How to start a small business

Secure your idea for a business name by registering it. This isn’t required, but it will protect the use of that name in Oklahoma.

Register your business’s name by filing with the Secretary of State’s office.Go to

Research and decide on the structure your business will operate under. Sole Proprietorships and Partnerships are the simplest, but offer the least protection to owners. Some structures like Limited Liability Companies and Corporations require registration but come with features that benefit some businesses.

Research business structures and file with the Secretary of State’s office if required.Go to

All employers must obtain a Federal Employer Identification Number or EIN from the Internal Revenue Service.

Even if you aren’t planning on having any employees, some small business owners choose to obtain an EIN. One benefit for sole proprietors is that they can use their EIN instead of their Social Security Number for business paperwork. This can help protect against personal identity theft.

  1. If you will have employees, you must file for an EIN.File for a Federal Employer Identification Number with the Internal Revenue Service.

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  2. Employers must set up a withholding account for state income taxes through the Oklahoma Tax Commission.Set up an Oklahoma Tax Commission business account.

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  3. You will need to set up an account for employees’ unemployment taxes through the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission.Set up an account for unemployment taxes.

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  4. Obtain a workers’ compensation insurance policy through a private insurer.

While there is no license required just to own or do business in the state of Oklahoma, many businesses, business owners and/or their employees, require specific licenses and permits to operate in the state. Some permits, like those for construction, are often issued by a city or other local governments.

  1. Sales tax permits are required for retailers, resellers, or others that sell tangible property on an ongoing basis.Obtain a sales tax permit from the Oklahoma Tax Commission if you will be a retailer or reseller.

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  2. Research license and permit requirements for your type of business. Call our Business Customer Services team at 405-815-5345 for guidance. You may also need to consult an attorney.Obtain required licenses or permits from the agencies or governments that issue them as well as information on regulations and other operating requirements.
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