- Idaho Department of Commerce – Start or Grow Your Business
- U.S. Department of Labor – New and Small Businesses
- Internal Revenue Service – Starting a Business
- Idaho State Tax Commission – Tax and Business Basics for Small Business
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”
- Implied Warranties (page 38)
- Telephone Solicitation Laws
- Charitable Solicitations Act (page 48)
- Do Not Call Registry – telephone solicitors must honor this
- Door-to-Door Sales (page 36)
- Raffles, Bingo, Games of Chance, Promotional Drawings (page 47)
- Pyramid and Chain Distribution Businesses (page 37)
- Sales Practices (page 38)
- Truth in Leasing (page 46)
For information, contact the Attorney General’s office.
Contracts and Invoices: 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, fairs 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 enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Idaho Secretary of State
- 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) – filing only an Assumed Business Name creates a sole proprietorship and offers no liability protection
- Notaries: forms and fees
- Trademarks: Registers trademarks in Idaho only (not nationally). 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). If you purchase equipment, you may be aksed to sign a UCC agreement.
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
- Work Opportunity Tax Credit: receive a tax credit for hiring workers in certain categories, such as veterans, first-time workers and more.
- 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: IBRS: Businesses having employees, making retail sales, or engaged in any type of lodging complete this application to apply for Idaho withholding and unemployment accounts, establish sales and use tax and lodging tax accounts. If you do not have employees or make retail sales and are not providing any type of lodging, do not complete this form.
Note: Submitting IBRS 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 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 within 20 days of hire.
Business Name or Address Change: If you have an unemployment tax account and change the name or address of your business, 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.
- Reviewing unemployment appeals 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:
- 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 Solutions: The Idaho SBDC in cooperation with the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) offers assistance in complying with environmental regulations.
- Export Assistance
- Government Contracting
- 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 website.
- Funding Programs: The SBA guarantees bank loans (it does not issue loans) to qualified businesses. For information, contact your banker. Most loan programs are available to established businesses, not start-ups.
- Business Plans
- Government contracting
- Surety bond guarantee program
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 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): Most businesses need an EIN for tax reporting purposes and to open a business bank account. See the Taxes section of this website for information.
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: If your business is engaged in sales, contact the Tax Commission to obtain a sales and use tax permit. If you have employees you will need to establish an employee withholding account. If you are starting a retail business (selling products), see Retailers. Also see New Business – Getting Tax Permits.
- 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.
- Cancel a permit
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 or permits need to be amended. If the name changes because the business is sold, a new license or permit 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.
Purchasing an Existing Business or Merging Businesses
Contact the following individuals and agencies when preparing to purchase or merge with an existing business:
- An accountant – 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 or merger or acquisition 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. If you purchase a business that was started prior to 1998, be certain the business is registered with the Idaho Secretary of State and not with the county recorder’s office.
- Idaho State Tax Commission – see Changing Account Information to determine what tax accounts may need to be updated, changed or closed, including sales tax and withholding accounts. 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. File an Asset Acquisition Notice.
- Idaho Department of Labor – change the state unemployment tax account information
- Small Business Administration – Buy an existing business or franchise
- Small Business Administration – Merge and Acquire Businesses
- City and/or county clerks offices – update licenses and permits
- U.S. Department of Labor – New and Small Businesses – information on federal requirements
- Any other agencies from whom permits or licenses have been secured