LICENSES – PERMITS – LEGAL FORMATION FOR STARTING A BUSINESS
1. Call the State of North Carolina, the
“Business ServiCenter”, at 1-800-228-8443,
to verify any state licensing/sublicensing requirements for your type of business.
Out-of-state call: 1-919-715-2864.
2. If you have chosen a location for your business, or if you are planning a home-based business, call the
Zoning Department 704-336-3569
to make sure you are conforming with zoning regulations for that site.
A. If you are planning to sell food items, you need to contact the Environmental Health Department for information on any/all food-sales compliance regulations at
If you are planning to sell alcohol, you need to contact the
Alcohol Law Enforcement Office at 704-342-6322.
C. Painters, Pressure Washing, Mobile Auto Detailing, Car Washing, Carpet Cleaning, Restoration, Lawn Care, Pushcarts/Mobile Kiosks, and Carnivals/Fairs all need to contact the
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) at
3. You now need to decide on your
: You options are:
A. Sole Proprietorship
D. Limited Liability Company (“LLC”)
E. Limited Liability Partnership (“LLP”)
4. You now need to register your business, to give it a “legal life”:
For (A) or (B) in #3 above
(Sole Proprietorship or a Partnership), you must go and register name with the Register of Deeds, 720 E. 4th St., Charlotte,
(“Government Center”), 704-336-2443. You will be asked to: (a) research your name; (b) fill out a “Certificate of Assumed Name”; (c) notarize your signature; (d) pay a fee.
For (C) above
(Corporation), it must be chartered by NC`s Secretary of State. Go to their website: http://www.sosnc.com, click on “Corporations Division”, pull up instructions/paperwork/fees; fill application out and file (“do it yourself”!). Next, after receipt of approval by the Secretary of State, for those wishing to make an election to be treated as an “S-Corporation”, you should go to: http://www.irs.gov, and pull up Form 2553 (“Election by a Small Business Corporation”),
fill it out and file. Info line: 1-919-807-2225. Fax: 1-919-807-2039.
For (D) above
(Limited Liability Company),
the same instructions apply as for a Corporation in (C) above; fill application out and file (“do-it-yourself”!).
For (E) above
(Limited Liability Partnership),
these must be registered with NC`s Secretary of State as well as at the Register of Deeds Office at the Government Center (see above).
5. Once your business legal status and name have been approved, registered, and/or filed, you need to get your
“Federal Tax Identification Number”, also called an “EIN” or a “Tax ID Number”. Click on to: http://www.irs.gov, search for Form SS-4, print out form, fill out and mail. Or, you can call 1-800-829-4933 and get your EIN over the phone. Or, you may file on-line by going to the same IRS website and typing in “EIN” in the IRS keyword search box, pull up the SS-4 form, then follow the instructions for on-line filing. NOTE: A Sole Proprietorship that has no employees and files no excise or pension tax returns is the only
business that does not need a Tax ID Number (although it’s still advised to get one). In this instance, the Sole Proprietor uses his/her
Social Security Number
as their Tax ID Number.
6. For businesses that need a
“Sales Tax Number” (all businesses selling “products”, as opposed to selling only “services”), AND/OR have employees, you need to file via the NC Dept. of Revenue Form AS/RP-1. Click on: http://www.dor.state.nc.us/business, pull up the form, and follow filing instructions. The form is called: “Registration Application for Sales and Use Tax, Withholding”. Locally, you may also contact the NC Department of Revenue for the form and/or questions: 5111 Nations Crossing Road, Bldg. 8, #100, Charlotte, 704-519-3000
7. For businesses with employees, you will need to register with the
NC Employment Security Commission (NC Unemployment Insurance). Click on: http://www.ncesc.com, go to “Business Services—New Businesses—Sign Up” to apply online. Call 704-531-5000
for addresses/#`s of ESC`s 3 local Charlotte offices.
8. You need to obtain City of Charlotte/Mecklenburg County
“Business License”, Also known as a “Privilege License”. Unless explicitly provided for by Char/Meck. Government, all businesses/trades/professions located inside the City of Charlotte, or outside the City but conducting any business within the City, are required to purchase a Business License/Privilege License prior to beginning operations! This requirement applies to ALL businesses, whether for-profit, non-profit, or home-based. Call 704-336-6315
for clarification or if you have any questions.
To obtain your
License, go to the Hal Marshall Center, 700 N. Tryon St., Business Tax Collections Division. You will need to fill out a “Privilege License Tax Application”; your business will be classified which will determine the tax rate/fees to be paid; be prepared to render an estimate of your 1st
year’s gross sales (if needed). It is here that the Zoning Department, Environmental Health/Alcohol Enforcement (if applicable), give needed approvals before the License is issued.
9. You will need to contact the “Business Listing Department at 700 E. Stonewall St. Suite 202, Charlotte, NC
, to notify them of the formation of your new business, so they can send you an annual bill for your “Business Personal Property Taxes”.
10. Finally, for businesses inside the Charlotte City limits, you should discuss your plans with the City Fire Inspectors,
704-336-2101, to assure compliance with City fire codes. For businesses outside the Charlotte City Limits, you should discuss you plans with the Mecklenburg Fire Marshall’s Office, 704-336-2154, to assure compliance with county fire codes. Also, contact the Charlotte Police Department 704-336-2310
, to distribute CMPD numbers and information cards on how to contact the business owners in case of emergencies.
Congratulations!! You are now officially legal and licensed by the City / County / State!!
Visit our Web site at http://www.cpcc.edu/e-institute for more information about educational resources and services to make your new business venture a success!! GOOD LUCK on your new business venture!!
CPCC Institute for Entrepreneurship 1112 Charlottetowne Ave. (formerly Independence Blvd.) Charlotte, NC 28204 Mailing Address: PO Box 35009, Charlotte, NC 28235 704-330-6658