Starting A Business

Important: Following is general information for starting a business. It is designed only to be a handy reference guide to general business requirements, and is not intended to offer legal or financial advice. We suggest that your business plan be discussed with your attorney and your accountant.

How to Get Your Business Started

Certificate of Name

Before you can select a name for your business, you should consult with your attorney, accountant and banker to determine what type of legal structure is best suited for it: sole proprietorship, partnership or corporation.

An unincorporated business may use the name of its owner, in which case there is no need to file a certificate name. If the name is other than the owner's name a Certificate of Business Name (D/B/A) must be filed with the Suffolk County Clerk . To insure that the business name you would like to use is available, you may check the Suffolk County Clerk’s website for Business Certificates and Corporations. Under no circumstances will searches be conducted by phone.

Suffolk County Clerk
County Center
Riverhead, NY 11901
(631) 852-2000

The Suffolk County Clerk maintains an online index of all business certificates, partnerships, DBA filings, and corporations on its website. The web page has over 635,000 indexed Suffolk County Records.


A business which is to be incorporated must file with the state:

New York State Department of State
Division of Corporations
162 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12231
(518) 473-2492

Federal (Employer) Identification Numbers

Sole Proprietorships, partnerships, corporations (including S corporations) and non-profit organizations must have a federal identification number. Sole proprietors can use their social security number unless they pay wages to one or more employees, or are required to file pension or excise tax returns, such as those for alcohol, tobacco or firearms.

You will need to fill out Form SS-4, the application for employer identification number. To get a copy of this form, or for additional information, call 1-800-829-3676 from Long Island or 1-800-828-1040 from all other areas. For additional assistance, visit the following offices:

Internal Revenue Service
1180 Veterans Memorial Highway
Hauppauge, NY 11788


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What You Need to Know About Licenses and Permits

Some types of businesses are required by law to obtain licenses and / or permits prior to commencement. Listed below are some of the more common types of businesses requiring licenses and / or permits from agencies or departments of New York state, Suffolk County, or local municipalities.

New York State Licenses or Permits

Some businesses require specific New York State Permits.  Examples of businesses that require a permit include auto repair shops, beauty shops, food establishments, real estate brokers, and day care centers. For assistance in identifying New York state permits, contact:
Business Permit Assistance Unit
Empire State Plaza
PO BOX 2062
Albany, NY 12220
(518) 474-8275 

Suffolk County Licenses or Permits

Certain occupations require licenses, such as appliance repair shops, contractors, electricians, plumbers, precious metals dealers and second hand dealers. For assistance or more information, contact:

Suffolk County Department of Labor, Licensing, & Consumer Affairs
Bldg. 17
William J. Lindsay County Complex
Hauppauge, NY 11788
(631) 853-4600

Before you open or relocate a business, visit the Department of Health Services - Business Resource Center to find out what you should know about the Department of Health approval process.

For sanitary requirements for operation of food stores, food storage warehouses, meat or poultry establishments, food serving or vending businesses, mobile food vehicles, and frozen dessert establishments, contact:

Suffolk County Department of Health Services Food Control Unit 
360 Yaphank Ave., Suite 2A
Yaphank, NY 11980
(631) 852-5999

Department of Health Services - Business Resource Center - Motels, Hotels, day camps, and other facilities of temporary residence, contact:

Suffolk County Dept. of Health Services Camp and Sanitation Unit
360 Yaphank Ave., Suite 2A
Yaphank, NY 11980
(631) 852-5900

All commercial and residential buildings must comply with county health codes. For more information, contact: Suffolk County Dept. of Health Services
Waste Water Management

360 Yaphank Ave., Suite 2A
Yaphank, NY 11980
(631) 852-5700

Vending, peddling or soliciting* (except selling junk or liquor) by veterans in unincorporated areas, contact:

Suffolk County Clerk
310 Center Drive
Riverhead, NY 11901-3392
(631) 852-2000

* Necessary requirements:

  1. Six-month proof of residency
  2. Original discharge or DD214.

Businesses Requiring Municipal Licenses Village licenses: There are 30 incorporated villages in Suffolk County. According to state law, each may require a permit. Contact the village clerk in each village in which you will be conducting business to determine if a permit is required. Town licenses: According to state law, each township may require permits. To determine if a permit is required, contact the town clerk of each town in which you will be conducting business.

