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Starting a Business in NevadaYou’re about to embark on a long and exciting journey, one full of hard work and rewards: starting a new business. With wide eyes and big dreams, you’re about to enter the world of business ownership.

But beyond the initial thrill of the startup decision, there’s a lot to consider. In fact, if you’ve never done it before, starting a business can seem like an intimidating mountain of work. Out of all your responsibilities and tasks, you might not even know where to start.

But have no fear. The good news is that once you have everything planned out and understand the process, the formation process is smooth sailing. And this is your go-to guide.

Everything you’ve been wondering about, everything you need to do, every question you have – it’s all right here. By the time you’re through these 16 steps, you’ll be a bonafide business owner who’s prepared for sustained success.

Time Saving Hack: When you form a business through online LLC services, they’ll register your business with the state and help you check off most of the startup-steps in this list. They assist you with everything from building a website to opening a business bank account and ensuring your new venture.

1) Write a Business Plan

Jumping into this endeavor without goals, directives, or a sense of direction can lead to a scattered, unproductive business.

A business plan lays the groundwork for your future success. It helps you analyze key elements of your business and forge pathways to achieve your goals. Here are a few things you should consider including in your business plan:

  • Executive Summary (a separate document that gives a complete overview of your business’ purpose, plans, goals, competition, opportunities, etc.)
  • Company description
  • Market Analysis (opportunities, competition, etc.)
  • Managerial or organizational structure
  • Products and/or services
  • Marketing strategies
  • Funding goals
  • Financial projections

Business plans aren’t just great for internal operations, but they give your business legitimacy in front of potential investors, customers, partners, and more. Need help? Check out this guide from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

2) Decide on a Business Name

You might’ve come up with the perfect name right away. If so, consider yourself lucky.

Sometimes, deciding on a business can be difficult, requiring brainstorming meetings and late-night rap sessions. That’s because your name is your business’ identity and reputation. It should be something that’s unique and memorable but also defines your business purpose.

Each legal business structure (see step 3) has its own naming restrictions in Nevada. LLCs names, for example, must include the words “limited liability company,” “LLC,” etc. And corporations must include “corporation,” “incorporated,” “limited,” “company,” or an appropriate abbreviation.

More importantly, you can’t use someone else’s business name. When you’ve come up with a good name, search for it to see if anyone else has already claimed it. If the search returns zero results, that name is all yours! You just need to reserve it or use it on your formation documents.

3) Decide on a Legal Structure

There are only a few types of business structures, but each one dictates some important parts of how your business will run.

The most popular types are the sole proprietorship, general partnership, limited liability company (LLC), S corporation, and C corporation. Most small businesses go with the LLC because of its unique blend of flexibility and personal asset protection.

However, you shouldn’t make this decision without reading up on all of your options. We’ve done plenty of research on each business type and developed side-by-side comparisons. Check out our LLC vs. Corporation and LLC vs. Sole Proprietorship comparison guides for a closer look.

4) Choose a Registered Agent

The Secretary of State needs a point of contact for your business, someone who will be available at your registered office address during typical business hours – 9am to 5pm.

This person is called a registered agent, and they serve as an intermediary with the state, receiving all of your company’s important legal communications and relaying them on to you. The Nevada registered agent ensures that no important state documents, deadlines, or payments fall through the cracks, so you’ll want to choose a person or company you trust.

You can choose either an individual or a business entity as your registered agent in Nevada, but they must:

  • Be an individual Nevada resident or a corporation authorized to do business in the state.
  • Have a physical address in Nevada.
  • Have a mailing address in Nevada (no P.O. boxes allowed).

Your business compliance falls on the shoulders of your registered agent, so if you’re using an individual, it’s wise to use someone who knows the ins and outs of business maintenance, like an attorney or manager. This will ensure that you don’t miss any important requirements. Still, there are plenty of registered agent options, so you can also use a friend or family member if you’d like.

Or, you can choose a registered agent service instead. These companies take care of all your registered agent responsibilities, and some will even handle your business formation and annual reporting as well.

Important: You must continuously maintain a registered agent on file with the Secretary of State. If your agent resigns or you appoint a new one, you’ll need to notify them by filing the appropriate documents.

5) Register Your Business

This is the big one, the step that officially creates your business. No matter which business type you choose, you’ll need to register it with the Secretary of State.

LLCs: Your key to starting a Nevada LLC is filing the Articles of Organization. There are three parts to this Nevada LLC filing, each with its own fee: the Articles of Organization itself ($75), an initial list of members/managers ($150), and a Business License application ($200). You will need to file and pay for all three documents at once. You can file either online or using a hard copy.

