Running a Business in Butte

Butte has transitioned from an economy dependent on mining to a growing, diversified economy built on manufacturing, healthcare, retail, tourism, services, and technology trades, along with modern mining. Butte's central location, broad infrastructure, and historic architecture and culture make it a unique and vital place to do business. Refer to the information below to learn more about what makes Butte a thriving Montana city, and to find resources to help your business grow.

Renewing Your Business License

All businesses in Butte-Silver Bow are required to maintain a business license, as described in Butte-Silver Bow Municipal Code Title 5. Business license renewal forms can be picked up in the Treasurer's Office on the second floor of the Butte-Silver Bow Courthouse, 155 W Granite St, between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday to Friday, or downloaded using the link below. Fees vary depending on the type of business; refer to the fee list for details.

Licenses are valid for one calendar year, from January 1 through December 31. Business and liquor license renewals are accepted from January 1 through January 31. Any renewals received February 1 or later are charged a late fee equal to the original renewal fee, effectively doubling the cost of license renewal. For more information on Butte-Silver Bow business licenses, contact the Treasurer's Office at 406-497-6306.

The Treasurer's Office can advise you if any additional permits are needed, depending on your business.

Checklist: Renewing a Business License

  1. Don't forget to renew your license between January 1 and January 31.
  2. Pick-up the Business License Renewal Form from the Treasurer's Office or download the form.
  3. Complete the form.
  4. Return the completed form to the Treasurer's Office with the appropriate fee.

Paying Business Taxes

Real Estate Property Tax

  • If you or your business own property, tax bills are mailed approximately the last week of October every year. You will receive.
  • Only ONE bill will be mailed for the tax year. If you choose to pay your property tax bill in two separate payments, notices or reminders ARE NOT MAILED for 2nd-half payments.
  • You are billed for the current year.
  • If your taxes are paid by a Lending Agency, the Lending Agency has also received a copy of the tax bill.
  • If you did not receive a tax bill OR you need to change your mailing address, contact the Assessor's Office for correction at 406-497-6290.
  • Failure to receive a property tax statement does not exempt the taxpayer from payment due dates.
  • For accurate posting to your property, include the payment coupon on the bottom of your statement for each property.
  • No paid receipt will be mailed back to you unless you include a self addressed stamped envelope with your payment OR make your payment in-person at the Treasurer's Office and a receipt will be provided. Otherwise, your payment by check is your receipt.
  • If a receipt is needed on past payments, visit the Treasurer's Office in-person.

Property taxes must be paid as billed - no partial payments are accepted. Taxes may be paid in two installments, as noted. If the first installment is not paid by November 30 of the current year, then the amount of the first installment only becomes delinquent. If the second installment is not paid by May 31 of the following year, then the amount of the second installment becomes delinquent.

Real Estate Property Tax Deadlines to Remember

1st Half Payment: Due on or before November 30 of the current year.

2nd Half Payment: Due on or before May 31 of the following year.

Full Year Payment: May be paid at one time on or before November 30, if so desired.

The Treasurer's Office also collects mobile home and personal property taxes. Personal property taxes are due on July 31 of the current year. Mobile home property taxes can be paid in two installments, with the first due on or before July 31 of the current year and the second due on or before September 30 of the current year.

Penalties for Delinquent Real Estate Property Tax Payments

When either installment becomes delinquent, a penalty of 2% will be immediately added. Interest will also accrue at a rate of 5/6 of 1% per month (10% per year). This penalty applies to each year the tax is delinquent.

If the entire year billed becomes delinquent (not paid by May 31), then the full year must be paid with penalty and interest. No payments will be accepted in installments after this date.

Delinquent personal property or mobile home tax payments are subject to the same penalties and interest.

For more information, refer to Montana Code Annotated (MCA) Title 15, Chapter 16, Section 102.

WARNING: Delinquent real estate taxes could be subject to tax lien purchases.

If a delinquency exists, please contact the Treasurer's Office at 406-497-6310 to ensure the correct payment.

Business Personal Property Reporting

In order to ensure fair and equitable taxation, all personal property owners are required to periodically complete and return a personal property reporting form. All new businesses must complete and return a personal property reporting form. All livestock owners must complete and return a livestock reporting form annually.

Personal property and livestock reporting forms must be returned to the Montana Department of Revenue office in the county where the property is located no later than March 1 each year. The Silver Bow County Department of Revenue office is located in the Butte Courthouse, 2nd Floor Room 203, 155 W Granite St, Butte, MT 59701.

