What Is a Business Registration Number?

The legal requirements for starting a business vary among states. Depending on your industry and location, you may need a business registration number. This unique identifier may be either a state tax ID number or a registered identification number and can be obtained online for free.

Starting a business comes with its challenges. You not only have to plan your budget, set goals and have a strategy in place but also achieve legal compliance. In addition to registering your business and getting licensed, there are several other steps you must take before opening your doors. Depending on your industry and location, you may need to apply for a business registration number.

TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)

A business registration number is a unique identifier and may be either a state tax ID number or a registered identification number.

Business Registration Number Explained

Any business registered in the United States must follow several steps to comply with the law. For example, your company may need a state employer identification number, or EIN (also known as a state tax ID number) to track payroll tax liabilities and protect its identity. This unique identifier is only required in some states, such as Michigan, and it's not the same as a federal EIN or Social Security number.

If you plan to sell, produce, distribute or import wool, textiles or fur goods, you may need a registered identification number, which is issued by the Federal Trade Commission. Companies may use it in place of their name on product tags and labels. Although you're not legally required to have a registered identification number, it's a good way to protect your company's identity.

A business registration number can be either a state EIN or a registered identification number. Both serve as unique identifiers and can be obtained for free. Plus, you may apply online to save time and keep things simple.

Get a State EIN Number

Before applying for a state tax ID number, you must obtain a federal EIN, or employer identification number, from the IRS. This nine-digit number is required for most businesses, allowing them to hire employees, apply for loans, open a bank account and more. The IRS uses this identifier for tax purposes.

All you need to do is submit your application on the IRS website. If you register your business online, you'll receive an EIN immediately. This service is available on business days from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. EST. You may also apply by fax or mail, but it will take longer to get your EIN.

Once this step is complete, contact your state's comptroller to find out how to obtain a state tax ID number. This process differs among states. California residents, for instance, may apply online through the Employment Development Department. They must provide their name and SSN, contact information, federal EIN and other relevant information.

Obtain a Registered Identification Number

The FTC doesn't require business owners to apply for a registered identification number. This step is optional. However, it may be in your best interest to obtain an RN, as it helps protect your business identity.

To apply, head over to the FTC website, click "Tips and Advice" and select "Business Center." Next, click "Selected Industries," choose "Clothing and Textiles" and access the Registered Identification Number Database. Sign up for a user account and then submit your application. Check the FAQ section to find out more about this number and how it benefits your business.

Be aware that you cannot apply for an RN by fax or mail; you must complete this process online and wait for approval. Online applications are processed within three business days. In case you change your business name or address, remember to update your RN information via the FTC website. If you have more than one business in the clothing and textile industry, you'll need an RN for each.

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About the Author

Andra Picincu is a digital marketing consultant with over 10 years of experience. She works closely with small businesses and large organizations alike to help them grow and increase brand awareness. She holds a BA in Marketing and International Business and a BA in Psychology. Over the past decade, she has turned her passion for marketing and writing into a successful business with an international audience. Current and former clients include The HOTH, Bisnode Sverige, Nutracelle, CLICK - The Coffee Lover's Protein Drink, InstaCuppa, Marketgoo, GoHarvey, Internet Brands, and more. In her daily life, Ms. Picincu provides digital marketing consulting and copywriting services. Her goal is to help businesses understand and reach their target audience in new, creative ways.