Starting a business in Utah might seem complicated, but don’t worry. Whether you want to start a business that is completely Utah-based or expand your existing business into Utah, it is doable! Follow the steps below in order to register to do business in the State of Utah so you can begin earning money in legitimately in the state.
Registering a Brand New Business in Utah
Step 1: Apply for trademarks or patents (if necessary)
If your business is especially unique, you might want to protect your idea by applying for trademarks or patents. A trademark is a special registration with the federal government that stops anyone else from using a particular name or phrase without getting written permission and paying you for the privilege, while a patent stops anyone else from making a unique product that you have invented
Applying for trademarks costs $50 and is done through the state of Utah. Patents are significantly more difficult to obtain and generally require the services of a patent attorney.
Step 2: Choose a business structure.
Choosing a business structure is the first step towards registering a business in Utah. The tax and legal requirements may be different depending on the type of business structure you choose.
Most businesses in Utah incorporate as limited liability corporations. Limited liability corporations have the benefit of being corporations, which protects you from losing personal assets in the event the business fails or you are sued. Your business will also be taxed separately from your personal assets.
Step 3: Register Your Business Name
Every business in Utah must have a unique business name that is filed with the Utah Department of Commerce. Brainstorm several business names in case the first name you chose has already been registered to someone else’s business.
To make sure your business name has not been taken already, search for registered business names on the Utah government’s website.
Once you have determined that your business name is unique, register it! Registration costs $22 as of 2019. You must fill out the registration form via computer (handwritten forms are not allowed), print it, and mail it with your payment. Registration is good for three years and allows you to do business under that name.
Step 4: Get an Employee Identification Number
Once you’ve registered your business name, your next step is to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN). This a number you get from the federal government that you use instead of your social security number when filling out tax forms and other government forms related to your business.
To apply for an EIN, visit the IRS website. You will need to fill out a form online. EINs are provided by the IRS free of charge as of January 2019.
Step 5: Get a Registered Agent
Sole proprietors don’t need to take this step. But if you are setting up an LLC, you will need to find someone willing to be a registered agent of your business. A registered agent must:
- Have a physical street address in Utah (not a PO Box).
- Be available to receive documents related to the business at this address during normal business hours
- Keep information related to the business on file at the address.
You can ask someone you know personally or you can hire a registered agent through a service. You can also act as your own registered agent if you are willing to use your home address as the business address on public records.
Step 6: File Articles of Incorporation With the Utah Division of Corporations
To officially register an LLC, you must file a Certificate of Organization. This is a set of paperwork that provides information about your business. You’ll need the name, addresses, and Social Security numbers of all owners of your business as well as the name and address of your registered agent. Filing costs $70 as of January 2019.
Along with your Certificate of Organization, you will need to draft an operating agreement. This is a formal agreement listing what each member of the LLC is responsible for and what happens if the business closes or is sold.
Step 7: Open a Business Bank Account
You need a separate business bank account in order to do business. All payments from your business go into this account, and you pay your business’ bills from it. This allows it to be clear what expenses and income are related to your business so that you don’t get in trouble at tax time.
To open a business account, bring your business name registration certificate and your Certificate of Organization to the bank of your choice along with your opening deposit. Make sure you understand the bank’s rules for business accounts, as some banks charge fees if your balance or average balance drops below a certain amount.
Step 8: Apply for a Sales and Use Tax Certificate
If you are selling products, you will need to apply for a Sales and Use Tax Certificate through the Utah Department of Taxation. This certificate allows you to charge sales tax to your customers, which you then put aside and pay to the Utah Department of Taxation on a quarterly or annual basis. You can apply for this certificate online using the same account you used to register your business name.
Step 9: Apply for local business licenses
You are required to apply for city and county business licenses before you can do business in Utah. The Utah Department of Commerce offers an online directory where you can get contact information for the city and county offices you need to visit to get these licenses.
Registering A Business in Utah That Already Exists In Another State
If you have a business elsewhere but want to expand into Utah, you need to register as a foreign LLC, meaning you’re from another state. For example, if you have a business in California and want to open a second office or store in Utah, you need to register.
Register as a foreign LLC with the Utah Division of Corporations. This requires you to fill out paperwork similar to the paperwork you would submit to get a Certificate of Organization as a Utah-based business. You will need to provide the name and address of a local registered agent as well as information about your headquarters and your registered agent in your home state.
Once you have done this, you can do business in Utah as well as in your home state. You will need to contact a tax attorney to help you manage your tax obligations since you are doing business in different states that have different requirements.
Registering a business in Utah takes time and patience. There’s a lot of steps you have to take, but it’s pretty straightforward. If you make sure to take one step at a time and do everything you need to, you’ll be able to set up your business properly and get started making money.