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What You Need to Know About Taxes

Sales Tax

Businesses that buy merchandise and material for resale must apply for a resale certification to avoid paying sales tax on purchases from suppliers. In addition, a tax authorization must be obtained to collect sales tax from customers. For information on either, contact:

New York State Department of Taxation and Finance
State Office Building
Veterans Memorial Highway
Hauppauge, NY 11788

State Taxes

Depending on the nature of a business, it may be required to pay various taxes to New York state. Some more common state taxes are business taxes for incorporated or unincorporated businesses, personal income taxes, lottery tax, truck mileage tax, gasoline or diesel fuel tax, and miscellaneous taxes. For further assistance on state tax guidelines, contact:

New York State Department of Taxation and Finance
State Office Building
Veterans Memorial Highway
Hauppauge, NY 11788
For information : 1-800-CALLTAX
For tax forms : 1-800-462-8100
In Suffolk County : (631) 952-6248

Federal Taxes

All incorporated and unincorporated businesses must file federal tax returns. For further information and assistance, contact:

United States Internal Revenue Service
1180 Veterans Memorial Highway
Hauppauge, NY 11788
(631) 851-4726

Property Taxes

Property taxes apply only to businesses that own real property. Each town or village regulates its own assessments. For further information and assistance, contact the Town or Village Assessor in each individual town or village in which your business owns property. Click here for a list of Suffolk County towns and villages.

Tax Information for Businesses:

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What Employers Need to Know

Federal and state law requires that all businesses employing workers, including part-time workers, comply with all regulations involving the following:

Social Security Compliance
For more information, contact:
Social Security Administration Offices

740 Walt Whitman Road
Melville, NY 11747

75 Oak Street
Patchogue, NY 11772

95 E. Hoffman Avenue
Lindenhurst, NY 11757

518-b East Main Street
Riverhead, NY 11901

Workmen's Compensation & Disability Benefits

For more information, contact:

Workman's Compensation Board
455 Wheeler Road., Suite 100
Hauppauge, NY 11788
Phone (631) 952-6000 or 952-6300
Fax (631) 952-7966

Unemployment Insurance

For more information, contact:

New York State Department of Labor
Division of Employment
State Office Building
Veterans Memorial Highway
Hauppauge, NY 11788
(631) 952-6500

Labor Relations

For more information, contact:

Suffolk County Department of Labor
Building 77
North County Complex
Hauppauge, NY 11788
(631) 853-6500
website: Suffolk County Department of Labor

NYS Department of Labor
Division of Labor Standards
400 Oak Street, Suite 401
Garden City, N.Y. 11530
(516) 794-8195

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What Else You Must Comply With

Zoning and Variances

Local towns and villages have ordinances within their jurisdictions. Some of these ordinances define the procedures for obtaining permits for structural changes in existing buildings zoned for commercial and manufacturing uses, as well as in applying for variances.

Before any additions or structural renovations are made, it is advisable to submit the properly drawn plans for approval to the local municipal building department. The municipality can provide assistance in obtaining the required information.

Upon completion of renovation, a certificate of occupancy should be requested. Building permits and requests for vacancies in unincorporated areas are handled by the Building and Zoning Departments of the town.

Industrial Compliance

Laws require that industrial and manufacturing businesses comply with safety and health regulations. It is suggested that new business owners request an inspection of their premises prior to commencing business operations. For further information, contact:

United States Department of Labor Occupational Safety & Healthy Administration (OSHA)
990 Westbury Road
Westbury, NY 11590
(516) 334-3344

Where the operation of a manufacturing business produces industrial wastes and disposal, it is important to obtain a permit for this type of operation. For further information, contact:

Suffolk County Department of Health Services Office of Pollution Control
15 Horseblock Place
Farmingville, NY 11738
(631) 854-2501
Hazardous Material Storage & Waste Oil: (631) 854-2540

Waste Water Management
County Center, Room 5238
Riverhead, NY 11901
(631) 852-2100

Alarm Management Program of Suffolk (AMPS)

Law Enforcement personnel respond to thousands of false alarm calls yearly. These unnecessary responses result in an enormous burden in manpower and expense; which in turn reduces the time available to respond to real emergencies.

To help us serve you better, please ensure that your alarmed location is within the Suffolk County Police District prior to registering.

The Suffolk County Police Department responds to 911 calls within the Police District which includes the five westernmost townships in Suffolk County, except for a few village departments. Townships in the Police District are: Babylon; Brookhaven; Huntington; Islip; and Smithtown.

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Who Else Can Help You

If you are unsure where to call for answers to your specific question, call one of these first:

Suffolk County Department of Economic Development
100 Veterans Memorial Highway
Hauppauge, NY 11788
(631) 853-4800

New York State Empire State Development Corporation
150 Motor Parkway, Suite 311
Hauppauge, NY 11788
(631) 435-0717

For Federal Government Resources:

General Business Information & Consultation for help in developing a business plan, visit:

  • - offers help with website design, marketing, business plans, plus more.
  • - more help with grants and loans, marketing and start up information.
  • Ideavillage - The site posts information for free on products that have passed its initial screening process
  • InventNet - For those still in the process of trying to sell a patent or product idea
  • Inventor's Digest - For those still in the process of trying to sell a patent or product idea
  • Patent Cafe - For those still in the process of trying to sell a patent or product idea
  • http://NYLOVESSMALLBIZ.COM - NY State's new one-stop shop for small businesses looking to start or expand in New York State.

Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) -- A cooperative effort between the U.S. Small Business Administration and the State University of New York. It offers assistance with the preparation of business plans and technical assistance to existing and start-up businesses.

For more information, contact any of the following SBDC's:

  1. SUNY Stony Brook: (631) 632-9070;
    Field Offices at: Southampton: (631) 287-0059/283-6000 Ext. 280
    Brookhaven National Lab: (631) 344-2393

  2. SUNY Farmingdale SBDC: (631) 420-2765

Suffolk County Women's Business Enterprise Coalition Suffolk County Coalition of Minority Business Enterprises
c / o Affirmative Action / Minority Affairs
100 Veterans Memorial Highway
Hauppauge, NY 11788
(631) 853-4738

EAP (Entrepreneurial Assistance Program) - The Entrepreneurial Assistance Program (EAP) establishes Entrepreneurial Assistance Centers in local communities to provide instruction, training, technical assistance and support services to individuals who have recently started their own business or are interested in starting a business. The program's 24 EAP centers are strategically located throughout New York State.

SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives)
Sponsored by the U.S. Small Business Administration
For locations and phone #'s visit:

Long Island Better Business Bureau
266 Main Street
Farmingdale, NY 11735
(631) 420-0500

Financial Assistance
Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency
100 Veterans Memorial Highway
Hauppauge, NY 11788
(631) 853-4802

U.S. Small Business Administration
35 Pinelawn Road
Melville, NY 11747
(631) 454-0750

Community Development Corporation of Long Island
2100 Middle Country Road
Centereach, NY 11720
(631) 471-1215

Long Island Development Corporation
45 Seaman Ave.
Bethpage, NY 11714-3701
(516) 433-5000

Legal Assistance
Suffolk County Bar Association Referral Service
560 Wheeler Road
Hauppauge, NY 11788
(631) 234-5577

Training and Employment Assistance

Additional Resources Online

Suffolk County Department of Labor 

North County Complex, Bldg. 17
Veterans Memorial Highway
Hauppauge, NY 11788
(631) 853-6500

New York State Employment Office
State Office Building
Veterans Memorial Highway
Hauppauge, NY 11788
(631) 952-6500

Arbitration Disputes
American Arbitration Association
140 West 51st Street
New York, NY 10020
(212) 484-4000

Labor Practices, Collective Bargaining, Disputes & Unions

S. C. Department of Labor
North County Complex, Bldg.17
Veterans Memorial Hwy.
Hauppauge, NY 11788
(631) 853-6500

National Labor Relations Board
26 Federal Plaza
Room 3614, Region 2
New York, NY 11278
(212) 264-0300

NY State Labor Relations Board
1 Penn Plaza
New York, NY 10119
(212) 564-2377
Federal Mediation & Conciliation
1633 Broadway
New York, NY 10019
(212) 399-5038

US Department of Labor
Wage and Hour Division
1400 Old Country Road, Suite 410
Westbury, NY 11590-5119
(516) 338-1890, Ext. 231 Fax (516)338-8901

Discriminatory Practices
Suffolk County Human Rights Commission
H. Lee Dennison Building
Veterans Memorial Highway
Hauppauge, NY 11788
(631) 853-5480

NYS Division of Human Rights
State Office Building
Veterans Memorial Highway
Hauppauge, NY 11788
(631) 952-6434

Ombudsman Services
Suffolk County Department of Economic Development
100 Veterans Memorial Highway
Hauppauge, NY 11788
(631) 853-4800

NY Empire State Development
L.I. Regional Office
150 Motor Parkway, Suite 311
Hauppauge, NY 11788
(631) 435-0717

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How You Can Get Help Selling to Government Agencies

Suffolk County

Suffolk County Department of Public Works, Purchasing Division
360 Yaphank Avenue
Yaphank, NY 11980
Phone: (631) 852-5204
Fax: (631) 852-5221

Official Bid Legal Advertisements

Smithtown News
PO Box 805, Smithtown, NY 11787
(631) 265-2100

Smithtown Messenger
127 East Main Street, Smithtown, NY 11787
(631) 265-3500

Dodge Reports
1 (800) fwdodge/(518) 869-5374

Bid Reporter
400 Jericho Tpke, Jericho, NY 11753
(914) 472-1091

Suffolk County villages: Contact Village Clerk.
Suffolk County towns: Contact Town Clerk.
Suffolk County school districts: Contact individual School District. See blue pages in Suffolk County Phone Book.

