The only bookmark you need if you ever want to start a business in Delaware.
Delaware is the second-smallest state, with a total land area of only 1,948 square miles. It is also the least-populated state in the US, and has the fewest counties.
Nicknamed “The Diamond State,” Delaware is best-known for its extremely business-friendly corporate laws.
Delaware is known by neighboring states as the “Home of tax-free shopping.”
Delaware’s economic growth is closely tied to the DuPont family, founders of one of the largest chemical companies in the world.
Tourism is one of Delaware’s chief industries, and many people travel from Washington to enjoy the shores of the Atlantic.
Delaware’s state tree is the American Holly, and its state bird is the Blue Hen.
Delaware’s capital, Dover, is only the second-largest city in the state, with a population of 36,047 as of 2010. The largest is Wilmington, with a population of 71,948.
Major companies include DuPont, General Motors, AT&T, Vulcan Corporation, Wilmington Trust, WSFS Bank, and Blyth Incorporated
Wilmington, Delaware’s largest city, is experiencing rapid growth in the tech industry, with a growing number of tenants and a receptive attitude towards entrepreneurial ventures. The State’s friendly environment and less restrictive business laws have drawn many startups to the area, and measures such as the Delaware Founders Initiative promise to draw even more.
There are 3 basic options: a DBA, a Corporation or an LLC. Click here to learn more about business entities.
Picking a business name is easier said than done – many legal and business problems can arise from picking the wrong name (you can always change it later but the less times you have to do that, the better). In Step 3 we’ll show you how to search for the name in Delaware, but we highly recommend you do the following before searching Delaware state databases:
Each state has it’s own requirements for registering a business. Now that you’ve chosen a business structure and picked your business name, here are the requirements to register your business in Delaware.
DBAs are filed with the county. You’ll want to contact your local County Recorder to find out exactly what forms to submit and what they’re submission process is. You can find the local county recorder’s office by searching “YOURCOUNTY county recorder”.
Our formation package includes everything you need to get started
Your EIN is like your Social Security Number for your company. It’s required for Corporations and LLC’s and optional for DBA’s (if you don’t have any employees, then it’s required). However, if you are a DBA and don’t obtain an EIN you will be forced to use your Social Security Number on many documents so it’s typically recommended you obtain the EIN to prevent identity theft.
You can read more about corporate tax laws in Delaware on the Delaware Department of Revenue site.
TIP: We will obtain your EIN for you if you we form your company.
To keep business and personal expenses separate, you should open a separate account for your business. In addition, getting business credit cards is how you begin to build a company credit profile (corporation or LLC required) and can later qualify for larger loans and lines of credit. To open the account simply call your chosen bank and inquire on the steps to open a business bank account. Typically you’ll need a) your filed paperwork b) your EIN c) a company resolution authorizing your company to open the account (signed by the owners, members, officers or directors, etc.).
TIP: Our business formation service includes a free banking resolution for your use.
Now that you’ve registered your business name you need to obtain a business license for your company – this authorizes your company to do business in your city or county. Typically this also involves registering for state taxes and permits (the city may require them as part of the business licensing process).
The State of Delaware has a One Stop Business Registration and Licensing System where you can register your business with the Division of Revenue, the Division of Unemployment Insurance and the Office of Workers Compensation.
Tip: We work with a company that can obtain and prepare business licenses and permits for you. Click here to learn more.
DBA: Your Fictitious Business Name should be valid for 5 years (unless you change company name or other information listed on the FBN) at which point you’ll need to renew it with the county.
LLC: Delaware LLCs are required to pay an annual tax of $300 on, or before June 1 each year. There is no requirement to file an annual report.
Corporation: All businesses incorporated in Delaware must file an annual report and a franchise tax. Even if your corporation is tax exempt, you must still file an annual report before March 1 each year. The annual filing fee is $49, and the minimum tax is $225. Annual reports can be filed online through the Delaware Corporations Information System.
Franchise Taxes: Delaware corporations are required to file a Franchise Tax of $300 annually, due on June 1. This is standard protocol for an LLC, regardless of age, sales, activity, or inactivity. A late penalty of $200 is levied against business that fail to pay on time.
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