Kimberly Boy, Administrator
PO Box 850, Agency Square
Browning, Montana 59417
8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Monday through Friday
Welcome to the Blackfeet Department of Commerce
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q. Who needs a Business License?
A. A Blackfeet Tribal Business License is required for any person, business or organization making a physical presence on our Reservation and conducting business. Whether the business is headquartered here in a commercial location, out of a home office, or headquartered outside of the Reservation but coming into our Reservation to conduct business a license is required. Any individual, corporation, sole proprietor, partnership or any entity that wishes to conduct any business within the exterior boundaries of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation must secure a business license. The Blackfeet Business License Code states that no person shall engage in business or transact and carry on a business, trade, profession, calling or occupation on the Reservation without having procured a license from the Tribe to do so or without complying with any and all applicable provisions of Chapter II of the Tax Code ordinance relating to business license. (A separate license is required for each store or location of business.)
Q. What is a Business License Tax?
A. The Blackfeet Tribe Tax Code requires all businesses operating on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation to pay an annual business license tax. The Blackfeet Tribe is a flat business tax government. A business license tax is an annual non-regulatory licensing fee levied by the Tribal Government for the privilege of conducting business within the exterior boundaries of the Blackfeet Reservation. Business license fees are due and payable prior to commencing business within a particular city or county. The fees assessed are intended to raise revenue for the general operating requirements of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. The Blackfeet Tribe business license revenue pays for Police, Fire, and Safety expenses as well as other general operating costs of the Tribe.
Q. What fees are involved?
A. Fees are based on a flat rate of $50.00 annually. If you are an out of town business, such as a general or sub-contractor, your fee is structured differently. The Business License staff will help you determine the type of business license and fee involved for your specific business.
Q. What type of ownership do I have?
A. Sole Proprietorship - A sole proprietorship is an unincorporated business that is owned by one person or by a husband and wife. You include the income expenses of the business on your own tax return. We must have the owner's name, home address and driver's license number.
Partnership - A partnership is the relationship existing between two or more persons who join to carry on a trade or business. Each person contributes money, property, labor or skill and expects to share in the profits and losses of the business. A partnership is not taxable on the income of the entity. Each partner includes his or her share of the partnerships income or loss on his or her tax return. Except for husband-wife partnerships, we require a Federal Tax ID number (EIN).
Limited Liability Company - A Limited Liability Company ("LLC") combines traditional corporate and partnership characteristics.
Corporation - In forming a corporation, prospective shareholders transfer money, property, or both for the corporation's capital stock. The profit of a corporation is taxed to both the corporation and the shareholders when the profit is distributed as dividends.
Other Types - It is possible that the entity you formed is something other that what is documented above, such as a trust.
Contact our office to discuss the details of your particular business operation. Inquire about Reservation zoning requirements for your type of business and its planned location. This information can be obtained from the Planning Department. In addition to obtaining the business license, you must also comply with all Tribal, City, County, and State regulations for zoning, building, health and safety. You can obtain an application at the Department of Commerce or contact our office to request an application via mail, fax or e-mail.
Q. How do I get an application for a Blackfeet Tribe Business License?
A. Contact our office to request an application be sent to you by mail, fax, or e-mail. Applications are also available for download and printing online from our Permits page.
Q. What information is needed in order to complete the application?
A. Persons applying for a business license will be required to provide one or more of the following items:
Federal Tax ID Number
Social Security Number
Residence address and phone number
Date of Birth
Drivers License Number
Please read the application thoroughly. All sections of the application must be completed. It is important to be specific in your business description by including the starting date at this location and indicating whether this is a new business, change in ownership, business name change or business address change. State whether your business is owned solely by you, whether it is a partnership, or a corporation. The names and home addresses of the owners or officers of the corporation are required. The following information must also be included prior to the acceptance of the application:
Social Security Number (If no Federal or State ID number provided)
Driver's License Number
Federal Employer I.D. Number
State Employer I.D. Number
State Contractor's License Number (if applicable)
State Contractor's Classification (if applicable)
Q. What if my business is home-based?
A. If your business is headquartered out of a home office, the business license application must still be completed. As a Home Based business, zoning regulations limit what type of business can be conducted from home. The Blackfeet Tribe and the Town of Browning are preparing the final zoning codes for their respective governments. Upon completion, all business entities must comply with both zoning codes.
