Filling out paperwork is an important step to starting a small business. Photo: Filaphoto/Shutterstock
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Starting a Small Business in Las Vegas: What You Should Know

Las Vegas is an inviting place to start a small business, according to Inc.com. Among the many advantages are competitive real estate prices, affordable services, a ready workforce and low taxes, the website says. Nevada is ranked second in the nation for encouraging small business, according to the nonprofit Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council (SBEC). If you’re thinking of setting up shop in Las Vegas, here are some of the steps you should take.

Employer Identification Number (EIN)

Prior to your formal business license application, the City of Las Vegas requires you to first apply for a free Employer Identification Number (EIN), also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number, that works like a Social Security number for the business. You can apply through the IRS website or call (800) 829-4933 for further inquiries.

State Business License

All business owners operating in the city must either get a Nevada state business license or a Notice of Exemption before obtaining a City of Las Vegas business license. If you’re unsure whether you must apply for the state business license, contact the office of the Nevada Secretary of State at (702) 486-2880 or visit SilverFlume, Nevada’s business portal, for a guided online form to help you get started. The state business license fee is $200, and you can pay in cash (for in-person transactions only), check, trust account, debit or credit card.

Tax Permit

After completing the state business license requirements, you must register with the Nevada Department of Taxation prior to the start of business operation. To register, submit a Nevada business registration form using the NevadaTax platform, then follow the steps for the online application.

Local Business License

The City of Las Vegas website states that all sole proprietorships, partnerships, firms or corporations located within Las Vegas city limits, or those engaged in business within the city’s jurisdiction, are required to obtain a City of Las Vegas business license. If your business operation extends to other Las Vegas metropolitan areas such as North Las Vegas, Mesquite, Henderson, Pahrump or Boulder City, you may need to apply for local business licenses in the different jurisdictions as well. You can check the Clark County Jurisdiction Locator to confirm the jurisdiction of the areas where you intend to operate your business. The City of Las Vegas issues two types of local business licenses. The city’s official website states that a general license is meant for a business that offers general, sales or professional services. A privilege license, on the other hand, is for a business that can potentially affect the economic, social and moral well-being of the city and its residents and would include night clubs or massage parlors. Since a privilege license requires a high degree of supervision, a background investigation conducted by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is also required before the city grants a license to the applicant. The cost of a local business license is based on the classification of your business. Clark County’s website says there are more than 400 business categories under which a business could be classified. The nature of the business may also require a regulatory license, like in the case of pawnshops or mobile food vendors. This license should be obtained before getting a local business license. It is best to contact the business licensing office at (702) 229-6281 to get specific information relevant to your type of business and if the nature of your business needs a regulatory license as well. The business licensing office accepts applications for general licenses both online and in person. An appointment is required for a privilege license application. Even though starting a new small business requires filling out a lot of paperwork, the end result can be worth the effort.


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