What to Know When Setting Up a Business in D.C.

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What to Know When Setting Up a Business in D.C.

Apr 16, 2022

Aside from its historical significance, tourist attractions, and, of course, the White House, Washington, D.C. has a lot more to offer, including an excellent environment for starting a small business.

After you've chosen a business idea and written a business plan, there are a few things you should know before starting a business in D.C. with four easy steps.

Choose a Business Structure

The first stage is to choose the structure of your business.

Before registering your business or choosing a name, you must specify whether you are a sole proprietor, a corporation, or an LLC.

To form a sole proprietorship in the District of Columbia, one must file any organizational documents with the state.

One must also file Articles of Incorporation with the DCRA to form a corporation in the District of Columbia. In addition, you will need to have a registered agent in D.C. for the service of the process.

You must file Articles of Organization with the DCRA to form an LLC in Columbia. You'll also need to hire a registered agent in D.C. to service the process.

Choose a Business Name

You must ensure that your name is distinct from other business entities' names on file with the (DCRA) for LLCs and corporations. Consider a unique, easy-to-understand, and pronounceable name that will remain relevant over time. Perhaps search Google, Bing, and DuckDuckGo for any potential conflicts, particularly in your state or local jurisdiction.

When registering your corporation, there are also certain name restrictions. Corporations must have distinct names that are not interchangeable with those of other corporations. Names must include designations such as Co. Company, Corp, Corporation, and Inc., among others.

Register the Business

Once you've decided on a business structure and name, you'll need to register your company with the (DCRA) Corporations Division. Please remember that corporations and limited liability companies (LLCs) already established in another state can register their company entity by filing a Foreign Registration Statement with the DCRA Corporations Division.

Apply for your Licenses

EIN (Employer Identification Number) is similar to your company's Social Security number. It is necessary for Corporations and LLCs but optional for DBAs unless you have staff (in which case it is required). Banks frequently need an EIN to create an account in the firm's name, and other organizations with which you do business may require an EIN to process payments. You can obtain an EIN by filling out an online application. There are no filing costs.

Tax Registration: If you plan to sell items in Washington, DC, you must register with the Office of Tax and Revenue (OTR) to collect sales tax. If your company intends to employ people, you must register with the OTR for employer withholding taxes.

Business License (Basic) (BBL). The District of Columbia government requires all businesses operating in the city to be licensed in some fashion. This usually entails obtaining a Basic Business License (BBL).

Some companies, however, are exempt from having a BBL if the principals are required to be licensed by a certification board or body—which generally means licensed professionals.

The opinions expressed in our published works are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the National Association for the Self-Employed or its members.

Courtesy of NASE.org