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Business license for a website?

Do need to get a business license/certificate to operate?

     
3:51 am on Apr 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Hi everyone:)

Been awhile since i posted around here.

Q.1. Anyways, I would just like to ask you guys if i need to get a business license/certificate and a permit before i launch my website?

It is going to be a download of information for a fee. So i won't actually have any tangable product.(handled)
I spoke to someone and he said i don't need one.
Only if i make over a $1000 a month or more.
I also spoke to someone and they said i do need
the business license, certificate, etc. Who's right.

Q.2. Could you please tell me specificly if you have
a business license/certificate, permit,etc. and are
operating an online business. Even more specific,
if you are operating a website that is a *downloads* site.

Please help:)
Please answer each question.
Thanks to everyone who responds:)

>frenzy77

5:08 am on Apr 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Well, the short answer is no you don't need a licence for a general website
The long answer is 'what jurisdiction are you in?' You're asking a question about the local laws.
But, generally - no, the web is free reign.
7:04 am on Apr 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Hi:)

Thanks for answering.
I am in California. Do you currently run a website?
And do you have a business license/certificate?
Also, at tax time, do you just pay business taxes on your website income? Is this how it's done?

**Anyone else have information. Please jump on in with helpful advice. Need help as i am going to launch a website soon.

Thanks for your reply.
frenzy77

12:04 pm on Apr 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I would just for very few dollars get a DBA
If your D-load is offering any information/help of any kind you could in you DBA biz name add to your biz name "consulting" for ex: Joe-consulting
consulting is not taxable, although check with CA

other reason to get a DBA
if all systems go you might later want to incorporate and your biz name will be already branded.

4:56 pm on Apr 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

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The long answer is 'what jurisdiction are you in?'

If you make enough money for it to be taxed, you have to decide if classifying it as "additional income" or "business income" works out better for you. If you do it as a business, you'll probably need a business liscense.

6:04 pm on Apr 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

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As per the new tax code
If you run any form of biz starting as a sole owner operating under a simple DBA
No tax number and using your SS # if you get a W9
And if you do not generate yearly more than 15K (take or give 1 or 2 K)
You will automatically after 3 years be transferred in the “hobby” category
And you do not want that for you will be taxed up to 30% of those revenues
So get a DBA, if within 3 years you do not generate enough incomes kill the fist DBA and restart fresh to avoid being considered as a “Hobby”
11:38 am on Apr 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Hi
everyone:)

Thanks for answering.

Henry0 you stated that i should get a dba. What is this exactly? I've heard of this before. I spoke with someone and they said if i do start a online business that i would have to pay $50 for the business license/certificate, $25 for a permit, and then register with the county clerk for $25. Then i would need to advertise/announce in the paper that i was starting the business.

Q.1. Is this the process to take in order to get the dba? Will i just tell them i want a dba and they will list it as dba?

Q.2. And are these fees the fees for everthing including the dba or does the dba cost more get?

Q.3. How much does the dba cost?(average)

Q.4. I already have the domain registered.
Ex. widgetblah.com

It's not my name. It's a made up name for the site.
When i get the dba, do i need to change the sites name or is the dba merely change the registration type only on paper? I don't want to change the sites name.

Please explain.
Please answer each question:)

Thank you very much to all that responded.:)
I appreciate it.

frenzy77

12:03 pm on Apr 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Q.1. Is this the process to take in order to get the dba? Will i just tell them i want a dba and they will list it as dba?

Go to the county clerk's office and get a DBA (Doing Business As) form, and fill it out. Just tell them that you would like a DBA form...they will know what you are talking about. Bring a form of ID with you.

Q.2. And are these fees the fees for everthing including the dba or does the dba cost more get?

There should only be a fee for the DBA and perhaps a filing fee.

Q.3. How much does the dba cost?(average)

The cost of the DBA will depend on where you are located. I know where I live, the cost of a DBA is $30.

Q.4. I already have the domain registered.

You can name your business what ever you want as long as the name is not used by someone else. It is a good idea to come up with several potential names just in case the name you chose is already taken. There is no reason that the name on the DBA has to match the name of your website.

12:17 pm on Apr 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

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<<<.1. Is this the process to take in order to get the dba? Will i just tell them i want a dba and they will list it as dba? >>>
Go to the County clerk office and ask for a DBA: “Doing Business As” fees are low and may vary with different Counties

<<<Q.2. And are these fees the fees for everything including the dba or does the dba cost more get? >>>
There is only the DBA fee Plus possibly a very few Dollars for making a few copies that are good to keep at hand

<<<Q.3. How much does the dba cost?(average) >>>
Usually we are speaking below the $50 mark

<<<Q.4. I already have the domain registered.
Ex. widgetblah.com
It's not my name. It's a made up name for the site.
When i get the dba, do i need to change the sites name or is the dba merely change the registration type only on paper? I don't want to change the sites name. >>>
You do not need to change your site name, just come with any other name for your business that ref to what you are doing, of course avoid existing name, don’t call your biz “Microsoft” :)
Publication is not required, ask the County clerk about local requirement, anyway most Counties do provide a list of new DBA on a weekly or monthly basic, you can put your hands on such a list for just a few Dollars and look at what’s going on in the new biz registration, be careful if planning to marketing to those new biz: They are swamped with offers!

