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Retail/Wholesale

Are there regulations to import / export goods?

Unless the business plans to import/export alcoholic beverages, which requires a liquor license through the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection, there are no importing licenses.   Contact the agency: (860) 713-6210 or liquor.control@ct.gov or visit www.ct.gov/dcp

However, exporters may require licensing through the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (www.cbp.gov or call (617) 565-6208  or the Bureau of Industry and Security (www.bis.doc.gov/licensing).

If the business plans to import goods for the purpose of reselling to a wholesaler or retailer, contact the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.  (www.cbp.gov, (617) 565-6208 or 877-227-5511)

Businesses that plan to export may require a Shipper's Export Declaration (SED)  through the U.S. Customs and Border Control (www.cbp.gov, (617) 565-6208 or 877-227-5511)
Resources:
*  U.S. Customs and Border Control (www.cbp.gov)
        Basic Importing and Exporting
        Importing via the internet
        Connecticut Ports of Entry and Service Ports
            Bridgeport: (203-367-9487)
            Hartford:  (860-292-1314) (Service Port)
            New Haven:  (203-773-2040)
            New London :  (860-442-7123)
        Regional Custom and Border Control Field Offices
             Boston  (617-565-6208)
             New York  at John F. Kennedy International Airport (718-733-3100)(Service Port)

*  International Trade Administration (http://trade.gov)

Export Assistance Center - services provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce (www.commerce.gov) working in conjunction with the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (www.ct.gov/ecd). Contact the office at 860-638-6950 or visit Export.gov

U.S. Small Business Administration (www.sba.gov)

Foreign Trade Zones

Exporting Sources of Information and Assistance

*  Most book stores and libraries provide books on importing/exporting into the U.S.

What licenses do I need for food services?

Food services including but not limited to restaurants, cafes, coffee houses, delis, clubs, caterers, and food trucks require the following: 

What is required to sell over the internet or through mail order?

Any business making sales either via the internet or mail order must be registered to conduct business in Connecticut, including the Sales and Use Tax Certificate with the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services.  This includes an out-of-state (foreign) business keeping inventory in a fufillment center's warehouse for purpose of distribution.  For example, and out-of-state vendor housing their goods in Amazon's warehouse in Connecticut for purpose of sale to the customer (end-user).  The product is still owned by the business (holds "title") and the end customer is making a transaction with the business (not Amazon) causing the transfer of "title" to occur between customer and business.  Since the business still holds "title" of the warehoused products the business is deemed to have physical presence resulting in the need to register in Connecticut. 

Unless the business is selling a regulated product or service, there are no special licensing requirements.

For additional information on Connecticut laws regulating internet businesses contact the Connecticut State Library  at 860-757-6500 or visit www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib.  The library is able to suggest books for further reference.  If searching online, search by "law of the internet".

In addition, the Federal Trade Commission  provides a Business Guide to the FTC's Mail, Internet or Telephone Order Merchandise Rule.  Contact the agency at 1-877-FTC-HELP or visit www.ftc.gov.

Online Auctions
Auctions dealing with the sale of precious metals, upholstered furniture or bedding require a license through the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection. Contact the agency 860-713-6000 or 1-800-842-2649.  Agency website: www.ct.gov/dcp

Dealers of precious metals and stones require licensing through the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection. Contact the agency at (860) 685-8046 or www.ct.gov/despp.

In addition, the town or city in which the auction is being held must requires auctions and/or auctioneers to obtain a permit prior to the event.

The Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles provides information on automobile auctions.  Contact the agency at 203-805-6307 or mail@ct.gov or visit www.ct.gov/dmv.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection provides further guidance on importing internet purchases with the intentions of reselling.   Contact the agency at 877- 227-5511 or visit www.cbp.gov.

Are there environmental concerns for airbrushing clothing?

According to the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection licensing for Air Emissions is required for airbrushing at a capacity of 30 lbs per hour. Contact the agency:  (860) 424-4152 or mailto:deep.webmaster@ct.gov.

What licenses may be required for a grocery store or convenience store?

Depending on the products the business sells, you may be required to file for the following licenses/registrations:

Check with the local zoning official, health and fire marshal for additional requirements.

