If you’ve started selling items with your Silhouette Cameo or Cricut, at some point you will want to register your business in your state or incorporate. Trust me, it isn’t as scary as it sounds. In many states, you can register your business or incorporate online – without the help of an attorney.
Benefits to registering your business or incorporating your business:
- Reputation: You are no longer just a person that crafts at home, you are a registered business. For many potential customers, this increases your credibility.
- Tax deductions: All the supplies that you’ve been buying become tax deductions!
- Legal protection of your name: Once registered, another company cannot legally use your business name.
- Loans and grants: Once you have a registered business, you may be able to qualify for small business loans or small business grants to help grow your business.
- Liability: Rather than being personally liable for the products you make, in many cases, the business becomes liable.
- Wholesale pricing: Registered businesses and companies can apply for tax ID numbers which allow you to purchase from select wholesale sites, or buy items for resale and not pay taxes on them.
- Credit card processing: Businesses can often negotiate better credit card processing rates – which will ultimately allow to you save money.
Still on the fence? Here’s how the IRS determines if you have a hobby or a business:
“In making the distinction between a hobby or business activity, take into account all facts and circumstances with respect to the activity. No one factor alone is decisive. You must generally consider these factors to establish that an activity is a business engaged in making a profit:
- Whether you carry on the activity in a businesslike manner.
- Whether the time and effort you put into the activity indicate you intend to make it profitable.
- Whether you depend on income from the activity for your livelihood.
- Whether your losses are due to circumstances beyond your control (or are normal in the startup phase of your type of business).
- Whether you change your methods of operation in an attempt to improve profitability.
- Whether you or your advisors have the knowledge needed to carry on the activity as a successful business.
- Whether you were successful in making a profit in similar activities in the past.
- Whether the activity makes a profit in some years and how much profit it makes.
- Whether you can expect to make a future profit from the appreciation of the assets used in the activity.”
How to register your business or incorporate it
Unfortunately, each state is different for registering a business and requires different forms and fees. The easiest way to get information is to visit Google and search “start a business in (your state)”. In Florida (my home state), the steps are listed online on our state’s website. They require you to fill out forms, and submit an annual registration fee and report. If you are not confident about the process of starting a business in your state, or don’t want to take a chance of omitting something, I have used incorporate.com in the past. They make it really easy and it’s fast – generally a few business days.
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