Starting an Online Business
If you’re thinking of starting an online business, a question that might come up is “Do I have to register this business even though it’s solely online?” In other words, if you are starting an online business and are only selling services or products online, do you still need to treat it the same way as you would a physical business where you would be taking clients or customers in person?
The answer, generally speaking, is a hearty “Yes!” Even if you are starting an online business, ie. everything is done solely online and all of the transactions are done online, you will still need to treat it the same way you would a physical business with a brick and mortar store front or an office. If you are starting an online business you may want that personal liability protection that comes from a limited liability company (LLC) or corporation. If that is a concern of yours when starting an online business, you will need to register that LLC or corporation with your state in the same manner you would if you had a physical location. And even though, being an online business, you’re probably doing business with a lot of customers and clients outside of your state, you will still need to register with the state where your business is located. Even if the location of your business is you and your laptop at your kitchen table, you still need to register your LLC, corporation, or whatever business entity it is with your state.
Additionally, if you are starting an online business where you will be working or dealing with people outside of your state, depending on the type of business you are operating and the kind of interaction you have with people in other states, you might also have to register as a foreign LLC (or corporation or whatever entity) in additional states. But again, that is going to depend on your business and the laws of your state and the other state(s) you’re dealing with.
So, in a nutshell, yes, if you are starting an online business, you still have to register and operate it in the same way you would a physical business.
It is a
good great idea to consult with an attorney to make sure your online business has everything it needs to stay compliant with the law, protect the online business, and protect the business owners. Schedule a consultation to get started or email us confidentially at firstname.lastname@example.org.