How to Establish a Sole Proprietorship in California

To establish a sole proprietorship in California, here’s everything you need to know.

In California, you can establish a sole proprietorship without filing any legal documents with the California Secretary of State. There are four simple steps you should take :
1. Choose a occupation name .
2. File a assumed Business Name Statement with the county recorder.

3. prevail licenses, permits, and zoning headroom .
4. Obtain an Employer Identification Number .

1. Choose a Business Name

In California, a company may use any name that is not the like as or besides like to another register business. In addition, the mention may not be misleading to the public. To make surely your business name is available, it is crucial to run a search in the following government databases :

  • California Secretary of State: (Search both corporations and limited liability company categories.)
  • U.S. Patent & Trademark Office: (Click on the TESS link under Tools.)
  • The county recorder’s office where you plan to do business.

2. File a Fictitious Business Name Statement

If you use a business name that is different from your legal diagnose, California requires you to file a fabricated Business Name Statement in the county fipple flute ‘s function where the business is located. Check the California State Association of Counties for a list of county websites. clientele owners have a 40-day seemliness period from the business depart date to file this statement. The file fee is $ 26. In arrange to complete the application process for registering a assumed business name, the occupation owner must publish the statement in a well-known newspaper within the county for four consecutive weeks.

3. Obtain Licenses, Permits, and Zoning Clearance

Your business may need to obtain a assortment of licenses and permits depending on its business activities. California provides a comprehensive database of every license and license that may be required by any sole proprietorship. A business can obtain this information by going to the California Governor ‘s Office of Business and Economic Development CalGold web site. type in your county and city to get a list of all the necessitate permits and licenses for your occupation activity a well as information about required filings and laws you may be national to, such as minimal engage laws and inspections .

4. Obtain an Employer Identification Number

sole proprietors who wish to have employees need to obtain an Employer Identification Number, or EIN. This is a nine finger number issued by the IRS for tax report purposes. All businesses with employees are required to report wages to the IRS using their EIN. Registering for an EIN can be done on-line at the IRS web site .
sole proprietors without employees are not required to have an EIN because they can use their Social Security count to report taxes. however, you may want to obtain one anyhow for your clientele. Some banks require one to open a bank account and it can reduce the risk of identity larceny .
In California, businesses that pay at least $ 100 to employees in a given quarter are besides required to register for a California employer report number. You can register on-line at the California Employment Development Department ( EDD ) web site.

If you have employees, you must report and pay use taxes quarterly. For more information on being a California employer, see the California Employer ‘s Guide, available on the State of California Employment Development Department ( EDD ) web site .

Next Steps

It is authoritative to consider doing the following once you have established your sole proprietorship :

  • Open a business bank account. Using your fictitious business name and EIN, you should set up a bank account to keep your business and personal finances separate.
  • Obtain general liability insurance. Because sole proprietors are personally liable for all debts and obligations of the business, a business liability insurance policy may be the only form of financial protection against unforeseen events.
  • Report and pay taxes. Depending on your specific business activities, you may be required to report such items as sales tax and use tax. The California State Board of Equalization oversees and collects these taxes. Visit their website for more information.

For information on other California business entities, see Nolo ‘s section on Starting a business in California .

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