What are the new business legal issues to be aware of when opening a small at-home business?

New Business Legal Issues

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New Business Legal Issues

I have been thinking about starting up a small side business, involving printing up invitations, announcements, etc. Are there any legal issues? I'm not expecting to make a ton of money that I would have to account for. I simply am wondering what I need to do to get it going. I have heard a little about a sales tax ID number, but would I need that for any amount of business I do? Or if I don't make over a certain amount, am I exempt? I have a good idea, and people have told me over the years that I should start something like this. I'm confused!

Contact City and State

Contact the city to see if you need a business license. Contact your state tax commission regarding tax permits and tax reports. (You'll find the numbers in the government section of the phone book.) I live in OK and both the state and city where very helpful in starting my business. OK state tax commission offers classes and referrals to other agencies. Your state may do this also.

Go Online for Help

Everything you need to know about new business legal issues is available free at the government's Small Business Association website.

Location, Location, Location

There may be some issues based on location. For example, in Fl, where I am, you can set up a DBA (Doing Business As) for very little and it allows you to open a "business" account as well. Sales tax is required if she is selling in a state that requires it. In that case, she just needs to register with the State (she can find the forms and possibly even file online). If she were to decide to incorporate, then she has other issues to deal with (setting up the corp, Tax ID, Fed EIN, 941 Unemployment if she starts taking serious money, etc.).

Library Offers Resources Worth Checking Out

I would go to the library and look up resources on small businesses and home based businesses. Make sure you get more than one and from different authors so you can get different perspectives. Also consult with a financial consultant in your area. It may be in your best interest to pay for an hour of his/her time and have an extensive list of questions to ask. Make sure you pick one that has a solid reputation. I'd rather pay someone a one-time fee to see whether starting a business is worth it or not. Finally, do extensive research to see if anyone else in your area has similar services that you plan to offer.
Toni B.

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