Starting Your Business
Starting a new business is an exciting prospect. We couldn’t be happier that you are considering opening your business in our City. In Champaign, you will find a thriving business environment and a city government ready to help. Below, you will find a comprehensive listing of the municipal services that you may need before opening your doors. However, before you do so, we want to make sure you receive the best possible advice, so we have teamed up with our partners at the Champaign-Urbana Small Business Development Center to bring you “The Bridge“. This virtual business incubator is your bridge to receiving free business counseling, connections to other local agencies and providers, and access to the education you need to start your business on sound financial footing. We highly encourage you to begin your business adventure by visiting The Bridge and signing up for your free counseling with the SBDC today.
City of Champaign Business Services for New and Expanding Businesses
Starting your business from your home can be a great way to grow with low overhead costs. However, there are a number of rules in place for home based businesses to ensure that they do not negatively impact the surrounding neighborhood.
The City of Champaign does NOT require a business license for a majority of business types, although there are several that do require special approvals. Below are links to the applications needed before starting one of these businesses.
- Liquor Licenses
- Charitable Solicitor
- Commercial Solicitor
- Going Out of Business
- Group Sales Event
- Itinerant Merchant
- Junk Yards
- Massage Establishments
- Mobile Food Trucks with Location Information
- Pawn Shops and Second Hand Goods
- Peddlers/Mobile Food Trucks
- Places of Amusement
- Re-locators and Tow Trucks
Partner Agency Licensing (Required in Champaign but administered by a separate agency)
- Taxi Cabs and Liveries – Jointly Licensed by the City of Urbana (Note: You are leaving the City of Champaign webpage)
- Food Service Establishment – Champaign-Urbana Public Health District
Combined General Merchandise = 9.00%
- State of Illinois 6.25% (5% State of Illinois, 1% City Share, 0.25% County Share)
- City of Champaign Home Rule 1.50%
- Champaign County (Public Safety) 0.25%
- Champaign County (School Facilities) 1.00%
Groceries, Drugs and Medical Appliances = 1.00%
- State of Illinois 1.00%
Food and Beverage Tax = 2.50%
- City of Champaign 2.50% (remitted directly to City)
Hotel / Motel Tax = 13.00%
- State of Illinois 6.00%
- City of Champaign 7.00% (remitted directly to City)
Titles or Registered Items = 6.25%
- State of Illinois 6.25%
Utility Tax = 2.75%
Telecommunications Tax = 13.00%
- State of Illinois 7.00%
- City of Champaign 6.00%
Motor Fuel Tax = 41.411 cents per gallon
- City of Champaign 4.0 cents per gallon (remitted directly to City)
- State of Illinois 19.0 cents per gallon
- Federal 18.4 cents per gallon
- UST .003 cents per gallon
- EIF .008 cents per gallon
Property Tax = 9.036%
- Champaign Unit 4 Schools 5.0299%
- City of Champaign 1.3152%
- Champaign County 0.8481%
- Parkland College 0.5411%
- Champaign Park District 0.7149%
- Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District 0.3274%
- Champaign-Urbana Public Health District 0.1276%
- Champaign County Forest Preserve 0.0925%
- City of Champaign Township 0.0393%
Property Tax varies by location. Please consult with the Champaign County Assessors Office for precise listing of applicable tax districts for your location.
Rates as of July 1, 2020
The City offers a number of incentives targeted at both building renovations and infill of vacant sites. We also offer incentives to aid small businesses in starting off on the right foot. Visit our “Incentives Page” to learn all about the City of Champaign’s programs.
Understanding the underlying zoning rules and regulations is important when starting your business. Be sure to verify that the use you are proposing is an allowed use in the zoning district in which you wish to locate. Zoning and Land Development are managed through the Planning and Development Department.
Advertising your business in an important part of running a successful business. The City of Champaign has standards for erecting and maintaining signage on your building or property. The type of sign you are permitted to have depends on your zoning district. Sign permits are managed through the Zoning Administrator in the Planning and Development Department
Outdoor cafes are a great way to enhance your business during the warmer summer months. The City offers outdoor cafe permits to any business within the Central Business District that can meet the spacing requirements on the public sidewalks. Outdoor cafe permits are required only for placing tables and chairs on the public right-of-way. Any private space used as a beer garden or cafe is not required to obtain an outdoor cafe permit. These will be handled through the standard liquor license process. Outdoor Cafes are managed in the Planning and Development Department.
All businesses must register with the Illinois Department of Revenue if you conduct business in Illinois, or with Illinois customers. This includes sole proprietors (individual or husband/wife/civil union), exempt organizations, or-government agencies withholding for Illinois employees. All businesses that sell goods and collect sales tax must obtain an Illinois Business Tax Identification Number. That number must be tied to a physical location within the City of Champaign. Businesses with multiple locations may share the same IBT number, but each must have a unique location assigned. Businesses operating temporarily within the City (ex. Fairs, Trade Shows, Farmers Markets) must also have an IBT number indicating that the sale took place within the borders of the City.