all business types; if you have any questions about your business class, please contact our office at 843-886-9912.

Display of License

Per City Code, for on island businesses, the City requires that business licenses are displayed in a conspicuous place in the business establishment.  For transient or non-resident businesses, the City requires that the business license be carried on the person or in a vehicle, readily available for inspection by any authorized agent of the City.

Licenses with Additional Requirements

Contractors: All contractors must obtain a business license for the Isle of Palms prior to beginning work and must maintain the license throughout the time they work on the island.  Additionally, a LLR license is required for most types of projects. The LLR license must be associated with the business that is pulling the permit and completing the work.

LLR Licenses:

  • Residential Home Builders must present a South Carolina state card. Commercial, Non-Residential General Contractors must present a South Carolina state card.
  • Electrical, Plumbing and Mechanical Contractors must present either a state license or a Charleston County license. The contractor must have a tested license.
  • Painters, carpenters, flooring, concrete, and all other contractors must present a card demonstrating they are registered with the state of South Carolina.
  • According to state law, anyone contracting for $200 or more of work must be registered. For more information, please visit the Labor Licensing Regulation’s website ( or call them at 803-866-4300.

Sub Contractors: All subcontractors need a current business license and depending on the type of contractor, we  may also require a LLR License (see above). The only exception to the requirement for a business license is if the person is an employee of the General Contractor. Employees are defined as individuals for whom Social Security taxes and income taxes are withheld by the General Contractor and a W-2 is issued to them.

Food Trucks: Per City Code, food trucks, vehicles, trailers, and carts are prohibited on the Isle of Palms except when hired for a private event or for a city sponsored event. Solicitation of sales to the general public is not permitted. The City of Isle of Palms has restrictions against single-use plastic bags and other types of food service wares. Please click HERE to learn more about what packaging is allowed on the Isle of Palms.

  • Private Events: A business license is required. We also require a recent Fire Safety Inspection Report from a local municipality.  This will be attached on your business license
  • City Sponsored Event: A business license is NOT required, however a Fire Safety Inspection Report from a local municipality is still required.  Please submit it directly to the City Office handling your event.

Photographers: A business license is required for all photographers who are taking photographs for a fee. This includes photography for weddings, family events, engagements, birthdays, parties, etc. Additionally, the City requires a permit for any commercial film, video, or still photography shoot on the beach, beach access, public parking lots, public right-of-way or other public property in the City of Isle of Palms. Please click HERE to learn more and to complete the Commercial Film and Photography Permit.

Running a Commercial Business from a Residential Property: Businesses that are run from a residential property require additional approval from the City’s Board of Zoning Appeals (BOZA). Please fill out THIS application making sure to complete and attach the BOZA application.

Surf Instruction: The City allows commercial surf instruction providers to provide surfing lessons on the beach with certain conditions.  The first step is to submit for and obtain a commercial surfing permit.  After that is completed, you are then required to get the Isle of Palms Business License. Please click HERE to complete the commercial surfing permit.

Refund and Cancellation Policy

Please see below for information on Business License Tax Refunds.  This ordinance applies to both business licenses and rental licenses.

Sec. 7-1-4. - Business license tax, refund.

A. The required business license tax shall be paid for each business subject hereto according to the applicable rate classification on or before the due date of the 30th day of April in each year, except for those businesses in Rate Class 8 for which a different due date is specified. Late payments shall be subject to penalties as set forth in section 7-1-12 hereof, except that admitted insurance companies may pay before June 1 without penalty,

B. A separate license shall be required for each place of business and for each classification or business conducted at one (1) place. Each housing unit shall be deemed to be a separate place of business for purposes of determining the number of different licenses required by lessors of residential housing units. If gross income cannot be separated for classifications at one (1) location, the business license tax shall be computed on the combined gross income for the classification requiring the highest rate. The business license tax must be computed based on the licensee's gross income for the calendar year preceding the due date, for the licensee's twelve-month fiscal year preceding the due date, or on a twelve-month projected income based on the monthly average for a business in operation for less than one (1) year. The business license tax for a new business must be computed on the estimated probable gross income for the balance of the license year. The initial business license tax for an annexed business shall be prorated for the number of months remaining in the license year. A business license related to construction contract projects may be issued on a per-project basis, at the option of the taxpayer. No refund shall be made for a business that is discontinued.

C. A licensee that submits a payment greater than the amount owed may request a refund. To be considered, a refund request must be submitted in writing to the City before the June 1 immediately following the April 30 on which the payment was due and must be supported by adequate documentation supporting the refund request. The City shall approve or deny the refund request, and if approved shall issue the refund to the business, within thirty (30) days after receipt of the request.




If you have questions, please contact the Building Department at 843-886-9912.