Making It Legal

Facing fines or penalties is a surefire way to stop your business in its tracks. But do you really need a license to get operations under way?
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This story appears in the June 1999 issue of Startups. Subscribe »
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You need a license to drive a car and a license to get married, but do you need one to start your homebased business? Maybe, maybe not. But either way, you should find out for sure before you officially open up.

"You could be shut down if the authorities find out you're operating without the proper licenses," says Joan Scheel, assistant state director of the Utah Small Business Development Center in Salt Lake City. More than likely, they'll just tell you to get a license, but you might have to pay fines or penalties for an illegal operation. Either way, Scheel points out it's much easier to avoid problems by starting out in full compliance with the law.

So how do you know what you need? Business and professional licensing requirements vary by state and sometimes even by community. Scheel advises checking with your state's tax commission, department of revenue, or business and professional regulation department to find out whether your business requires a state-issued license. In addition, you may need a local license or permit (for details on that, contact your city hall or county administration offices). Or visit your nearest Small Business Development Center for help with a wide range of start-up issues.

Contact Source
Joan Scheel
Assistant State Director Small Business Development Center in Utah
1623 S. State St., Salt Lake City, Utah 84115
Phone: 801/957-3480

Jacquelyn Lynn left the corporate world more than 12 years ago and has been writing about business and management issues from her home office in Winter Park, Florida, ever since.

Edition: June 2017

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