Business/Privilege License


Welcome to Matthews. We are glad you have chosen our Town as the site of your business. To do business in Matthews, and most municipalities in North Carolina you will need a privilege license.
What is a Privilege License?
A privilege license allows officials to know who is conducting business in the town, as well as the location and type of business. This assists Town officials in ensuring a business is located in an area that is properly zoned and ensures that the business has adequate access to basic Town services. Business owners within the town limits of the Town of Matthews are subject to the privilege license requirements set forth in the Town’s Code of Ordinances. The North Carolina General Assembly through Schedule B of the Revenue Act and the Town of Matthews through its Town Code have authorized this requirement. 
Unless specifically exempt under state law, a privilege license is required for anyone who:
  • Maintains a business location within Town of Matthews limits
Separate licenses may be required if there is more than one type of business.
Licensing Period
A Town of Matthews business privilege license must be purchased annually and is issued for a one year period that begins June 1 and ends May 30 of the following year. New businesses are required to obtain a privilege license prior to conducting any business within the Town limits. A privilege license must be renewed no later than May 30 of each year.
Privilege License Fees
Unless regulated or exempted by state statutes or regulated by the Town of Matthews Privilege License Ordinance, all businesses privilege license tax will be based on prior year gross receipts, subject to the minimum of $25. License tax schedules are located in § 110.70 of the Town of Matthews Privilege License Ordinance.
Privilege License Penalties
It is the responsibility of each individual to determine whether the business he or she conducts is taxed under the Town ordinance and whether that tax has been paid for the current year. No person or business entity conducting business within the town limits of the Town of Matthews shall do so without first obtaining a privilege license and paying the appropriate fee(s). Any business conducting business activity within the town limits of the Town of Matthews without a license shall be liable for up to three years of back (unpaid) business license taxes and shall be subject to a penalty of 5 percent of the annual license tax for each month that the business operates without a license, up to a maximum of 25 percent per annum.
Applying for a Privilege License
The privilege license application may be obtained through the Finance Office at Town Hall, 232 Matthews Station Street or by calling 704-847-4411. Applications may be submitted between the hours of 8 AM and 5 PM, Monday through Friday. All new businesses are required to contact the Finance Office to ensure all requirements have been met for issuance of a privilege license.
If your business is home based please contact the LUESA South Office 704-432-2520 to obtain a Change of Use Permit. This is a requirement for Mecklenburg County and the permit should be submitted with your application for a privilege license.
Offices to Contact When Starting a New Business
When starting a new business the applicant MUST contact the following offices prior to issuing a business license for the reason stated.
Matthews Finance Department
232 Matthews Station Street
(704)847-4411 ext. 225
All Businesses must obtain a license for the purpose of conducting business in the Town of Matthews.
Zoning Department
232 Matthews Station Street
To make determination of conformity according to zoning regulations. All businesses must meet these standards for each type of business being conducted.
Environmental Health
700 North Tryon Street
To obtain a sanitation permit for the sale of food items.
Alcohol Law Enforcement
500 West Trade Street
Alcohol and Beverage Commission (ALE) (ABC) permit required for the sale of alcoholic beverages. Finance Department must view actual permits prior to issuing local Beer/Wine License.
In addition new business owners SHOULD contact the following offices for the reason(s) stated.
Register of Deeds

720 East Fourth Street
To register an assumed name. (GS 66-68) (Must be done in person).
NC Department of Revenue
500 West Trade Street
To obtain a state sales tax number for the purpose of tracking sales tax.
Business Listing Department
700 East Stonewall Street (2nd floor)
All businesses must list property for personal property tax in January of each year.
Environmental Protection
700 North Tryon Street (2nd floor)
To ensure business is in compliance with state law and local ordinances. (Painters, pressure washing, mobile auto detailing and car washing, carpet cleaning, restoration, lawn care, pushcarts and carnivals).
Internal Revenue Service
(800)829-1040 or (800)829-3676
To obtain Federal ID number.
Mecklenburg Fire Marshals Office
700 North Tryon Street (Basement)
Businesses need fire inspection to assure compliance with fire codes.
Matthews Police Department
1201 Crews Road
To register alarms and to provide contact information for emergency situations.
This list was developed by the Town of Matthews Finance Department. It is provided merely as a guide and does not represent an exhaustive list. It is the responsibility of the business owner to carefully investigate the regulations that affect your type of business.
For assistance in determining your privilege license requirements, please contact Lindsey Wiggs at 704-708-1238 or email.
Beer and Wine License
If you are in the business of selling beer and wine, you must first obtain a permit from the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission (ABC). After obtaining this permit, you must apply for a beer and wine business privilege license from the Town of Matthews. The Finance Department must view actual permits prior to issuing local Beer/Wine License.
Alcohol Law Enforcement (ALE)
500 West Trade Street
Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission (ABC)

Licensing Period 

The license to sell beer and wine must be purchased annually. The business year for beer and wine business privilege licenses begins on May 1, and ends April 30 of the following year. A license to sell beer and wine must be renewed no later than May 1 of each year.

Beer and Wine Business Privilege License Fees 

The fee for On-Premises licenses (example: restaurants or lounges) is $30.
The fee for Off-Premises licenses (example: conv. or grocery store) is $15.

Cessation of Operations
North Carolina General Statute §105-366(d)(1)(a) requires notification to the Tax Collector 48 hours prior to going out of business or the transfer of or pending sale to another party. Businesses are requested to complete the Cessation of Operations form and submit to the Finance Department at 232 Matthews Station S., Matthews, NC  28105.