How to register your small business

Dustin Johnson
By Dustin Johnson

What does it mean to register a small business? There may be several layers of registration, depending on state, region, and industry. Find the appropriate agencies and entities you need to alert for your business operations to keep things running smoothly. Doing your due diligence at the start of your business will make business operations easier and will probably save you money and work in the long run.

Creating your business entity

The first thing people think of when considering registering their small business is creating a business entity with the state where your business will be located. If you’ve read up on creating an S-Corp, LLC, or running your business under your own name, you’ve probably already weighed the pros and cons. If you’ve opted to run your business under your own name, you may not need to worry about registration. Just be sure you’ve considered the potential benefits of creating a legal entity like an S Corp. There may be tax benefits to incorporating. If you have assets, like a house, it may also make sense to shield them by creating a separate entity for your business. But there are also costs associated with creating an entity, like the incorporation fee. Talk to a trusted tax professional to work through all the pros and cons.

| Doing your due diligence at the start of your business will make business operations easier and will probably save you money and work in the long run.

Federal business registration

You normally don’t need to register a business with the federal government beyond applying for a Federal Tax ID number. An EIN, as it is known, is similar to a Social Security number for your business and is used to pay and file taxes. Once you incorporate or create your LLC this is an important step to ensure that you comply with all tax laws.

If you want to trademark your business name, your brand, or the name of one of your products, you will need to do so with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office. If you want to request tax-exempt status, you’ll do that by filing a request with the IRS.

State and local business licenses

In addition to creating the entity under which you’ll conduct business, you may also need to register your business with local and state authorities. Calling your town hall or county clerk’s office should yield information about the required registrations. Ask about the requirement for business name or trade name registration.

Industry-specific registrations

In addition to the local, state, and federal government agencies you may need to register your business with, find out if your industry requires any additional permits or licenses. For example, in many states, childcare centers must be accredited and inspected by the state or county before being allowed to open for business. This may be a thorough process. Some states require environmental and other studies to be completed before a license is issued. If you’re contemplating a business in a highly-regulated industry, find out the requirements from the appropriate agency in your state or county. 

Once you’ve registered your business, you’ll also want to stay on top of all your tax filing deadlines. ComplYant allows you to manage your e-commerce business taxes in one dashboard. Keep track of tax deadlines with less stress and confusion.

Dustin Johnson
By Dustin Johnson
Dustin Johnson is a Senior Tax Research Specialist at ComplYant. Prior to joining ComplYant, he spent over eleven years performing tax research at the world’s largest tax preparation company. Dustin holds a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Juris Doctor. Outside of work, Dustin enjoys biking and spending time with his family.

Related posts

A florist talks to her client
How To's

How to determine if you need to file a state income tax return

It's important to figure out if you're required to file a state income tax return, and there are four factors that can help you determine if you owe taxes to a state.
a business owner works to create new hats with her other creations on display
How To's

Where the money resides: Determining your residency in a state

Determining your state residency is a vital step in managing your taxes. Start with a clear definition of what it means to be a full-time resident, part-year resident, or nonresident.
Young entrepreneur smiles and sits at her desk while working at a tablet
How To's

How (and why) to test a business idea: 6 step process

Many entrepreneurs want to know if their business idea is viable. To do this, you need a process to vet and refine your business idea. This six-step process will help your test your business idea fast and affordably. You can start a successful business without doing this, but this process will improve your chances of success.