This is not legal advice IN ANY WAY. This was how I started my path to filing as a business in Saratoga County.
I admit it was a little daunting to get up and running (and who am I kidding, I ain’t there yet!), but I was honestly surprised and pleased to see how helpful New York state is to people aiming to get started with a new business. If you have decent reading comprehension and the time (and you should MAKE the time, if this is what you want to do), then you can work your way through the guidelines for starting up a business at the website for The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance. I particularly paid attention to Publication 750. Among many others! I pretty much read anything and everything that might remotely be linked to what I am doing, since it’s best to be fully informed. While we’re at it, don’t forget checking out what the IRS has to say about small businesses.
I found the forms to file my DBA on the website of my specific county clerk, filed my DBA with the county clerk (really painless), set up a bank account under my business name, and then I filed for my Certificate of Authority to collect sales tax in NY. Let me be really clear: no matter where I am, what state I’m in, how I’m planning to sell stuff (locally or online), it is myresponsibility to figure out how I will need to collect sales tax! I needed to put on the big kid panties and do it, or else I would jeopardize my business and my personal finances. I filed using another helpful website, the Online Permit Assistance and Licensing. It’s not always immediately user friendly when you’re trying to find the actual link to the application, but where I thought it really shone was with defining the specific information I would need. I picked out the general type of business in which I would be participating (Craft/Hobby Vendor) and from there it led me through a series of questions to identify all the documents pertinent to me, and at the end it gave me links to all of them.
NYS sometimes gets a bad rap for being … unhelpful. The information is out there, and I found it really easy to access as a total n00b. Well done, people.
(and let me repeat. THIS IS NOT ADVICE, but simply how I got started on the paperwork path for MYSELF)