Now that you know what business structure you need, it’s time to fill out the paperwork. For most online merchants, this process will just include filling out a few forms and paying some fees, but if you’re forming an LLC or partnership, there are a few more steps you’ll need to complete. If you’re looking for the fastest way to register your business, head over to ZenBusiness for all your registration needs. ZenBusiness doesn’t just help you start your business, it also helps keep it up and running, with features such as compliance and security agents, operating agreement templates, and a 100% accuracy guarantee, you can’t go wrong with ZenBusiness. While the exact steps will vary depending on your location and industry, the broad requirements tend to stay similar:
1. Register your business’ name. This will become your company’s legal name and can even be different from your “Doing Business As” name. .
2. Register your “Doing Business As” (DBA) name. Changing or setting a DBA allows you to, for example, rebrand your business without changing your actual legal business name. Having a DBA name and a Tax ID number (EIN) is also important when it comes to opening business bank accounts. If you’re forming a sole proprietorship, this is an unnecessary task.
3. Register your business as its own legal entity. If you’re utilizing the partnership, LLC, corporation, nonprofit, or co-op structures, it’s necessary to register your business as a legal entity in the state(s) you plan to do business in. If you’re forming a sole proprietorship, this is an unnecessary task.
4. Register your business with your local tax authorities as well as the IRS. Most businesses require a Federal Tax ID number (EIN). Whether or not you need to register with your local tax authorities depends on your state. You’ll likely use your EIN when you begin applying for permits and licenses so keep that handy once you begin the permit process. If you’re forming a profit, this step usually takes longer due to the requirements for tax exempt status. If you’re forming a sole proprietorship, you can skip this step.
5. Register for the correct permits and licenses. Without these permits, you cannot do business. In order to check what permits your business needs, call your local Small Business Association (SBA) office or your local government office. They’ll be able to point you in the right direction.
LLCs, corporations, partnerships, and nonprofits all must register with the states they anticipate doing business in. Contact the Business Bureau, Secretary of State’s office, and/or a Business Agency to infer the requirements of your particular states.
To successfully register your business in your state, you have to decide on your business entity structure and on a name. Before finalizing your business name, make sure that you check with the US Trademark Database to ensure that you aren’t infringing on anybody else’s trademark. It’s also important to check if the domain name you’re interested in is available at a reasonable price.
If someone has already taken your would-be business name but they’re in a non-competing industry, there may still be a possibility for you to trademark that name for your own use. If you choose to run your business under your own personal name, you may be able to trademark that as well, given that you can demonstrate “acquired distinctiveness” to the trademark office.
If you’re a sole proprietorship and are interested in registering a DBA name for your business, you can do this fairly cheaply although this varies by state.
Local governments require most businesses to apply for licenses and permits. Since these requirements vary, it’s good practice to contact your local SBA or courthouse to ensure you have the proper permits.
What licenses and permits should your business apply for?
No matter where you’re located or what you sell, odds are you need a basic business operation license. In fact, if you’re in a city you may even need a city and a state business operation license. The regulations for obtaining this license vary depending on your location.
Many entrepreneurs operate their business from their home. While this allows them to circumvent the permits and licensing requirements that come with a commercial office space, you have to make sure that your neighborhood is zoned for home business activity. If you’re simply selling products online this is a very straightforward process, but if you plan to manufacture products in your home, it could get fairly complicated.
This is very dependent on the industry that you’re in. If you provide a service, such as accounting or consulting, for example, you would need an occupational license in order to conduct business. Contact your state’s business licensing office to check on what licensing requirements you need to fulfill.
Depending on what items you’re selling, you may need extra licensing. Unless you’re selling restricted products such as alcohol or firearms, it’s unlikely that you’ll need an extra license. If you’re choosing to sell things online, make sure you check if there are online restrictions on your product(s).
Businesses run from home which sell taxable products and services must pay taxes on these goods. This requires obtaining a sales tax license and a certificate of resale. Remember that sales tax is different in every state so you should check with your local tax office to make sure you’re collecting the correct amount.
There are many types of licenses that can apply to your business. Making sure you’re in direct contact with the proper authorities is essential to ensuring you’re following the correct protocol and avoiding costly fines and legal battles.