In Oklahoma, a business that seeks to get a liquor license should apply for that license to the Oklahoma Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement (ABLE) Commission. A business needs a liquor license to sell or serve alcohol in the state, including beer. A business must also apply for a certificate of compliance.
The applicant must submit these documents to the Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement Commission of the State of Oklahoma:
Further, the business must have a general sales tax permit from the Oklahoma Tax Commission (OTC) and OTC’s special permit or license for such sales.
Fees for Oklahoma Liquor Licenses
Fees for a liquor license range from a special event fee of $55 to the fee for a wine and spirits wholesaler of $3,000. The initial fee for an on-premise beer and wine license application is $500; the fee for a retail beer license is also $500.
The type of license a business needs depends on the type of alcohol it wants to sell and whether it wants to sell it on premise or off premise. A seller can offer beer, wine, spirits or all three types of alcohol. The most common types of alcohol licenses in Oklahoma are:
- Retail beer, retail wine or retail spirits license as a retail store.
- Employee license for any employee selling or serving alcoholic beverages. A server must be at least 18 to get a license to sell beer or wine and at least 21 to sell mixed beverages.
Zoning for Low-Point Beer
An applicant for a low-point beer license – license to sell beverages containing more than one-half of 1 percent alcohol by volume and not more than 3 and two-tenths percent alcohol by weight – must make sure their property is properly zoned for the sale of low-point beer. The applicant can contact their city’s subdivision and zoning division for this information.
Mixed Beverage Tax Permits
A holder of a mixed beverage license must obtain a mixed beverage tax permit and a sales tax permit from the OTC. A seller must collect and remit the mixed beverage tax and the sales tax to the OTC on all sales. All sales of liquor, wine and beer are subject to the 13.5 percent mixed beverage tax in addition to admission charges that include a complimentary mixed beverage.
Customers that present a valid sales tax exemption permit are exempt of sales tax on the purchase of alcoholic beverages, but they are subject to the mixed beverage tax on the purchase of alcoholic beverages. All complimentary drinks are subject to mixed beverage tax.
License Requirements When Serving Food
A restaurant that sells prepared foods and non-alcoholic beverages must also get a food establishment license and food handlers’ permits for certain employees from its assigned county health department office.
Certificate of Compliance
The ABLE Commission requires a certificate of compliance as part of the ABLE application. A city like Oklahoma City will determine the applicant’s compliance with city codes that relate to zoning, fire, safety and health. There is typically no fee for a certificate of compliance.
An applicant must submit these documents when applying for a certificate of compliance:
- Application for a city license.
- Copy of the business’ site plan.
- Copy of the business’ floor plan.
- Copy (single-sided) of a signed lease agreement, unless property owned by applicant.
- Notice of intent or page 17 of the ABLE application.
- Legal description of property, meaning geographical description of property that shows location, boundaries and restrictions on use.
Once the state approves all sections, it emails the certificate of compliance. The applicant must give the certificate of compliance letter to the ABLE Commission as part of the Commission’s application process.
- Oklahoma ABLE Commission: Homepage
- Oklahoma City: Alcoholic Beverage License
- Oklahoma City: City Licensing
- Oklahoma City: Affidavit Verifying Lawful Presence in the United States
- Oklahoma Department of Commerce: Business Licensing + Operating Requirements
- Oklahoma Tax Commission: Businesses, Other Taxes
- Edmond, Oklahoma City Ordinances: Chapter 4.24, Low-Point Beer
- A $25 credit card processing fee is levied by the state of Oklahoma.
- Wholesale wine distribution within the state is undergoing some radical changes and may require additional or different licensing in the future.
- Failure to answer any question on the appliction form, providing inaccurate or false information, or failure to provide the application fee at the time an application is filed are all potential reasons for denial.
Jessica Zimmer is a journalist and attorney based in northern California. She has practiced in a wide variety of fields, including criminal defense, property law, immigration, employment law, and family law.