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How to Start a Business in Idaho

If you’re looking to start a new business in the state of Idaho, you’ve come to the right spot!

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Idaho is famous for a lot more than potatoes. Showing up on “top 10” lists of best states to start a business, Idaho offers some of the lowest costs of doing business in the country, a strong labor supply, and overall business friendliness. With a strong array of financial incentives and business tax credits, Idaho has a host of attractive qualities for the new business owner. A couple things you may not know: Idaho is the whitewater capital of the U.S., and also has a whooping 340 geothermal hot springs. 340!

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How to Start a Business

Starting a business can be both exhilarating and challenging. It requires your full attention and energy. It all begins with an idea, an observation that there is a problem and the belief that you have a new solution – or a better one. Allow us to walk you through the steps in this free guide: How to Start A Business.

General resources for starting a business in Idaho

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Fun facts about starting a business in Idaho

Famous business founded in Idaho: Albertsons

Albertsons is an American grocery company founded and based in Boise, Idaho. In January 2015, it acquired Safeway Inc. for $9.2 billion. The company, merged with Safeway, has more than 2,200 stores and over 250,000 employees, making it the second largest supermarket chain in North America after Kroger.

Famous entrepreneur born in Idaho: Joe Albertson

Joe Albertson (1906–1993) was the founder of the Albertsons chain of grocery stores, and a noted philanthropist.

“Give customers the products they want, at a fair price, with lots of care along the way. Our goal has never been to be the biggest, just the best. It’s that simple.” – Joe Albertson

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Which type of legal structure is best for my business in Idaho?

We strongly recommend you incorporate, but you must consider the tax, legal, and liability implications carefully before deciding on the best legal structure for your business.

Here are five steps to help you determine the best legal structure:

Click one of the buttons below to learn more about the different types of business legal structures and how to start them in the state of Idaho.
LLC (Limited Liability Company)
A limited liability company (LLC) is a unique business entity that combines the taxation benefits of a partnership or sole proprietorship with the limited liability status of corporations. The owners of an LLC are referred to as “members,” and can range from one to several.

Steps to starting an LLC in Idaho:

  • Step 1 — Name your LLC.
  • Step 2 — File Articles of Organization.
  • Step 3 — Appoint a Registered Agent.
  • Step 4 — Prepare an Operating Agreement.
  • Step 5 — Comply with any publication requirements.
  • Step 6 — Comply with other tax and regulatory requirements.
  • Step 7 — File Annual Reports.
  • Step 8 — Register foreign LLCs doing business in Idaho.

For help forming your LLC in Idaho we recommend CorpNet (they have fees for their service).
Alternatively visit the Idaho Secretary of State website.

Other Idaho resources for LLCs:

Secretary of State Business Name Database: Search for the availability of your LLC name here.
File your “Reservation of Legal Entity Name” here.
File your “Articles of Organization” here.
File your “Annual Report” here.

List of Registered Agents: A list of registered agents in Idaho. Every Idaho LLC must have an agent for service of process.

IRS EIN Online: Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for your LLC here. If your LLC has more than one member, you must get an EIN, even if you have no employees.

Idaho State Tax Commission: If you will be selling goods or will have employees, you’ll need to register here.

Sole Proprietorship
Popular among individual self contractors or business owners, a sole proprietorship is a business entity that is owned and run by one person, and in which there is no legal distinction between the owner and the business. The owner is in direct control of all elements and is legally accountable for all profits, debts, losses, and liabilities.

Steps to starting Sole Proprietorship in Idaho:

  • Step 1 — Choose a business name.
  • Step 2 — File an Assumed Business Name.
  • Step 3 — Obtain licenses, permits, and zoning clearance.
  • Step 4 — Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN).

For help forming your sole proprietorship in Idaho we recommend CorpNet (there are fees for their service).
Or, visit the Idaho Secretary of State website.

Other Idaho resources for Sole Proprietorship:

Secretary of State Business Name Database: Search for the availability of your business name here. A sole proprietor may use his or her own given name, or a fictitious business name.
File your “Certificate of Assumed Business Name” here.

U.S. Patent & Trademark Office: Federal database for existing trademark registrations. Click on the “TESS” link to conduct a search.

Idaho Small Business Online Wizard: A comprehensive database of every license and permit that may be required by your sole proprietorship.

IRS EIN Online: Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for your business here. Sole proprietors with employees are required to obtain an EIN.

Idaho State Tax Commission: If you will be selling goods or will have employees, you’ll need to register here.

Partnership
In a partnership, two or more people share ownership. Each partner contributes to all aspects of the business, including money, property, labor, or skill. In return, each partner shares in the profits and losses of the business. There doesn’t have to be a written agreement to form the partnership.

Steps to starting Partnership in Idaho:

  • Step 1 — Name your partnership.
  • Step 2 — File an Assumed Business Name Certificate.
  • Step 3 — Create and sign a partnership agreement.
  • Step 4 — Obtain licenses, permits, and zoning clearance.
  • Step 5 — Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN).

