Do I Need a Business License?

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Every state is different. It's always best to check directly with the state's small business department.

In Oregon I do not need a business license as a sole proprietor, but I did need to register my business name because it is different from my legal name.

For the IRS, you need to claim all income, but don't necessarily need an EIN number. Here's the IRS small business site link:,,id=110417,00.html

I remember it being a pain to figure everything out initially, but I'm glad I'm legal!

Posted at 10:11 pm Jul 2, 2010 EDT

Each state is different on their business licensing laws. It's best to check with your local Small Business office or your county clerk. I live in Illinois and am required to have a business license to sell online or from my home. I applied at our county clerk's office, but I buy it at the townhall of my village.

And if you live in a state that charge's sales tax, it's probably a safe bet that they want you to have a tax ID# so they can collect sales tax. BUT don't take my word for it, as I'm only familiar with Illinois. Check your state IRS website for accurate information on sales tax!!

Posted at 10:11 pm Jul 2, 2010 EDT

OMG! That's the second time tonight that I've been typing an identical answer as someone else at the same time! Check out our posting times, frolic. Weird!

Glad you had the link in your post.

Posted at 10:13 pm Jul 2, 2010 EDT

clarify says

The answer is . . . maybe. Some places have horrendous regulations, other places anything goes. You need to find out what your local and state authorities require. Check their websites.

An excellent starting point for information on these issues is books from Nolo Press or its website. While asking a local lawyer specializing in business issues would probably get you the best information, it obviously would be expensive.

The Nolo Press business page is here:;jsessio...

Posted at 10:14 pm Jul 2, 2010 EDT

A good resource for things you need to have to be a "legit" craft seller is the book Craft Inc. by Meg Mateo Ilasco. It's a GREAT book full of wonderful resources and I highly recommend it.

Posted at 10:14 pm Jul 2, 2010 EDT

litemyfuse: Jinx!

Posted at 10:24 pm Jul 2, 2010 EDT

I've never heard of a fine artist needing a business license to sell paintings, but that may be completely different from crafts. Paying taxes is a different matter though. We all have to do that.

Posted at 10:24 pm Jul 2, 2010 EDT

Fynorrahs says

hollynsage says:
You don't have to have a license to sell at a loss (garage sale, Craislist, etc.) I didn't know you had to for Etsy, either! Is this really true? We really need a license? (I live in NC)

In the Etsy Does and Don'ts it says that all sellers must comply with all state and local laws. So I take that to mean - yes you do.

Posted at 10:31 pm Jul 2, 2010 EDT

clarify says

furious says
I've never heard of a fine artist needing a business license to sell . . .

Creating the art would not require a license, but the sale, even if wholesale, might. It is going to depend on the local laws and regulations.

Posted at 10:31 pm Jul 2, 2010 EDT

frolicdesign says:
litemyfuse: Jinx!
That's exactly what I said to spidercamp when we posted the same answer at the same time. Ha!

Posted at 10:35 pm Jul 2, 2010 EDT

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