Avoiding Liability Bulletin – September 2006
… Are you required by local law or ordinance to obtain a license to do business in the particular jurisdiction in which you practice? Remember – don’t neglect to inquire of the city clerk, the county clerk, or another titled official to see whether or not you are required to pay an annual or other based fee in order to conduct your practice. Some therapists or counselors forget or just don’t realize that when they conduct a private practice (no matter what the size) they are conducting a business. The licensing fee imposed by local law or ordinance is usually a revenue-raising measure only (as opposed to a regulatory measure affecting the day to day conduct of the business), and if not paid will typically result in financial penalties of some kind.
For those who see clients in their homes, they may have a problem if and when they apply for a business license, since to do so may alert local government officials that there is a possible zoning violation. Some residences are not zoned appropriately to accommodate a therapy practice. Those who desire to practice from their residences must proceed carefully and seek legal advice if necessary before applying for a business license. There are other problems and issues that arise when one practices from his or her residence, not the least of which are concerns about the practitioner’s privacy and safety.