Categorized | Business Licenses

Startup 1.6. Business Licenses

Shoestring Venture: The Startup Bible (1st Edition)There is nothing arcane about a business license. Simply put, a business license makes your business a taxable entity in the state you are doing business in, i.e., it creates a “tax identity” for your business. Not all businesses actually need a business license. It depends on your business structure (1.2) and where you’re doing business. In California, for instance, a sole proprietorship can be started without any license or registration. You just open your doors for business and pay taxes. Some states, however, have a rigorous licensing process and require complex tax filings even if you’re selling lemonade on the street! Many states, such as Washington, require that your business be profitable within a certain number of years or the license will not be renewed. All of these regulations vary state-by-state and business-bybusiness. Internet resources can help you navigate your own state’s requirements for obtaining a business license appropriate to the business you plan to run:

  • SBA: Where To Obtain Business Licenses – http://www.sba.gov/hotlist/license.html – The SBA provides a set of links to connect you directly with your state’s online business license application and fee schedule.
  • Business Licenseshttp://www.businesslicenses.com – Business License Online provides forms, filing venues, and information for all Federal, State, County, and Municipal Business Licenses & Permits.
  • FindLaw: State Guide Forms & Fees for Business Formations – http://smallbusiness.findlaw.com/business-forms-contracts/businessforms – contracts-subject/business-structures-forms-fees.html – FindLaw not only lists all state resources, but also includes valuable articles on how to start your business, as mentioned in 1.2.1 above.
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