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Step Two: Requirements

Local Requirements

Local requirementsStarting a business is easier than you might think. In the case of a sole proprietorship or general partnership, often the only requirement is that you register your business and its trade name and you will be in business. Some counties do not even require a business license for many businesses.

To find out if a business license is required in your locality and for information about licensing your business, please contact the tax office of your local city or town hall. Some cities require that you come in person to apply for a license and other areas may allow you to apply for your license on-line.

For information on forming a corporation or limited liability company, please click here.

If you have additional questions about applying for a business license or registering a trade name, please contact the Business License Information Office.

Local Taxes

As your business grows, so will the requirements. As you make money, you pay taxes. In general, businesses are required to report tangible personal property used in the transaction of business and to pay taxes on this property to your county tax agency.

For more information about tax requirements in your city or county, please contact your local community college small business center and/or your local tax office.

North Carolina Requirements

North Carolina requirementsIf your business is a corporation, a limited liability company or a limited partnership, you must register it with the North Carolina Secretary of State's office. The type of registration form you use will depend on the type of business you are starting.

The Secretary of State's office maintains registration forms on-line. To access them, please click here. *(go to the bottom of the page and select the business structure you desire)

For more information about the North Carolina Secretary of State's office, you may view its home page at:

Other North Carolina requirements deal with issues related to taxes, employees and specific industry regulations, including health and safety issues. For North Carolina 's requirements related to taxes and employees, click here to go to that particular section in this guide. For information related to specific industry requirements, please consult the Business License Information Office. This site contains a guide to licenses and permits within North Carolina .

You may also contact the BLIO at (919) 715-2864, toll-free (in NC) at 1 (800) 228-8443, or fax them at (919) 715-2855.

Federal Requirements

Federal requirementsSimilar to many of the North Carolina requirements, many of the Federal requirements for small businesses relate to taxes and employment. For information on federal requirements related to taxes and employees, you may click here to go to that particular section in this guide. Your business may be required to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN). This number identifies your business to the Internal Revenue Service and the Social Security Administration. For more information on the EIN, click here.

Other Federal requirements for businesses deal with environmental issues. For information on Federal environmental requirements, please consult the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Small Business Gateway at: or you may address your questions to the Small Business Ombudsman at 1 (800) 368-5888.

As a small business owner, you should be aware that, depending on what type of business you own, you may have to abide by health and safety requirements. For federal requirements dealing with health and safety, review the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Health & Safety Administration's (OSHA) web site at:

In addition, federal law requires that certain specialized businesses obtain and maintain licenses. The following types of businesses require a federal license:

Please address any questions about requirements that you still may have to the North Carolina Business License Information Office.

Next: Managing Employees: The Basics >>>


For more information, contact:

Pat Killette
Small Business Center Director
(919) 209-2015
Johnston Community College | 245 College Road | PO Box 2350 Smithfield, NC 27577
(919) 934-3051 - - Copyright © 2014, All Rights Reserved.