The Original Toiletries Library

Business Information

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How to get the tax numbers you need to do business

Alaska Alabama Arizona California
Delaware Florida Georgia Hawaii
Iowa Illinois Indiana Kansas
Kentucky Maryland Maine Minnesota
Missouri North Carolina New Jersey New Mexico
New York Ohio Oklahoma Oregon
Pennsylvania South Carolina South Dakota Tennessee
Texas Utah Virginia Washington
Wisconsis West Virginia Wyoming Australia
Alberta, Canada British Columbia, Canada Ontario, Canada Saskatchewan, Canada

Insurance Information
Finding a supplier on the internet
Packing Tips for Shipping

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  • Alabama

  • Alaska

  • Arizona
    For a Transaction Privilege Tax License in Arizona, contact:
    Arizona Dept. of Revenue
    License & Registration Section
    1600 West Monroe
    Phoenix, Arizona 85007-2650
    Cost is $12.00
    Marcia Bothman

  • Arkansas

  • California

  • Colorado

  • Connecticut

  • Delaware

  • Florida

  • Georgia

  • Hawaii

  • Idaho

  • Illinois

  • Indiana
    For my tax ID# I simply called my accountant for information--he said he had all the state forms I needed--went down and picked them up, filled them out, and in 2 weeks had my #. I would think that most tax accountants would have this same service. (best of all, mine didn't charge me a penny for the form!!!!)
    Dawn Weber

  • Iowa

  • Kansas
    To do business in Kansas you need 3 different numbers.

    Business license number - you get this when you file to open a business either wholesale or retail.

    FEN or FEIN? This is a federal number that you use for filing taxes when you have employees. if you are the sole owner and have no employees your SS# is your FEN or FEIN.

    The third number is a sales tax registration number. You get this from your state's department of revenue. This is the number that allows you to purchase items wholesale without paying sales tax on the items. It is also the number used to track you down to pay sales tax on items that you sold retail. You can't get this number until you have the other two.

    In Kansas you pay the state sales tax either annually, or quarterly and that depends upon how much money you bring in per year. When you are a new business, they start you out paying annually and will change you to quarterly when they see you are generating enough revenue to warrant it.

  • Kentucky
    If you live in KY you will need to have a sales tax number. To get the form to obtain this number contact the KY Revenue Cabinet at 502 595 3138. You will recieve an application that asks for your business name, location(s) and federal identification number. You will only need the FIN if you are going to have employees. There ia a $10.00 application fee for each location you are opening. If you are going to do business, making soap, in your home you will have only one location, no matter how many craft fair you may attend. Therefore the fee will only be $10.00. In about two weeks you will receive your number and can begin business. 10/3/98

  • Louisiana

  • Maine

  • Maryland

    Contact the Comptroller of the Treasury. In the State of Maryland, obtaining a sales tax license is free.

  • Massachusetts

  • Michigan

  • Minnesota

  • Mississippi

  • Missouri

  • Montana

  • Nebraska

  • Nevada

  • New Hampshire

  • New Jersey

  • New Mexico

  • New York

  • North Carolina

  • North Dakota

  • Ohio

  • Oklahoma

  • Oregon
    Contact the Business Information Center in Salem. Phone number: (503) 986-2222. They will send you a packet of info. outlining everything you need to do (which will mostly be done on the local level-contacting City Hall to get city bus. permit, contacting your county tax assessor to review if there is anything you need to do there - it will depend on the size of your business I believe), and they will send you a form for registering your Assumed Business Name with the state. I don't believe a Federal tax number is required to operate a business in Oregon, but most banks will want one to open an account, and will definitely require it before you can accept VISA/MC. Of course there is no need for a state tax number since there is no sales tax here. But, just call the number above and they will get you started. Very helpful people.
    Dove Lininger

  • Pennsylvania

  • Rhode Island

  • South Carolina

  • South Dakota

  • Tennessee
    My experience in obtaining a Tennessee Sales Tax number is that you go to the Court House of the county you live in & ask for the application form. You fill that out & mail it to the district office (ne TN is Knoxville). Nashville will send you your number & official form after processing. There is no charge. You also can decide whether to pay your sales tax monthly, quarterly, twice a year or yearly.

  • Texas

  • Utah

  • Vermont

  • Virginia

  • Washington
    Master License Service (1-360-664-1400)
    This only cost me $15.00 per year and $5.00 for trade name registration. Call and the infomation should arrived within 3 days. Business license should arrive within 2 weeks of sending forms back. This will also register you with the IRS. Your (ubi) tax number is also your tax number.
    Sandy Tedrow

  • West Virginia

  • Wisconsin

  • Wyoming

  • Australia

  • Alberta, Canada

  • British Columbia, Canada
    You should only need commercial zoning if you were planning to build a store or operate a busy retail business. Check with your city or municipal business licensing department. It's typically called an "Accessory Home Occupation" but requirements and restrictions vary widely from town to town. Here in the so-called "Home based business capital of Canada", my license allows me to have retail sales off the property, put up a sign etc. It has more to do with whether the neighbors are agreeable or not.