Corporations: Instead of the Articles of Organization, Nevada corporations must file an Articles of Incorporation for $75, along with an initial list of officers/directors for $150, and a Business License Application for $500.

Sole Proprietorship/General Partnership: There are no official forms or fees to register as a sole proprietor or general partnership. Simply start doing business and that’s it! While this is obviously faster and easier, we recommend incorporating your business because of the personal asset protection LLCs and corporations provide.

Foreign Entities: Any business that was established in another state and is now expanding to Nevada is considered a foreign entity rather than a domestic one. If this describes your business, don’t worry about the Articles of Organization or Incorporation. You will need to foreign qualify your business by filing an Application for Registration of Foreign LLC or a Qualification to Do Business in Nevada (for corporations). You will also need to file an initial list of members or officers and apply for a business license. The fees are the same as the domestic filings above.

6) Get an EIN

The Employer Identification Number (EIN) is your ticket to doing state and federal taxes. It’s a nine-digit number, much like a Social Security Number, that identifies your business on tax documents.

If you’re forming an LLC, it will be considered a “pass-through” entity, so the business itself won’t pay federal income taxes. Instead, you and the other members will report income and losses on your personal tax returns.

But this doesn’t mean you can go without an EIN. If your LLC pays any type of business taxes – like Sales, Use, or Unemployment Taxes – or hires employees, you’ll need to get one.

Unsure if you need one? The IRS provides a useful “Do I need an EIN?” link on this page, where you can also apply for an EIN. If you go through the online application process, you’ll receive your number immediately.

Otherwise, you can submit a Form SS-4 by fax to (855) 641-6935 or by mail to :

Internal Revenue Service Operation

Attn: EIN Operation

Cincinnati, OH 45999

7) Open a Business Bank Account

LLC and corporation owners are required to keep their personal and business finances completely separate, or they risk losing their personal asset protection. To do so, you’ll need a business bank account.

The good news is that opening a business bank account is pretty simple. Just pay a visit to your bank’s local branch and sit down with one of the bankers there. You will need to present your formation documents, an EIN number, and some personal information. Then, you can direct all of your business income and expenses to that account instead of a personal one.

It doesn’t really matter which bank you choose, whether it’s a national giant like Chase or Bank of America or a small, local bank. However, it’s usually easiest to go with the one where you have existing accounts.

Quick Tip: If you’re considering to use an LLC formation or incorporation service, IncFile is the best when talking about business banking offers. They have a special partnership with Bank of America that gives you a $450 sign-up bonus if you bank with them.

8) Handle Any Tax Obligations

Ah, taxes. They’re always part of the picture, especially when you run a business.

Familiarizing yourself with your business’ tax requirements will help you establish a solid financial plan going forward. LLCs don’t need to file a corporate tax return and pay federal income taxes, so you’ll handle these taxes as part of your personal return.

Corporations, on the other hand, will need to pay a Federal Corporate Income Tax Return, but not a state one because Nevada doesn’t have an income tax. Sole proprietorships/general partnerships, on the other hand, will need to pay self-employment taxes.

Nevada doesn’t have an income, franchise, or privilege tax, but there are a few other taxes your business may owe, depending on your circumstances:

Commerce Tax: This is an annual tax imposed on businesses whose yearly gross revenue exceeded $4,000,000. It is due 45 days before the end of the fiscal year. Find more information on the Department of Taxation Commerce Tax page.

Sales and Use Taxes: Any business that sells goods in Nevada must pay a Sales and Use Tax. The statewide Sales Tax rate is 6.85% but local sales taxes can raise this rate. See more on the Sales Tax and Use Tax FAQ pages.

Unemployment Insurance Tax: Anyone that hires employees must pay an Unemployment Insurance Tax. The state has no income tax, so your business won’t need to pay a Withholding Tax.

Other Taxes: The state has several miscellaneous taxes that apply to certain business activities, like a Liquor Tax or a Tire Tax. You can find them all here.

9) Find an Accountant

Sometimes it’s easier to hand off your financial responsibilities to a professional. Not only will an accountant ensures that your taxes are filed and paid correctly, but they might also find a few ways to save your business money.

Bookkeeping and tax procedures are time-consuming and require some specialized knowledge. Balance sheets, financial reports, cash flow, audits, and much more – an accountant can ensure that your company operates smoothly and streamlines its expenses.

This can be expensive depending on the complexity of your finances, but the benefits an accountant offers can be well worth it.

10) Create an Operating Agreement

An operating agreement constructs a framework of procedures and standards for your business. This is where you can lay out processes for member conduct, asset allocation, compensation policies, voting procedures, dissolution, and much more.