The Connecticut Department of Agriculture requires stores that sell milk to obtain the Milk, Retail Store License.  Contact the agency: (860) 713-2568 or paula.butler@ct.gov  Visit: www.ct.gov/doag

The following licenses may be required through the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection:

  • Frozen Dessert Retailer -  the production of frozen desserts for retail sale (for example, the sale of ice cream/"slushy" through soft serve machines).  If selling scoop and serve ice cream be sure to check with the local health department
  • Bakery - the production of baked goods for sale
  • Vending Machine Operator
  • Non-legendary Drug - the sale of non-legendary drugs (over the counter drugs)
  • Pharmacy - both pharmacy and staff
  • Liquor - the sale of liquor
  • Retail, Gasoline Dealer Permit -  if selling gasoline at retail (Weights & Measures)
  • Weights & Measures Device Registration - if serving food through a deli be sure that the scales used to weigh the food are properly registered.  Typically the company that leases scales is responsible for registering the scales.  If purchasing the scales, be sure to ask the company that is selling you the scales if they register the scales.

Contact the agency:  (860) 713-6160 or dcp.foodstandards@ct.gov (Food & Standards), (860) 713-6200 or dcp.liquorcontrol@ct.gov (Liquor); (860) 713-6065 or dcp.liquorcontrol@ct.gov  (Drug & Pharmacy)  Visit: www.portal.ct.gov/dcp

There are no trade or occupational licenses required for food services in Connecticut.  However, a food service certification may be required.  For more information please check with the local health department.  For information on the Food Protection Program contact the Connecticut Department of Public Health. Contact the agency: (860) 509-7297   Visit:  www.portal.ct.gov/dph 

The Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection also offers guidance on food safety.  Contact the agency: (860) 713-6160 or food.standards@ct.gov   Visit:  www.portal.ct.gov/dcp

The U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms requires retailers of alcohol and tobacco to register.  The Bureau also regulates the operation of importers and wholesalers.  For additional information please contact the district or Connecticut offices: Hartford (860) 240-3400   New Haven (203) 773-2060 or visit www.atf.gov

As of the 1/1/03 the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), is responsible for all inquiries in regards to regulating the alcohol and tobacco industries imposed on manufacturers and importers of these products.  Visit the Bureau's web site for more details www.ttb.gov

If selling gasoline, register as a petroleum products vendor with the Office of Policy and Management.  Contact the agency: (860) 418-6232  Visit: www.ct.gov/opm

Register for sales & use tax (REG-1), cigarettes dealer's license (over the counter sales) (Addendum A), motor vehicles fuel tax  - petroleum products gross earnings tax (Addendum C), alcoholic beverages tax (Addendum D) by filing REG-1 and appropriate Addendum(s) with the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services. File either online or by  mail.   Also, retailers should be familiar with the resale certificate.  Contact the agency:  1-800-382-9463 (Connecticut only) or (860) 297-5962   Visit:  www.ct.gov/drs

The sale of lottery products requires an application to be filed with the Connecticut State Lottery. Contact the agency: (860) 713-6000 for visit the agency website for further details.  Once the application is completed with CT Lottery, it is submitted to Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection's Gaming Division for final approval.

The Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program with the Connecticut Department of Public Health is state subsidy that provides milk, cheese and various food items for women and their infants/children.  Open enrollment is available each year on October 1.  Request a WIC application in writing including the store name, address and phone number as well as the owner's name.  If purchasing an existing business, the existing WIC vendor stamp is not transferable and the new owner must apply as a new vendor.  Contact the agency: 1-800-741-2142 or (860) 509-8084  Visit: www.ct.gov/dph  

Retailers wanting to accept and redeem food stamps must be registered through the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (formerly known as the  Food Stamp Program) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  Contact the agency: 1-800-842-1508  Visit:  www.usda.gov

The Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection regulates activities that may impact the state's natural resources and environment.  DEP administers permitting programs that protect the state's resources by regulating the emissions of pollutants, facility operations, and land use activities. If your activity has the potential to impact the environment or the state's natural resources, you may need to apply for and obtain one or more permits. Contact the agency:  (860) 424-3003 or dep.webmaster@ct.gov  Visit:  www.ct.gov/dep

Labeling

Food labeling requirements are under the jurisdiction of the federal U.S. Food & Drug Administration - Compliance Branch.  Food labeling questions can be e-mailed to industry@fda.gov or call 888-463-6332 (888-INFO-FDA).  Visit:  www.fda.gov 

In addition, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 (the Bioterrorism Act 2002) requires the owner, operator, or agent in charge of a domestic or foreign food processing facility to submit a registration to the Secretary of the FDA. For a foreign facility, the registration must include the name of the U.S. agent for the facility.

