How to Start a Business in New York
Starting a business in New York requires working with both State and local government.
The first step is to decide your new business name and structure. You must register your business name if you plan to conduct business under a name other than your own. Each business structure has advantages, and the type of business you choose influences the licenses and permits you need, your insurance liability, and your tax responsibilities. You can learn about business structures in the Form an Entity section.
Many counties, cities, towns, and villages also require local permits and licenses. Check with the local authorities where your business is located and where you will be conducting business.
You will have to register for taxes with the Tax Department. Most businesses need a “Certificate of Authority” to collect sales and use taxes. Our Taxes section has information on your business tax responsibilities.
Your business will need insurance. Most businesses must have Unemployment and Workers’ Compensation Insurance, and some will need Disability Insurance and health insurance. In the Insurance section you’ll learn what kind of insurance your business needs.
You can also get assistance in starting a new business. Explore the Get Support section, where you can receive free advice on planning and starting your business, learn about the incentives available, consider financing options, or use our free tools to research the market, wages, and tax rates throughout the state.
Want to find out what permits or licenses your business needs? Start with the Business Wizard to determine which New York State licenses are necessary to get your business up and running.
Form an Entity
Decide your business name
- Have a name in mind for your business? Visit the Name Reservation page to see if the name is available for use in New York.
Choose a legal structure
- There are several legal structures you can choose from for your business. You can explore the different types of legal structures available in the NYS Business Wizard.
- If you have employees, you also must report information about each employee by obtaining a federal employer identification number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). You’ll need your EIN to identify your business to the IRS and New York State.
Understand State licensing and permitting
- Most businesses require permits from the state to operate. Visit the NYS Business Wizard to apply for the right license or permit.
Starting a Business
Whether you are starting a new business or purchasing an existing one, you will need some basic information about New York State’s Tax Law and regulations. The New York State Tax Guide for New Businesses (Publication 20) outlines the procedures to follow and the forms to file with the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance (the Tax Department). This publication also contains valuable information for those purchasing an existing business or purchasing assets from an existing business.
- Your business must register with the Tax Department before conducting business in New York State.
Recordkeeping and Taxes
- To save time and expenses in preparing tax returns, keep careful records for your business, in paper or electronic form, for at least three years.
Sales Tax and Certificate of Authority
- You will also collect sales tax on the products or services that you sell, so you must get a Certificate of Authority. For example, if you sell items at a retail store or food establishment, or perform services such as auto repairs, pool cleaning, or lawn care, you must collect sales tax.
Other New York State Taxes
- Depending on the type of business, you may be subject to other taxes, such as if you sell alcohol, tobacco products, fuel, etc.
New York City Taxes
- New York City businesses are also subject to New York City business income and excise taxes.
Buying a Business
- If you are buying a business, you need to register the business. You should also check with the Tax Department to ensure that you will not be liable for the previous owner’s tax debts.
Employer Insurance Obligations
- Unemployment Insurance is required if you meet the conditions for liability. Corporate Officers and stockholders who perform services for the corporation are employees of the corporation. Any compensation they receive for such services is remuneration and must be reported for unemployment insurance purposes. Register through the NYS Department of Labor.
- Workers’ Compensation insurance for on the job injuries is required if you have employees. Workers' Compensation Insurance can be obtained through the NYS Insurance Fund, a private carrier, or approval for self-insurance by the New York State Workers' Compensation Board.
- Disability Benefits insurance for off the job injuries is required if you have employees more than 30 days in a calendar year. Disability Benefits insurance can be obtained through the NYS Insurance Fund, a private carrier, or approval for self-insurance by the New York State Workers' Compensation Board.
- More information about health insurance can be obtained from the NYS Department of Health.
Before you open your business, there is a wealth of information and resources to help you determine how to best move forward.
- The Entrepreneurial Assistance Program Centers provide instruction, training and technical assistance to individuals interested in starting a business or that have recently started a business.
- The NYS Small Business Development Center offers free counseling to help start your business, training on how to write a business and marketing plan, plus other tips on doing business with the State.
- You can obtain technical and financial assistance from NYS Empire State Development.
Accessing Capital and Incentives
- Complete a session of the New York Business Express Incentive and Support Wizard to find resources applicable to your business.
- Examine the financing programs available from New York to assist businesses.
- New York offers loan options, grants, tax credits, and other incentives through NYS Empire State Development.
- Map your competition, benchmark performance and find the best places to advertise with the Small Business Administration Online Tool.
- You can compare wages across the state and by industry at the NYS Department of Labor Data Center.
- Research local tax rates across at the New York Office of Real Property Tax Services.
Start Your Business
Use our Business Wizard to find out what you need.
Find Incentives and Support
You are not alone. Find ways New York State can help you grow.