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eBay® PowerSeller Business Practices FOR DUMMIES® by Marsha Collier

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Chapter 44. Establish Your Business Type

If you've played around on eBay, had some fun, and made a few dollars, then good for you — enjoy yourself! Once you start making serious money, however, your business is no longer a hobby. Before you know it, it's time to consider some serious issues like business structure, tax planning, and licenses. I say this because when you're concentrating on fulfilling multiple orders and keeping your customers happy, the last thing you need is a G-man breathing down your neck. Worst-case scenario: How about getting audited in December when you haven't been keeping good records all year?

In short, getting serious means making some decisions. It means getting licenses that cost something, and possibly, collecting and paying sales tax. I know this sounds like stripping the fun out of doing business on eBay, but taking a bit of time and effort now can save you a ton of trouble later on.

Giving Your Business a Name

Okay, even on eBay, you can't just call your business something like Pharnsworth's Phuzzy Critters, hang out a (virtual) shingle, and start selling plush toys. First you have to let the community know what's up — officially. In most states in the U.S., you can find small liner ads called fictitious name statements (in the classified section of the local newspaper) that give the state legal notification of who owns and operates a particular business, as well as what it's called. You have to register a fictitious name statement with your state before ...

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