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Our department is responsible for assisting business owners in obtaining their occupation tax/ business license and alcohol licenses.  We understand that starting a business can be exciting and challenging, we hope the following information will assist you in your new adventure.  Thank you for choosing Newton County!

We are located at 1113 Usher Street, Suite 201, Covington, Georgia  30014.  Our telephone number is 678-625-1659.  We accept applications Monday thru Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.  Please check our website for our holiday schedule and hours.

 Who Needs an Occupation Tax/Business License?

Each person engaged in any business, trade, profession, or occupation in unincorporated Newton County, Georgia, whether with a location in Newton County or in the case of an out-of-state business with no location in Georgia exerting substantial efforts within the state pursuant to O.C.G.A. S 48-13-7, shall pay an occupation tax.  A separate license is required for each branch or location of business.

Types of Business Categories:

  • Home Occupation – Includes all home based businesses and home offices.  A home based business is allowed if it merely serves as the base office of operations and the activity does not create any traffic or noise, and does not involve customers or employees at the home.  The use of residential property for business purposes requires the completion of our Newton County Home Occupation Tax/Business License Application.
  • Commercial – Generally includes all businesses located within commercially zoned areas within the county (retail shops, restaurants, hotels, warehouses, etc.).
  • Child Day Care Facility & Center – Includes any establishment operated by any person, society, corporation, institution or any group, with or without compensation for the group care of children under 18 years of age.
  • Adult Day Care Facility & Center – Includes any establishment operated by any person with or without compensation for providing for the care, supervision, and oversight, only during day-time hours, for adults who are elderly, physically ill, or physically/mentally handicapped.
  • Group Residence – Any dwelling or facility in which full-time residential care is provided for persons as a single housekeeping unit.  All Group Residences require our Zoning Administrator’s approval first.  Call 770-784-2018 to schedule an appointment.
  • Alcoholic Beverage – Businesses, organizations, and individuals who want to sell or supply alcohol must have an alcohol license.  No license shall be issued for the sale of wine or malt beverages at retail, by the package for consumption off-premises, except in retail establishments devoted to retail sales which maintain at least 80 percent of the floor space and storage area in a manner which is devoted principally to the retail sale of grocery products, and located in zoning districts in which retail establishments are permitted as a conforming use.  No license shall be issued for the sale of wine, beer or malt beverage by the drink for consumption on the premises except in eating establishments as defined by the Alcohol Ordinance and hotels with eating establishments on the premises where such eating establishments and hotels are located in zoning districts that permit such conforming use.  For sales by the drink for on-premises consumption, a pouring permit is required.
  • Non-Traditional Tobacco Paraphernalia – Businesses, organizations, and individuals who want to sell non-traditional tobacco paraphernalia shall pay an annual license fee and shall maintain their entire inventory of non-traditional tobacco paraphernalia in a location with tobacco products for sale, or if no tobacco products are for sale, behind a counter and at least 10 feet from a window. 

  Renewal Information

The renewal form should be completed and submitted to our office prior to December 31 of each year.  Renewal forms are available on line and in our office.  Once your business has obtained a license, a courtesy renewal notice will be sent to you in November of each year.  However, failure to receive a renewal notice does not relieve the business owner of the responsibility to renew the business license.  Please allow 14 business days to process your renewal request.  Your license will be mailed to you.

Change of Business Ownership, Location or Activity

For all licenses other than a Home Occupation Business License, changes in location, business activity, and/or description of business, requires zoning approval and issuance of a new license.  The Business License will be terminated if the business ownership or location changes.  The Business License is not transferable without department approval.

Change of Business Name or Address

To change the name or address on a business license, you must complete the Name and Address Change Form and provide necessary documents related to the change.  If the current or proposed business is zoned commercial, you must file a new Commercial Occupation Tax/Business License Application.

Notification of Business Closure

If you do not wish to renew your occupational tax/business license or you would like to close your business in Newton County, please contact our office immediately. If it is time to renew your business license, you may check the box on your renewal form, sign and date stating you’ve chosen not to renew.  At any other time during the year you may email our office and include:  Your name, business name and address, reason for closure, sign and date.

Tips When Completing an Occupation Tax/Business License Application:

  • Read the application thoroughly and complete all sections that apply
  • Please use the Checklist provided to make sure you have obtained all supporting documentation
  • A Post Office Box can be used for the mailing address but cannot be used for the business location
  • All owners must be listed.  If corporation, all corporate officers must be listed
  • Some professions require additional State of Georgia licensing or certification, check with your specific State Department in which your area of expertise may be regulated.  Some businesses may require additional review, permits, certificates, etc., from other County Departments, prior to acceptance of a business license application

Important to Remember:

  • The Newton County Business License Department does not issue licenses for locations within any city limits
  • General information regarding your business license is public record.  Anyone can obtain that information.  We do not sell the information; however, it is available to anyone who asks for it.  Any personal information taken for identification purposes only is NOT public record
  • Having a business license doesn’t mean you “own” the name that you have selected for your business.  In order to “own” the name, you will need to register the Trade Name or DBA with the Newton County Superior Clerks Office
  • To incorporate your business, contact the Office of the Secretary of State, Corporate Division for details
  • If you are selling a product, you will need  a sales tax number, contact the Georgia Department of Revenue
  • For a Federal Employer Identification (FEI) Number, contact the Internal Revenue Service

If you want to verify a business license or wish to report a business operating without a license, please send your request/complaint to businesslicenses@co.newton.ga.us


  Applications and forms 

Home Occupation Tax Business License 716
Commercial Occupation Tax Business License 716
Business Name and Address Change Form
2016 Generic Business License Renewal Application
Citizenship & Private Employer Affidavit
Alcoholic Beverage License Application - Off Premise Consumption
Alcoholic Beverage License Application - On Premise Consumption
Alcoholic Beverage License Application - Pouring Permit
Alcoholic Beverage License Application - Catering Permit


Occupation Tax Ordinance
Alcohol Beverage Ordinance






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