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  • licenses?

    Hi haunters,
    I want to know what other (for-profit) haunts have to have to operate.
    I am to be haunting in MD, I was told I need an entertainment license (but I dont know if this is true) I went to the state offices to find out how to get one and what else I need, they sent me to the county offices and the county offices told me to go back to state offices. >_< .... I know I need an LLC or some form of business license, a tax ID number and insurance....
    but no one seems to know what else I need.... they all just keep saying "pay your taxes"!

    Thanks guys
    Haunt man

  • #2

    In SC we have to have an Admission permit displayed at the ticket booth. This charges an "admissions tax" on any ticket that provides admission. Movies, concerts, etc. anything that charges admission pays an admission tax. However, the customer does not really even know such thing exists. It is 5% of your ticket sales though, so it does add up. For drinks, t-shirts, anything else you will have to charge regular sales tax. Hope this helps. We do not charge it on top of the ticket price, even though every 20 dollars of ticket sales we take in the state gets a dollar so base your ticket price accordingly. We didnt want to deal with counting change back etc. so just kept it a flat rate and paid it and went on about our business. There are still lots of people who "slide under the radar" but here it is a misdemeanor and up to 500 dollars per day that you operate without the license. Hope this helps.


    • #3
      Every state I am guessing is different but these are the steps I took.

      Go to the state Industrial commission and apply for a LLC. This is to protect you from any personal liability in regards to your haunt. once they approve your LLC it can take up to 3 weeks here, they will notify you. You can then apply for a tax ID number.

      I then went to the city and applied for a business license to operate in the city. They will be able to give you all the information you need about city taxes and when they need to be reported and paid.

      I then went to the city building planning, explained to them what I was wanting to do and ask for advice on how to make this happen. They will tell you the steps you need to take. In my case I needed to get a architect to draw up my plans and summit this with a permit request, all the pertinent information according to international building code and local fire and safety regulations. This is not a easy task.

      Once you have the permit approval now is the time to seek out insurance for your haunt and apply for workmans comp insurance if you are hiring employees.

      I am sure other people will have more advice, and You will find every situation and City are a bit different. Good Luck, lots of work but so worth it.
      Last edited by Dark Scares; 01-26-2012, 05:25 PM.



      • #4
        Here's the order we got our stuff. This is applicable for California:

        Established Delaware LLC
        Receive Business License
        Receive Temporary Structure Permit (to construct your haunt)
        Submit Architectural & Engineering plans
        Receive Building Permit
        Receive Permission to Open by Inspectors

        Food, Alcohol, and Sellers (for glow sticks, t shirts) permits are separate and you can get them at any time, but they each may take like a month or more to receive them, so apply for them in advance.


        • #5
          LLC and admissions so far.


          • #6

            We are also located in Maryland, and it is a tough state to operate a haunt. As far as I know, you are going to need a fedaral EIN, state tax id number for State unemployment and sales tax. Your sales tax will be determined by your county/city involved. Information on filing admissions tax can be found on this link: Your rate can also be found on this .pdf for your local county/city I don't know what the regulations are for commercial business, and each county is very different. Our haunt is in an agricultural zone, and we have specific zoning requirements to open. Make sure you are in contact with your county's head of department of licensing and permits to make sure your haunt is viable in your desired location. I would also suggest locating this person's email and being in direct contact with them. The people behind the counter will each give you a separate answer because your business is unique. If you need any other help give me a shout.

            Patrick Barberry