Last year when I moved back to the state where I grew up, I assumed taking my freelance writing business with me would be as simple as changing my address. I was wrong. Relocation across state lines can be a confusing process for small business owners; even more complicated if your business relies on a physical location and penetrating a brand new market. Thankfully operating remotely as a freelance writer meant I’d take my clients with me. Most didn’t even know I’d moved. I’m not restricted to a local market, so at least there was that. Still, I had to quickly acquaint myself with specific regulatory requirements to avoid certain fines and tax ramifications. Here’s what I learned:
Register your business in your new state
When you relocate to a new state, you’ll need to file a DBA. If you operate as a sole proprietor, it’s basically the same process as filing a DBA in most states. My writing ventures all operate under the umbrella of Avid Writer Communications, LLC. There are more options available if you’re relocating a corporation or LLC, but choosing the right one for your business can be complicated. Corporations and LLCs can:
- Keep operating in the state you moved from and register as a foreign(outside) corporation doing business in your new state. Choosing this option could leave you paying fees in both states.
- Dissolve the corporation in the old state and form a brand new corporation in your new state. This sounds easy, but can actually become a regulatory maze of confusion and can result in costly tax ramifications.
- Create a brand new corporation in your new state and merge the old corporation into it. This is the method I chose because I wouldn’t be stuck paying fees for two states and it winds up being a tax-free process.
Now I’m no lawyer so I strongly suggest consulting with one to help you choose the most appropriate (and least costly) option for your business.
Take steps to legalize your freelance writing business in your new state
These steps are essentially the same ones you took during the start-up phase of your business:
- File for a business license.
- Register for a DBA (“doing business as”) permit.
- Register for a new tax ID number.
Moving is a big enough headache without factoring in the complexities of relocating a home-base business. The good news is some relocation costs are tax deductible, so consult with a qualified tax expert to take advantage of any and all deductions you’re due.