Registering your Business

Which Business Entity is right for you?

So, you want to start your own business? You’ve got your name picked out and are ready to get legal and get started. Now it’s time for you to register your business and form a business entity. Deciding on what type of entity to form will depend on your business and situation. 

Please note, none of the contents within this site qualifies as legal advice.

There are several different business entities, but some of the more common ones include:

  • Sole Proprietorship
  • Partnership
  • C Corp
  • S Corp

When determining the best structure for your business, you’ll want to consider ownership, liability to you personally vs. business liability, and taxes. The chart below demonstrates how these entities compare.

Registering your Business Entity

Sole Proprietorship

  • Owned by one person
  • Unlimited personal liability
  • Personal tax only

Partnerships

  • Two or more owners
  • Unlimited personal liability unless structured as an LLC
  • Self-employment tax (except for LLCs)
  • Personal Taxes

Limited Liability Company (LLC)

  • Owned by one or multiple people
  • Owners are not personally liable
  • Self-employment tax
  • Personal tax

C Corp

  • Owned by one or more people
  • Owners are not personally liable
  • Corporate tax

S Corp

  • Owned by one or more people, but no more than 100 people and all must be US Citizens
  • Owners are not personally liable
  • Personal tax

Business Name

Before you register your business with your state, you’ll need to be sure your business name (and the specific name of your products or services) is not already protected. To do this, complete a thorough search within the US Trademark Database

Register your Business

Once you’ve determined the best entity for your situation and confirmed that your business name is available, it’s time to make it official. It’s time to register your business with the state. 

A great resource for entrepreneurs is the Small Business Administration, which provides helpful information when setting up and starting your business. Click here for more details on registering your business yourself. 

If setting up an entity on your own is too far outside of your comfort zone, then I’d suggest using NorthWest. NorthWest makes the process super quick and easy. 

Once your business entity is established with your state, you’ll be provided with Articles of Organization. 

 

 a federal tax ID number (EIN) from the IRS. You’ll need this number for future use.

Get your EIN

Once you’ve registered your business with the state and have your articles of organization, you’ll need to apply for an Employer Identification Number, also known as a Federal Tax ID Number. You can apply online and it only takes a few minutes. Once you’re done you’ll immediately be supplied with your EIN, which you’ll need in order to set up your business bank account and for future tax purposes.

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