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Just became IC myself. Do I need a small business license?

Posted By: TIA (NM) on 2005-07-29
In Reply to: Incorporating - puffy MT


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Business license...sm

You'll probably need an Occupational License if you'll be filing as self employed on your 1040.  Check with your local state or city tax department.  I live in Florida and I'm required to have an OL from both my county and my city and both must be renewed yearly.

Business license
My attorney says it does not make a difference if you are working out of your own home or not. If you have an income-generating business, you need a business license. The best thing to do is to call your local Department of Business Registration in your own city and ask.
Business License
As you see, there is a lot of controversy with this business license issue. Do I or don't I? Many factors are involved. I live in Ohio and I also have many friends who have their own businesses and they advertise in the yellow pages. One friend has had a chimney sweep business and still does for the last 15+ years. He was not required to obtain a business license... his social security number is his license number used for reporting all income to the IRS. He also occasionally has a few friends who help him with chimney inserts and he pays them by check with his business name printed on those checks. He simply reports and pays all taxes, even city taxes due to the fact he works for many residents throughout several cities in this state. He deducts just about everything and anything you could possibly think of also. I would think after doing this for 15+ years, he would have been in trouble if it were not legal, especially since he is a fire fighter still working for the city he lives in. In working for MQ, you can also deduct any office supplies you purchase in order to do your job, i.e., even when they used to charge rental fees for you to use their computers when you or if you were statuatory or PT. Moving forward, I also know a friend of my family who is close to 65 years old, also living in this state, and he has been an IC for over 30 years. He is a journalist for a few outdoor magazines, charges his fees, advertises, and also works for a major company here as an IC.......all without a business license. Again, just a formality of making sure you report any and all income. After 30 years, he would have had an audit by now. I agree with everyone that it depends on what state you live in and/or city. Good luck and I hope you find the answers you are looking for.
Business license

You need to check with your city and state to see what you need.  Portland, OR tried to crack down on some IC's especially if you declare yoursef as a small business.  16 years ago they said no, now they say yes.  I just did it this year to be safe and legal.  I also registered the name of my company with the state.   Good luck. 



business license in GA
I live in GA and I have been told by my city hall that I have to purchase a business license, (which I've been doing for a few years now).  Now they want to tax all my office equipment on a yearly basis as well as want me to pay for the yearly business license.  I tried explaining to them that I do not run a business from home, that I just work for someone (as an IC).  They told me it does not matter.  Okay, I can see having to purchase a business license (whatever), to be compliant with the law, but the fact that they now want to tax my equipment every year; that's going over the line, in my opinion. 
IC need business license?
No one responded to previous post.  Maybe I worded it wrong.  Company wants me to get a business license to work for them.  Has anyone had to do this or required to have this?
Yes, must have business license

This can be obtained at City Hall for a minimal fee, and then renewed each year according to either city fee or based on gross earnings. Different states and cities have different rules. For example, I am not allowed any foot or car traffic and cannot even post my business name outside on the mailbox. I also had to get my landlord's authorization.

Yes, I require this from transcriptionists. It shows me they are working at a professional level and not just someone setting up shop in their living room, and then recklessly turn in low-quality work, or worse yet pad their invoices repeatedly. It is also required by law. You have to claim your income to the IRS.

If you use your name as your business, then you do not have to file a DBA, but you need a separate bank account for work. I would still file my name if used. Hope this helps.

You would only need a business license if
Your particular city/town/village required one for you to work from home, but then again, why would your town need to know? You wouldn't be bringing clients home most likely, haha!

You can be a sole proprietor or you can incorporate. Either way works for the IRS. All the IRS cares about is that you pay social security/Medicare taxes (15.3%) and income taxes on the profit. You will have to file Schedule SE to pay the social security taxes and Schedule C to deduct the expenses. Your taxable income from the business would be the bottom line on the Schedule C (gross receipts minus expenses).

It's really not that difficult - if you can read the IRS 1040 long form instruction booklet, you can file your own taxes. If you can't, there's a whole industry of accountants just waiting to help you out....

Good luck!
Here's what my friend said about a business license:

There are a lot of companies out there that are really just one person who went to their local hospital, got a contract, and are recruiting you and others to work for them.  They have to have a business license because they have employees that get paid by them.  If you are just working for yourself and not hiring anyone to work for you to help you then this is not a concern and you do not need a license.

