Registering a Sole Propietorship (in NYS)

Parker includes several links to check out:,, and some IRS website that didn’t load. – I like their magazine, so I started here. Unfortunately, however the link I clicked on their site led me to state-by-state business guides for sale on, which cost money and then have to be mailed to you. No fun. I’ll consider buying one, but I wish either 1) they were free and online (or at least a detailed summary was) or 2) they had an e-book available for about $10 because then I probably would have bought it right away (the NYC guide was $24.95). I found a ton of great articles on their site (like this one on how to create a logo or this one on the ABC’s of business cards) but nothing about the paperwork I need to do to become registered as a real business. – Despite having a google summary that matched my needs, the site wouldn’t come up. I kept getting an error message. Not sure if it’s just temp. down or if it no longer exists. – The site had an interesting piece that explained really well what a sole proprietorship is and gave me the closest thing I have come across so far to a list of possible things to do (though I still had no idea how to do them).

The site says you have to do register the general registration requirements for any business, which will likely include registering and paying a minimum tax (a self-employment tax) and getting a business license or tax registration certificate. If you’ll have employees (I won’t) you might need to obtain an employer ID number from the IRS. You may also need a seller’s permit from the state and a zoning permit from the local planning board. Oh, and that DBA I mentioned earlier.

My Research

Since Parker’s links didn’t turn up anything particularly useful, I did some of my own research and found this site. It’s a government site – who knew they could do something THIS right?

DBA – HERE they have a list of requirements BY STATE for registering a fictitious name (a dba). It says in NY a Sole proprietorship using a name other than the owner’s name should file a Business Certificate with the County Clerk’s Office in the county where the business is located.

EIN – Employer Id Number requirements are neatly explained, and a link is included to this handy chart to determine if you need one (I don’t).

The “State Taxes” page listed the most common types of state taxes and links to each state. This lead me to a document download, which lead me to a wizard NYC apparently has to help you find out what you need. Who knew? I was very impressed.

According to the wizard in order to be a legally operating business in NYS I need to file:
- With the county: a DBA
- With the Federal Gov.: for a EIN  (the fed gov. site disagrees)
- With the city: Documents on Zoning
- With the city: Portable fire extinguisher requirements
- I have to comply with: smoke free air act & waste removal & recycling
- With the city: unincorporated business tax (UBT)
- With the Federal Gov.: IRS Business Tax (which as a Sole Proprietorship should be on my personal taxes, I believe)

The site also provided me with a few other links it thought I might find useful… and it took under 5 minutes to fill out the wizard and have it feed me back my results. As I said, I am impressed!

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