Additionally, the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection can assist with food labeling requirements.  Contact the agency 860-713-6160 or food.services@ct.gov  Visit:  www.ct.gov/dcp

Note:  Smaller businesses with low volume may apply for a labeling exemption.

Contact the Connecticut Licensing Info Center (CT-CLIC.com), to learn about further registration considerations. 1-800-392-2122 or Contact form.

What licenses are required for a liquor store?

The sale of liquor or alcoholic beverages requires a liquor license through the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection.
Contact the agency: (860) 713-6200 or liquor.control@ct.gov.

The U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms requires retailers to register.  The Bureau also regulates the operation of importers and wholesalers.  Contact the agency: Hartford (860) 240-3400   New Haven (203) 773-2060. 

As of  1/1/03 the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), is responsible for all inquiries regarding the alcohol and tobacco industries' regulations imposed on manufacturers and importers of these products.  Visit the Bureau's web site for more details.

The sale of lottery products requires a lottery sales agent's license with the Connecticut Division of Special Revenue.  Contact the agency: (860) 594-0643 or dosr@po.state.ct.us.

According to the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services, the sale of cigarettes over the counter requires a cigarettes dealer's license (over the counter sales) registration and the sale of most products is subject to the sales and use tax.  Apply for both by filing REG-1 and Addendum A (Cigarette).  REG-1 (online, mail).  Contact the agency: 800-382-9463 (Connecticut only) or (860) 297-5962 or drs@po.state.ct.us.

What are the licensing requirements for selling heating fuel?

Any person, firm or corporation engaged in the retail sale of home heating oil is required to have a home heating oil dealer registration through the Department of Consumer Protection.  Contact the agency: (860) 713-6160 or dcp.foodstandards@ct.gov.  Visit www.portal.ct.gov/dcp

The Connecticut Office of Policy and Management requires wholesalers and retailers of petroleum products. (gasoline at retail stations exempted.) to hold a Petroleum Products Vendors Registration.  Contact the agency:  (860) 418-6232   Visit www.ct.gov/opm

If transporting the fuel:

* Note: Registration criteria include:
-  The vehicle must have two axils and a registered gross vehicle weight exceeding 26,000 pounds or 11,797 Kilograms
-  Have three or more axils regardless of weight.

According to the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services, transportation services are not subject to the Connecticut sales tax. Contact the agency at 1-800-382-9463 (Connecticut only) or (860) 297-5962 or drs@po.state.ct.us   Visit:  www.ct.gov/drs

Transporting Within State Lines

Register with the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services for the Motor Carrier Fuel Tax.  *Please note that the IFTA (International Fuel Tax Agreement) registration is not needed if you are transporting goods within the state border only.

Transporting Across State Border

Register with the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services for the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA).

*Please note that the Motor Carrier Road Tax registration is not needed if you are transporting goods across the state border.

According to the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles, there is a new federal law, the Unified Carrier Registration Program, that applies to operations involving trucks and busses that travel interstate, involved in international commerce, or if you make the arrangements for the transportation of cargo and goods. Contact the agency: (860) 263-5281 or mail@ct.gov  Visit:  www.ct.gov/dmv

Obtain a Certificate to Carry Goods Out-of-State application from the Federal Highway Administration and Office of Freight Management by calling 1-800-832-5660 pr visit ops.fhwa.dot.gov/freight/ 

Resources:
U.S. DOT Number application and FAQs
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, Rules and Notices

All Trucking Businesses

Obtain a commercial driver's license(CDL) from the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles. Contact the agency: 1-800-842-8222 or mail@ct.gov  Visit www.ct.gov/dmv  

In addition, contact the Comdata Legal Services to register for a temporary permit by calling 800-749-6058. 

Do I need a license to act as a precious metals or stones dealer, pawnbroker or secondhand dealer?

The Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) administers licensing for any person/business engaged in the business of dealing precious metals or stones, acting as a pawnbroker and/or secondhand dealer.  The license(s) allow the licensee to engage or carry on business specific to the location and town or city which is listed on the application. The license(s) are not transferable and is valid for one year (must be renewed within 60 days of expiration).

Additional details are available in the applications.
> Precious Metals or Stones Dealer License Requirements.
> Pawnbroker Requirements
> Secondhand Dealer Requirements

Contact the agency: Division of State Police - Special Licensing Phone: 860-685-8046 or DESPP.Feedback@ct.gov  Visit www.ct.gov/despp.

Retailers need to obtain a sales and use tax certificate by filing form REG-1 with the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services and be familiar with the reseller's certificate.  Contact the agency: 1-800-382-9463 (Connecticut only), (860) 297-5962 or drs@po.state.ct.us  Visit:  www.ct.gov/drs

Is a smoking lounge / tobacco bar / hookah lounge legal in Connecticut?       

Smoking Lounge/Tobacco Bar
Pursuant to Chapter 545 of the Connecticut General Statutes, tobacco bars are exempt from the Statewide Smoking Ban if at least 10% of its gross annual income is from tobacco products and the establishment has not changed its size or location since December 31, 2002.

Hookah Lounges
According to a report provided by the Office of Legislative Research (OLR), Hookah Lounges are not regulated by the state so long as no food or alcohol is sold on the premises.  Once food or alcohol is sold on the premises, the lounge would be in violation of the state's no smoking ban.  The approval and oversight is left to the municipality and local health official.  However, it should be noted that there is proposed legislation SB 415 to ban hookah lounges starting July 1, 2011. 

According to the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services, the sale of cigarettes over the counter requires a cigarettes dealer's license (over the counter sales) registration and the sale of most products is subject to the sales and use tax.  Apply for both by filing REG-1 and Addendum A (Cigarette).  REG-1 (online, mail) Also, retailers and wholesalers should be familiar with the reseller's certificate.  Contact the agency: 1-800-382-9463 (Connecticut only, (860) 297-5962 or drs@po.state.ct.us  Visit: www.ct.gov/drs       

The U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms requires retailers of alcohol and tobacco to register.  The Bureau also regulates the operation of importers and wholesalers.  For additional information,contact a field office: Hartford (860) 240-3400   New Haven (203) 773-2060 or ATFMail@atf.gov.  Visit: www.atf.gov

As of the 1/1/03 the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), is responsible for all inquiries in regards to regulating the alcohol and tobacco industries imposed on manufacturers and importers of these products.   Visit: www.ttb.gov

Also, check with the local health department for additional requirements. 

Note: Establishments that sell and serve alcoholic beverages require a liquor license with the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection   Contact the agency: (860) 713-6200 or liquor.control@ct.gov  Visit: www.ct.gov/dcp 



Does the sale of and fitting of prosthetics require licensing?

The Connecticut Department of Public Health recommends consulting with an attorney to determine whether a license is required for fitting prosthetics .  The agency refers customer to Connecticut General Statute Sec. 20-9 (medicine and surgery).  Contact the agency: (860) 509-7563  Visit: www.ct.gov/dph

According to Connecticut Department of Revenue Services, the sale of prosthetics is considered tax exempt because it falls under medical equipment. Contact the agency: 1-800-382-9463 (Connecticut only), (860) 297-5962 or drs@po.state.ct.us  Visit: www.ct.gov/drs

Is there a license required to sell durable medical goods?

Suppliers of therapeutic and diagnostic x-ray equipment requires registration with the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection.  Contact the agency: 860-424-3029, (860) 424-4152 (Permitting Assistance); dep.webmaster@ct.gov or visit: www.ct.gov/deep

According to the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services, durable medical equipment is exempt from sales tax. The agency provides a full list of exemptions on their website at www.ct.gov/drs.  The Agency also provides a full list of taxable products or services in their Sales Tax Index or Getting Started guide.

Additionally, if selling to Medicaid customers, suppliers needs to registered as a Durable Medical Equipment supplier with the Connecticut Department of Social Services.  To register, call 860-269-2028 and additional questions can be directed to the agency at 860-424-5217.