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New York Business Resource


1) New York Tax Registration

When opening a small business in New York, you will need to apply for the identification numbers, licenses or permits associated with the type of service you are offering. While some of the more common taxes include sales tax, unemployment tax and corporation tax, the following taxes may also apply, depending on the nature of your business:

  • Alcoholic beverage tax
  • Mortgage recording tax
  • New York City taxicab ride tax
  • Highway use tax
  • Hazardous waste tax

Visit the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance for a lengthier list of potential taxes. The New York  State Tax Guide for New Businesses is another informative resource  for those intending to open a business in the state.

2) Business Licenses

The state of New York requires businesses to acquire corresponding permits and licenses before operating. The amount of permits you need and their costs depend mostly on the nature of your business. For example, the permits or licenses required to run a second hand clothing store will differ from those needed to run a tanning salon. New York State’s Office of Professions will aid in determining which professions require licenses for operation.

3) Local Permits

New York State’s Online Permit Assistance and Licensing website can help you narrow down the search for required permits. Each municipality may have its own unique regulations. Here are some of the most common licenses and permits you may need:

  •  Alarm Permit
  • Building Permit
  • Business License and/or Tax Permit
  • Health Permit
  • Occupational Permit
  • Signage Permit
  • Zoning Permit

4)  Incorporation Filing

 New York businesses that are corporations, non-profits, limited liability  companies and partnerships must register with the state using an official form or application.

A business operating as a sole proprietorship need not register, but the business’s name will take on the form of the owner’s personal name. This can be avoided by registering for a fictitious name.

5) Doing Business As

Filing for a fictitious name, or Doing Business As, involves making a business name that differs for your personal name, checking for its availability and then registering it with the county clerk office. The cost of this process will vary between counties. This procedure is required when registering a business in the form of a corporation, limited liability company or partnership; however, it is optional for businesses  based on sole proprietorships.


Withholding Income Taxes

Following the filing process of the 4th quarter of the year, employers should keep track of employment tax records for the next four years or longer. The following items should be included in your records:

  • Employer Identification number
  • Personal information on employees, including social security numbers
  • Information on wage, annuity and pension payments
  • Copies of tax withholding allowance certificates from employees

The IRS website presents a more extensive list of items worthy of your record books.

By maintaining accurate and organized records, you can keep track of your business’s growth and progress, prepare tax returns, determine tax deductible items and determine the sources of your receipts.

W-4 and W-2 Forms

Employees must provide employers with a signed Form W-4, a withholding exemption certificate. It is the employer’s responsibility to send the completed form to the IRS.

In addition to the Form W-4, employers must also handle Form W-2, which contains information concerning withheld taxes and paid wages of  employees during the previous year. Every year,  Copy A of the form should be sent to the Social Security Administration by the end of February. If a form is submitted through electronic means, the due date extends to the end of March. Employees should also receive copies of Form W-2 by the end of January of the following year. Undelivered copies should be kept on file by the employer.

These links will provide information and applications necessary for filing W-2 and W-4 forms:

7) Employee Eligibility Verification (Form I-9)

New employees must complete Form I-9 and return it to the employer within three days of employment. This form provides proof of eligibility to work within the country, so the employer must keep a completed form on file for each employee.

Form I-9 can be found on the official site of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

8) New Hire Reporting

It is the employer’s  duty  to collect and report information regarding new employers  within 20 days of the beginning of employment. This information should include the employee’s full name, address, social security number , available health benefits, the date of employment and information about the employer.  Additional information is available at the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance’s New Hire Reporting page.

9) Insurance Requirements  

If your New York-based business requires employees, you must pay for several additional expenses, including disability insurance, worker’s compensation and unemployment insurance taxes.

Disability insurance, which supports insured workers when facing non-work related injuries, must be addressed. Employers must deduct this insurance tax from employee wages and then send the information to the state. You can learn more from the New York Worker’s Compensation Board.

On the other hand, worker’s compensation tax aids workers who are injured on the job. Information concerning this tax can also be found on the New York Worker’s Compensation Board.

Unemployment insurance tax aids unemployed workers who are willing and able to work. Liability conditions for this tax vary depending on the nature of your business. Visit the New York State Department of Labor’s website to determine your liability. You can also download the necessary documents from the site.