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Most Common Questions Asked When Starting a Business




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Starting a Business

In this article you will learn the legal process of registering a  business  so you don't run into problems. 

Disclaimer and agreement:   This article is for informational purposes.  It does not provide legal advice nor does it establish an -client relationship. You agree that if  for some reason you think that you are receiving legal advice, you will stop reading this article. 

What legal documents are required to start my business?

In this you will learn whether you need:


E. Stassinos, Esq. received a B.A. from The University of Nevada and a Juris Doctorate (J.D.) from Loyola University School of Law.

See a Table of Required Documents 

How to Start a Business in California

In some cases you may need a professional business license, such as 's, contractor's or accountants, but in most cases, the following is all you need, with the exception of businesses that involve hazardous substances - you need a zoning clearance for such cases

If you are planning to start a business don't forget business regulations....

  1. You are required to have a business license or home occupation permit,

  2. You are required to file and publish a DBA / fictitious business name if you use a business name different from your own personal name,

  3. You are required to have a sellers permit if you sell taxable items, and

  4. You are required to have a federal tax id if you are a corporation or you are an employer.

  5. You also are required to have a state ein employer number if you have employees.

Most small business advisors recommend that you at least file a fictitious name, a business license and obtain a federal tax id.

If you already decided on the type of service or product to sell, you are ready to start your  business.  The next thing you need is  to choose a legal business entity:

There are  advantages and disadvantages of sole proprietorship, partnership and corporation.  However, if you are ready to operate your business,  just go ahead and

First, file a Fictitious Business Name or Incorporate Your Business: If you do business in a business name (e.g.,  Carpet Express)  other than your personal name (e.g., John Smith), you are required to register and publish  a Fictitious Business Name, or Incorporate

Benefits: You need  a fictitious business name statement certificate or a corporation certificate  so you can open a merchant or business bank account, discourage competitors from using your business name, and enforce contracts you entered into under the business name.   

Second, get a Federal Employer Number  FEIN  or  Federal Tax Id, What is a federal tax id number?   

Third, in California, you need a  State Tax Id: EIN Employer ID, if you have employee (s). So, if you don't have employees, you don't need one.  Note: you must have a federal tax id before you can obtain a state tax id. 

Fourth, A Resale License: same as a  Seller's Permit, Sales Tax Certification, Wholesale License  --  you need a sellers permit if you buy or sell wholesale or you sell retail - you don't pay taxes when buying wholesale.  Example, you sell computers or clothing online in California.. you need a sellers permit to buy wholesale tax free.  When you sell, you charge taxes (collect taxes) to pay to government later. 

Fifth, Business License:   All businesses need a business license. This is the same as business tax registration and it is not the same as a fictitious business name.   Note: you need  a fictitious business name to open a bank acount - not a business license

 See a Table of Required Documents