All Businesses FAQs
This guidance document is advisory in nature but is binding on the Nebraska Department of Revenue (DOR) until amended. A guidance document does not include internal procedural documents that only affect the internal operations of the DOR and does not impose additional requirements or penalties on regulated parties or include confidential information or rules and regulations made in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act. If you believe that this guidance document imposes additional requirements or penalties on regulated parties, you may request a review of the document.
This guidance document may change with updated information or added examples. DOR recommends you do not print this document. Instead, sign up for the subscription service at revenue.nebraska.gov to get updates on your topics of interest.
How do I register my business and obtain a Nebraska state identification number?
You can register your new business online for any of the following tax programs:
- Sales and Use Tax;
- Income Tax Withholding;
- Business Income Tax (corporation, partnership, fiduciary, or financial institution); and/or
- Miscellaneous Taxes, including —
- Litter Fee;
- Lodging Tax;
- Prepaid Wireless Surcharge;
- Severance and Conservation Tax; and
- Tire Fee.
If your business has an existing Nebraska ID number for any current tax program, you will not be able to use the online business registration system, but will have to use the Nebraska Tax Application, Form 20, to register for any additional tax programs. If you do not wish to register your new business online, you will need to complete the Form 20, and mail or fax it to DOR:
Nebraska Department of Revenue
PO Box 98903
Lincoln, NE 68509‑8903
When registering your business online, you will either be assigned a Nebraska ID number at the time of registration; or, if a Nebraska ID number is not assigned, DOR will contact you within five business days for additional information. When filing a paper Nebraska Tax Application, Form 20, please allow two weeks for processing. To avoid delays in processing time, make sure all information is accurate and complete, and that the form is signed by the owner, partner, or corporate officer.
The following are separate applications for certain programs:
- Nebraska Cigarette and Tobacco Products License and Registration Application, Form 20CT
- Nebraska Motor Fuels License Application, Form 20MF
- Nebraska Application for Bingo, Lottery, Raffle, or Lottery by Pickle Card, Form 50
- Nebraska Application for County/City Lottery, Form 50G
- Nebraska Application and Return for Mechanical Amusement Device, Form 54
Additional websites for information regarding registering for business licenses and permits are:
- Nebraska One‑Stop Business Registration Information System
- Nebraska Department of Economic Development
- Nebraska Department of Labor (402‑471‑9933);
- Workers' Compensation Court (402‑471‑6468)
- Nebraska Secretary of State for registering a business, trade name, and occupation tax (402‑471‑4079)
You may also need to complete and submit Federal Form SS‑4, Application for Employer ID Number, to the IRS.
Do I need to file a return if there is nothing to report for the tax period?
Yes, a "zero" return is required to be filed by the due date, even if there is no tax information to report or tax to be remitted.
How do I report a change of address to DOR?
Can I request a payment plan for the amount I owe?
DOR will consider setting up a payment plan for you if your financial situation does not allow you the ability to pay your balance in full. DOR offers an automatic withdrawal plan from either your checking or savings account. If you need to request a payment plan, contact us, or call Taxpayer Assistance at 800-742-7474 (NE & IA) or 402-471-5729, and speak with a representative who will explain the payment agreement procedure. Click here for more information.
What is the interest rate assessed on state taxes?
The rate of interest on delinquent payments of any taxes or special assessments is:
6% January 1, 2003 through December 31, 2006
8% January 1, 2007 through December 31, 2008
5% January 1, 2009 through December 31, 2012
3% January 1, 2013 through December 31, 2018
5% January 1, 2019 to present.
What do I do if I am filing a tax return or being audited and my records have been destroyed by natural disaster (tornado, flood, etc.)?
Every effort should be made to find lost records, or partial records that may have "survived" a disaster. If partial records are recovered, they are the best place to begin a reconstruction.
A reconstruction of records is best approached in reverse order. In other words, begin with the end of the year and work backward. The following steps may be helpful in the reconstruction process:
- Determine exactly what has been lost.
- Determine if you lost the only copy of an item.
- For those items where you lost the only copy, rank the relative importance of the lost items, starting with those of highest importance.
- Make a list of the items you determine warrant the time and expense of reconstruction.
- Determine if there is a state, federal, or other agency from which you can request a copy of a lost report. For instance, you can request either a transcript of a filed return or a photocopy of a filed return from DOR. Either can be certified as an actual copy and can take the place of your copy of a lost return. Transcripts are available at no cost by filing a Nebraska Tax Return Copy Request, Form 23.
- For items of public record, contact your local courthouse for a copy.
For bank records, contact your bank. It could be expensive to get copies of canceled checks, but they are available.
In order to continue the filing or audit process, there are options available:
- DOR can get data from a similar business in the area and use that to estimate the taxable percentages for your business.
- A vendor analysis can show the tax generally charged by that vendor – the missing records may be allowed as “tax paid to the vendor.” You can also contact your vendors to get copies of invoices, if necessary.
- Auditors can also work with records that you do have – many times, they can look at current records and project backwards.
- Be sure to check for the existence of electronic records available to be reviewed and tied to items such as asset purchases.
Neb. Rev. Stat. § 77-27,115 provides penalties for willful failure to file or to maintain records. Penalty may be abated if the lack of records was due to a natural disaster or other casualty.
Purchasing an Existing Business
Should I contact DOR if I am considering the purchase of an existing business?
Yes. You could unwittingly be buying a debt to DOR when you purchase an existing business.
Most purchase contracts include a statement that the seller's business is free and clear of all encumbrances. However, without a certificate from DOR stating that all taxes have been paid, the contract alone is not sufficient to protect the buyer from assuming the seller's tax liability. Completing and filing a Tax Clearance Application, Form 36, will help protect the purchaser's interests and assist with the purchaser's licensing responsibilities.
Can I be held liable for any unpaid taxes of the seller?
Yes. Purchasers of a business must withhold sufficient money from the purchase price to ensure that all taxes owed to DOR by the previous owner(s) have been paid. Failure to withhold a portion of the purchase price results in the purchaser becoming personally liable as the successor for any sales or use taxes due, or as the transferee for any income taxes due (including employee withholding). See Neb. Rev. Stat. §§ 77-2707 and 77-27,110.
How can I protect myself from being held responsible for unpaid state taxes of the business I am purchasing?
To protect yourself, the purchaser (or seller) may file a Tax Clearance Application, Form 36, with DOR at least 15 days before any sale of the business or its assets is completed. If the purchaser makes the request, the purchaser must verify that he or she is purchasing the business by submitting a copy of the contract or other evidence. If the seller requests the certificate or notice and would like DOR to send it to the purchaser, he or she must provide the purchaser's address and Nebraska identification number.