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Many cities and counties require those that do business within their limits to file a registration form — this form may be called a tax registration certificate, business license, business tax application, or something similar. No matter what the form is called, its purpose is the same: to tax your business. You may have to pay a flat fee or a rate that depends on your annual revenue. If your eBay business is small (as measured by its revenues), you may be exempt from a city or county licensing requirement.

Finding the forms. If you do business in a city, contact your city government to find out about licensing requirements and get the necessary forms. If you do business in an unincorporated area, contact your county government. Many local governments have websites — and some post information for small businesses and make their forms available online. You can find a comprehensive list of links to online local government agencies at State and Local Government on the Net. If you’re looking for county ordinances online, you can find them at the website of the National Association of Counties.

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