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Business Licensing Essentials: Records Retention

Every month in 2022, the Municipal Association’s Local Revenue Services is hosting “Business Licensing Essentials,” a series of virtual training sessions on the processes needed to administer business license taxes correctly, efficiently and in a way that makes life easier for those doing business inside a city or town. The session on business license records retention will take place Wednesday, June 8, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. 

The SC Public Records Act sets the requirements to retain and ultimately destroy public records. Cities and towns should maintain their business license records for at least seven years. If they then decide to destroy the records, they must notify the SC Department of Archives and History of the destruction. Retaining business licenses records from past years is important in cases where a business is delinquent in paying taxes since a taxing jurisdiction is authorized to collect taxes on the current license year and up to the last three license years. 

The SC Freedom of Information Act also has implications for business licensing data. Releasing any information that would allow someone to determine a business’s gross income is exempt from release to the public. For example, a municipality cannot release the amount of business license tax a business paid, since this could allow for a calculation of the gross income amount. However, business license records may be released with financial information redacted. 

Find the recordings of past meetings online.