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Business Essentials

Assumed Business Name (DBA)

Note: Registering only a business name does NOT create a legal business entity (a sole proprietorship is not a legal entity) and it is NOT a business license. Business licenses are issued by local city or county clerk's offices, not by the state. Filing a business name does not offer protection from liability.

Filing an Assumed Business Name (Doing Business As)

Business names and legal entity forms are registered with the Idaho Secretary of State's office. By completing a legal entity form (Articles of Incorporation, Limited Liability Company Certificate of Organization, Partnership Agreement, etc.), both the business name AND legal structure are registered (assuming the name is available for registration in Idaho). If the business will be a sole proprietorship, only the business name is registered; no additional forms are needed. The name and entity type should be registered before you begin conducting business. For information on choosing a legal entity type, see Legal Structure.

Be aware that business name and entity filings are public records. Any information included on the registration form will be available to the public, including your home address if your business is home-based.

Note: Before 1998, business names were registered with county recorder's offices. If you own or purchase a business that was originally registered with your county, be certain it has been re-registered with the Idaho Secretary of State's Office.

If you change the name of your business or sell or close the business, the Secretary of State's office should be contacted and possibly other agencies as well. For information, see Cancelling or Changing a Business Name.

Name Search: Before registering a business name, a search can be completed to determine whether another business operating in Idaho is currently using the same name or a similar one. Only sole proprietorships can register a name currently being used by another business. Corporations and LLCs must choose a unique name.

To find businesses in other states using your desired name or a similar one, do an internet search. Though you can register the same name, your businesses may be confused, particularly if the other business is regionally or nationally known. This can be a problem if the other business falls behind in financial obligations, encounters legal problems or another issue arises. In addition to checking your proposed business name, also look for similar names spelled differently, such as "shoppe" or "centre."


The forms listed below are the most frequently requested. If you know the agency that administers the form you need and the agency is listed below, click on the link to its website. If the agency is not listed below, you may find it on another page on this site. Check the Menus on this site to find information and forms related to specific business topics and agencies or complete a search using the Business Wizard. If you have visited the Business Wizard and looked at relevant pages on this site and still cannot find the form you are seeking, send us an e-mail. We will attempt to locate it.

ID Secretary of State - Business Entity and DBA Registration

City Clerk's Office - Business Licenses/Occupancy Permits

Bureau of Citizenship & Immigration - Employment Eligibility Verification (I-9)

Regional Health Departments - Facility Inspections/Licensing

Idaho Department of Finance - forms

Idaho Department of Labor

Idaho Division of Building Safety - forms

Idaho Industrial Commission - forms

Idaho Outfitters & Guides Licensing Board - forms

Idaho State Fire Marshall - forms

Idaho State Tax Commission - forms and publications


Internal Revenue Service - Forms and Publications

Idaho Department of Environmental Quality - Permits and Forms

Idaho State Police

Idaho Transportation Department

ID Department of Insurance - Forms

Professional Licensing Boards

Some of the forms referenced on this page and in the Business Wizard are PDF files and require Adobe Acrobat software to access them. The software is free.


All businesses need insurance, but how much and what type depends on your business activities. Many types of insurance are available; some are required by law and others are optional. Unless otherwise noted, most insurance can be obtained from an insurance company specializing in business insurance.

For information about a specific type of insurance, choose from the following:

Required Insurance: Businesses with employees must have worker's comp and unemployment insurance (actually a tax).

Optional Insurance: You may need one or more of the following insurance products, depending on your specific business activity. Your insurance agent or professional association can provide information.




Life Insurance


Information on industry-specific and occupation-specific licenses, permits, and regulations can be found by searching the Business Wizard. After answering a few questions, you will receive a customized checklist of agencies to contact with links to their websites.

Business Registration: All businesses operating in Idaho must register their name and entity type with the Idaho Secretary of State's office. For information, see the Legal Structure page on this site.

City and County Business Licenses: In addition to the state and federal licensing requirements found in the Business Wizard, your business may be regulated by city and/or county regulations specific to your location. Contact your local City or County Clerk or Recorder's office to find out if you need a local business license or other permits.

Alcoholic Beverage Licensing: See the Assistance Resources section of this site.

Sales Tax Permit: If your business will make sales or you will have employees, you will need to complete form IBR-1 to register for a sales and use tax permit and establish a state withholding account and an unemployment insurance tax account.

We do our best to keep this site current when the federal government, Idaho legislature, city councils, and county commissioners add or change licensing requirements. However, WE MAKE NO GUARANTEE THAT THE LICENSING REQUIREMENTS SHOWN ON THIS SITE ARE COMPLETE.

If your business, profession, product, or service is not listed in the Business Wizard, you can verify whether your business is subject to special licensing requirements by contacting your city or county clerk's office, your attorney, or your CPA. If you have exhausted these resources and still haven't found the information you need, you may also Contact Us to research your licensing requirements. All businesses must register a name and entity type. Only business activities requiring additional industry-specific licenses or permits are listed in the Business Wizard.

If you know of a licensing requirement that is not listed or one that needs to be updated, please e-mail us.


Below are the most common taxes a small business or business owner may be required to pay listed by the agencies that assess and collect them. Your business may be eligible for a tax credit or incentive for certain business activities. Agencies offering tax credits are also listed below.

Americans with Disabilities Act

Idaho Department of Commerce

Idaho Department of Insurance

Idaho Department of Labor

Idaho Industrial Commission - Premium Taxes

  • Workers Compensation Premium Tax - Paid by insurance companies offering workers comp insurance
  • Self-insured Employer Premium Tax - Paid by companies that self-insure workers comp coverage (only available to very large corporations)

Idaho State Tax Commission

Estimated Taxes

Income Taxes

Sales and Use Taxes

Internal Revenue Service - Estimated Taxes

Income Tax - Business and Personal

Affordable Care Act Tax Provisions

Agricultural or Horticultural Tax-exempt Organization

Employer Identification Number (EIN)
Excise Tax
Fuel Tax (a form of Excise tax)
Hobby Business
Medicare Tax (FICA)
Outsourced Payroll and Tax Reporting
Self-employment Tax
Social Security Tax (FICA)
Tax Credits/Incentives
Tax Payer Identification Number (EIN)
Unemployment Tax - Federal

Section 179 Depreciation Deduction

U.S. Department of the Treasury Alcohol & Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau -
Alcohol, Cigarette and Tobacco, Firearms and Ammunition Tax

Property Tax (real estate and personal property) Property taxes are established and collected by individual counties and taxing districts, not by the state. The collected funds are used to finance local services, such as roads, schools and libraries. Two types of property tax are collected.

Personal property tax is assessed on the value of depreciable assets owned by a business, including machinery, equipment, and office equipment. The tax is paid annually or semi-annually in December and June to your local county assessor. The first $100,000 of a business's personal property is exempt from taxation.

Real estate property tax is collected on the assessed value of real estate (real property) owned by a business or an individual. Real estate taxes are paid annually or semi-annually in December and June to your local county assessor.

Important: Personal property tax is not in any way related to income tax. If you own a business, you may owe property tax. The tax must be paid regardless of whether your business has income or owes income tax. Failure to pay property tax can result in a lien being filed against business real estate and/or equipment.

Tax Calendar with dates taxes are due.

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