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New York State

General Information on NY State Government Resources -

New York State Office of General Services
Standards and Purchase - Control Unit
Empire State Plaza
Albany, NY 112242
(518) 474-3650

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United States Government

General Information on the Federal Government

U.S. General Services Administration
Business Service Center
26 Federal Plaza
New York, NY 10278
(212) 264-1234

Small Business Administration
Government Contract Division
26 Federal Plaza, Room 3100
New York, NY 10278
(212) 264-7756

Defense Contract Management Area Operations (DCMAO)
Small Business Office
605 Stewart Avenue
Garden City, NY 11530
(516) 228-5722

Defense Contract Administration Services Region (DCASR)
201 Varick Street
New York, NY 10014
(212) 337-0348

For help in accessing government contracts:

Procurement Technical Assistance Program
c / o L.I. Development Corporation
255 Executive Drive, Suite 400
Plainview, NY 11803
(516) 349-7800

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Suffolk County Villages
Village of Amityville
21 Green Avenue
Amityville, NY 11701
(631) 957-3005
Village of Ocean Beach
PO Box 457
Ocean Beach, NY 11770
(631) 583-5940
Village of Lindenhurst
430 South Wellwood Avenue
Lindenhurst, NY 11757
(631) 957-7500
Village of Asharoken
1 Asharoken Avenue
Northport, NY 11768
(631) 261-7098
Village of Old Field
P.O. Box 2724
Old Field, NY 11733
(631) 941-9412
Village of Lloyd Harbor
32 Middle Hollow Road
Lloyd Harbor, NY 11743
(631) 549-8893
Village of Babylon
153 West Main Street
Babylon, NY 11702
(631) 669-1500
Village of Patchogue
14 Baker Street
Patchogue, NY 11772
(631) 475-4300
Village of Nissequogue
631 Moriches Road
St. James, NY 11780
(631) 862-7400
Village of Belle Terre
1 Cliff Road
Belle Terre, NY 11777
(631) 928-0020
Village of Poquott
14 Birchwood Avenue
Poquott, NY 11733
(631) 476-4043
Village of North Haven
355 Ferry Road
Sag Harbor, NY 11963
(631) 725-1378
Village of Bellport
28 Bellport Lane
Bellport, NY 11713
(631) 286-0327
Village of Port Jefferson
121 West Broadway
Port Jefferson, NY 11777
(631) 473-4724
Village of Quogue
PO Box 926
Quogue, NY 11959
(631) 653-4498
Village of the Branch
12 Oxford Lane, Box 725
Smithtown, NY 11787
(631) 265-3315
Village of Greenport
236 Third Street
Greenport, NY 11944
(631) 477-0248
Village of Sag Harbor
Main Street, P.O. Box 660
Sag Harbor, NY 11963
(631) 725-0222
Village of Brightwaters
40 Seneca Drive
Brightwaters, NY 11718
(631) 665-1280
Village of Head of the Harbor
500 North Country Road
St. James, NY 11780
(631) 584-5550
Village of Saltaire
PO Box 5551
Bay Shore, NY 11706
(631) 583-5566
Village of Dering Harbor
P.O. Box 3010
Shelter Island, NY 11965
(631) 749-0020
Village of Huntington Bay
P.O. Box 2184
Huntington, NY 11743
(631) 427-2843
Village of Shoreham
PO Box 389
Shoreham, NY 11786
(631) 821-0680
Village of East Hampton
86 Main Street
East Hampton, NY 11937
(631) 324-4150
Village of Islandia
1100 Old Nichols Road
Islandia, NY 11749
(631) 348-1133
Village of Southampton
23 Main Street
Southampton, NY 11968
(631) 283-0247
Village of Northport
224 Main Street
Northport, NY 11768
(631) 261-7502
Village of Lake Grove
980 Hawkins Avenue
Lake Grove, NY 11755
(631) 585-2000
Village of Westhampton Beach
Sunset Avenue
Westhampton Beach, NY 11978
(631) 288-1654

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Suffolk County Towns
Babylon Town Hall
200 East Sunrise Highway
Lindenhurst, NY 11757
(631) 957-3005
Riverhead Town Hall
210 Howell Avenue
Riverhead, NY 11901
(631) 727-3200
Brookhaven Town Hall
One Independence Hall
Farmingville, NY 11738
(631) 451-6300
Shelter Island
Shelter Island Town Hall
Shelter Island, NY 11964
(631) 749-1166
East Hampton
East Hampton Town Hall
15 Pantigo Road
East Hampton, NY 11937
(631) 324-4142
Smithtown Town Hall
99 West Main Street
Smithtown, NY 11787
(631) 360-7620
Huntington Town Hall
100 Main Street
Huntington, NY 11743
(631) 351-3026
Southampton Town Hall
116 Hampton Road
Southampton, NY 11968
(631) 287-5740
Islip Town Hall
655 Main Street
Islip, NY 11751
(631) 224-5490
Southold Town Hall
53095 Main Road
Southold, NY 11971
(631) 765-1800