When you start your own business, it is easy to get lost in company matters. It’s an exciting time. You get to pick out a name, perfect your products and make other involved decisions that will impact your future. However, all of the choices are not solely up to you. You need to make sure you follow the federal requirements for small business. The only way you can do this is to work with an attorney who knows the federal and state rules you need to follow. To help you get started, here are a few major federal small business requirements you need to know.
Naming Your Business
It is important you think of a few different potential business names, because you will need to make sure the name you do pick does not violate any federally protected trademarks. To properly name your business, do a quick search with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. You can also search for businesses using online search engines. Make sure to register your business name with the USTPO to ensure your hard work and research is not wasted.
Employer Identification Numbers
An Employer Identification Number is usually required for all businesses. The only exemption is a sole proprietorship, which is a business owned by one person, with no plans to hire employees. If you are unsure whether you need to apply for an EIN, you can talk with the IRS. The IRS uses the EIN to identify a business entity to track the business and determine what taxes are owed to the government. You can even apply for this number online now.
Structure and Taxes
You also have to pick the structure of your business in order to know what sort of federal regulations you will have to follow. The structure you choose may also affect the taxes you will have to pay to the government. Your small business can be a
- Corporation: Taxes are paid by the corporation.
- Limited Liability Company: Taxes are paid like a partnership, but the owners receive a personal liability shield.
- Non-Profit: May be tax exempt.
- Partnership: Taxes are paid through personal income tax returns of the owners.
- S Corporation: Taxes are paid through personal income tax returns of the owners, but the owners have to be paid reasonable compensation.
- Sole Proprietorship: Taxes are paid through the personal income tax return of the owner.
You can learn more about how the structure affects taxes by visiting the IRS website or the U.S. Small Business Administration site.
Licenses and Permits
Depending on the industry your business is in, you may need to get some specific licenses and permits before you can do business. Most of the time permits of this sort are only required by state law. You may need to contact a federal agency to find out what sort of licenses and permits you need, depending on the industry your business is in.
- Agriculture: Contact the U.S. Department of Agriculture
- Environmental: Contact the Environmental Protection Agency
- Fish and Wildlife: Contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
- Mining and Drilling: Contact the Minerals Management Service
- Maritime Transportation: Contact the Federal Maritime Commission
- Alcoholic Beverages: Contact the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau
- Firearms, Ammunition and Explosives: Contact the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms
- Aviation: Contact the Federal Aviation Administration
- Radio and Television Broadcasting: Contact the Federal Communications Commission
- Investment Advising: Contact the Securities and Exchange Commission
- Interstate Ground Transportation: Contact the Federal Transit Administration
These are just a few industries that need federal permits or licenses. Contacting the right agency will help ensure you get the correct licenses and permits for your business.
Work With a Professional
It is important you work with a legal professional as you set up your small business. There are so many legal nuances you do not want to mess up. Find a skilled small business attorney in your area to help you navigate all of the federal and state requirements for your business.
The content on our website is only meant to provide general information and is not legal advice. We make our best efforts to make sure the information is accurate, but we cannot guarantee it. Do not rely on the content as legal advice. For assistance with legal problems or for a legal inquiry please contact you attorney.