How To Start & Grow Your Business

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How to Start a Business in Utah

Are you planning on starting a new business in Utah, but aren’t sure how to get started?

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Utah has occupied the #1 spot on “Best States for Business” with Forbes five times in the past six years, as well as showing up on a host of other reputable “top 10” lists. Clearly, Utah has a stable and business-friendly climate. Utah consistently receives recognition for being one of the lowest tax states in the nation, as well as having one of the lowest operating costs for business, with energy costs 23% percent below the national average. As a place to live, 4 of the top 20 ski resorts in North America are within one hour of the airport, and Utah is home to 5 national parks, 7 national monuments, and 43 state parks. Utah is known for its outdoor winter activities, and tourism has soared since the 2002 Winter Olympics.

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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 Utah

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Fun facts about starting a business in Utah

Famous business founded in Utah 1-800 Contacts

1-800 Contacts is based in Draper, Utah. The company sells contact lenses. 1-800 Contacts was incorporated in 1995. In 2006, which was its last year as a public company, the company reported net sales of $247 million.

Famous businessperson born in Utah Jerry Buss

Jerry Buss (1933-2013) was a businessman, investor, chemist, and philanthropist. He was the majority owner of the Los Angeles Lakers, winning ten league championships that were highlighted by the team’s Showtime era during the 1980s.

“I can remember standing in a W.P.A. line with a gunny sack, and I remember having to buy chocolate milk instead of white because it was one cent cheaper.”

Jerry Buss
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Which type of legal structure is best for my business in Utah?

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

Here are five helpful steps to determine the best legal structure for your business:

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 Utah.
LLC (Limited Liability Company)
A limited liability company (LLC) is a hybrid legal structure that provides the limited liability features of a corporation with the tax efficiencies and operational flexibility of a partnership.

Steps to starting an LLC in Utah:

  • Step 1 — Choose a name for your LLC.
  • Step 2 — File a Certificate 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 Renewals.
  • Step 8 — Register foreign LLCs doing business in Utah.

For help forming your LLC in Utah we recommend CorpNet (they have fees for their service).

Or, visit the Utah Division of Corporations and Commerce website.

Other Utah resources for LLCs:

Business Name Database: Search for the availability of your LLC name here.
File your “Application for Reservation of Business Name” here.
File your “Certificate of Organization” here.
File your Annual Renewal here.

Business Licenses: All businesses operating in Utah must be registered with the Dept. of Commerce and get licensed with a city or county in the state. Use this form as a guide for registering your business.

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.

Utah State Tax Commission: If you will be selling goods or will hire employees, you’ll need to register with this site.

Sole Proprietorship
A sole proprietorship is an unincorporated business. A sole proprietorship has one owner who pays personal income tax on all profits from the business. With little government regulation, they are the simplest business to set up or take apart, making them popular among individual business owners or self contractors.

Steps to starting Sole Proprietorship in Utah:

  • Step 1 — Choose a business name for your sole proprietorship.
  • 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 Utah we recommend CorpNet (there are fees for their service).

Alternatively, visit the Utah Division of Corporations and Commerce website.

Other Utah resources for Sole Proprietorship:

Business Name Search: Search for the availability of your business name here. A sole proprietor may use his or her given name, or an assumed business name.
File your “Doing Business As” name here.

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

Business Licenses: Search this site to see if, depending on your business activities, you will need to acquire a license.

IRS EIN Online: Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for your sole proprietorship here, if you will hire employees.

Utah State Tax Commission: If you will be selling goods or will hire employees, you’ll need to register with this site.

Partnership
A partnership is created from two or more people doing business together for profit and share ownership. There doesn’t have to be a written agreement to form the partnership. Each partner contributes to all aspects of the business, and shares in the profits and losses of the business.

Steps to starting Partnership in Utah:

  • Step 1 — Give your partnership a name.
  • Step 2 — File an assumed business name.
  • Step 3 — Create 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 Utah we recommend CorpNet (they have fees for their service).

