5 Steps to Get a Kansas Liquor License

January 29, 2021

Are you planning to sell alcoholic beverages in Kansas? If you are opening a business or establishment in Kansas that will distribute wine, beer, and liquor, you will need to obtain a Kansas liquor license. These types of businesses can range from bars and restaurants to wineries and breweries.

There are a few important steps you must take before you can get your liquor license in Kansas. In this article, we’ll walk you through the application process for obtaining one. These are general tips, so it is best to contact the Kansas ABC Licensing Unit directly for questions. Since liquor licensing laws differ in each state, you can also visit the state's liquor licenses and permits page for additional information.

Table of Contents:

Step 1: Fulfill Application Prerequisites

Before applying for your Kansas liquor license, the first step is to obtain a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) if you don’t already have one. You can register for an FEIN online directly through the official IRS website.

Next, applicants must have a valid Tax Clearance Certificate from the Kansas Department of Revenue (KDOR). This certificate confirms your account complies with all Kansas tax laws and any associated fees from the state.

Applicants must also complete their business tax registration with the KDOR to ensure payment and collection of taxes to the state. You can register either online or with  a paper form submission. Keep in mind, applicable taxes include all liquor-related taxes and withholdings, which leads to the next step.

Step 2: Get Bonds for Liquor Drink License and Liquor Drink Tax

As with most states, there is a liquor drink tax on the retail sale of alcoholic liquor for consumption if on the premises. In Kansas, the sales tax is 10% for alcoholic liquor drinks in clubs, caterers, or drinking establishments. If your business categorizes as one of the aforementioned, you are required to collect a Liquor Drink tax as well as post a Liquor Drink tax bond with the Kansas Director of Taxation.

A Liquor Drink Tax bond, or ‘liquor tax bond,’ is a surety bond designed for retailers selling alcoholic beverages that guarantees your business will pay the required liquor taxes. Kansas requires retailers to post a liquor tax bond of $1,000 or three-months average liquor tax liability, whichever is greater.

The Liquor Drink License bond, on the other hand, ensures your business complies with all rules and regulations of Kansas liquor laws, including paying all liquor taxes and fees. While liquor bond names are sometimes used interchangeably in other states, the Kansas liquor tax bond is not to be confused with the Kansas liquor license bond. This separation is primarily due to the liquor tax bond relief in Kansas.

Your business may be able to waive the Kansas liquor drink tax bond. Kansas liquor licensees who have complied with the liquor tax laws for 24 consecutive months can request a waiver of the tax bond requirement. If your business sells alcoholic liquor for consumption off-premises, such as a winery, it cannot request a bond waiver. Applicants who qualify must submit their waiver request in writing with a notarized signature to the KDOR, Customer Relations.

As for the Kansas liquor license bond, first-time licensees must have a liquor license bond. Otherwise, they can also request a bond waiver. Just as with the liquor tax bond, your business must prove compliance with Kansas liquor tax laws for 24 consecutive months. Waiver submission requirements are also the same. The liquor license bond amount varies by the type of liquor license. qualifications to request a bond waiver

Step 3: Choose Your License Type

Since the post amount for your liquor license bond depends on the license, you must first choose the license type that aligns with your business ownership. There are several liquor license types in Kansas, where each may have different qualifications for licensure.

Below is a list of the most common types of liquor licenses in Kansas:

  • Caterer: An individual, partnership, or corporation selling individual alcoholic beverages.
  • Club: A premises owned or leased by a corporation/association that operates as a nonprofit.
  • Distributor: A person importing or purchasing alcoholic liquor for sale/resale to retailers.
  • Drinking Establishment: The premises, usually open to the public, where individual alcoholic beverages are sold.
  • Farm Winery: A winery licensed to manufacture, store, and sell domestic table or fortified wine.
  • Manufacturer: A brewer, fermentor, or similar who fills or refills an original package or others engaged in alcoholic beverages.
  • Microbrewery: A brewery licensed to manufacture, store, and sell domestic beer and hard cider.
  • Public Venue: An arena, hall, stadium, or theater that is used primarily for large events such as concerts, sports, and entertainment.
  • Retailers: A person who sells or offers for sale alcoholic beverages at retail.
  • Suppliers: A manufacturer of alcoholic liquor or cereal malt beverages.

