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Startup Guide

Entrepreneurs and small businesses are important.  They create jobs, innovation, and products and services that result in a better economy and quality of life.

Washington County is one of the most entrepreneurial counties in New York State.  According to Washington County Economic Development, close to 10% of our workforce is self-employed.  That is 3.5% higher than the state average.

Starting a new business can be an exciting but daunting venture.  We are providing some information and inspiration to help get you started.  Businesses can vary in many ways, from permits to regulations, so it is best to consult with an attorney on specific needs and questions.  Below are some fundamentals on what to consider when going into business.

You may find additional information from partner organizations on our helpful links page.

Business Structure

You have your idea but now want to create a legal business entity.  There are many business structures, including sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, and limited liability company (LLC), each with different legal and tax implications.

View this list of business structures from the IRS to determine your best option.


Creating your entity will depend on the business structure and with whom you will register your business with.

Sole proprietors and partnerships will be filed with Washington County through the County Clerk.  Complete a "doing business as" certificate (DBA) and pay the filing fee.  This can be done in-person or by mail.

Corporations and limited liability companies will be filed with New York State through the Department of State.  Submit a certificate of incorporation and pay the filing fee.

Tax ID


Depending on your business, you may need to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS which will be the tax identification number for your business.  It is similar to a Social Security Number for an individual.  You will use this to open a bank account, hire employees, and file taxes.

Licenses and Permits

Certain professions, such as cosmetology and real estate, require professional licenses.  Visit Licensing Services with the NYS Department of State to see which professions need a license and how to obtain one.

Businesses in the food industry and those that produce or sell alcoholic beverages need to be licensed or permitted.

Check with your local municipality to see if you need a license to operate your business within their jurisdiction.

Sales tax must be collected on certain tangible products and services sold.  Learn more about sales and use tax with the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance.

Additional Information and Guides

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