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Choose a name for your business. If you choose to operate your business under your own name, you do not need to register the name of the business.
• Texas law governing assumed names: Texas Business & Commerce Code chapter 71: Assumed Business or Professional Name
o Must file “DBA” unless (1) your business name contains your surname; and (2) does not contain any words suggesting other owners (e.g., Company, Co., & Company, Brothers, & Sons, & Associates)
2. Check the name to make sure it has not been taken. There can be no duplicate names, so if the name is taken, you will have to change yours.
• Go to the county clerk’s office in the county in which you are doing business and ask to search assumed names, or you can go online.
• You can also log onto the Texas Secretary of State website and click SOSDirect to create an account, and proceed to assumed names check – but you are not required to do so if you merely wish to file a DBA in your own county of residence.
3. File Assumed Name. County Clerk’s office where business premise is maintained; if no business premise, then in every county where business is conducted.
• Certificate of Ownership for Unincorporated Business or Profession (Dallas County): http://www.dallascounty.org/department/countyclerk/documents/DC_AssumednameDallas2a_001.pdf
4. Determine whether your business requires a license in Texas. Note that Texas is a business-friendly state and does not require a general business license or permit. But some professions and trades do require a license. Examples include professions like doctors and lawyers, and trades like barbers, cosmetologists, air conditioning and refrigeration contractors, dieticians, midwives, polygraph operators, athletic trainers, combative sports referee (e.g., boxing).
• Texas Department of Licenses and Registration (TDLR): http://www.tdlr.texas.gov/
• Note that certain licenses and/or permits may also be required if your business has a significant environmental impact (e.g., solid waste, wastewater, medical waste, etc.). The source for information here is the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
o http://tceq.state.tx.us/permitting/business_types(alphabetical index by business)
5. Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN), which is a tax ID number, from the IRS. You will use your EIN for all financial business you conduct in Texas.
• Application requires basic information and some information about the nature of the business and how many employees. Cost is free.
• IRS Publication 15 is the IRS’ guide to federal taxation for businesses.
6. Go to your local bank and open a new bank account to use specifically for your business. You will need your newly obtained EIN.
7. If the business involves sales (of “tangible personal property”), then you must obtain a Texas Sales and Use Tax Permit.
• Information on the sales and use tax is available at the website for the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.
o Frequently Asked Questions: http://comptroller.texas.gov/taxinfo/sales/questions.html
• Texas sales tax = 6.25% and localities can add up to 2% more for a maximum total of 8.25%.
o The City of Dallas does impose the maximum 2%, and the sales tax rate in Dallas is therefore the maximum 8.25%. (The state average is 7.25%.)
• The application for the permit can be completed online: http://comptroller.texas.gov/taxpermit/
Describe, in detail, the steps you would take to set up your own sole proprietorship in Dallas. You must choose (and describe) a business, and it should be a business you could actually start yourself (i.e., not something that requires professional training you do not have, such as a law firm or a doctor’s office). You must choose what product or service (or combination) you are selling, and then choose a name for the business (making sure that the name is available, and describing that process). Then describe the additional steps, as specifically as possible, you would take to start your particular business.
You should take substantial inspiration from my short essay on setting up a sole proprietorship in Dallas – but please do not merely copy the language of my short essay. Do, however, number your steps and make your description organized, clear and detailed. Note that this assignment is not designed to be intellectually challenging, so don’t look for “tricks.” My short essay has done most of the work for you — but I want you to personalize it with your own business, and I want you to click on the links in my essay. It is designed to immerse you in the very practical task of actually starting a business.
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