Most ICs are technically employed by the company even though they are not getting any kind of benefit but work.  There are many people that choose to get a business license because it allows more of their equipment to be written off for tax deduction - however you have to dedicate the space and equipment to just business - nothing personal on the equipment.  I had a friend who tried this with her Mary Kay, she slept on the couch and kept all her clothes in a storage unit she had to visit every morning.  After her taxes and she didn't even get enough of a deduction to reimburse her for the storage locker she gave up and stopped trying to get this deduction.  Without a business license you can still deduct but the percentage is less; compared with the cost of a business license ($50 in my county) it may or may not be worth the expense.

My friend says to setup or download the template for your end of year taxes in excel or get turbo tax (business write-off) and USE IT for every single paycheck you get.  At the end of the year you will probably have to pay money, but turbo tax can estimate that amount and help you set it aside in a savings account so when the tax man cometh you are ready.  This way you also get to accrue interest on your money instead of letting the government "borrow" it for a year interest free by paying taxes on every paycheck.

The only time you need a business license is when you have more than one person working for you - and that one person has to be yourself first.  The business license just allows the government to track your earnings and wages so that they ensure that your employees are paying their taxes and you are paying yours as you should. 

Working as an IC you need to keep careful records, hold on to every paystub and tax return for 7 years (that is the longest the IRS has to audit you, I have shoeboxes they are all stuffed in and taped up, with the year listed, in the back of the closet) in case the man comes calling.  Be aware that your first year you are a prime candidate for audit, so spend the money and have your taxes done by a professional - make sure they are certified - and make sure they have an audit guarantee that they will back up the numbers.  They won't back you up if you lie, but they will back up their work and their math which is usually the thing that is caught as wrong on your returns.  Otherwise you just file your taxes as self-employed and all income you received gets reported like with a business.  The reason you need to make sure your information is accurate is because the employer will report that you received $X amount from them for work completed - the IRS will match these up if you get audited. 

Don't be too scared about it though, my friend works for herself now and she loves it; when I started doing IC she gave me lots of advice for taxes and I haven't regretted it yet.  Accountants will be glad to sit and talk with you, briefly, about any tax questions you might have so don't hesitate to ask the professionals, that is what they are there for!  I'd just wait until May - when the mad tax rush is over :)

As an IC, you are your own small business. As a

contractor you have NOT been in their emloyment.  You have worked as contract labor for them, whether it be 1 month, 1 year or 5 years.  They owe you absolutely nothing at any point in time of the contract.  However, should you contact their clients (as you mentioned below), there can be legal repercussions for you so I would seriously think twice about this before going forward.

As an IC, it seems you would know that you should not put all of your eggs in one basket. I would bet that most of us that are IC's work for at least 2 companies.  For the ones that don't, they probably work for 1 company and have their own accounts, OR better yet have all their own accounts.

TAT is of the utmost importance.  It only takes twice with me and I won't send anymore work to that particular IC anymore, which is my option.  I might give them a second chance IF their work was top notch.

Small Business
According to what I read on the internet regarding corps, yes you can and you can be the only employee under I believe the S-corporation.  There are C-corps, S-corps, partnerships, proprietorships and LLCs.  That is the way I read the info.  Reading all info gives me a headache, members, stocks, annual meetings, and so on.   Yuck!  Really do not know if it is worth it.  If you go to MTT Jobs, I have noticed that many, many companies are now requesting employee status.  At first I thought it was so they could have control over you, now second guessing. They may not have a choice in the matter.
Small Local MT Business
Hi Rachel,

What part of California are you in, and are you looking for any partners?

If so, please e-mail me.
I use Turbo Tax Small Business - sm

It will walk you through everything and prepare a schedule C for you as well.  I would recommend this if you are going to prepare your own taxes. 

Independent Contractor vs. Small Business?

I am negotiating a contract with a clinic to be one of two transcriptionists.  I have typed for this clinic for several years as a sub-contractor, but the current contract holder is not renewing the contract.  The clinic's lawyer is not comfortable with "Independent contractor" as the contract would be for one year and for the usual questionable definition of an IC. 

I tried to research this and just became more and more confused.. so I hope I can get a little advice here..  I do not want to be employed by the clinic - I prefer to be self-employed.  Do I make myself a small business and get a license?  I do plan to meet with my accountant to ask some questions, but I was hoping to get a little info here so that I would not sound completely stupid!  (Doesn't seem as bad to sound stupid here rather than in person!)  I am used to getting a 1099 and paying self-employment tax. 

Are you an Independent contractor or a small business?  I do not plan to have any employees..I just want to type for this clinic and get paid! THanks!

Any small MT business owners in CA out there? I need advice!!