Or, visit the Utah Division of Corporations and Commerce website.

Other Utah resources for Partnership:

Business Name Search: 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 “Doing Business As” name here.

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

IRS EIN Online: Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for your partnership here. Partnerships must have an EIN, whether you have employees or not.

Business Licenses: Search this site to see if, depending on your business activities, you will need to acquire a license.

Utah State Tax Commission: If you will be selling goods or will hire employees, you’ll need to register with this site.

S Corporation
An S corporation (or S Corp) is a special type of corporation created through an IRS tax election. An eligible domestic corporation can avoid double taxation (once to the corporation and again to the shareholders) by electing to be treated as an S corporation. The corporation's income or losses are divided among and passed through to its shareholders. The shareholders must then report the income or loss on their own individual income tax returns.

Steps to starting S Corporation in Utah:

  • 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 Utah Annual Report requirements.
  • Step 10 — Comply with other tax and regulatory requirements.
  • Step 11 — Register foreign corporations doing business in Utah.

For help forming your S corporation in Utah we recommend CorpNet (they have fees for their service).

Alternatively, visit the Utah Division of Corporations and Commerce website.

Other Utah resources for S Corporation:

Business Name Search: Search for the availability of your corporate name here.
File your “Application for Registration of Corporate Name” here.
File your “Articles of Incorporation” here.
File your Annual Renewal here.

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.

Utah State Tax Commission: Register with this site to fulfill your business tax requirements.

C Corporation
A C corporation (or C corp for short), 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. There is no limit to the number of shareholders a C corporation can have. It is the most common type of corporation in the U.S.

Steps to starting C Corporation in Utah:

  • Step 1 — Give your business a name.
  • Step 2 — 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 Utah Annual Report requirements.
  • Step 10 — Comply with other tax and regulatory requirements.
  • Step 11 — Register foreign corporations doing business in Utah.

For help forming your C corporation in Utah we recommend CorpNet (there are fees for their service).

Or, visit the Utah Division of Corporations and Commerce website.

Other Utah resources for C Corporation:

Business Name Search: Search for the availability of your corporate name here.
File your “Application for Registration of Corporate Name” here.
File your “Articles of Incorporation” here.
File your Annual Renewal here.

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

Utah State Tax Commission: Register with this site to fulfill your business tax requirements.

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Why choose Utah for my business?

  • 1

    Forbes “Best States for Business” (2015)
    Utah ranks #1. “Utah occupies the top spot for the fifth time in six years (Virginia in 2013 was the lone outlier). The state has a very pro-business climate and companies benefit from energy costs that are 23% below the national average and fourth lowest in the U.S. Utah’s employment has expanded 2.2% a year over the past five years—third best in the U.S. Utah is well known for its winter activities and tourism has soared since the 2002 Winter Olympics.”

  • 2

    USA Today: "The Best States for Business" (2015)
    Utah ranks #1. “Utah is the best state in the nation for business, faring among the best in all of the categories reviewed in 24/7 Wall St.'s independent business climate assessment. Over the 10 years from 2010, the state's working-age population is projected to grow by 20.5%, the second highest among all states and more than four times the estimated national average growth rate.”

  • 3

    Forbes “The Best State For Business and Careers” (2015)
    “Utah has been a tech destination for years, with companies like eBay, Oracle, Microsoft, and Twitter building up a heavy presence in the state as a low-cost alternative to California. However, the tech scene is evolving in Utah.”

  • 4

    Entrepreneur: “The 10 Best States to Start a Small Business” (2015)
    Utah ranks #3.

  • 5

    Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development: Corporate Incentives
    “Financial incentives are provided by the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development for business relocation and expansion. These incentives are used to select companies that create new, high-paying jobs that help improve the standard of living, diversify the state economy, increase the tax base, attract and retain top-level management, and encourage graduates of in-state universities to remain in Utah.”

  • 6

    Economic Development Corporation of Utah: Business Incentives
    List of business incentives and financing options available in the state.

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