CT small business registration is the process of establishing a legal business entity in Connecticut. This can be done online through the state's Employer Registration System or by downloading and mailing or faxing the forms to the state Department of Labor.

Choosing a Business Name

If you're a sole proprietor, you can do business in Connecticut either under your own legal name or an assumed business name. If you do select an assumed name for your business, it must be distinguishable from the names of other registered businesses and trademarks in the state.

Do a business name search through one or more of the following resources:

When you decide on a unique name, you'll need to register it with the Secretary of State. You can also file an application to use the trade name in the county or municipality where your business will be located. Your registration application has to be notarized and the filing fee is $5. You can get specific information about requirements for your city from the state's website.

Getting a Certificate of Incorporation

To establish your Connecticut business, you'll need to file for a certificate of incorporation with the Secretary of State. This carries a fee of $250. You'll also need to file an initial report with a fee of $150.

The certificate of incorporation application must indicate:

  • A unique name that adheres to state business naming rules.
  • The number of shares to be issued by your corporation.
  • Whether you have separate stock classes and the numbers of shares for each.
  • The rights and terms associated with each stock class.
  • The registered agent's name and Connecticut address along with a signature.
  • The name, address, and signature of each owner.

Obtaining Licenses and Permits

You may need to register for specific permits, licenses, and zoning clearances depending on the activities your business conducts. You can check the state database for comprehensive information about permits and when they are needed. This resource is called the Connecticut Online Licensing Information Center.

It's also important to check with your town clerk to find out about any local regulations you'll have to follow. Even if your business is based in your home, you may need a local home occupation permit depending on the rules of your municipality.

Failing to obtain the required permits and licenses may carry a penalty or fine. The state could even suspend or shut down the operation of your business.

The most common types of required business licenses in Connecticut include:

  • Standard business license.
  • Zoning or land use permit.
  • Home occupation permit.
  • Building permit.
  • Fire and police department permit.
  • Alarm permit.
  • Sales tax permit.

The cost of these licenses varies by location. Depending on the type of license, you may need to renew it periodically.

Certain industries are more highly regulated than others and require specific permissions and licenses. These industries include:

  • The sales of liquor, gasoline, and lottery tickets.
  • The provision of auto repair, medical care, real estate sales, and insurance sales.
  • Industries such as daycare, fertilizers and pesticides, debt management and collection, cosmetics, finance, education, firearms, hazardous materials, gaming, mining, and oil and gas.

Registering for an Employer Identification Number

If your Connecticut business plans to have employees, you'll need to register for an employer identification number (EIN). This nine-digit number is used by the IRS for tax identification. You'll need to report the wages that you pay your employees to the IRS using this number. You can get your EIN for free online at the IRS website.

If you are a sole proprietor and do not have employees, you can use your Social Security number to file business taxes. However, you may still want to get an EIN to keep your personal and business accounts separate and reduce the risk of identity theft.

Businesses that have employees have to pay unemployment insurance tax through the Connecticut Department of Labor. You will need to submit your EIN and fill out state form UC-1A.

Learn more about tax reporting requirements for employers from the Connecticut Employer's Tax Guide. Depending on the nature of your business, you may also be responsible for sales and use tax and/or other types of state taxes.

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