Be mindful that licensure fees and bonds also may differ depending on the type of business. For example, for bars, restaurants, or other drinking establishments, the liquor license bond amount is $1,000. For farm wineries, the bond amount is $2,000.

To see the full list of Kansas liquor licenses with an in-depth explanation of each type and more information regarding qualifications and fees, visit the KDOR handbooks and industry notices page.

Step 4: Fill Out the Application and Pay Your Fees

Once you have fulfilled the prerequisites in steps 1–3, you can now apply for your Kansas liquor license. The online application may be tedious if this your first time requesting a liquor license. To help guide you, below is a summary of each section of the application:

  • License Type: Choose the license for which you are applying, the quantity you need, and the type of license fee to calculate the total fees due.
  • Business Entity Information: Indicate your type of business and whether you are applying for a new license or renewal. You will need to provide your FEIN number, type of business entity, and primary contact for the Alcoholic Beverage Control.
  • Tax Clearance: This is the section to verify you are up to date on your liquor taxes. You can apply for this online and attach a copy of your Tax Clearance certificate to the application.
  • Entity Corporate Structure: In this section, you will provide details of your corporate structure and officers, such as the president, secretary, and treasurer.
  • Appointment of Process Agent with Power of Attorney: The person you choose as the Process Agent must be a resident of Kansas and a United States citizen. You will only need to complete this section if your business is a corporation, LLC, or municipal corporation. If you are an out-of-state Special Order Shipping license applicant, you can skip this part and proceed to the next section.
  • Background Qualifications: This section checks the personal information of the Process Agent and anyone else within your company’s corporate structure for criminal history, conflicts of interest, and other legal matters. If you answer yes to any of these questions, you’ll need to attach an explanation to the application.
  • Business Location Information: You will need to list all current and proposed locations for your business or businesses, indicating whether they are owned, leased, or shared.
  • Determination of Food Sales Requirement: Since this section relates only to food sales, it only applies to licenses for drinking establishments, caterers, hotels, and Class A/B club applicants. Skip this part of the application if you do not need those types of licenses.
  • Management Services Disclosure: This section is where retailers and municipal corporations must list any other persons or entities involved in their business operations that are not owners or partners. You will skip this section if neither applies to your business.
  • Determination of Retailer Sales: This section only applies to retail liquor stores (retailer applicants). They must indicate if applying for a new license or renewal and their statement of gross sales. You will also skip this section if you are not a retailer applicant.
  • Application Oath: This is the last portion of the application, where you affirm that all information given is true and accurate. Your signature in this section will authorize the Alcoholic Beverage Control to investigate financial records and other information needed for licensure approval.

The Kansas Department of Revenue allows applicants to choose one of two ways to pay the liquor license fees:

  1. The full amount (both the license and registration fee)
  2. Half of the license fee (including registration fee) upfront; pay the remaining half with a 10 percent surcharge within one year of your license issue date

If you’re unsure of the fee amount for your specific license, you can check the KDOR list of license and permit pricing. After you complete the Kansas liquor license application, you must submit it by mail to the KDOR Alcoholic Beverage Control, where its exact address is on the form.

Step 5: Wait and Receive Your License

woman on phone contacting for questions After submission of your Kansas liquor license application, the waiting process begins. The Kansas State Legislature (K.S.A. 41-319) allows 30 days to process your license once they have received all necessary documentation. Within this timeframe, a state representative may contact you for questions. If the director has not entered an order for your liquor license within 30 days, this means it is denied.

If your Kansas liquor license is approved, you can expect these delivery methods depending on the following:

  • New In-state Licenses: Hand-delivery from your local ABC enforcement agent
  • Renewed Licenses: By mail
  • Liquor Permits: By email

How Much Does a Liquor License Cost in Kansas?

Remember, the cost of a liquor license in Kansas varies on the type of license you need for your business.

Following these five steps will help you prepare for and complete your Kansas Liquor License application process smoothly. If you need to get a surety bond for your license or for collecting a liquor drink tax, JW Surety Bonds can help. Check out our surety bond cost calculator to receive an instant price estimate. Then, once you’re ready, our team will help you obtain a bond at the lowest rate. For any other Kansas-based bond that you may need in the future, visit our license and permit bonds list for quick search and quotes.

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