What is a business legal structure?

Businesses in the United States are legal entities defined by city, state, and federal laws. The legal structure of a business can vary. Some businesses are structured as corporations, some as limited liability companies, some as sole proprietorships, and so on.

In order to start your business, you’ll need to decide on an appropriate legal structure and work with an attorney or other service provider to prepare the necessary documentation.

Why is it important to choose the correct legal structure for my business?

There are many legal and financial issues to consider when choosing a legal structure for your business. The right legal structure can help limit your liability and protect your personal assets from bankruptcy. Your legal structure can also influence the way your business is taxed and the way it carries out day-to-day operations.

Which legal structure is right for my business?

There are many factors to consider when determining an appropriate legal structure for your business, and it’s best to consult with a business counselor, attorney, or accountant before making a decision.

The Small Business Administration is a great resource for learning more about possible legal structures for your business.

SBA Business Structure Guide

Register Your Business with the New York Department of State

If you are seeking to do business in New York, you must file with the Department of State. You can also request a Certificate of Status if you have already filed with the NY Department of State. 

File with the NY Department of State

File a Doing Business As (DBA)

What is a DBA?

If you are conducting commercial activity under a name other than your real name, you must file DBA certificates with the Monroe County Clerk. Filing a DBA protects the business name from use by others in the county where it is filed.

If your business is located in the City of Rochester, you may need to fulfill additional business permit requirements. You can view information and contacts related to these requirements on the City's website or by visiting a City Neighborhood Service Center.

Monroe County Clerk

How do I obtain a DBA?

Before filing your original DBA, the Monroe County Clerk's Office will review business names already assigned to ensure that your desired name is available. You may also search the Monroe County Clerk's Online Office to see if your business name is currently in use. Register for a free username and password, then choose the "Search by Name" option to search.

Complete and submit a DBA form to the County Clerk. The cost to file an Individual DBA is $33. The cost for a Partnership DBA is $34. This includes the filing fee, a copy for the filers’ records, and a certified copy for proof of filing. Banks generally require a certified copy in order to open a business account.

DBA forms can be mailed to the Clerk’s Office provided there is no conflict in the name chosen, the forms have been notarized, and a check or money order made payable to the Monroe County Clerk is enclosed.

DBA Forms

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