    Make sure your home owners insurance providers are aware of the business and have some note made of it on your policy. There are riders and additional coverage you can get too. Product liability is a whole other ball of wax (or soap!)
    Sherri-Lee Gagnon

  • Ontario

  • Saskatchewan, Canada

  • England

If you have any information for your state please contact: Linda Coffin

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Where to get information

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For general information and assistance, contact your states Department of Economic Development.

Information regarding sales and use tax permit, State income tax information, and Certificates of exemption for manufacturers and wholesalers contact your states department of Revenue and Finance.

To register corporations, limited partnerships, or state trademarks, or to incorporate, contact your states Secretary of State.

To register your company name for sole proprietorships and (some) simple partnerships, contact your local County Recorder.

For information on (FEIN) Federal Employer Identification Number, federal taxes and social security, contact the Internal Revenue Service (800)829-1040.

For information on occupational safety and health (OSHA) regulations and on state and federal labor laws, contact your states Division of Labor.

For information on unemployment insurance, contact your states Department of Employment Services.

For information on workers compensation, contact your states Industrial Commissioner.

In the event of any state-by-state variance in what agencies handle what issues, your states Department of Economic Development can provide such information.

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Insurance notes

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As a former insurance broker (agent), I try to field the List's insurance questions. If you are making products and selling them at craft shows, even on a small scale, it would be a very good idea to obtain an In-Home Business Insurance Policy. This policy is designed to cover your equipment at home (except for your computer, which you would have to cover under an EDP rider. EDP means electronic data processing), supplies, and inventory for property losses; product liability coverage (if someone experiences bodily injury or property damage as a result of your product and sues); premises/operations liability (bodily injury or property damage by a third party as a result of your premises operations. An example of this would be someone slipping and falling at your home on a business related visit, or someone slipping and falling at your craft booth.); a small amount of money & securities coverage (which you can increase for extra $$$$) for your cash at craft fairs; and a sub limit for property coverage for your goods while transporting them in your car (to and from shows, and in-person deliveries); and of course, there is some coverage for your property (your items for sale) at craft shows.

There is an Insurance Company called RLI, whose specialty (among others) is this In-Home Business coverage. Soap and Toiletry makers fall under the class code of Personal Care Products, and it is important to mention this when talking to an RLI agent, as a lot of them are unfamiliar with the program and the class code in which we belong (sigh). But, I am getting ahead of myself. The real question is whether your toiletries in particular, would be covered, as RLI excludes coverage for repackaged products. That being said, let me further define what RLI considers to be repackaged personal care products: ready made products on which one then puts her own labels. RLI does cover products which are made with bulk unscented lotions and gels, etc., as long as one is altering them with fragrance and/ or color. Now, you seem to fall somewhere between the two distinctions, but you are still altering a product. I am unsure how RLI would handle this, and the only way to find out would be to contact an agent and ask.

If you wish to learn more about this coverage go to RLI's web site: On the left hand side click on In-Home Business Insurance. The good news is that this premium is inexpensive: for $500,000 in liability coverage, etc. the premium starts at $175, which is a very good price. For about $60 more you can raise the limit to $1 million which I highly recommend, as one law suit could blow through the $500,000 in no time.
Lisa Hayes

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Yesterday I spoke with my RLI agent regarding coverage for personal care products. I was told that if you are taking Ivory soap (or any other brand name) and adding your own ingredients (herbs, colorants, scent, etc.) there IS coverage for Product Liability under RLI's program, as you are, in essence, using the Ivory soap as an ingredient to create your own unique product. Contrast this with buying a bar of Ivory soap, taking off the wrapper, and rewrapping it with your own label. RLI would not cover this latter scenario, as one is then just repackaging the soap.

If this is not clear to anyone, pls email me privately, and I would be happy to give more examples.
Lisa Hayes

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Liability insurance for small scale soapmaking.
If the activity ss a hobby and you mostly give your soap away but sell larger quantities to some people you can try the following.

Talk to the insurance agent who sells your homeowner's policy. This is assuming you own a home. Those that rent can have a renter's policy that covers acts of personal liability. As long as you continues to do your soapmaking on a kitchen scale on a hobby basis, even if you are making some money at it, your existing policy should cover the product liability. If not, an inexpensive addendum (called a rider) to her policy should be available to cover you.

