Do I Need an LLC or a Business License?

by Fraser Sherman; Updated September 26, 2017
Woman at desk in office using mobile phone, smiling

A limited liability company protects your personal assets from business creditors, much the way a corporation does. To set up an LLC, you have to file articles of organization with your state government. The articles include your company name, the names of all the members, and your contact information. You don't need a special license to open an LLC, though you might need the same kind of local business license that other businesses have to take out.

Business Licenses

Most cities and counties, and some states, require a business license or registration if you do business within their jurisdictions. A business license typically comes with an annual fee you pay to the government to operate legally. It might be a flat fee or based on your annual revenue and the type of business you run. The Small Business Administration website has a tool for finding what licenses are necessary in your zip code (see Resources).

About the Author

A graduate of Oberlin College, Fraser Sherman began writing in 1981. Since then he's researched and written newspaper and magazine stories on city government, court cases, business, real estate and finance, the uses of new technologies and film history. Sherman has worked for more than a decade as a newspaper reporter, and his magazine articles have been published in "Newsweek," "Air & Space," "Backpacker" and "Boys' Life." Sherman is also the author of three film reference books, with a fourth currently under way.

Photo Credits

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