How to Register a Business

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In most states and counties in United States, you are required to register your business entity before commencing operations. There are many advantages to registering your business including being able to open bank accounts for your business, securing your business name and enjoying protection under the law. Failure to register your business could expose you to liabilities arising from the use of a business name owned by someone else and loss of business due to confusion. Here are ways to search for and register your business.

Things You'll Need

  • Personal computer
  • Internet access
  • Credit or debit Cards to pay state and county fees
  • Log on to the Internet and go to your county clerk’s website. Research business names you are interested in to ensure they are available for use. When you find a business name you are interested in, file a Doing Business As (DBA) form and pay the required fees. This identifies you as the business owner and gives you a DBA certificate.

  • Log on to your state secretary or comptroller’s website if you want to register a Limited Liability Company (LLC), Partnership or Corporation instead of a Sole Proprietorship. Research available business names and understand the various business formation options and their differences. When you find the formation option you want, register your business and pay all applicable fees using your credit or debit card. This allows you to identify your business as LLC, Corp or Inc. There may also be additional legal protection in incorporating your business instead of forming a sole proprietorship.

  • Get others to register your business for you. Many business brokers and attorneys operate with the purpose of helping you register your business in any form of your choice. Research these entities and contact them. For a small fee, they will do the legwork for you and send your registration and incorporation papers to you.

Tips & Warnings

  • Most banks will not open a business account for you without a Doing Business As (DBA) or incorporation papers. This is one major reason for registering your business.
  • All the steps outlined above are available on the telephone or by visiting your county clerk, state secretary or comptroller’s office in person if you are not comfortable using personal computers.
  • You may need to file additional forms for employment and sales taxes during your business registration. This depends on your state of residence or incorporation. Contact the appropriate authorities for help and additional information.
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