Business Licenses Required to Legally Start Your Business

Here’s a list of business licenses you need to start your business.

All starting businesses need one or more business licenses and tax ids before legally starting business operations. After reading this article you will know exactly what business licenses you need to start your business. First, all starting businesses need a business license.

There are a few businesses that are not required to have one but that’s a small percentage compared to the percentage of businesses that need a business license to legally operate. The business license requirement applies to all businesses: Home-based businesses, online internet businesses, contractor’s businesses, professional businesses and any other type of business. If you are a professional, such as a mechanic or hairdresser, you might need to apply for a professional license directly from the state. However, you will still need to obtain a business license in addition to your professional license. Depending on the location of your business, or the type of business, the business license is filed at the state, county or municipal level of government.

Second, you may need to register a DBA. If you using a business name that does not include your last name, you need to file a DBA (Doing Business As), also called a fictitious business name, an assumed business name, a trade business name, a trade firm name or a business name certificate.

Keep in mind that even if you use your last name as part of your business name, and the business name also includes a suffix such as “& Co,” “& Sons,” “& Associates” or anything that denotes additional business owners, you need to file a DBA. Incorporating or forming an LLC is like the registration of a DBA business name so long as the corporate or LLC name is identical to the name you are using to conduct business. So, if you incorporate or form an LLC, you don’t need to register a DBA business name. However, even if you file a Corporation or LLC, and the corporation name or LLC name is different from the business name you will use to conduct business, you need to file a DBA. Here’s a link to an inexpensive and professional DBA filing service: http://www.businessname.net .

Third, if you sell or lease taxable items or services, in most states, you are required to obtain a state sales tax id number (also called a seller’s permit, wholesale license, retail license or resale permit).

The reason that the state wants you to have this tax id number is that, as a retailer, you will be collecting sales taxes, which you will need to later pay to the state. You will need a sales tax id number to buy wholesale, or if you are a wholesaler, you will need it to sell wholesale. For example, if you have a toy store, you will be able to buy wholesale without paying any taxes for the toys to the wholesaler and, subsequently, charging taxes to your customers when you sell the toys.

Fourth, if you will hire employees, you will need to obtain a federal employer tax identification number as well as a state employer tax identification number.

These tax id numbers are required if you are an employer. Employment taxes are paid both to the federal and to the state government. Note that a federal tax id is also you business id number – just like a social security is your personal id number. Even if you are not required to have it, it is a good idea to obtain one and use it to open a business checking account. Otherwise, you will need to use your social security number to open a business bank account. Here’s a link to a company that can obtain any tax id number for your business: http://www.tax-id-number.info .

Finally, incorporate your business or form a Limited Liability Company (LLC) to avoid personal or civil liability.

You are not required to incorporate or form an LLC but it is recommended because a corporation or LLC is a separate “person” or legal entity and, thus, separates you from the business. Filing a DBA, does not protect your personal assets. However, if you incorporate or form an LLC, your debtors can only satisfy claims from your company’s business assets not your personal assets such as your home or automobile.

You can hire a lawyer to file your business licenses, a less expensive legal service or you can do it yourself. After obtaining the required business licenses discussed above, and opening your business accounts, you can legally start business operations.

Obtain all required business licenses for your business so you can start making money!

Copyright (c) 2006 Elias Stassinos

Elias Stassinos, Esquire is a business attorney that has assisted thousands of small business owners and entrepreneurs launch their first business enterprise. Visit his law firm Website: http://www.stassinos.com.

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