How to Register a Software Company

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Starting a software company requires applying for licenses and filing paperwork with your Secretary of State.
Starting a software company requires applying for licenses and filing paperwork with your Secretary of State. (Image: Company logo image by Max creative from Fotolia.com)

Registering a software company is similar to registering any other company. By failing to follow the necessary steps to register the company, business owners may face penalties and possible shutdown by the local government.

Things You'll Need

  • Articles of Incorporation paperwork
  • Federal Tax ID (EIN)

Decide on a business entity. The first step in registering a business is to determine what type of business structure you want for your software company. Take into consideration the level of control you wish you have over your company, how vulnerable you wish to be to lawsuits, as well as any financing needs you may have. According to Business.Gov, software business owners have seven business entity options to choose from. These include: Partnerships, Sole Proprietorship, S Corporation, Corporation, Limited Liability Company (LLC), Cooperative and Non Profit.

File all necessary paperwork with the Secretary of State in the state your business will operate in. Note that sole proprietorships do not require state registration. Business.Gov offers a list of all states and their filing requirements.

Determine a business name, and register this name with your state. Registering a business name, which is also known as Doing Business As (DBA) Registration, allows you to operate your software company under a different name. Upon filing paperwork to establish your business entity, the official business name is the name of the person that owns the business. To change this name, a business owner must file DBA paperwork with their Secretary of State. Business.Gov offers a state-by-state list of DBA filing requirements.

Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN), or a Federal Tax ID. Complete Form SS-4 from the IRS, or fill out the EIN online application directly through the IRS. This is a requirement if your software company has employees.

Review the state tax requirements within the state your software business operates in. After obtaining an EIN, a software company must register with the applicable state revenue agency. Business.Gov features a state-by-state guide for registering with revenue agencies and obtaining local tax IDs.

File necessary paperwork to obtain a business license or permit within your state. Every state features different requirements for business licenses, thus contact your states license office to learn requirements for a software company license. Business.Gov features a state-by-state list of all business licensing offices.

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