Getting a business license does not have to be a difficult process, and it can be done quite easily when you arm yourself with information. Some states may differ in their requirements, which will be discussed later.
The first thing you should know about getting a business license is that you will need to come up with a business name. Developing a business name should be a thoughtful and researched process.
Your business name is the first thing that you will be exposing potential consumers to; the first impression. It's also not easy to change once you have registered it, so be sure it is what you really want.
You will need to do a name database search on the internet, as well search locally and business wide (so as not to infringe on any other businesses copyright). Once you have a name chosen and checked out, you will need to register it, and you will need to file a DBA (doing business as), or trade name filing, with your business license filing.
The next thing you will have to do in order to obtain your business license is to decide on what type of structure your business will be. For a small, work at home business, the choices are usually a sole proprietorship or limited liability company.
A sole proprietorship is simple and informal, and it is usually appropriate for a single owner or marriage partnership. You are personally liable for personal taxes, along with business taxes.
A limited liability company, or LLC, is a partnership of owners who manage the business, and it does not combine personal and business tax.
There are also other types of structures, depending on your business and situation, which you may want to consider. Some are C-Corporations, Sub Chapter S Corporations, LLP's, etc.
In order to obtain a business license, you will also need to apply for a tax ID number, which is registered on the federal level for tax purposes and for business identification. You can attain the TIN through the Internal Revenue Service.
When doing business at home, privacy is sometimes hard to protect, especially once you have registered for your business license. It is recommended that you attain a post office box as a mailing address for your business so that your home and family can remain private. This is easy to do through your local post office, and the charge is minimal.
State to State Differences
While all states require you to apply for and obtain a business license when conducting business, there are definite differences in what else is required. Some states require you to file for a DBA license right along with your business, while other states do not.
There are also differences in what is required from city to city and county to county. It is necessary to research your local area to make certain you are filing all required applications and fees.