With all of the excitement of building a recording studio, many people overlook an important task; obtaining a business license. Failure to obtain this document may mean legal trouble down the road. But first, you need to make sure that all of your “I’s” are dotted and your “T’s” crossed.
Zoning laws regulate how you do business at a chosen location. It is important to know that you will be allowed to conduct business in your chosen location, whether that be a store front in town, a converted garage, or new construction on your property. So first, contact your local zoning board and make sure you can do what you want to do—where you want to do it.
In a residential area you may be limited to doing business by phone, fax, internet or snail mail. If you have chosen a storefront, the zoning laws may prohibit you from conducting business after or before certain hours.
Are planning on hiring employees? If the answer is yes, you need to apply for an Employer Identification Number, or EIN, check out this web page at the IRS Employer ID Number. And, don’t forget to check out state employer regulations, you may need a state Tax ID.
Do you plan on selling services or products? Check with local jurisdictions, you may need a city and/or state sellers permit. Depending on your city or state you may be paying taxes at both the city and state levels.
Will you be using your legal name or an invented name? An invented name, or DBA, a.k.a., or Doing Business As, is an official business registration of a business name with either state or local jurisdictions. Without a DBA, the law requires you to do business in your personal name, or names of your partners.
Finally, once all of your paperwork is in order, it is time to apply for a local business license. Be prepared to describe your business activities, include your EIN, your state tax ID, your sellers permit number and identify other owners or officers (if applicable). After you have completed your application and filed it along with the appropriate fee you may legally operate your business.