Here’s an overview of the key steps you’ll need to take to start your own business in Nevada.
The most common legal structures for a small business are:
There also are special versions of some of these structures, such as limited partnerships and S corporations. You’ll want to consider which business entity structure offers the type of liability protection you want and the best tax, financing, and financial benefits for you and your business. Check Choose Your Business Structure on Nolo’s website for more information on how to choose the best ownership structure for your business.
For LLCs and corporations, you will need to check that your name is distinguishable from the names of other business entities already on file with the Nevada Secretary of State (SOS). You can check for available names using the Nevada Business Search page on the SOS website. You can reserve an available name for twelve months by filing a Name Reservation Request either online or on paper with the Nevada SOS. You can reserve a name for up to 90 days. There are also certain name requirements for LLCs and corporations (like including a word such as “LLC” for LLCs or “Company” for corporations). See How to Form an LLC in Nevada and How to Form a Corporation in Nevada for more information.
Will your Nevada sole proprietorship or partnership use a business name that is different from the names of the business owner (for a sole proprietorship) or individual partners (for a partnership)? If so, you must file a Fictitious Name Certificate with the county clerk’s office in the county where you will do business. Check with your local county clerk for more details.
If you plan on doing business online, you may want to register your business name as a domain name. See Choose and Register a Domain Name for more information. In addition, to avoid trademark infringement issues, you should do a federal and state trademark check to make sure the name you want to use is not the same as or too similar to a name already in use. See How to Do a Trademark Search for more information.
Tax Registration. If you will be selling goods in Nevada, you must register with the Nevada Department of Taxation (DOT) for a sales tax permit. You can register online.
EIN. If your business has employees or is taxed separately from you, you must obtain a federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS. Even if you are not required to obtain an EIN, there are often business reasons for doing so. Banks often require an EIN to open an account in the business’s name and other companies you do business with may require an EIN to process payments. You can get an EIN by completing an online application on the IRS website. There is no filing fee.
Regulatory licenses and permits. These cover areas such as:
Most Nevada businesses need a license. At a minimum, that means a State Business License (SBL) issued by the Nevada Secretary of State SOS. Apart from getting an SBL when you start your small business, you generally will need to renew the license each year. For many businesses, the renewal is connected with filing Nevada’s version of an annual report with the state.
You can find additional online information about the SBL in the following places:
In addition, some required licenses are issued at the city or county level. The Business Licensing Agencies section of Nevada’s Department of Business and Industry (DBI) website has a list of local governments that issue business licenses. You can click on the name of a city or county on the list for more information.
Professional and occupational licenses. These cover people who work in various fields. The Business Licensing Agencies section of the DBI website has a list of state regulatory agencies for many professions and occupations.
You’ll need to pick a location for your business and check local zoning regulations. That includes if you work from home. You may be able to find zoning regulations for your town or city by checking municode.com.
Nevada is one of four states that have neither a corporate income tax nor a personal income tax. However, any businesses that have employees and report gross wages to the Nevada Employment Security Division (ESD) are subject to the state’s modified business tax (MBT). See Nevada State Business Income Tax for more information on state business taxes in Nevada.
Sole proprietorships. Apart from the MBT, sole proprietorships only pay federal taxes on business income.
Partnerships. Apart from the MBT, partnerships only pay federal taxes on business income.
LLCs. Apart from the MBT, LLC members only pay federal taxes on business income. In addition, the LLC itself must file an annual report (also known in Nevada as an annual list) with the Nevada SOS. See Nevada LLC Annual Report and Tax Requirements for more information.
Corporations. Apart from the MBT, corporation shareholders only pay federal taxes on their dividends and any salary. The corporation itself also is subject to the federal corporate income tax. Furthermore, corporations must file an annual report (also known in Nevada as an annual list) with the Nevada SOS.
Apart from the limited Nevada taxes, there are always federal income and employer taxes. Check IRS Publications 334, Tax Guide for Small Business, and 583, Taxpayers Starting a Business, available at irs.gov.
Insurance is a good idea for most kinds of business. While insurance often is regulated at the state level, the types of business insurance available are usually similar across the fifty states. Check Obtaining Business Insurance for more information.