Personal property and livestock reporting forms are available at the Montana Department of Revenue's website.

Penalty for Late and Non-Returned Business Personal Property Reporting Forms

A penalty equal to 20% of the assessed value of the class 8 property will be applied for late and non-returned reporting forms.

Personal Property - Class 8: Definitions

Personal property includes business equipment, machinery, livestock and all other property that is not included in any other class of property, is not subject to a fee in lieu of a property tax and is not specifically exempted by law.

Personal property that is owned by, in the possession of, or under the control of an individual or business entity at midnight on January 1 is taxable for that year.

Personal property brought into Montana any time during the year is considered migratory personal property and is subject to the property tax. The property tax is prorated based upon the date the property enters the state.

Migratory property that is subsequently removed from the state during the same calendar year may be eligible for a prorated property tax refund. Applications must be submitted to the County Commissioners of the county where the property was assessed and where the personal property tax was paid.

Heavy equipment that will occasionally move on, over or across the highways of the state requires a $5 special mobile permit. The property taxes must be paid at the time the permit is acquired. For more information on special mobile permitting, refer to the Montana Department of Transportation.

Statewide Aggregate Market Value for Class 8 Personal Property

The first $100,000 in the statewide aggregate market value of an individual or business entity's class eight business equipment is exempt from taxation. The next $6,000,000 of aggregate taxable market value is taxed at 1.5 percent. Any portion of aggregate taxable market value greater than $6,100,000 is taxed at three percent.

Valuation of Class 8 Personal Property

Farm machinery and heavy equipment are valued from nationally recognized guides whenever possible. When that information is unavailable, a percent good factor is applied to the FOB or acquired cost. The percent good factors are calculated annually based on the values in the nationally recognized guides.

All other personal property depreciation tables are calculated annually based on the Producer Price Index from the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Depreciation schedules and information on prorating are available from the Montana Department of Revenue website.

Financial Support for Businesses

There is support available for businesses in Butte at the national, state and local levels. The online resources listed below will get you started, and be sure to contact these departments and programs directly for more information on how they can support your business:

  • Butte Business Development Center: Learn about the services offered by the Butte Business Development Center.
  • Butte Chamber of Commerce: Visit the Butte-Silver Bow Chamber of Commerce website.
  • Butte Local Development Corporation: The Butte Local Development Corporation (BLDC) is the designated lead economic development entity for Butte-Silver Bow.
  • Butte-Silver Bow Community Development Office: Learn about loan programs and other business services available through the Community Development Office.
  • Governor's Office of Economic Development: The Governor's Office of Economic Development serves as a catalyst to grow Montana's economy through collaboration with public and private partners for the benefit of all Montanans. The Office manages the Innovate Montana and Main Street Montana programs in addition to grant and loan programs.
  • Headwaters RC&D: Headwaters provides technical assistance for natural resource, community development, and economic development projects and programs.
  • Montana Small Business Development Center: The Montana Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network is a partnership that provides free, confidential, one-on-one business counseling and low-cost training programs to small businesses and entrepreneurs.
  • Montana Women's Business Center: The Montana Women's Business Center (WBC) provides the necessary tools and support to help women establish, grow and sustain businesses throughout the state of Montana.
  • Small Business Administration Montana Office: Learn about the many resources available for new businesses from the SBA.
  • Small Business Administration Loans and Grants: The SBA offers a wide variety of loan and grant programs for small businesses.
  • UM Bureau of Business & Economic Research: The Bureau of Business and Economic Research is a research department within the School of Business Administration at The University of Montana, Missoula. The Bureau produces a variety of economic and industry data including annual economic forecasts for the United States as well as Montana, its industries, and counties.

Doing Business with Butte Silver-Bow

The City-County of Butte-Silver Bow often works with private businesses for construction and public works projects, for purchasing necessary goods and services, and for specialized consultancies on certain City-County projects. Requests for Bids (RFBs), Requests for Proposals (RFPs), and Requests for Quotes (RFQs) are regularly posted in regional media and on this website. Refer to our Bid Postings page for current opportunities.

For complete information and regulations concerning City-County contracted services, refer to Butte-Silver Bow Municipal Code, Title 3, Chapter 12 and Montana Code Annotated (MCA) Title 7, Chapter 5, Part 23.

Start a Business in Butte

With its central location, quality of life, low cost of living, and many useful programs and incentives, Butte is an excellent place to start a new business. Take a look at our Starting a Business in Butte page for much more information, or contact the Community Development Office to start learning about city-county, state and federal resources that can help to make your new Butte business a success.