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Permits, violations & licenses

Get a Commercial Activity License

Service overview

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

Tax compliance

Applicant must be current on all City taxes.

Ownership information

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.

In person

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.


You can apply for this license using eCLIPSE.

Note: You should always make sure you have a Commercial Activity License before applying for other business licenses.

The license is issued automatically.

In person

Visit the Permit and License Center.

If you do not already have a City tax account, you can visit the Revenue Department during the same visit.

This license is issued while you wait.

Renewal requirements

This license does not need to be renewed.