This is a good lesson for those that are more ambitious and would consider their activities to be a business. Home based businesses need a rider on the homeowner's policies, but these are generally easily available and not expensive. I ran a million dollars a year business as a rider on my homeowner's policy. As the business grows, the cost of the policy goes up but these policies are far easier to get than if you just tried to insure a business outside of the home.

So the first step is to talk to your existing insurance salesperson to see if you are already covered or how much a rider policy would cost you. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
Don Wirtshafter 5/22/98

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Naming your business
Searching for a business name varies from state to state.
For complete information, broken down by state, you can to to
businesses in filling forms, filing taxes and finding all the forms to 'get off the ground'.
Nancy Gallagher 2/24/99

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Shopping for supplies on the internet presents some of the same challenges as shopping by mail order. You will be buying from vendors whose premises you have never visited products of which you have seen, at best, a picture. It is difficult, if not impossible to judge the quality of your product before you receive it. So, how can you minimize the likelihood of being disappointed?

To begin with, you must understand that there are no fool proof methods of choosing a vendor from the net. However, I have shopped by mail most of my adult life, and have also shopped via the net, and I haven't had a really bad experience yet, so here are some ideas that have worked for me. Perhaps you can use them and build on them to develop your own "system."

The toiletries List is, among other things, an extremely effective network. It contains 3 reSupplies that can give you a very good start on your shopping. They are, not necessarily in order of importance,
  1. The toiletries library suppliers list.
  2. The weekly ads.: and
  3. The sig lines of our supplier friends.
When I'm in need of something, I start my search in the library. you will notice that our list members' entries are marked with a pretty flower. I begin with these. I have noticed that, perhaps because of the ephemeral nature of an email message, people tend to write as they speak, and speak as they think. By reading the posts, I get an idea of the person behind the message. True, I see only what the writer wants me to see--but that, in itself, gives me important information. It seems to me that it would be very difficult to maintain certain deceptions, and that those who indulge in bad business practices would have a hard time dealing with dissatisfied customers in a personal way on a regular basis. If nothing else, the dissatisfied customer could cause them a fair amount of embarrassment, and word gets around. You'll notice that many of the same people are on many of the lists on this topic.

I also do a lot of "window shopping." I visit the vendors who advertise in the weekly ads, just to see what they have, and how they present it. Then, at need, I can go back. I also like to check out the URLs in sig lines. Again, just browsing.

When visiting a web site, there are certain things I look for.
  1. How user friendly is the site? A pretty, professionally done site is very nice, but it is costly to have a site designed and maintained, so many small owners do their own. I don't mind the lack of bells and whistles, if the site is easy to navigate in, and I can do what I need to do easily.
  2. Does the vendor encourage contact? If someone is not willing to answer my questions or discuss their products or policies with me via email, I am, frankly, not particularly willing to give them my business.
  3. What is their return policy? In some cases, (EOS, FOs, and carrier oils, for example) it is unlikely that returns will be accepted, and for good reason. However, the vendor had best state that clearly. Other, non-contaminable items, should be returnable.
  4. How quickly do they ship?
  5. How do they handle payments? Internet security is a developing science, and there are still significant risks in using credit cards. Does the vendor accept phone orders? Can I pay by personal check? Again, how easy does the vendor make ordering for me?
Of course, I, like everyone else, comparison shop. However, I tend to choose a price range in the middle of the possibilities. Prices that are too good to be true usually are. I also submit a "test" order when dealing with any company for the first time. If they have a minimum, that's what I order. Once I have seen their product and experienced dealing with them, I make my final decision, and they will or will not be hearing from me again.

These are only some ideas, and I cannot guaranty that they will work all the time for everyone. In a free marketplace, anything and everything is possible. However, if you exercise some caution and use the same common sense you use when at the mall, you should find net shopping fun and convenient. Shoshana Hathaway 7/29/98

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Shipping Tips
Use small boxes and pack them inside a master carton for larger orders. Buy boxes, don't use recycled as they will not be as strong. Don't pack over 50 lbs to a box if you can help it. Buy the smaller boxes so that they will fit cleanly inside the larger master carton without having to resort to oddels of packing peas. Use them or crushed paper to fill all void space outside the boxes. Use plenty of tape.

Wrap individual soaps inside the boxes with a sandwich wrap or something similar to protect soaps from rubbing against each other.

Insure the merchandise and charge the customer for it. Get a "firm" insurance receipt book from the post office and always log in your shipments there, put the blue stick on thingie on the package, throw away the loose paper, and use the firm book. You will have a chronological record of all your shipments, and never have to hunt for a piece of paper again!
Barbara 7/30/98

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© 1998- Linda Coffin

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