7:47 am on Apr 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Hi everyone:)

Thanks for responding:)

Henry0 you said all i need is the dba,

Q. 1. so why did the person at the county clerks office tell me i will need a *business tax certificate* plus a *permit* etc.
(I did write to them through email. Maybe they misunderstood?)

Q. 2. Don't i need a business tax certificate for tax purposes?

Q. 3. What about the permit? Is this for non-online businesses? Mine is online maybe i don't need it?

frenzy77

11:53 am on Apr 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

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What ever you will do with your biz is not the clerk business
The clerk has to give you a DBA that’s it
The rest depends on your State of residency local codes

As far as the tax is concerned you only have to report to the IRS and certainly not to the clerk

Two cases if you are charging taxes for non-brain materials or taxable goods you need to pay back the taxes you charged
Usually quarterly but after a couple of quarters since you will be only quite small of a business the IRS will require from you a yearly payment

You are not charging tax, therefore sending anything back to the IRS, if you sale brain generated items such as consulting
You are not charging tax if you sale food

To pay back taxes check any United States.gov sites; go to tax and D-load the appropriate form.

You will not have an IRS tax number and do use your SS #

In NY State and others(I believe that it would be the same item #)
If tax are to be paid
You will need to D-load an “Application for registration as a sales tax vendor”
Which is a form DTF-17

Then for further info
Look for a “guide to sales tax in ... your State...

This is about what I can do for you
Do your own work on the web
Or if you may spend a few Dollars wisely do so and get yourself ˝ hour with a CPA tax person

regards

<edit>Missing info</edit>

12:17 pm on Apr 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

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frenzy77

I would talk to a local CPA before doing anything more. If you are only going to be doing business on the internet (no inventory, no showroom, no employees), then you should not need nor want the myriad permits, tax forms, fees, and licenses the local bureaucrats will try to burden you with. It will be worth spending a few dollars now with the CPA vesus years of filling out unneccessary forms. Keep it simple.

6:19 pm on Apr 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Well speaking from experience there are a lot of things to consider on this issue... but to keep it simple here is what I know:

It is entirely up to you as to whether you want to form it as a business or not. If you decide to do a DBA then you will have to at least register with the State, there is no need to register with the local entity UNLESS you are conducting business in your home. IF at tax time you want to declare your office a "home office" then you you would probably want to at least become a DBA.

Remember in order to declare your office a "home office" with the IRS, then you will need to exclusively use your office for a period of time each day as a business site, that doesnt mean for a few hours in the evening you logon to your personal computer and update your pages... this would be if you sat down in a space in your house and dedicated an amount of time explusively to your business.. The IRS will red flag accounts quicker for "home office" deductions.

There is no way a local clerk can regulate your business if it is purely web based, if you decide to have clients at your home then you would / should file with the local entity. Filing with the State is a better situation since they will set up the DBA and such, but again, thats up to you, it will just mean more paperwork etc...

Just ask yourself these questions, How much will it make? How much time will I devote to it? Will it cost me money in equipment, utilities, business expenses? and Do I want to use a business name.

If you think you are going to make a lot of money and you spend several hours a day updating at a computer bought specifically for the business then I would register with the state and IRS (get an EIN, employment identification number). If you think you will make a fair amount from it, but it is more of a hobby than a business then all you need to do is file a Schedule C with the IRS as a sole proprietorship without a DBA and you still claim your income... in that scenario beware of the self-employment tax, it is 15.9% right off the top of your income, you will also have to pay income tax on top of that. That is why you have to see if its a lot of money then you want to deduct expenses, etc.

I know I said I would keep it brief, but this is not a simple question.

My opinion, file with the state, dont worry about the local... reserve a business name as a DBA and get a federal tax id. My state cost me $25 to reserve the name and $30 to file as an LLC, if I left it as a DBA I would have been done with the $25.. they also sent the info to the IRS and I had a EIN within a month. I just filed my taxes as an LLC which required a form 1065 (pain in the ass) but it was nice since my expenses totaled more than my income (at least for the first year) and I did not have to pay any taxes.

Sorry for the long post. Just to let you know, there are a lot of resources out on the web for small businesses especially in california. Hope that helps.

Huck