While operating agreements aren’t technically required in Nevada, they are essential to your business’ stability and success. They provide a safety net in legal disputes and legitimacy in front of banks, courts, government agencies, and other businesses.

You can either draft one yourself using an online template, or you can hire an attorney or an incorporation service to take care of it for you.

Once you’ve drafted your agreement, it must be approved by each of your LLC’s members, then filed with the rest of your business documents. You do not need to submit it to the Secretary of State.

Quick Note: ZenBusiness is the only business formation that includes an operating agreement or corporate bylaws in every package. All other services will charge you extra or push you to buy a more expensive package.

11) Acquire the Necessary Licenses

After filing your formation documents, your business is legitimate, but it might still need specific licenses before opening its doors in Nevada. Every business applies for a general license during the formation process, but yours may need additional licenses depending on its activities.

General Business Licenses: If you remember from step 5, a Business License Application is part of your LLC or corporation formation documents. Every year after you form your business, you will renew your business license when you file your Annual List by the end of your business’ anniversary month. This renewal costs $200 in addition to your $150 Annual List fee.

Professional Licenses: Certain occupations require licensure from specific state boards. For example, landscape architects must obtain a license from the Nevada State Board of Landscape Architecture and accountants need a license from the Nevada State Board of Accountancy.

Environmental Licenses: If your business produces hazardous waste and emissions or otherwise deals with Nevada’s land, air, or water, it may require one or more licenses from the Division of Environment Protection.

Public Health Licenses: The Nevada Department of Public Health provides licenses for businesses in the foodservice, child care, healthcare, and other industries. If your business deals with human services, you should check the Division of Public and Behavioral Health to see which licenses it will need.

Local Licenses: Your specific city, county, or municipality might have its own licensure requirements. Take a look at your local government’s website to find out.

Fortunately, you don’t need to search the far corners of the state’s website to find various licenses. The Department of Business and Industry has developed a comprehensive guide to starting a business that includes links to every license your business might need.

12) Consider Business Insurance

Even though it’s not pleasant to consider, there’s always a chance that unforeseen events might take a toll on your assets.

While forming an LLC or corporation offers some personal asset protection, additional business insurance can also protect your business assets in cases of lawsuits, damages, etc. You can acquire insurance for your business products, vehicles, specific occupations and much more.

If you hire employees, you’ll also need to get workers’ compensation insurance. SBA.gov has a useful guide for determining which forms of insurance your new business might need.

13) Build a Website

Your company’s digital presence is just as important as its physical one. Like it or not, most potential customers will find your business online, and if you don’t exist online, you’re missing out.

But don’t worry, you don’t need to be an HTML or web design expert to build a website. Sites like WordPress and Squarespace make it easy to construct an elegant and responsive website, no coding necessary. But if you’re not comfortable or confident doing it on your own, you can always hire a professional web designer to take care of it for you.

Quick Note: As we mentioned earlier, if you’re looking to build a business website, there are a handful of good business incorporation services that will help you get started. ZenBusiness or IncFile, in our opinion, have the best business website offers.

14) Launch Social Media Accounts

Making your mark on the digital landscape doesn’t start and end with your website. Most successful businesses also have a robust social media presence on multiple platforms. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are all great ways to connect organically with potential customers and develop your brand voice.

Just don’t forget to publish consistent social media content, or you’ll have trouble building a base of followers.

15) Understand Ongoing Nevada Requirements

After you’ve launched your business, things will likely be moving at 100 miles per hour as you evolve and grow. But in all of the excitement, you can’t forget your state’s ongoing compliance requirements. Every state has its own annual or biennial business requirements.

When you first form your business, you will submit an initial list of members/managers (LLCs) or officers/directors (corporations) along with your formation documents and Business License Application. Every year after that, you will need to file an Annual List and Business License Renewal by the last day of your business’ anniversary month (the month you originally formed it). The Annual List costs $150 for both LLCs and corporations. The Business License Renewal, which you’ll file simultaneously, costs $200 for LLCs and $500 for corporations.

16) Check Out Nevada Small Business Resources

You’re not on this journey alone. There are plenty of free resources available to make starting and growing your business a smoother, easier process.

Start out with SBA.gov, which compiles a ton of helpful resources for new, growing businesses, including small business development centers, networking events, loan opportunities, and much more. And we’re not just talking about national, inaccessible resources. SBA.gov has a Nevada district office page that includes state-specific events, locations, and information, along with this useful resource publication. With all of this information and assistance right at your fingertips, you’ll be ready to set your budding business on a course to sustained success.