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Do I Need a License or Permit from the State to Run My Business?

Whether you need a business license or permit will depend on two things:

  • What your business specializes in, and
  • What state(s) you plan to primarily conduct your business in

States may regulate different kinds of businesses and may require the business, the owner, or the employee to get a permit or license. Getting a license or permit from the state enables businesses to market and sell a product, or perform a service. It is important to check with your state to see if you or your business is required to have any of these permits or licenses. If a license is needed, it's important that you begin the procedure as soon as possible.

Not getting the proper license or permit may lead to your business:

  • Considered illegitimate
  • Getting fined,
  • Getting suspended,
  • Getting permanently shut down by the state

What Do I Need to Do If I Want to Sell Shares of Company Stock to Potential Investors?

Besides federal security laws, you should also be aware of your state's security laws. State security laws will give more regulations on how and when you can issue shares of stock to investors.

The structure of you business will also impact what state regulations you must follow. There are many different types of business structures to choose from. The most common business structures are:

Whichever structure you choose, you will likely need to file with your state's appropriate office. Usually it's either the state's Secretary of State, or the Department of Corporations.

What Do I Have to Do If I Am Going to Have Employees Working for Me in My Business?

First, just like with federal tax authorities, you will need an employer identification number.

Next, you must be sure that a certain percentage of payroll checks are used to pay various state and federal taxes. The most common are income tax and Social Security tax. The withheld money must then be paid to the IRS and state tax authorities. Make sure you tell the IRS, employees, and the state how much you withheld from the paychecks and for what purposes.

Finally, check to see if you have to register with your state's office that handles unemployment and workers' compensation. Most likely it will be with your state's Department of Labor. Also, make sure your business is complying with state and federal health and safety requirements.

Are There Any Other State Regulations I Need to Be Aware Of?

Depends on what the nature of your business is and what state your business is located in. Many states have specific environmental regulations for certain types of businesses.

Should I Hire an Attorney to Help Me with My Business Regulations?

Yes. Trying to start a business is hard enough, and trying to figure out all the state laws you have to abide by does not make it any easier. You may want to consult an experienced business attorney when dealing with start-up businesses. Your attorney can help you figure out which laws you must comply with and what you must do to meet those requirements. 

Photo of page author Jessica Tran

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 04-08-2016 11:45 AM PDT

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