The ABC's of OTC

OTC Ribbon Cutting at Castle Cakes.What is a City without its business community? Not much, honestly. In order to be a thriving City, we need a thriving business community, and Tucker has it in spades. Every month the Mayor reports on the number of businesses that have applied for and the number of Occupational Tax Certificates (OTC) received in the previous month. This number reflects both home-based businesses and commercial businesses and illustrates the steady stream of innovation and commerce in the City. Tucker boasts a robust business economy that spans from locally owned, small businesses to large international manufacturers in the industrial corridor.

While the application process is straightforward for the applicant, there is a true dance of coordination and cooperation in the internal process for both the City and DeKalb County. It is recommended that all new businesses check in with the City’s Planning and Zoning department to make sure that the proposed business aligns with the allowed building usage. Once the applicant submits the completed application and all required paperwork and permits, the City checks if the business fits the definition of zoning for the proposed address. If it is compliant the application is approved and a route sheet for DeKalb County is provided to the applicant. This routing sheet is of utmost importance as it is up to the applicant to contact the various county departments. From there the County will perform various inspections including watershed and fire/life safety. If the application is for a restaurant a health inspection and a FOG (Fats, Oils, Greases) compliance inspection are required as well. Once these are completed and approved, the applicant will need to sign up with DeKalb County Sanitation if at a commercial address. These inspections can take time, so patience and diligence are recommended. The biggest hiccup in the OTC process is the length of time for the required inspections. That is why it is extremely important that applicants follow the directions closely on the routing sheet and contact the county should they have problems maneuvering through their system. The OTC application process from submission to receipt of the certificate should only take up to 30 days.

There are a number of business types that require additional paperwork by the state including automotive brokers, barber shop/beauty salons and massage therapy establishments. These businesses have their own PTC applications on the City website with clear instructions and requirements from the state. Home-based businesses do not require the routing sheet or additional inspections from the County, so the approval process is much quicker, and it is all in-house with the City.

Occupational tax certificate licensing is processed within the Finance department, but several departments have a hand in it as well. The City Planners sign off on the application to ensure that the proposed business fits within the zoning code. The Building and Permitting Department processes any required permits for needed structural modifications and performs inspections. The Economic Development department can even get involved at times. The City’s Business Outreach Coordinator acts as a liaison between the applicant and the County to help coordinate this intricate dance of approvals.

Occupational Tax Certificates are valid through December 31 of each year and renewal is required annually. January marks the start of the OTC renewal period for the City of Tucker and applications are considered late on April 15. For more OTC information, applications and information on other required licenses please visit


Q: Do all businesses in the City of Tucker need to apply for an occupational tax certificate?
A: Yes, all for-profit and non-profit businesses are required to obtain an occupational tax certificate (formerly known as business license). This applies even if you have a home-based business. Fees will vary depending on the type of business, so please check in with our team at City Hall at (678)597-9040 for details about your specific business.

Q: Why do I need an occupational tax certificate?
A: Per City of Tucker Code Chapter 10, all businesses within Tucker city limits are required to obtain a City of Tucker occupational tax certificate.

Q: Are all businesses eligible for an occupational tax certificate or can the City deny some businesses?
A: The City reserves the right to deny any business that does not comply with all rules and regulations or those that do not meet the requirements set out by the City to obtain an occupational tax certificate. This includes failing to meet building standards or zoning requirements and failure to get approval of the Fire Marshal or Dekalb Watershed.

Q: When is the deadline for Occupational Tax Certificate renewal?
A: Per Section 10-32 of the City of Tucker Code all renewals are due and payable on January 1st. Renewals shall be considered delinquent if not paid by April 15th. Delinquent businesses will be subject to penalties and interest.

Q: What should I do if I move or sell my business?
A: Section 10-36 of the City of Tucker Code states that the Finance Department should be notified of the move. The move will be reviewed by Finance and Planning and Zoning before issuance of a new occupational tax certificate. Section 10-37 states that occupational receipts shall not be transferable, and a transfer of ownership shall be considered in the same light as the termination of the business and the establishment of a new business. A new registration application will be required of the new owner of the business.

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