Our list of the essential legal resources every small business and startup in California should have. Great information to start and grow your business.
Planning Your Business
- U.S. Small Business Administration’s Guide to Starting and Managing Your Business. A helpful guide for starting, managing, and growing your business.
- U.S. Census Bureau’s Business Patterns. A great resource to determine how many businesses of a certain type are in a particular city, state, county, or zip code.
- Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs). Provide many free educational services for small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs.
California Requirements For Forming Your Business
- California Secretary of State’s Guide to Starting a Business in California. A step-by-step guide to starting a new business in California.
- California Secretary of State’s Processing Times. You can view the California Secretary of State’s processing times for filings here.
- California Employer’s Guide. A detailed guide on employer reporting requirements that is published by the California Employment Development Department.
California Permits for Your Business
- CalGOLD. Helps you determine what business permits, licenses and registration requirements are required for your business.
- California Seller’s Permit. You can read more about when need a California seller’s permit here, but essentially you need one if you “[i]ntend to sell or lease tangible personal property that would ordinarily be subject to sales tax if sold at retail.” If you do need a California seller’s permit, you can obtain a permit here.
- California Resale Certificate. Information on why a business might need a California resale certificate can be found here. A form resale certificate can be found here.
SF Requirements For Registering Your Business
- San Francisco Business Registration Certificate. All businesses in San Francisco must complete an application to obtain a San Francisco Business Registration Certificate within 15 days.
- San Francisco Fictitious Business Name Statement. If you will conduct business in San Francisco under a name other than your full legal name, the full legal name of a legal entity (such as a corporation), or any name that suggests additional owners, you must file a Fictitious Business Name Statement with the San Francisco County Clerk. Frequently asked questions about San Francisco Fictitious Business Name Statements can be found here.
- License 123. License 123 is a free online tool that helps businesses navigate San Francisco’s permitting and licensing requirements.
California Tax Obligations For Your Business.
- California Secretary of State’s Tax Guide. A list of state agencies to determine your business’s tax liability.
- San Francisco Payroll Expense Tax. Entities that pay $150,000 or more in compensation for services performed in San Francisco must pay a 1.5% payroll expense tax. An audio program discussing the tax can be found here.
Federal Tax Obligations For Your Business.
- IRS Virtual Tax Workshop for Small Businesses and The Self-Employed. Lessons for small businesses and the self-employed to help them meet their federal tax obligations.
- The San Francisco Office Of Small Business has some resources available here on ways to bring your business into compliance and to mitigate your risk of a lawsuit.
Converting Your California Company.
- The California Secretary of State Office’s guide to convert from one type of entity to a different type of entity.
Obligations for Dissolving Your California Businesses.
- Guide to Dissolve, Surrender, or Cancel a California Business Entity. The California Franchise Tax Board provides a useful guide for dissolving a California business.
- SF Declaration of Closed or Sold Business. The San Francisco Declaration of Closed or Sold Business can be found here.
- Statement Of Abandonment Of Use Of Fictitious Business Name Statement. The form to discontinue use of your company’s fictitious business name statement can be found here.
- Once your California entity has been dissolved, you will also need to file IRS Form 966 and a final state and federal tax return.