In the United States, entrepreneurs of almost any age or experience level can register a business. Having your business registered will protect you from legal actions against your enterprise, help you secure loans and operating capital, and provide credibility to prospective clients and partners. The process is generally straightforward, although for specialty enterprises it may require some research and paperwork.
The exact rules vary by state, but you’ll typically need to file a registration application with your local government, along with documents that outline your business structure and how it will be run. For example, if you’re starting a corporation, the paperwork will include articles of incorporation and bylaws. For a partnership or sole proprietorship, you might need an operating agreement that details how key decisions will be made and what each partner’s duties and responsibilities are.
Most businesses will also need a registered agent with a physical address in the state where they’re registering. This person will be responsible for receiving official papers and legal notices on behalf of the company. You can find a list of registered agents in your state’s business division website or by contacting the Secretary of State’s office directly.
In some cases, you’ll need to apply for a federal tax ID number, known as an employer identification number (EIN). The EIN is the unique number that identifies your business with the IRS. You can apply online through the IRS website. The EIN typically takes up to 10 days to receive, but you can expedite the process by applying at a local IRS service center. register a business