Many self-employed Washington DC residents are eager to start their businesses. The simplest and most rational solution to this issue is to join the ranks of sole proprietors.
Organizing and managing a business in this format is the least difficult in America and has no service pitfalls. Although, future business owners will have to adhere to certain norms. Also, be prepared that you will have to face some restrictions regarding the functions of your sole proprietorship.
So, the main task of this manual is to help you answer the essential question – is the business format of an individual enterprise right for you? And, of course, we will tell you which aspects to pay attention to while opening a sole proprietorship and how to set up a business structure in this vein properly.
The Proper Way To Start Business As The Washington DC Sole Proprietor
There is no algorithm for organizing the business work of an individual entrepreneur in Washington DC as for LLC. In addition, the state does not charge additional service fees for the formation or management of this type of business or company. Are you looking to become an individual business owner and start a sole proprietorship in Washington DC? – Just start working!
Though, you still have to go through several additional legal formalities. These service stages are optional. Although many sole proprietors prefer not to neglect them, compliance with these formalities guarantees the legal protection of their interests.
Applying For DBAs
Almost every company and business owner prefers doing business as a DBA. There are many benefits to running a business under an assumed name compared with an entity or LLC. We are talking primarily about creating the business image of your company. Potential clients and consumers will find this approach more professional and give you more confidence. It turns out that a company that uses the real name of its owner is often not competitive.
Let’s clarify that a company owned by sole proprietors can use the DBA to open and manage a business bank account. Customers will appreciate it as one more advantage in favor of the business owner, so they feel more comfortable.
In Washington DC, every sole proprietor, who plans to use a desired name (DBA name), should be aware that state law requires that a trade name is different from another one. Also, the idea to have a unique name (or not too similar) may help you avoid issues with federal law trademark requirements. Please devote time to a search in the government databases to verify your trade name is available:
- CorpOnline Web File;
- Secretary of State of Washington;
- US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
If it is OK, you may submit a Trade Name Registration Form with the Corporations Division.
Clarification & Compliance with Tax Requirements
You can run your business in this format and not hire third-party employees. In this case, you do not need to obtain an EIN (Federal Tax Identification Number) because your Social Security number will replace it. Of course, it would be correct to take care of your confidentiality and still use the EIN and not the SSN.
The nature and the structure of the business activity of individual entrepreneurship determine the list of tax requirements that the state will put forward (as with LLC).
All sole proprietors in Washington DC must pay the franchise tax for unincorporated business, report all company losses or income on their individual tax returns. In addition, you are required to pay other industry-specific taxes.
NOTE: because a sole proprietor does not have an employer to withhold a certain amount of money from his paycheck, he needs to save enough resources to pay taxes on the company income he gets throughout the year. Do you want to find out more about that? Learn estimated taxes for sole proprietors in Washington DC on the Website.
See the MyTax.DC to determine and pay taxes for Individual entrepreneurship
Business Licenses & Permits
In Washington DC, Sole proprietors are not required to have a standard business license to do business legally. However, depending on your company activities, you may have to obtain other licenses and/or permits to do your business.
However, depending on your company activities, you may have to obtain a BBL. Sometimes, other licenses categories are required. To obtain a BBL, visit the DC Business Portal. Also, learn District licensing by Licensing Section.
You should check the need to obtain the requirements in the town/city where you do business.
Washington DC does not have any local requirements, but you need to follow the District’s license and requirements approved by the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs.
Washington DC Sole Proprietor: The Notion & Essence
A sole proprietor is not a legal entity! But any corporation and limited liability company (LLC) has this status. As a sole proprietor, you run the business alone (register and manage it on your behalf). It is worth noting that this gives the business owner advantages, though, imposes additional obligations and responsibilities on him.
Make Sure to Pay Attention to the Following Three Aspects
There are obligations to pay taxes to the state
A business owner and an individual entrepreneur are the same people. It means that filing tax returns is not a requirement, as with an entity or LLC. You need to declare your income and expenses and fill out the declaration of an individual;
Business owners who are registered as sole proprietors have the right to enter into contracts on their behalf, unlike an entity. Also, receiving profit from clients, in checks they can indicate their name in the recipient column;
Flexible terms of business management
The advantage difference between individual entrepreneurship and any entity is the ability to combine work and personal assets. Whereas corporations and LLCs must separate personal assets from company assets. It has several positive and negative aspects. For example, if you have financial difficulties, creditors can seize or confiscate your personal property (house, car, etc.). In the case of corporations and LLCs (or any entity), creditors do not have this freedom, as their powers only apply to business assets.
Of course, the structure of doing legal business as a sole proprietor is greatly simplified while in Washington DC. You don’t even have to pay any commission fees provided for the entity or LLC. At the same time, based on the nature and structure of the business activity that you conduct, you will all have to go through a series of entity stages.
The issues of taxation, obtaining licenses, and permits require more detailed consideration. Also, pay attention to the possibility of obtaining and using DBA. These aspects are vital, as their omission can result in unnecessary legal penalties for you.
We have prepared this manual so that you can think over the structure of your business to the smallest detail. Manage it correctly and get more legal profit!