I'm looking start up my own small bus., just a couple accounts, but I need to know if there are any HIPAA contracts or anything else that I should be providing for the doctor and myself to sign.  Any advice would be truly appreciated!!

Thnx, Rachel

Want to start my own small business, need advice..sm
Hi all.  I am looking to get started doing some transcribing on the side for myself, and perhaps turn it into a small business.  Right now, I only have the capabilities of doing tapes and using Word as my software to transcribe in.  I feel like I should look into digital and see how much the equipment would run, and how easy it would be to use.  Does anyone have any recommendations on something that is relatively inexpensive for a beginner? Should I stick to my guns and start out with tapes first?  Any advice would certainly be appreciated.  I have been doing this for 16+ years and I feel like I shouldn't have any problems getting some local work drummed up.  I am getting ready to type up some letters to send out and I guess I will go from there.  Thanks in advance!!!!
I need some advice on starting my own small side business. sm

First of all, I have worked for several nationals in the past few years, and equipment has always been provided.  I currently have a f/t position with a national that I use my own personal computer for, they just put their software on it.  I had what I needed already, as far as foot pedal, Expander program, etc.

I have just been sort of rolling ideas around in my head about possibly starting up something small perhaps on a p.r.n. basis just to bring in a little extra income.  As I am still just mulling this around in my mind, my questions are:  How do I go about getting started? Do I try to purchase equipment first, or start out using tapes? I am worried about spending the money and not having any takers, so I am thinking, I should send out some sort of letters first; but, without having the equipment already, how do I tell them I plan on doing their transcription.  Maybe mention tapes first, and tell them I have plans to go digital after I get up and running? These are all just things I wonder about.  If anyone has any ideas, please feel free to email me with any advice. 

I have been an MT for 16+ years, but as I said, I have always had all of the stuff provided for me and just don't know how to start. 

Thanks in Advance!


Even with a salary you're kind of a small business owner!
Even if you're paid a salary you are your own agent, so to speak. Why not hire a part-time helper and pay them a subcontractor rate. That's what a service owner does. You are no hero for not getting some help. MTs who have their own accounts have responsibility for 7 days a week coverage, but not all of us type 7 days a week. Put an ad in the job seekers board and pay someone to take up the overflow. You will burn out and not be able to work at all eventually. Good luck to you.
It is absolutely TRUE! Comcast and vonage not sure about, but AT&T small business says NOT ALLOWED!

Vonage nor Comcast work with all equipment (static, echoing, etc.) and I would be interested in learning more about what "the fine print" says for these two companies.  So, you must be misinformed because I have a sister who works at AT&T and no matter what package you buy, MT IS NOT ALLOWED.....and that is a FACT!   

I get it. But in return for supporting the small business the poor folk get nothing in return.
I understand why you don't shop at Walmart. You support those who support you but it doesn't work that way for me. I can go to an independent shop and by a dishwasher, pay lots more for it and get nothing in return to supplement my support of their small business. Same for all the poor folk who are shopping in Walmart trying to stretch a paycheck. I am glad Walmart exists for those folks.
small mentality usually means small pocketbook
Still make more than you and I but that is deserved. They've put the effort forward and educated themselves.

Unfortunately it is legal..so yes it is business and they will continue with bad business practices
I made my business your business by posting and...
I totally respect everyone's opinions. It is easier for others on the outside looking in. That's why I pushed the "post reply" button yesterday. I trust my fellow MTs and I know the more I read from you all, the more confident I am becoming. I just need that final push, not from him though. I also wanted to let you all know that the physical abuse while I was pregnant was documented by my doctor and the hospital. I only wish I had known then that it is a felony to abuse a pregnant woman. I also photographed my face from a couple of weeks ago and told several people in my circle. I had such high hopes for us. Now...not so much. I'm not saying that I won't try to get him to church, but I realize that God can only do so much for someone who isn't listening. j
Business is business. Internet forums are
I shouldn't have said insurance, that is always the misleading on my part and I'm trying to work on that. If it's not insurance, then why would I need to be licensed? And again, as far as the providers, check the website to see if there are any providers next to you. I always check before I sign up a new member to make sure they will be able to use the benefits.

Have been doing this for 15+ years and when I first called the City of Portland, they said no, but they have since changed their lawa and now I need one.   Pay a percentage of what I make per year on the net.  But each city could be different but if you want all the advantages of being a business with write-off's etc. you gotta pay.  I have absolutely no traffice to my house,. my subs work in their own home but still need a City of Portland busoiness license.   Sorry if I made typo's as I am typing without my reading glasses -- kind of like being blind.  


