Artist Forming a Business
December 1, 2008 3:37 PM   Subscribe

What is the difference between a Master of Business License and a LLC in Washington State? Which one would be more appropriate for a freelance artist/product designer/jeweler to have? I need to have a Tax ID number for my business, is that the same as a UBI number? Thanks!
posted by bdoop21 to Work & Money (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
What is a UBI number and where do I get it?
The Unified Business Identifier number is a unique number that is assigned to you. You use this number with other state agencies for filing, taxes and identification.

posted by philomathoholic at 11:53 PM on December 1, 2008

The Master Business License isn't an actual license. Here's the page where they list the types of business you can apply for with the Master Business Application. Also, see the last question on this page. It mentions the MBL, then it talks about what type of business you have.

The only advice I can give you is that corporations cost a lot of money to deal with the tax stuff (you'll want an accountant). And, I think LLCs offer more protection than plain corporations, which have more than a sole proprietorship. I'd suggest talking with someone with more information, eg an accountant, etc.
posted by philomathoholic at 12:03 AM on December 2, 2008

A business license may be necessary to carry on business at all. A LLC is almost certainly not necessary, but it offers certain legal advantages by limiting your liability for things done by the business. It also costs money to set up (hundreds to thousands of dollars).

Also, it's Master Business License, not Master of Business License.
posted by grouse at 7:53 AM on December 2, 2008

Response by poster: Thank you for your input...but I guess I am still confused. I need a tax id number so that I can purchase certain items (stones and such) from wholesalers. I also want to keep my business separate from my personal finances, and I am in a position now that I feel I need to be more professional and responsible about my finances. Do I need an LLC to get a tax id number, or do I just need a business license?
I have spoken to an accountant, maybe I need to talk to a different one, but he told me that I should have an LLC, if I have anything. He said that since I make such little money (sad but true) that I probably do not need any sort of business license, that I just need the 1099s from the people I am working for, for tax purposes. Basically from what I understand I have been conducting business as a sole proprietor and I think I need a step up...
posted by bdoop21 at 10:05 AM on December 2, 2008

I also want to keep my business separate from my personal finances

To keep it totally separate, you should get the LLC.

I need a tax id number so that I can purchase certain items (stones and such) from wholesalers.

If they are selling it to you without sales tax, then you might need to be licensed as a Washington state business so that you can collect and remit the sales tax yourself. I haven't carried on business in Washington state, but elsewhere that I have state tax registration was more important than federal tax registration for dealing with wholesalers.

A sole proprietorship may obtain an Employee Identification Number from the Internal Revenue Service.
posted by grouse at 11:15 AM on December 2, 2008

« Older How to stop worrying about a future child being...   |   No, I'm not being driven mad by my work, but I... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.