Before you begin operating as a business, you must file the appropriate paperwork with your state. This may include registering your business name, obtaining operating permits and filing a fictitious business name application. In addition, you must determine the legal entity of your business, such as a partnership, corporation or sole proprietorship.
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Register Your Business Name
Most states require a potential business to complete a form to register the business with the state. Registering with the state provides information to the general public about how to contact you and the type of establishment your business operates. For example, to register as a limited liability company in California, you must file articles of organization. Most states require a fee when you submit your registration paperwork. If you will operate the business as a sole proprietorship, it may not be necessary to register your business with the state.
Obtain the Necessary Permits
Depending on the type of business that you would like to operate, you may need to apply for numerous permits. The number and type of permits will differ by state. For example, if you are starting a business in California, you can visit the CalGOLD website and enter the type of business and the location of the business to determine what permits you must acquire.
File a Request for a Fictitious Name
A fictitious business name is a name that differs from the name you registered with your state’s government agency. If you do not file a request for a fictitious business name, the business may be known by your last name. For example, if you are operating your business as a partnership, the legal name for the partnership will either be the name included in the partnership agreement or the partners’ last names. Contact your county to determine how to apply for a fictitious name. Most counties require you to complete a form with the county clerk’s office.
Apply for a Federal Tax Identification Number
All businesses must have a federal tax identification number so the Internal Revenue Service can identify the business in your tax return. For businesses, the IRS issues an employer identification number. You can apply for an EIN on the IRS’s website, by phone or through the mail. According to the IRS, you should apply for an EIN at least six weeks before you will need it to file a tax return or tax deposit. After you obtain the EIN, include the number on all documents that you send to the IRS.