Starting a Business in Okeechobee?
We would like to welcome you and your business to Okeechobee. This information while not all inclusive, has been combined to assist you when starting a new business.
We wish you the best success in your new endeavor!
WHO NEEDS A BUSINESS TAX
A business tax receipt is required for any business with a city business location or any business doing business within the City. A business tax receipt is valid October 1st thru September 30th of the following year. Businesses that open in October will be charged the full yearly rate; however any business opening mid-year will be prorated for the remainder of the year. All active business tax receipts are sent a renewal to the mailing address on file in July and payment must be received prior to October 1st to avoid penalties.
Where to begin
Prior to leasing, renting or purchasing a site for your proposed business within the City of Okeechobee, there are several items to consider:
- Is the site Zoned for the Use of the Business? Current Zoning and Future Land Use must be considered.
- Will the site/building be in need of construction or modifications to comply with building codes? Permits will need to be applied for and obtained.
- Will there be Signage on the property? A Sign permit will need to be applied for prior to affixation.
- Is their adequate Parking for the new business? The Number of spaces required differ based on type of Business/Square Footage/etc.
- Is it a new business, a branch of an existing business, change in ownership of a business; all require a Business Tax Receipt before opening. The Business Tax Receipt application and approval of all required Departments must be completed prior to issuance.
LOCAL BUSINESS TAX
If you are a new business planning to operate in the City of Okeechobee, you must file a completed application with a $10.00 application fee and $100.00 inspection fees for a Local Business Tax before operating.
To ensure that the business is a legal entity and the location is safe for public use, a seven-step review process is conducted before the issuance:
- Review Application for completeness
- Verify attached paperwork
- Fictitious Name Certificate
- Corporation State Certificate with Officers
- Other Licenses that may be required
- Verification of Water/Sewer Service for location
- Verification of Garbage Collection for location
- Copy of Rental or Lease Agreement or Proof of Ownership of property location
- Renter: Owner's Notarized Letter of Approval (Home Business Only)
- Review Zoning (Commercial Business Only)
- Inspect Building (Commercial Business Only)
- Building Department Inspection/Approval
- Fire Department Inspection/Approval
- Public Works Department Inspection/Approval
- Site Review (Commercial Business Only)
- Review of Maintenance of Building & Location
- Code Enforcement Inspection/Approval
- Review Traffic and Parking
- Public Works Department Inspection/Approval
- Police Department Inspection/Approval
Please do not hesitate to contact Trish Hampshire, Business Tax Receipt Specialist, by phone at (863) 763-9816, or by email firstname.lastname@example.org
Common Helpful Links for new Businesses
- Division of Corporations
- Department of Revenue
- Department of Business and Professional Regulation
- Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
- Department of Health
- Internal Revenue Service
- Okeechobee Utility Authority
- Waste Management
Common Code Deficiencies
To assist you in obtaining your Business Tax Receipt, the following is a list of the most common fire and code deficiencies noted by our inspectors:
- The existing business location you have chosen may necessitate a change of occupancy. Just because there was a business in this location prior to your business there may be a different occupancy (use) classification code for your business. If you have any doubts, come and meet the General Services and Building Dept. Personnel Before you do anything else!
- Any vacant commercial unit that was for a different use could possibly necessitate code required building and site modifications. In some cases a different occupancy classification could cause some significant Life Safety or Building Code requirement.
- Address or unit number(s) not posted on the building. The address must be conspicuously posted on the building,
- Fire extinguisher(s) not provided, or improper rating. Specialty type extinguisher(s) may be required, depending upon the hazard of the contents of the business and the occupancy of the business itself.
- Circuit breakers not labeled and electrical panel boxes not accessible. All circuit breakers must be labeled to indicate what each circuit controls.
- Extension cords being used in place of permanent wiring. Only UL surge suppressors are permitted.
- Limited Accessibility for all prospective occupants and customers. ADA compliance necessary for accessibility by all persons.
- Inadequate parking spaces/site. A minimum number of parking spaces are required based on type of use.
- Exits and Emergency Lighting. Exits should be unobstructed and exit signs are required to be posted and lit.
- Electrical, Mechanical, and Gas codes in non-compliance. Based on type of occupancy/usage, items may be required to be completed to bring location into existing building codes.
- Disrepair of Fences, Derelict Vehicles, Yard Maintenance, etc. All businesses are expected to comply with all City Ordinances.
It is against City ordinance to operate a business without a Business Tax Receipt. It is important to have your business set up and any of the above listed items corrected prior to the inspector’s arrival. Sometimes code deficiency items are noted for items that may have been beyond the control of the previous inspection personnel and your cooperation is appreciated. The City of Okeechobee is interested in maintaining a safe environment for the business owners and customers. If we can be of assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Business Tax Questions:
Finance Dept, Ashley Weikert-Rucks
General Services, Patty Burnette
General Services, Ashley Marshall
Building Code Questions:
Inspector, Jeff Newell
Fire Code Questions:
Okeechobee County Fire Prevention- Justin Hazellief
Public Works, David Allen