Q. Are there penalties if I am late paying for my business license?
A. Any business which operates without first obtaining a Business License or which fails to pay a renewal fee shall pay a penalty of 10% of the tax.
Q. When do I need to renew my business license?
A. Once you have obtained a business license, which is valid for one (1) year from the date of purchase of the business license, a renewal will automatically be forwarded to you approximately thirty (30) days prior to your expiration date. If you do not receive a renewal notice, please contact the Department of Commerce. Failure to receive a renewal notice does not relieve the business owner of his/her responsibility to renew the business license.
Q. What if I sell my business? Is my business license transferable?
A. A business license is not transferable. The license is terminated when business ownership changes. Advise the Department of Commerce should you sell your business. The new owner will be responsible for obtaining his/her own business license.
Q. What if I move to a new location on the Blackfeet Reservation?
A. To process a change of business address, advise the Department of Commerce by calling 406-338-2277 or visiting the Department of Commerce to request an application form to file for an address change. A processing fee may be required with the completed application to change an address.
Q. Do I need to reapply if I change my business name?
A. To process a change of business name, advise the Department of Commerce by calling 406-338-2277 or visiting the Department of Commerce to request an application form to file for a business name change. The completed application must be returned with a processing fee, if applicable.
Q. Do I need to display my business license?
A. All business licenses must be displayed on the premises in public view. For those businesses not having a fixed place of business in the city, the license must be physically carried on the person while conducting business and presented upon request.
Q. Federal Employer Identification Number
A. If your business is organized as a corporation or partnership, or if you engage or plan to engage employees, you will need a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) for the purpose of withholding FICA taxes and Social Security taxes. A FEIN is required even if your business has no employees. To obtain a FEIN, contact the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) at www.irs.gov.
Q. State Employer Identification Number
A. If your business is organized as a corporation or partnership in the State of Montana, or if you engage or plan to engage employees in the State of Montana, you will need a State Employer Identification Number (SEIN) for the purpose of withholding State Income Tax, Disability and Unemployment Insurance. Visit their web page at www.mt.gov.
Q. Alcoholic Beverage Control Licenses
A. If your business will be selling or serving alcoholic beverages contact the State of Montana. A separate application and fee schedule is available from the Tribe’s Department of Commerce for the regulation and control of alcohol on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation.
Q. Liability and Workers' Compensation Insurance
A. To obtain information regarding Liability and Workers' Compensation Insurance requirements, contact the State of Montana or your insurance agent.
Q. Preparing or selling food?
A. If your business intends to prepare and/or sell food of any type, you must complete an application for a Health Permit. Businesses will need to contact the Indian Health Service (I.H.S) Environmental Office at the Blackfeet Community Hospital. The phone number is 406-338-6338.
Q. Writing To Us About Your Business License Tax Account
A. If you wish to contact us regarding your business license tax account, please be sure and supply your name, address and the business license tax number with all correspondence.
Department of Commerce
PO Box 850
Browning, Montana 59417
Q. Do I Need a Business License Tax if I Operate a Commercial or Home-Based Nonprofit Business, Organization, or Institution?
A. If you operate a commercial or home-based nonprofit business, organization, or institution, you are exempt from obtaining a business license tax. However, an exemption letter from the Internal Revenue Service showing your 501(c)3 status is required to be on file at the Department of Commerce. No business license fee shall be applied with respect to any bona fide nonprofit business.
Q. May I Register to do Business From a Post Office Box or Private Postal Mailbox (PMB) Located Within the Blackfeet Tribe?
A. A post office box or private postal mailbox (PMB) address may be used as the mailing address of record for receiving information regarding a business license; however, a post office box or PMB address does not constitute a business location for business licensing purposes. A post office box or PMB address cannot be substituted as the business location address for any business, whether physically located within the Blackfeet Indian Reservation or physically located outside of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation.
Please visit Permits to download and print Department of Commerce applications.
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