For help forming your partnership in Idaho we recommend CorpNet (they have fees for their service).
Alternatively, you can visit the Idaho Secretary of State website.

Other Idaho resources for Partnership:

Secretary of State Business Name Database: Search for the availability of your business name here. A partnership may use the surnames of the individual partners, or a fictitious business name.
File your “Certificate of Assumed Business Name” here.

U.S. Patent & Trademark Office: Federal database for existing trademark registrations. Click on the “TESS” link to conduct a search.

Idaho Small Business Online Wizard: A comprehensive database of every license and permit that may be required by your partnership.

IRS EIN Online: Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for your business here. Partnerships are required to obtain an EIN, regardless of whether or not they have employees.

Idaho State Tax Commission: If you will be selling goods or will have employees, you’ll need to register here.

S Corporation
An S corporation (sometimes referred to as an S Corp), is a special type of corporation created through an IRS tax election. A business electing to incorporate with S corporation status has its business income taxed only once, similar to how sole proprietorships and partnerships are taxed. By electing to become an S corporation, a small business can gain the legal advantages available to businesses with a corporate structure, as well as the tax advantages available to partnership firms.

Steps to starting S Corporation in Idaho:

  • Step 1 — Name your corporation.
  • Step 2 — Prepare and file Articles of Incorporation.
  • Step 3 — Appoint a registered agent.
  • Step 4 — Set up a corporate records book.
  • Step 5 — Prepare corporate bylaws.
  • Step 6 — Appoint initial corporate directors.
  • Step 7 — Hold your first Board of Directors meeting.
  • Step 8 — Issue stock.
  • Step 9 — Comply with Idaho annual report requirements.
  • Step 10 — Comply with other tax and regulatory requirements.
  • Step 11 — Register foreign corporations doing business in Idaho.

For help forming your S corporation in Idaho we recommend CorpNet (they have fees for their service).
Alternatively visit the Idaho Secretary of State website.

Other Idaho resources for S Corporation:

Secretary of State Business Name Database: Search for the availability of your corporate name here.
File your “Reservation of Legal Entity Name” here.
File your “Articles of Incorporation” here.
File your “Annual Report” here.

List of Registered Agents: A list of registered agents in Idaho. Every Idaho corporation must have an agent for service of process.

IRS EIN Online: Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for your corporation here.

IRS S corporations: Specific instructions for your tax requirements as an S corp.

Idaho State Tax Commission: Register here to fulfill corporate tax requirements.

C Corporation
A C corporation (or C corp for short), under United States federal income tax law, refers to any corporation that is taxed separately from its owners. A C corporation is distinguished from an S corporation, which generally is not taxed separately. However, C corporations have greater tax planning flexibility and can shield shareholders from direct tax liability.

Steps to starting C Corporation in Idaho:

  • Step 1 — Give your corporation a name.
  • Step 2 — Prepare and file Articles of Incorporation.
  • Step 3 — Find a registered agent.
  • Step 4 — Set up a corporate records book.
  • Step 5 — Prepare corporate bylaws.
  • Step 6 — Appoint initial corporate directors.
  • Step 7 — Hold your first Board of Directors meeting.
  • Step 8 — Issue stock.
  • Step 9 — Comply with Idaho annual report requirements.
  • Step 10 — Comply with other tax and regulatory requirements.
  • Step 11 — Register foreign corporations doing business in Idaho.

For help forming your C corporation in Idaho we recommend CorpNet (they have fees for their service).
Or, visit the Idaho Secretary of State website.

Other Idaho resources for C Corporation:

Secretary of State Business Name Database: Search for the availability of your corporate name here.
File your “Reservation of Legal Entity Name” here.
File your “Articles of Incorporation” here.
File your “Annual Report” here.

List of Registered Agents: A list of registered agents in Idaho. Every Idaho corporation must have an agent for service of process.

IRS EIN Online: Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for your corporation here.

Idaho State Tax Commission: Register here to fulfill corporate tax requirements.

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Why choose Idaho for my business?

  • 1

    Entrepreneur.com “The 10 Best States to Start a Small Business” (2015)
    Idaho ranks #6.
    “A recent survey of nearly 18,000 U.S. business owners showed that, among all of the things that make a state or city ‘small-business friendly,’ offering training on business development was the most important factor to businesses.”

  • 2

    State of Idaho Grants
    “Idaho awards hundreds of grants across Idaho every year—but not just because it feels good; building a business-friendly climate pays off for our economy.”

  • 3

    State of Idaho Tax Incentives
    “It’s no wonder Idaho is such an attractive place for doing business. Our operating costs are low, our tax structure is predictable, and our companies benefit from a variety of tax incentives, property tax exemptions, and workforce training grants.”

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