When the entrepreneurship bug strikes, you want to be sure to obtain the licenses and permits you need. No matter whether you’re in the start-up phase, or you’re growing an existing enterprise, you want to always run your business legally.
The federal government’s website http://www.business.gov explains everything you need to do to register a business and to make sure you’re operating according to the law for any necessary permits, licenses or registrations that may be required
To register a business, there five basic steps:
- Determine the legal structure of the business (sole proprietorship, LLC, corporation, etc.). The Business Incorporation page on business.gov has more information on this topic. See http://www.business.gov/register/incorporation/.
- Register your business name (using a “DBA”, “Doing Business As”, “Fictitious Name” or “Assumed Name” as the legal name of your enterprise). Get the DBA filing requirements for every state, along with the District of Columbia, at the Business Name Registration page: http://www.business.gov/register/business-name/dba.html.
- Obtain a Federal Tax ID (also known as an Employer Identification Number (EIN) or a SS-4, from the Internal Revenue Service). Call the IRS at 800-829-4933 or apply for an EIN online.
- Register with your state revenue agency (you must do it after securing a Federal EIN). Depending on your business, you may need to get a Sales Tax Permit or a Vendor’s License from your local and/or state government. Start the process by learning the rules and requirements in your state, which can be found on the State Tax Information page: http://www.business.gov/finance/taxes/state.html.
- Obtain licenses and permits (you may need a general permit or an industry-specific one). Read the Licenses and Permits guide at: http://www.business.gov/register/licenses-and-permits/. It includes a search tool that will explain, step-by-step, everything that is required for your business.
Get more details about each of the five steps described above by going to the ‘Steps to Registering a Business” page of the government’s website.
Good luck with your business!