If you come up with a winning business idea, you may decide to go into business for yourself. The simplest business form to enter the business world is a sole proprietorship. Sole proprietors are basically an extension of the individual and consist of you simply executing your business plan. It lacks most of the formality of other business entities like corporations and is extremely easy to establish. Although the state of Georgia does not require sole proprietors to obtain a statewide business license, Fulton County, Georgia requires sole proprietors to obtain a Business Occupational Certificate, which is also required for other business entities like a corporation. This certificate can be obtained from the Fulton County Business Occupational Tax Division, located at the Fulton County Business License Department or the Fulton County Finance Department.
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Obtain an Employer Identification Number or Tax Identification Number from the Internal Revenue Service. This application can be completed online. You may need this number when you obtain your business license from the county.
Determine whether your particular business is a regulated business by the state of Georgia. Examples of a regulated business are accountants, pharmacies and electricians. If your business is regulated and requires a license, you must obtain the license from the state before applying for your Business Occupational Certificate with Fulton County.
Apply in person between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. at the Fulton County Business License Department, 5440 Fulton Industrial Boulevard, Room 224, Atlanta, or the Fulton County Finance Department, Treasury Division/Business Tax, located at 141 Pryor Street – 7th Floor, Room 7001, Atlanta.
Specify whether your business is operating out of your home or if it operates out of leased space and provide proof of residency, which can be done with a signed lease, property or warranty deed, or a copy of a utility bill.
Remit the fees for applying for a Business Occupational Tax Certificate. The fee includes an administrative fee, a flat rate for the first $20,000 of estimated gross revenue and a fee based on the number of employees. Payment can be made by business check, money order or cashier’s check.
Receive the Business Occupational Tax Certificate when it is issued by Fulton County and continue your business operations.
Tips & Warnings
A sole proprietor may obtain the Business Occupational Certificate online through the Revenue Discovery Systems website.
If your sole proprietorship is engaged in retail sales, you must obtain a sales tax number from the Georgia Department of Revenue.
The Business Occupational Tax Certificate is valid for one calendar year and must be renewed by March 31 each year.
References & Resources
- Citizen Media Law Project: Becoming a Sole Proprietor
- Fulton County, Georgia: Business License
- Georgia Secretary of State: Professional Licensing Boards
- Fulton County, Georgia: Frequently Asked Questions for Business License
- Fulton County, Georgia: Requirements for Obtaining a New Business License
- IRS: Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) Online
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