A Queens County business certificate allows you to conduct business in this New York municipality using a name other than your own legal name. This route is designed for those who have a business that generates profit but do not want to incorporate. The Queens County clerk's office is located at 88-11 Sutphin Blvd. Jamaica. The phone number is (718) 298-0600.

Filing for a Business Certificate

You'll need to obtain your business certificate from a specific county clerk's office depending on where the business is located. Before you visit the office, you'll need to fill out Form X-201 if you are the sole owner or Form X-74 if you have one or more partners. These forms are readily available from local office supply stores, as well as from the county clerk's office.

You'll need to complete three copies of this form: one for the clerk's office, one to file with your bank, and one to display at your business location. Be careful when filling out the form since it can be rejected if it is illegible.

Forms must be notarized below the acknowledgment at the bottom of the form.

The filing fee in Queens County is currently $25; you'll also pay $4 for each certified copy. This fee can be paid with cash, American Express, MasterCard, Visa, or money order.

Choosing a Business Name

Before registering your business name, you must ensure that the name is not already in use by another New York business. In most counties you can search the business name you want online. You may not use certain words in your business name, including group, associates, consultants, LTD, limited, Inc., incorporated, and corporation.

You cannot use a proper name as your business name in Queens County unless it is your own name.

Amending Your Business Certificate

Your form must include a business address in Queens County that is not a PO box. If you need to change your business address later, you'll need to pay a $100 filing fee and $10 for each new certified copy.

  • To amend your business certificate, file Form T-244.
  • If you are discontinuing a sole proprietorship, use Form T-341.
  • For discontinuation of a general partnership, use Form T-176.

Establishing a Business Tax ID

Some business entities must establish an employer identification number with the IRS. This can be done online and does not require a fee. Although this may not be required if you do not incorporate, you can use the EIN to help separate your business and personal expenses.

The EIN is a nine-digit number that identifies your business for tax purposes, much like an individual Social Security number. You must get an EIN if you have employees as it allows you to withhold and report employment taxes. You may also be required to use this number if you are required to pay sales or excise tax in New York.

Some banks may also require you to have an EIN to open a business bank account or line of credit. This number can prevent identity theft by protecting your personal Social Security number.

DBA Responsibilities

If you opt to do business under a name other than your legal name, you must meet certain state requirements as a DBA (doing business as) entity. For example, if you will establish more than one fictitious name for your business, you'll need to obtain more than one business certificate and pay the associated filing fees.

You may also want to purchase general liability insurance for your business. If you have a sole proprietorship, you are personally responsible for business debts and obligations. Which means if your business is sued for any reason, your personal assets, including your home and car, are at risk.

Obtaining Required Licenses and Permits

Depending on the type of activities in which your business engages, you may be required to obtain additional permits, licenses, and zoning clearances. Visit New York's Online Permit Assistance and Licensing to review the state licenses required for various types of sole proprietorships.

In addition, Queens County may require its own specific permits and licenses; these may also apply to your municipality. Check with the county clerk's office for more information.

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