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Start & Register a Business in Tennessee

If you are thinking about starting a business in Tennessee there are several things you should know about.

Tennessee is a great place for entrepreneurs to start a business.  Over 6.5 million people live in the state and it was ranked as the 17th largest state by population in 2014.  The state has a friendly climate for businesses and many of largest companies in the world are headquartered in Tennessee such as FedEx, HCA Holdings, International Paper, Dollar General, and AutoZone.

The first thing you will need to do is register a business in Tennessee.  You should decide on whether you want to register as a Limited Liability Company (LLC), corporation, partnership or sole proprietorship.  Each type of entity has certain advantages and disadvantages when compared to the others.

After you have decided what type of entity you want to form, you will need a name.  You can search for the names of businesses that are registered in Tennessee to see if the name you want is already used.  You should also consider searching national business name databases to see if what you want is taken.  If you cannot find the name you want in either the state or national business name searches, you should consider doing a trademark search to see if the name is trademarked.  There is typically a fee for a trademark search, so you should exhaust the free resources first.

Once you have registered your business, you will want to familiarize yourself with the various taxes in the state.  Every business in Tennessee is subject to local city/county taxes, franchise and excise tax, sales and use tax, and federal taxes.

Local taxes are usually in the form of business license taxes.  The Tennessee franchise and excise tax is the main state tax on businesses.  Tennessee has a state sales tax that businesses will need to pay as well.  Use tax is paid for items that should be subject to sales tax but where no tax was collected at the point of sale.