You need a Commercial Activity License to do business in Philadelphia. This includes businesses that are located outside the city limits that do business in the city. This license links all of your businesses and the legal entity you registered for your Business Income and Receipts Tax (BIRT).
Some activities require an Activity License Number instead. This includes:
- Renting three units in a building that you live in.
- Operating a non-profit.
- Getting a vacant property license (residential or commercial).
The Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I) issues this license.
Any person or legal entity that does business in Philadelphia needs this license.
Tax account numbers
- Federal Employer Identification Number or Social Security Number
- Business Income and Receipts Tax ID
Applicant must be current on all City taxes.
Company-owned properties: Provide the name and mailing address of one of the following:
- Each individual with more than 49% interest in ownership of the property
- The two individuals with the largest interest
Where and when
You can apply online using eCLIPSE.
If you need help filing your application online, you can schedule a virtual appointment.
You need an appointment to visit the Permit and License Center in person.
Permit and License Center
1401 John F. Kennedy Blvd.
MSB, Public Service Concourse
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Office hours: 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday
Offices close at noon on the last Wednesday of each month.
There is no cost for a Commercial Activity License.
Apply online through eCLIPSE or in person at the Permit and License Center.
Note: You should always make sure you have a Commercial Activity License before applying for other business licenses.
If you do not already have a City tax account, you can visit the Revenue Department during the same visit.
This license does not need to be renewed.