Turning your Hobby into a Seasonal Business
1. Check out whether there are any zoning restrictions to operate a business from your home. If you are in the city limits, the city planning and zoning department will be your resource; if you live in a county jurisdiction only, then check with the county planning and zoning department.
2. Pick a business name (make sure it is available on a trademark basis) and register it appropriately. If you are a sole proprietor (no entity), a general partnership or limited partnership, you should file a Certificate of Assumed Name in the Register of Deeds in the county where you live. If you are forming a corporation or LLC, you will need to file the appropriate documents with the Secretary of State.
3. Obtain a federal tax ID number (EIN or TIN). You technically don’t need one if you don’t have employees, but I recommend obtaining one anyway so you don’t have to give out your social security number to vendors. You can do this online.
4. Obtain a North Carolina sales and use tax number (Free). You will need NC Sales Tax whenever you are selling tangible goods, or installing, repairing or enhancing houses, cars, property of another owner, etc. For repair/install work, you need to charge sales tax on the labor hours and on the materials. There may be other taxes you need to pay.
5. Determine if a license or permit is necessary. There is no single NC business license, and different jurisdictions have different rules.
For questions, please feel free to contact me, or one of my favorite resources: Business Link North Carolina (BLNC)