Setting Up A Small Business In San Jose

Now I have my work visa I can reopen my etsy business… So heres how I did that. This is just advice and a good starting point, but please check for yourself as rules and laws change. In California setting up a business is a little more complicated as they have more rules than most of the states in the USA.

So Where Do You Go First?

Step 1. Advice

If your a complete beginner then a great starting point is Score They are brilliant they have lots of courses to get you started and your learn everything about different types of business entities, business planning, marketing and more. You can also arrange to have a mentor with them too.

Before I could reopen my etsy shop, my first port of call was the local town hall for advice and mine was San Jose City Hall. They will tell you to obtain a sellers licenses and a Fictious Business Name. Once you have that then you can register your business for tax with City Hall. There are quiet a few other steps and it can be confusing so heres a breakdown of things you will need to do, depending on your business. I work from home and sell on line so this is what I did.

Step 2. Register Business Name: County Clerk Recorder 

Address: 70 W. Hedding Street, San Jose, CA 95110

When registering your business name it all depends on a few things…. If you use your name for your business you do not need to register that. The best advice I can offer is to go direct to Small Business Ally, I got this information from San Jose Town, but your advised to email them first, you just can’t go in and expect to see him or her. For City of San Jose, its:

Juan F. Borrelli, AICP he is there Small Business Ally.

www.sanjoseca.gov/businesscoach

Step 3. Sellers License – Sales & Use Permit (Seller’s Permit) FREE

All businesses selling or leasing tangible property must obtain a Seller’s Permit. I got that from the “State Board of Equalization”

Address: 250 S. 2nd Street, San Jose, CA 95113,

When applying for your sellers licence you will need

1. Bank Address:

2. Suppliers Address: e.g. I used Michaels for some of my supplies so I used them.

3. Fictitious Business Name which lasts 5 years or if you use your own name you don’t need to apply for a Fictitious Name (but please check for yourself as rules change and every city has its own set of rules.

4. Tax ID also known as EIN – I don’t use this atm as its just me, but I might change later.

A Heads up currently the Sales Tax rate in San Jose is 9.25%

Step 4. Registering for Business Tax

You obtain this from your local Town Hall. Mine was San Jose City Hall.

In the reception they will send you to counters 1 and 2 (they may change this in the future but its a heads up) The guys and girls there are very helpful  and they will give you a form to fill in. Registering your business costs $250 a year. You only have to register once, but this fee is payable every year. There do offer a waiver if you earn less than $23,000 a year, and theres a form for that too.

Step 5. Learn More About How Sales Tax/ Use Tax Works.

Go back to the “State Board of Equalization” they have a few free courses on sales tax and more and will help you with everything you need to know for filing sales taxes and Use Tax.

Step 6. Setting up a Business Bank account.

As I run a small home creative business my best advice in the early stages is to find a business account that charges you no fees or low fees to start up. I personally would use a credit union. I use Keypoint Credit Union, they offer a FREE Business account with no fees.

When setting up your account take all your business documents with you, they will need to check over all your credentials.

Sellers License.

Business Registration

Work Permit EAD

Social Security 

Home address, Business address if different

Step 7. Find A Good Accountant.

At the end of you need to file your schedule C for business, I was referred to my accountant and he is brilliant. As a newbie to the USA and filing taxes here, its a must to start off with your right foot forward…

Once I contacted my accountant he called me and talked me through my taxes. He gave me a list of items he required on the form filling so he could fill in my forms, and do my books for me at the end of the year.  My first year completing my tax was painless.

Never be frightened to ask questions every step of the way when dealing with your business and as a newbie in the US everything is run differently here its not like your home.

Step 8. Keep Great Book Keeping…

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