Business Registration: When Is It Necessary?

You have picked out your business structure and have filed for your company’s EIN, but do you need any other registration documents? Many entrepreneurs think that once a Tax ID is issued, they can start making sales and generating revenue. However, there are a few situations in which further business registration is required.

Protecting Intellectual Property

The federal government only requires a tax ID for a business to become a legal entity. Yet if your company delivers proprietary products and services, and you want to protect your brand from competitors, extra steps are necessary. The United States Patent and Trademark Offices have forms for everything from products to processes, brands, logos, and names so your business can protect its intellectual property and reduce messy legal entanglements further down the road.

Business Registration with State Offices

Practically every business needs to register with state offices. If your business has physical offices in a given state, then you need to register your business. If you have the majority of your in-person meeting with clients in a state or if a good portion of your revenue is generated in a particular state, then you need to register with that state’s business or commerce department. Additionally, if you have employees that work in a state, then you need to fill out the proper business registration forms. A state tax ID will be issued, which can be used to protect you and your business from identity theft, if you are a sole proprietor.

Local Business Registration

Most businesses to not need to fill out registration forms at the city or county level, with some exceptions. LLCs, nonprofits, partnerships, and corporations may need to register at the local level to get proper licenses to operate in a particular city or county. Businesses in specific industries, such as construction companies and law offices, may need to file locally as well in order to receive the proper permits to operate in a specific city. Some local agencies require entrepreneurs to file a DBA (Doing Business As), which can be registered under a company name or a real name.

Before you start making sales, consult with your attorney or CPA to figure out which business registration forms you should file to ensure you all of your bases are covered.