City of Fort Lauderdale, Florida – Business Tax Receipts


By Matthew Brownstein, CHT


It had recently come to our attention that the City of Fort Lauderdale was requiring that any “hypnotist” applying for a business tax receipt (formerly known as an occupational license) would need a signed letter from a physician to be able to practice.

I called the city offices and spoke with Ms. Bridget Patterson, Senior Customer Service Representative for the Utility Billing & Collections Division.  Ms. Patterson was very kind, yet was clear that she could not change the city ordinances as they were written.


I explained to her that Hypnotherapist is an occupational title on the federal level and through the Occupational Information Network (O*NET), which acts under the sponsorship of the United States Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA).  In their listings, “Hypnotherapist”, not “Hypnotist” is acknowledged under the category of “Therapist, Other.”


I also explained to Ms. Patterson that the Florida Institute of Hypnotherapy is licensed by the Florida Department of Education as a postsecondary vocational institute (License #3448) to offer career diplomas in this federally acknowledged occupation in Certified Hypnotherapist, Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist and Certified Transpersonal Hypnotherapist. It was explained therefore that on a Federal and State level that Certified Hypnotherapists through our Institute are legally allowed to practice their occupation and must be granted a business tax receipt.


Because of this understanding, Ms. Patterson decided to use the “4233.00 Therapist” occupational title for the City of Fort Lauderdale, Florida when granting Hypnotherapists business tax receipts.  If someone walks into the office asking under the title of hypnotist, then the city desk will automatically default to asking for a letter signed by a physician.  Therefore, be sure in Fort Lauderdale that you have the occupational title “Hypnotherapist” and ideally legitimate State-Licensed Diplomas to back up your occupation.


This encounter shows the benefit of being a graduate from a State-Licensed Hypnotherapy School.  It was through the Florida Institute of Hypnotherapy and the International Association of Interpersonal Hypnotherapists that we had the credentials to be able to make this change.


At the time of this writing we are still considering changing the City ordinances, yet for now our graduates are legally allowed to practice as a Hypnotherapist in Fort Lauderdale within the scope of their training and can feel proud of their occupation, occupational title, and credentials.