If you're planning on starting a business in New York state you'll need to set your business up with the state's tax department and the Internal Revenue Service. You will likely need a Tax ID number, also known as an Employer ID number, which is issued at the federal level through the IRS. Depending on the business type you may be able to use your social security number, although this is not recommended because of identity theft prevalence.
Applying for a federal tax ID number is simple and quick via the IRS website. The state of New York, however, has additional requirements for your business, especially if you intend on selling retail goods to customers. In this case, you must also apply for a Certificate of Authority to collect sales tax through the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance.
Choose the appropriate certificate for your business. The NYS tax department has two types: regular and temporary. Most businesses need a regular certificate. If you plan on collecting sales tax for no more than two consecutive months in a 12-month period, you only need a temporary certificate. Exceptions include show and entertainment businesses, such as sporting events, flea markets and antique show vendors; these businesses need a regular certificate.
You must register for your Certificate of Authority at least 20 days before opening your business.
Log into your NYS online account to access the online application, Form DTF-17. The only way to access the application is through the NYS online portal, so if you don't have an account, register for one by:
- Providing your name and email address
- Creating a username and password
- Agreeing to the terms and conditions
You'll find the application under the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance tab, and you can access it through the "Apply Online" link.
If you plan on having employees, you will need a federal employer identification number, or EIN. You can apply for one through the Internal Revenue Service.
Fill out and submit the application. The NYS Department of Taxation and Finance does not charge a fee to apply for a Certificate of Authority. You'll need to provide the following information on the application:
- Reasons for applying
- Contact information for the business including legal name, address, phone number and social security number, federal taxpayer ID or employer ID number
- Type of business entity
- When you plan on starting to collect sales tax
- Bank account number and routing number for the account where you'll deposit sales tax
- Other license numbers such as for alcohol or lottery, if applicable
- Tax preparer's information if someone other than yourself will be preparing your taxes
- Business contact information, including name, business title, address, ownership percentage, Social Security number and primary business duties
Use Form DTF-17.1, Business Contact and Responsible Person Questionnaire, to the get the necessary information from your business partners.
Display your certificate. When the NYS Department of Taxation approves your application, it sends you the Certificate of Authority for your place of business. If you have multiple locations, you can indicate that on your application, and the NYS Department of Taxation will send you certificates for each location. In Section D of the application, click on the "Add a Row" button and enter that location's information. Use the "Add a Row" feature for all the locations that need a certificate. Click "Submit" and all the information you enter is saved in the application, so the taxation department can send you the certificates.
If you have any problems or questions during the application process, you can contact the Sales Tax Information Center. It takes about five days to process an application.