Does a freelance editor need a business license?

January 14th, 2013 → 7:32 am @


First, thank you for making yourself available to answer our questions! I’m a member of NAIWE and created an LLC three years ago for my freelance services. Within the past month, I decided to make a real go of it and I’m working full-time at it, no longer working at a regular job.

Do I need a business license?

Thank you for your help!
OM from GA

Dear OM,
Thank you for contacting me and congratulations on your business expansion.


For the most part, professional freelancers do not need to be licensed. Licenses are common in professions where serious harm to a person could result such as electricians and doctors, or where highly specialized skills are required such as with lawyers and accountants.


You may need to register your business, especially if you are doing business under a fictitious name.


You will need a vendors license (also called or resale registration or resellers license in some states) if are selling a product and collect sales tax. Most states do not charge sales tax on services of freelancer writers and editors.


Just to be sure, you can visit this site to learn your state and local licensing requirements.


I hope that helps!

Carol Topp, CPA


3 Comments → “Does a freelance editor need a business license?”

  1. PW

    7 years ago

    So would I be correct in concluding that editing and proofreading require no license outside of good old word of mouth? I’m assuming so but I’m just starting out and don’t want to miss something important.

  2. Carol

    7 years ago

    Editing and proof reading are unlicensed professions. You may need to register your business in your state and especially if you sell sales-taxable goods or services. I have never head of editing being a sales-taxable service in any state.

    Just to be sure, contact your state agency to see if they require editors to have a license:

    Carol Topp, CPA

  3. PW

    7 years ago


    I’m in an odd situation in that I live and work abroad for my full-time work but hope to freelance via telecommute.