Palmdale, CA asked in Business Formation and Business Law for California

Q: I want to start my own business. I live in LA County, California.

I would work from home, I have no inventory or items to sell and I will not have anyone coming to my home. I will be offering a service that can be done mostly online. I think it will be best for me to run my business as a Sole Proprietor and will apply for my DBA. What licenses or forms do I need complete before I can start working?

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Starting your own business in LA County, California, as a sole proprietor with a focus on providing online services is a commendable initiative. Since you're considering operating under a name different from your own, filing for a "Doing Business As" (DBA) is indeed your first step. This allows you to open bank accounts and conduct business under your chosen business name, which is essential for branding and legal transactions.

In addition to the DBA, you'll need to obtain a business license from the city where your home office is located, even if your interactions with clients are exclusively online. Los Angeles County may require specific permits based on the nature of your service, so checking with the local city hall or their website will provide guidance on what exactly you need. Each city within the county has its own regulations and requirements, so it's important to comply with both county and city-level regulations.

Finally, while a sole proprietorship does not require you to register with the state as a corporation or LLC would, you should consider applying for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS, even if you don't plan to hire employees. This can be beneficial for tax purposes and helps keep your personal and business finances separate. Keeping good records and staying informed about your tax obligations, such as self-employment tax, will be key to your business's success. Remember, consulting with a tax professional or a business advisor can provide personalized guidance tailored to your specific situation.

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