PS check with your state about registering your name of business also.


Getting an IC license?
How do you go about getting your IC license?  I'm in Montana.  Thanks!
I don't know, I don't need a license where I live at all. I checked with an accountant who deals with MTs and I just get listed as a sole proprieter and that's it. If I hire subs I just file 1099s but I don't need any kind of incorporation or license or anything. You should check with someone locally. Sometimes the library has help for small business people but you'll probably save yourself some frustration by asking around to find someone who knows something about MT.
IC license
In my state, you have to have an independent contractor's license, which you obtain through your state's Dept. of Labor & Industry (or whatever it is called in your state). The doctors' offices I have contracted through also wanted me to show that I have liability insurance. If you work for an MTSO, I don't know that they would require the liability insurance and you should probably ask them.
My dog has a driver's license. sm
He loves to chase cars, but the high gas prices have forced him to get a job so he can continue.
I live in VA too and have to have a license
Not sure why the person above says she doesn't have to have one. I checked with my local office for the Commissioner of Revenue and they stated that I DO need one if I am working out of my home. Both of the local companies that I work for insisted that I have a business license also before they would send me any work. Just make sure you check with the appropriate people so you don't get into trouble later down the line. My license is only $40 a year, so it's not bad at all.
Unfortunately, the license is required sm
I have never had to have one, but the clinic I am going to work for requires it. It is a lot of hassle, and I can't wait until it's over and done with :)
Problem with PDM License key ??
I have been offered to work for a transcription company from a friend (she knows the boss) and have already installed Gear Player on my computer.  The boss sent me a Philips Digital Pocket Memo disc to help me hear the sound and during installation it asks me for the "License Key."  I don't have it or the book or anything with a number in it.  I called this boss and she said the book was lost and for me to contact the Philips company.  I did via email and I left a voicemail and hope they call me tomorrow (Monday, 10/2).  Shouldn't she have handled this since she bought it?  grrrr   I'll see how far I get with the Philips people and if I can't then I'll ask her to please call.  I'm near to Gear Player but if I can't install this disc and do some work (I need the $$ badly!) I'll have to look on the job board for any that require this.  Signed_ Frustrated but Ready MT of 23 years experience!
What is a gearplayer license?
How is this obtained? 
License transfers

When you buy software you buy the license to use it. You can use Instant Text  on more than one computer if you are the only user.

You can transfer your Instant Text license to another person (sell the software) by notifying Textware Solutions - once you sold IT - that you are no longer using the software and that you transfer your software license (which includes tech support) to the new user providing name and email of the new user.

The new user should make sure she/he gets the media, the book, and the registration number which is necessary to receive tech support and Upgrade prices on later versions.

Version 1.11 came out in 1996. Nobody is using Windows 3.5 anymore. Why would you buy an obsolete version?

As for Version III Pro, you also will be buying a software that is 10 years old. I know, many Instant Text users are still very happy with it, but they have received the tech support when they needed it, and don't mind that it is not available anymore.

When you look for an expander, consider the quality/price and compatibility equation. You may have to pay more, but you get advanced technology, and compatibility won't be an issue.

I hope this information helps.

Textware Solutions

Anyone required to have bus. license...sm
to work as IC?  Was going to work for company, but require I have a business name and license.  Also pay per page and not per line.  Never ran across this before.
My license is valid again. Yay! I called the

numbers on the suspended license notice this morning and was told to go to the courthouse, which I did. I told them I was contesting the ticket because it was not me who got it but I know who did get it. I explained what my sister did and the lady told me to go to DMV and file identity fraud charges where I fill out a form saying someone is using my name and give their name if I know who. That's done! She also cleared my name in the computer and gave me a copy of the ticket which says issued in error. The ticket was issued at 3 in the morning so she's lucky she didn't get a DUI on my name. The ticket shows her car and her license plate number. Gee, wonder how that happened? I now have a court hearing middle of September where I explain my case and the officer who wrote the ticket will be there. You can bet I'll be bringing life size photos of her to show that it wasn't me. Now I can breathe again, at least until September.

Hi JB - where I live no occupational license..sm

is warranted...I have absolutely no traffic to my house and I merely work off of computers - I live in Florida so no occupational license is needed for MT work at home.

You will file for the IRS after a year 1099's which you will have to pay taxes on - approximately 30% of what you earn will have to be paid to the IRS.

No question is a dumb question, the only dumb question is the one that isn't asked. 

Best of luck.  I pounded the pavement 10 years ago and still have a bunch of private MDs along with working weekends for a national.

