First of all, congratulations! Not everyone makes it this far. There are a lot of ideas that float around forever and never get to this step. Whether you’ve decided to turn your hobby into an official business or starting your project in a legit way, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to make it official.
This post is for those who already have a business name in mind. I’ll be creating more follow up posts on this, if you are still thinking of what business to start and if you need a name.
Here are the 4 steps on how to make your online business official in Los Angeles.
1. Register your business
Everyone who starts a business in the city of Los Angeles needs to register their business. You can do this online or in person. If you’ve registered a business before, you’ll have to do it in person to avoid duplicate entries. You will be assigned a business tax ID, which will be used when filing taxes on the income your business earns.
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2. File a DBA
If your business will be going under a different name other than your own name, you have to file a “Doing Business As” to declare that you will be doing business under a fictitious name. You can do it in person, mail-in (but you have to get it notarized) or thru a third-party. After filing, you’ll have to print an announcement in a publication and there’s plenty of people waiting outside the courthouse that you can pay to do this for you.
3. Get a seller’s permit
You’ll need this if you will be purchasing inventory wholesale to be exempt from paying taxes. You’ll have to file paperwork every year to declare how much you made and will have to pay taxes depending on how much you earned.
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4. File taxes
Every year before the tax deadline (some time in April), you’ll have to file taxes on your income. If you are a sole proprietor, you’ll add this to your regular income tax return if you are still working another job. If you filed as an LLC or corporation, you’ll have to file your business taxes separately.
If you’ve done all of these, your business is officially official! What that really means is that you are paying your taxes and the government knows that you are operating a business under a fictitious name (unless you’re using your own name).
Now go get that business card ready!