- “Things to Consider When Starting a Company in Idaho – a Lawyer’s Perspective“
- Federal Trade Commission – Going into Business
- U.S. Department of Labor – New and Small Businesses
Idaho Attorney General
Idaho businesses must comply with state and federal consumer protection laws, including the following:
- Landlord and Tenant Guidelines
- Motor Vehicle Sales Advertising – New and Used vehicles
- Idaho Motor Vehicle “Lemon Law”
- Telephone Solicitation Laws
- Charitable Solicitations Act
- Door-to-Door Sales
- Raffles, Bingo, Games of Chance, Promotional Drawings
- Sales Practices
Customer contracts and/or invoices must include a written cancellation clause that conforms with Idaho law. If your business offers lending (in-store financing) or leasing services, you need to comply with both Federal and state laws concerning Truth in Lending and Truth in Leasing. If you sell door-to-door or at trade shows or similar locations (known as unsolicited or impulse purchases), purchasers have the right to cancel a purchase over $25 within three (3) business days for a full refund.
Tobacco: Businesses that manufacture, import or sell tobacco or tobacco products, either wholesale or retail (including vaping), must comply with Idaho tobacco laws.
Federal Consumer Protection: Businesses must also comply with Federal consumer protection regulations established by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Idaho Department of Commerce
- Start or Grow Your Business
- Rapid Response Team – An inter-agency rapid response team responsible for collaborating quickly and efficiently when businesses are interested in launching, growing or relocating.
Idaho Secretary of State
Registers business names and entity types, licenses notaries, registers trade marks (in Idaho only), registers lobbyists, and maintains a file of UCC/liens.
- Business Formation: Businesses must register their name and entity type (partnership, corporation, LLC, etc.) before transacting business. For information on business entity types recognized in Idaho, visit the Legal Structure section of this website.
- Assumed Business Name (DBA)
- Notaries: forms and fees
- Trademarks: Visit our FAQs section
- Lobbyists: registration
- UCC/Liens: The Uniform Commercial Code enables a creditor to perfect a security interest in a business, equipment, property or other assets owned by another party (debtor).
Idaho Department of Labor
The Department of Labor serves both employers and employees who are making career transitions. Services include:
- Consulting/Counseling: Available both to employers and job seekers. Contact your local DOL office.
- Establishing unemployment insurance tax accounts
- Labor Market Research – find information that may be useful for your business or marketing plan
- Workforce Opportunity Tax Credit
- Business Services: available to both employers and workers. Interview facilities and computer skill testing of job applicants – contact your local DOL office for information.
Idaho Business Registration – IBR-1: Businesses having employees and/or making retail sales complete this application to apply for Idaho withholding and unemployment accounts and establish sales and use tax accounts. If you do not have employees or make retail sales, do not complete this form.
Note: Submitting this form does NOT register your business name or entity type, nor is it a business license. You must first register your name and entity type with the Idaho Secretary of State’s office before completing this form. Business licenses are obtained from your local city clerk’s office.
New Hire Reporting: New employees and those rehired after an absence of 12 months or more must be reported.
Business Name or Address Change: If you have an unemployment withholding account and change the name of your business or move, contact DOL to be certain payments are correctly attributed to your business.
Idaho Industrial Commission
The Industrial Commission is the state agency responsible for:
- Regulating workers’ compensation activities in Idaho, including licensing insurance companies that issue workers’ compensation policies.
- Ensuring that employers provide workers’ compensation coverage as required by law.
- Settling disputes between injured workers, employers, and insurers.
- Deciding appeals of unemployment decisions referred by the Idaho Department of Labor.
- Providing rehabilitation services to workers injured on the job.
- Overseeing the Crime Victims Compensation Program.
Idaho Small Business Development Center
Through its six regional offices the Idaho SBDC offers a wide variety of services to small businesses, including:
- Business Start-up Guide
- Consulting/Counseling: Contact your nearest SBDC office for no-cost confidential consulting.
