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SBA website full of helpful information

Ask SCORE

April 08, 2012|By BOB POOR

Q: We are about finished with our business plan and financing, and someone has advised us that we will need to “register” our new business. Where do we go to register?

A: To get information about this, go to www.sba.gov, the website for the U.S. Small Business Administration. Whether you are starting a new business or expanding an existing one, you will find some basic steps on that website that will help ensure all the necessary licenses, permits and registrations are completed in order for you to legally operate.
Here is a quick rundown:

1. Determine and register the legal structure of your business. There are several options to consider, including a limited liability company, sole proprietorship or a partnership, each of which has different legal, financial and tax considerations. Visit the website’s “Incorporating & Registering Your Business” page to learn more.

2. Register your business name. If you choose to name your business with a fictitious name or a name other than your full name, you will need to register with the appropriate state authorities as a “doing business as” name. Go to the “Register Your Fictitious or ‘Doing Business As’ (DBA) Name” guide on the site to learn about the requirements in your state.

3. Choose your federal tax identification. If you have employees, or are structured as a business partnership or corporation — or other type of organization — you’ll need to obtain an Employer Identification Number, or EIN, or Employer Tax ID from the IRS for tax-reporting purposes. Go to the IRS website at www.irs.gov to find out if you need an EIN. You can apply for one by phone or online.

4. Obtain state tax identifications. Just as you must have a federal tax ID, you also need to obtain tax IDs and permits from your state revenue agencies to cover all obligations, such as sales, employment and income taxes. Go to the SBA website’s “Learn about Your State and Local Tax Obligations” page to learn more about the requirements.

5. Obtain licenses and permits. Most businesses are required to obtain some type of business license or permit. You might also need to obtain a federal license if your business is involved in activities supervised and regulated by a federal agency. Go to the SBA’s “Obtaining Business Licenses & Permits” section on the website to find the requirements for your business.

SCORE Hagerstown offers confidential and free business mentoring, free business roundtables, and low-cost workshops and seminars for start-up and existing businesses. Call 301-766-2643 for details.

• Robert A. “Bob” Poor is a local small-business owner/operator. He is a small-business mentor and a regular contributor to the Ask SCORE column. Questions may be emailed to him at r.poor@myactv.net or sent by mail in care of The Herald-Mail, P.O. Box 439, Hagerstown, MD 21741, ATTN: Ask SCORE column.

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