They DON'T need you driver's license number.
Do not give anyone that number ever. Be smart with your private information. Never put your driver's license or SS# somewhere just because they have a line for it and that includes the doctor's office.
Don't need a license if working out of own home...sm

As an IC, you just set your own method of charging/payment, get your work, and go.  Major concern is taxes.  Just be sure you pay taxes on your income.  Personally, I have an accountant and pay quarterly because it's just less worry for me to try to handle my own taxes.  Obviously, that's it in a nutshell, but just need to get some work and get started.

Ditto - I don't need a license in VA but my husband had to get one - sm
for his lawn cutting business. County did this through our state tax returns (sch. C's). It was $33. When we got the renewal for 2006 we were supposed to submit a list of assets, etc. in order to pay personal property taxes on all the "business" equipment (we have personal property taxes in VA, cars, boats, etc)....luckily he had dissolved the business in 05/2005 and we did not have to do this, they put him down as being "inactive" and we did not have to renew or pay more taxes. That would have been a real drag it I had had to do it. Hopefully it will not change.
Anyone ride motorcycle, have your license, etc.

I've decided to get my motorcycle license, already passed my permit test and am starting to learn to ride.  I don't know yet if I'm going to learn on a 350 or a 650, but am starting to get excited.  My state offers a weekend course where you go both days for instruction and training and give your license all in one weekend.  My dad loved motorcycles, my sons both have motorcycles, and now it's my turn.  So, satisfy my curiosity, anyone else have this interest?

I had a 400 cc Yamaha years ago - never got my license though - sm
took a motorcycle safety course with test 2 x but could not pass the "reaction" part of the test (did not react fast enough), so I just rode with a learner's permit each Spring/Summer for a couple years before I sold it. Lots of fun though. Would love to get another one day, a 250 would be nice, the 400 was too heavy for me to lift though I could ride it just fine.
You can get a year license from Shorthand

For just 25 bucks.  You can renew every year, or decide you would rather pay the X dollars for a license that will not expire.  The 25 a year is best (in my mind) because anymore with license that does not expire can only be used on a single computer and its a hassle, if you have a laptop that you use also - to remove it from one and add to another - and SH has cracked down and gets the computer keys when you purchase the one that does not expire.

With the one for a year, you can put it on your tower, your laptop and then just renew every year, or not. 

I can also help to show you (if you like or need) to turn your autocorrects into ShortHand files. 


Good luck!

Buying a software license

If you buy a "used" copy of Instant Text, what you are buying is a user license that the seller transfers to you and which means that the seller installs it from her/his computer.
Make sure the seller provides you with the original CD, the manual, and the serial number of the licens.
To be in compliance with the license agreement, the seller of a "used" copy must notify the software publisher about the license transfer so you, the new user, can get tech support.
This may be useful to know whatever you decide to do.

Textware Solutions

Buying a software license

I meant to say "which means that the seller uninstalls..."

Textware Solutions

Need some info on a suspended license...Today

I received a notice in the mail that my driver's license is suspended. Why? I had no clue. Looked it up on line and apparently I received a speeding ticket for over $200 back in June. Do I remember getting it? No!  Do I know who could've used my name? Of course, I do. My sister is a &*%$*(*%$$&**$%$$(&%$#@$%. I have received 2 tickets exactly one year apart for the same offense and that was in 86-87 (I think) for not wearing a seat belt as a passenger. Only time I get a ticket is when someone else is driving.

I now have to take tomorrow off to clear up my license. Anyone have a clue as to what I need to do? Do I have to pay it? Do I have to file identity fraud charges? If I file the fraud charges, do I still have to pay the ticket? Obviously they didn't use my car to speed in it so I'm sure that her vehicle tag will be listed on the ticket. I have been freaking out since I got the mail today. Am I going to get arrested since I didn't pay it? I don't know, that's why I'm freaking out. My poor dog and kids won't come near me right now because I keep calling my sister and screaming at her through the phone. Stupid &*^&%^ won't pick up her phone.

Usually one desktop install and one laptop per license. nm
He drew my blood for my marriage license - engaged to someone else
True story. My husband was the one who was drawing my blood for my marriage license. I was engaged to someone else, and back then you have to have your blood drawn before you got married. When I sat down, he said to me "are you sure you want to get married before you and I have a chance to get to know each other?" I cracked up and realized he was right - I needed to get to know him before I got married to somebody else. We have been married 24 years - 4 children and 2 grandchildren.
Ridiculous! A company should pay to license it's employees. Wouldn't do it. nm