- Business and Marketing Plans: Consultants offer guidance in developing business and marketing plans. (They do not write plans.)
- Environmental Regulations: The Idaho SBDC in cooperation with the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) offers environmental regulations compliance assistance.
- Export Assistance
- Government Contracting
- Technology/Innovation Assistance
- Training: Idaho’s six SBDC offices offer workshops on a variety of topics to help you grow your business.
Small Business Administration
The SBA offers programs to help start and grow small businesses. Contact the Boise office at (208) 334-9004, extension 333; the Spokane office at (509) 353-2809, or visit the SBA.
- Loan Guarantee Program: The SBA guarantees bank loans (it does not issue loans) to qualified businesses. For information, contact your banker.
- Business Plans
- Government contracting
SCORE: The Service Corps of Retired Executives, SCORE, is a national volunteer organization of current and former business owners, managers, and executives who donate their time and expertise to counsel business owners at no charge. SCORE also offers low-cost workshops on a variety of start-up topics. SCORE offices are located in Boise, Idaho Falls, and Spokane. Businesses in north Idaho are served by the Spokane SCORE office. Or visit the national website.
Internal Revenue Service
Collects taxes owed to the Federal government, including personal, corporate and business income taxes, Federal withholding and Social Security and Medicare taxes. To learn about the taxes your business may be required to pay, visit the Taxes section of this website or see the IRS Small Business Tax Center.
Change of Business Name or Entity Type: When a business name or entity type changes (such as from an LLC to a corporation), the tax reporting date and the forms used may change and a new Employer Identification Number (EIN) may be required.
Tax Identification Number (EIN): See the Taxes section of this website.
Tax Statistics: Find statistics based on individual, business and non-profit tax reporting that may be useful for your business or marketing plan.
Idaho State Tax Commission
- Starting a Business: Contact the Tax Commission to obtain sales and use tax permits and to establish employee withholding accounts.
- Sales/Withholding Tax Basics classes: Learn what you need to know about establishing and paying sales and use tax and withholding tax.
- Business Name or Location Change: If the name or location of a business changes, contact the Tax Commission to be certain tax payments are correctly attributed to your business.
City Clerk’s Office
City clerk’s offices manage business activities occurring within city limits, including:
- Business Licenses/Permits: You may need a business license, a conditional use permit if your business activity or location varies from standard zoning requirements, an occupancy permit when the business opens, and/or approval of exterior signage.
- Business Name Change: When the name of a business changes, existing licenses need to be amended. If the name changes because the business is sold, a new license may be required.
If your business will be located outside the city limits, contact your county clerk’s office for information.
Nampa and Boise Business Accelerators
The Nampa Accelerator, located at Boise State University’s West Campus in Nampa, and the Accelerator in downtown Boise offer technical assistance and counseling to technology start-ups and other early-stage companies. Incubator space is available to qualifying companies.
TechHelp assists manufacturers, food processors and other businesses improve and streamline their processes to increase productivity. Inventors can receive assistance in product design and prototype development, as well as other services. Find workshops and other training events.
Purchasing an Existing Business
Contact the following individuals and agencies when purchasing an existing business:
- An accountant – Upon request, the business owner should provide at least three years of financial statements. Your accountant can review and determine whether there may be issues, such as unpaid taxes.
- An attorney – to create a buy/sell agreement that conforms with Idaho law.
- Idaho Secretary of State’s office – to amend the business registration or cancel it and register as a new business
- Idaho State Tax Commission – see Changes to Existing Businesses to determine what tax accounts may need to be updated, changed or closed. Request a Successors’ Liability Clearance Letter to be certain the seller does not owe back taxes.
- Internal Revenue Service – change or update federal withholding, Social Security and Medicare accounts. Secure a new EIN if needed.
- Idaho Department of Labor – change the state unemployment tax account information
- Small Business Administration – Purchase an existing business or franchise
- City and/or county clerks offices – update licenses and permits
- Any other agencies from whom permits or licenses have been secured