Naics Code Software Development

The North American Industry Classification System Naics code software development is a system used to categorize businesses based on their economic activity. Businesses need to have the right NAICS code, as it can impact things like government programs, industry research, and taxation.

When it comes to software development, there can be some confusion about which NAICS code is the most appropriate. This intro will explore the different NAICS codes that might apply to software development businesses.

Naics code for software development subscription services

The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code for software subscription services depends on the specific nature of the offering. Here’s a breakdown of two main categories:

1. Software Publishing (NAICS 511210): This is the most likely code for companies that develop and sell access to their software through subscriptions. These companies handle the entire software lifecycle, from design and development to distribution and support. They may offer the software remotely through downloads or cloud-based access.

Example: A company creates project management software and offers different subscription tiers with varying features and user limits.

2. Data Processing, Hosting & Related Services (NAICS 518210): This code applies to companies that provide access to software developed by others through a subscription model. They act as intermediaries, hosting the software on their servers and managing user access.

Example: A company offers a cloud platform where users can subscribe to various productivity and design applications.

It’s important to note that NAICS codes can be specific. If your software subscription service involves additional features, like custom development or ongoing maintenance, you might need a different code altogether. Consulting the official NAICS website or a NAICS professional is recommended for a definitive classification.

Naics code for software consulting services

The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) categorizes businesses by their economic activity. For software consulting services, the primary code is 54151 – Computer Systems Design and Related Services. This broad category encompasses establishments offering expertise in information technology through various activities:

  1. Custom Software Development: Writing, modifying, testing, and supporting software tailored to a client’s specific needs falls under NAICS code 541511 – Custom Computer Programming Services.
  2. Systems Design: Planning and designing computer systems that integrate hardware, software, and communication technologies is covered by NAICS code 541512 – Computer Systems Design Services.

However, 54151 might be too general for some software consulting firms. They might delve deeper into specialized services, potentially using additional codes alongside the primary one.

For instance, a consulting firm focusing on management software might consider 541611 – Administrative and Support Software Consulting Services.

Remember, the specific NAICS code depends on the exact services offered. Consulting a NAICS code reference guide or contacting the U.S. Census Bureau can provide more detailed information.

Naics code for software as a service

The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) categorizes businesses by their economic activity. While there’s no single NAICS code specifically for Software as a Service (SaaS), the appropriate code depends on the nature of your SaaS offering. Here’s a breakdown of two possibilities:

  1. Custom Development and SaaS: If your company develops custom SaaS applications for clients, you’ll likely fall under NAICS 541511 – Custom Computer Programming Services. This category covers businesses that design, write, and maintain software tailored to specific user needs.
  2. Pre-built SaaS and Hosting: If you offer a pre-built SaaS platform accessible through a subscription model, NAICS 518210 – Computing Infrastructure Providers, Data Processing, Web Hosting, and Related Services might be more suitable. This category encompasses businesses that provide access to software applications over the Internet, along with data storage and processing services.

Ultimately, the best NAICS code for your SaaS business depends on your specific activities. Consulting with a tax professional or referring to the official NAICS manual can ensure you select the most accurate code.


There are two main NAICS codes to consider for software development depending on the specific nature of your business:

  • 511210: Software Publishers – This code applies if your company develops and publishes its software for sale or distribution.
  • 541511: Custom Computer Programming Services – This code applies if your company develops software specifically for clients based on their needs. This might include customization of existing software or creating entirely new programs.

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