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Are you thinking of doing business in another state? This is a great article from The Hartford, that shows the steps you need to follow to set up business in each state.

The Steps You Need to Follow to Start a Business in Your State

Before we get to the details of where to find the offices, documents and online registration sites, it’s important to understand the overall process for starting a business in your state. Below is a list of the steps to help guide you through the bureaucratic odyssey ahead.

1. Choose a Business Structure

Not all business structures are created equal. There’s sole proprietorship, partnerships, limited liability companies (LLC) and corporations. Before you register your business with your state, you need to educate yourself on the differences between business structures and pick the one that best suits your ambitions. Once you choose, you can find the forms you need to register your business on the sites we steer you to below. It’s worth pointing out that some states require you to have a registered agent in place before you complete this step.

2. Select and Register a Business Name (If Needed)

In some states, if you are a sole proprietor (or in a partnership), you don’t need to register. In these cases, your business becomes your personal name. If you still want to name your company, you’ll have to register what’s called a “Doing Business As” trade name. To do so, search a database to determine if the name you’re choosing is available (if it already exists, it’s not). If the name isn’t taken, register it. You can typically complete both the business registration and the trade name registration steps at your state or county office (often the office of the Secretary of State). If you do need a trade name, keep an eye out for information on that in our state information list below.

3. Acquire Necessary Licenses and Permits

There is no universal rule when it comes to what licenses or permits you’ll need. But chances are you’ll need at least one if not more. Which ones will you need? It varies. Some states require a general state license, and some don’t. Some professions and businesses require multiple licenses or permits, and some don’t need any. You need to do your homework – use the resources provided below to determine what you need. Be thorough and check every level of government—state, county and city—to see what may apply to your enterprise. You don’t want to find yourself in trouble later on because you didn’t know you needed something like an alarm or signage for your office.

Some states, counties and cities make the process easy with one-stop online business systems that help you with everything. But be prepared to do some legwork with phone calls, emails and even in-person visits to a local office or two. A brief note on that: wherever we were able to find comprehensive directories of local city and county office information, we included them below (see: “Local Permits & Licenses”).

4. Sign Up with the IRS

Before investigating what taxes you’ll have to pay on a state or local level, you’ll need to head to the IRS and acquire an Employer Identification Number—also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number. This is especially important if you’re going to have employees and because the number is frequently required before you register for local taxes with your state.

5. Register for State and Local Taxes

How many taxes, and which ones will apply to your business will depend entirely on your structure and where you’re setting up your business. There are of course, some commonalities: sales tax and withholding tax being two. Fair warning: while some states make the tax registration process easy, you may have to do a little research on your own to ensure you’re not overlooking anything that could penalize you down the road. Consider checking in with your local small business association for help. Generally, however, you can find most of the information you’ll need through the links we’ve provided below.

Where You Need to Go in Every State to Start Your Small Business

Below is a list of each state and where you can go – whether online or in person – to obtain the forms and information required to start your business properly.

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