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Legal Steps to Move Your Business

As a military spouse business owner, you may need to move your business to another state due to permanent change of station orders. Understanding the legal steps involved when you move your business will ease your transition and protect you from unexpected hurdles or delays.

When you move your business from one state to another, you will probably have legal and regulatory questions. Knowing where to find information and assistance will help you avoid surprises. As a small business owner, familiarize yourself with the three main legal areas that could affect your business.

Taxes

When you move your business out of state, you must close out your tax year in your old state. This may be as simple as checking the 'Final Return' box on your state return, but each state has different rules. Federal taxes are a little trickier and depend on your business structure. You may have tax consequences to consider both before and after you move. Consider talking to a tax advisor to make sure you understand your business tax responsibilities in the first year of your move.

The Small Business Administration article Determine Your State Tax Obligations provides general information on state but also has links to information on how to register and open your business in your new location.

Pay Taxes, another Small Business Administration resource, discusses the benefits and requirements of a tax ID and provides information on how to obtain it. Learn if your business is a business or a hobby and determine your federal tax obligations.

Registration

Moving your business involves almost the same legal and regulatory steps as starting a business. You must obtain the correct licenses and permits, and even if you plan to work from home, you may need a home occupancy permit and a professional business license from your county. Use the Small Business Association Apply for Licenses and Permits search tool to find the information you need for your new location.

Incorporation

If you are a sole proprietorship or partnership, moving your business to a new state is simple. Register your business using the 'Doing Business As', or fictitious business name, in your new state (often at the county clerk's office) and end your DBA in your old state. The article Choose Your Business Name provides more information on the DBA process.

Limited liability corporations and S or C corporations have several different options to consider, which include the following:

  • Continuing the corporation in your old state and registering as a foreign corporation in your new state
  • Dissolving the corporation and forming a new one in your new state
  • Reorganizing and merging the old corporation into a corporation you set up in your new state

You should talk to an attorney before moving your LLC, S or C corporation to a new state to clarify your options for choosing the one that makes the most sense for your business. Your attorney can help you understand tax consequences, reporting requirements and more. Visit the SBA Choose a Business Structure page to learn more about LLC, S and C corporations.

If you operate your business on an installation, you must also follow the policies of your service branch and your installation. The employment readiness counselor on your installation should be able you with your installation's policies. Visit MilitaryINSTALLATIONS, enter your installation and select the 'Spouse Education, Training and Careers' option in the 'Select a program or service' drop-down menu.

Owning your own business may be your answer to frequent relocations, allowing you to build a portable career path. Knowing the rules and regulations and understanding the licenses and permits you will need when you move your business may help ease your transition to a new location.

Review the Small Business Administration website for additional information on business types, legalities, taxes and more. Find local assistance, including with the Small Business Administration and partners, at SBA Local Assistance. Call 800-342-9647 to speak with a career coach about starting your business. Check out the SECO Entrepreneurial Spouse Coaching Package for personalized consultations with a career coach that will help you develop a business plan for a new business or take your existing business to the next level.

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