Starting a Business in Nebraska
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.
Who needs to register?
If you are starting a new business in Nebraska, you may need to register with the Nebraska Department of Revenue (DOR). Registration is required if you will have employees, intend to engage in retail sales, renting/leasing tangible personal property, or will be providing services which are subject to sales tax.
- Sales tax nexus information: Sales Tax Regulation 1‑004, Permits
- Retailers and sellers: Sales Tax Regulation 1‑005, Retailers and Sellers
- Contractors: Information for Construction Contractors
Note: A company registering for Nebraska Income Tax Withholding must provide its Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN). Register for a Federal identification number at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) at 800‑829‑4933 or their website.
A company that has no employees and simply provides a service may not need to register. See "Sales Tax on Services" and Regulation 1‑082, Labor Charges. If you are unsure, please contact (DOR) for additional information at 800‑742‑7474 (NE and IA) or 402‑471‑5729. You may also email your question.
To apply for a Nebraska Identification Number, you can either register online, or complete the Nebraska Tax Application, Form 20. If you indicate that you will be collecting sales tax, you will be issued a Sales Tax Permit. The permit must be displayed at each retail location. A separate application for each Nebraska retail location is required unless you are applying through the Streamlined Sales Tax Agreement . If you want to request combined filing for two or more retail locations, you must complete the Nebraska Combined Filing Application, Form 11.
After registering with DOR, you will be assigned a Nebraska State Identification Number. It is important to include your Nebraska identification number when filing returns, remitting taxes, and on any other information or documentation that you submit to DOR. If applying for a sales tax permit, you are required to post the permit at your retail location.
If you apply for and receive a Nebraska Sales and Use Tax and/or Income Tax Withholding Permit and your business never opens, or you find you do not need this permit, you must contact DOR to cancel the permit.
Purchasers of an existing business beware – You could be buying a debt to DOR! When purchasing an existing business, or assets of an existing business, you may be held liable for unpaid taxes owed by the business to DOR at the time of sale.
Even if the purchase contract includes a statement that the seller’s business is free and clear of all encumbrances, the buyer must verify that there is no tax due with DOR. A certificate of clearance can be obtained by filing a Tax Clearance Application, Form 36, with DOR.
Send Form 36 to:
State of Nebraska
Department of Revenue
PO Box 94609
Lincoln NE 68509-4609
If tax is owed, you must withhold and remit to DOR enough money from the purchase price to ensure that taxes, penalties, and any accrued interest owed to DOR by the previous business have been paid. Failure to withhold these taxes, penalties, and any accrued interest from the purchase price means the purchaser is personally liable as the successor for any sales or use taxes due, or as the transferee for any income taxes due (including employee income tax withholding). See See Neb. Rev. Stat. §§ 77-2707 and 77-27,110.
How do I register?
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; and
- 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); and
- 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.
Sales and Use Tax
Will I be required to renew my permit to collect sales tax? No, once you receive a sales and use tax permit, no renewal is required. If you change ownership or form of ownership, you will need to cancel the existing permit by completing the Nebraska Change Request, Form 22, and re‑apply for a new permit with Form 20.
How often will I file the Sales and Use Tax Return, Form 10? You will be informed of your filing frequency at the time you receive your sales tax permit. You will file monthly, quarterly, or annually, based on the amount of state sales tax collected. Sales tax returns are initially mailed out after the state identification number is assigned. Thereafter, returns are usually mailed around the 6th of the month following the tax period, and are due the 20th of the month.
Monthly and quarterly filers are able to file online if they wish. For information on electronic filing, click here.
Nebraska Resale or Exempt Sale Certificate, Form 13
Retailers may purchase their resale inventory tax‑free by completing the Nebraska Resale or Exempt Sale Certificate, Form 13. This form is given to suppliers and retained in their records for audit purposes. See Sales Tax Regulation 1‑013 and Regulation 1‑014 for more information.
Income Tax Withholding
Will I receive a certificate for income tax withholding? Yes. The certificate does not require annual renewal. If you change ownership or form of ownership, you will need to cancel the existing certificate by completing the Nebraska Change Request, Form 22, and re‑apply for a new certificate with Form 20. You must also complete Form 22 if you close your business.
How often will I file a return? You will file monthly if your monthly income tax withholding exceeds $500; quarterly if your monthly income tax withholding does not exceed $500; and annually if your income tax withholding is less than $500 per year.
Personal Property Tax
If your business owns depreciable tangible personal property, this property may be subject to personal property taxes. Personal property is valued at net book value and depreciates each year. Owners of depreciable tangible personal property are required to file an annual Nebraska Personal Property Return with your local county assessor on or before May 1 each year. Monetary penalties will be applied for Personal Property Returns filed after May 1. For more detailed information, please review the Personal Property Information Guide. Contact your local county assessor’s office or the Nebraska Department of Revenue, Property Assessment Division for additional information.
Am I required to make estimated income tax payments? Review the instructions for Nebraska Corporation Estimated Income Tax Payment Vouchers, Form 1120N‑ES or the instructions for Nebraska Individual Estimated Income Tax Payment Vouchers, Form 1040N‑ES.Other Information
For more information about Nebraska business taxes, review the following web pages:
- Nebraska Legal Information (statutes, revenue rulings, and regulations)
- Nebraska Economic Tax Incentives
- Nebraska Motor Fuels
- Nebraska Charitable Gaming
- Nebraska Information Guides