How to Start a Business in Nebraska:
Thanks to Nebraska's pro-business tax structure, reliable transportation and logistics system, and its wide variety of business resources, many entrepreneurs enjoy doing business in the Cornhusker State. In fact, the state's business climate was ranked 9th best in the country by Business Facilities magazine in 2019.
Form your business.
Review Nebraska formation options.
Nebraska offers four ways of forming your business. Review these closely and pick the one that fits your business best.
Name your business.
By law, your business name must be registered with the Nebraska Secretary of State (SOS) before you can start operating. Most entrepreneurs choose to reserve the business name until they've officially created a business plan and registered their business. The name reservation will be available for 120 days. Depending on your business structure, there is a filing fee included.
If you need help finding a business name, be sure to check out NameSnack's free business name generator.
Make a list of business name ideas and conduct a simple Google search to ensure that they don't clash with established businesses.
Once this is complete, you'll need to verify that your business name is available with the state. To check if your business name is already taken, you can do a business entity search on the Secretary of State (SOS) website.
If your ideal business name is available, you can file an Application for Reservation of Name with the Nebraska SOS.
Get an employer identification number.
Nearly all businesses will need to register for federal taxes by applying for an employer identification number.
Register your business in Nebraska.
After you've chosen your ideal business structure, you can register your business with the state. Whether you've chosen to start a corporation or LLC, the process for registering a business is the same for all structures. You can register your business using the Nebraska One-Stop Business Registration platform.
Visit the Nebraska One Stop Business Registration platform and scroll down to the option that reads "Are you interested in forming a new, for-profit Nebraska business?" Here, you'll need to click "enter" to proceed.
On the next page, choose the type of legal entity you're starting and answer the questions that appear.
Follow the online on-screen prompts and provide your personal and business details.
Make the final payment and submit.
Obtain necessary permits and licenses.
The state of Nebraska does not issue a statewide business license. However, most counties require businesses to obtain a local business license through their county offices. Therefore, the process and costs of obtaining a local business license will differ in each county.
In addition, to legally operate your business in Nebraska, you may need to acquire special regulatory licenses and permits from county or local offices. These various licenses cover areas such as health and safety, the environment, and expert services or professions. For example, if you want to open a coffee shop, you will need a food establishment permit.
To search through the different licenses and permits issued by the state, check the nebraska.gov website. For a more efficient search, look for any cities or counties where you will do business.
For businesses operating in special professions, you can get the basic licensing information by visiting the Professions & Occupations section of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) website.
For professions such as medicine, law, engineering, or finance, you’ll need to check the state regulatory board for your profession, e.g. the Nebraska Board of Engineers and Architects.
Register your business for taxes.
Register for sales tax.
In order to sell products in the state of Nebraska, you must register for a sales tax permit with the Department of Revenue (DOR). Also referred to as a reseller’s license, a vendor's license, or a resale certificate. While it's free to register for sales tax, you may have to pay other business registration fees.
Register for withholding tax.
If you plan on hiring employees, have an office, or conduct business in the state, you must register with the Department of Revenue for employer withholding tax. To do this, you'll need to apply for a tax withholding certificate before withholding income tax.
You can apply online for income withholding tax using the Nebraska Tax Application, Form 20.
Register for corporation income tax.
Corporation occupation tax is made up of two separate taxes; corporate income tax and/or franchise tax. This special tax applies to both corporations and S corporations. Depending on the type of business you own, you may have to pay for both taxes.
However, most businesses pay corporate income tax. If your business is subject to federal corporate income tax, you must file a Nebraska Corporation Income Tax Return, Form 1120N with the Department of Revenue.
You can register for Corporation Income Tax online or you can download the Nebraska Corporation Income Tax Return, Form 1120N and mail or fax it to the Nebraska Department of Revenue.
Hire employees and comply with state requirements.
Report newly hired employees to the state.
Once you've hired your new employees, you need to report them to the Nebraska State Directory of New Hires. Federal and State law requires all employers to report newly hired and re-hired employees within 20 days of employment. This process should be repeated every time you hire a new employee, as well as when you re-hire an employee who hasn't worked at your business in 60 consecutive days.
Get workers' compensation insurance.
A business owner that hires one or more employees, full or part-time, is required to carry workers' compensation insurance. However, there may be some exemptions. Contact the State of Nebraska Workers' Compensation Court for more information about exemptions and compliance.
Display mandatory state workplace posters.
The Nebraska Department of Labor mandates that all businesses must display workplace posters that highlight important employee information about unemployment law, wages, and job safety law, among others.
Mandatory State Workplace Posters:
- Unemployment Insurance Advisement of Benefit Rights.
- Nebraska Minimum Wage (2016).
- Nebraska's Federal All-In-One Poster.
- 3-In-One Labor Poster.
- Discrimination in Employment, Housing, and Public Accommodations is Prohibited by State Law.
Nebraska Business Types:
1. Sole Proprietorship.
A sole proprietorship is a business that is owned and managed by one individual, with no legal difference between the owner and business. The state of Nebraska does not require sole proprietorships to file any official documents. However, business owners are still subject to tax obligations.
A partnership is a legal agreement between two or more individuals. Depending on the partnership, the owners may share management responsibilities and profits. To legally form your partnership in Nebraska, you'll need to compete and file organization documents.
It's important to note that General Partnerships (GP) do not require any formal filing with the state. Limited Partnerships, however, are required to complete and file the Certificate of Domestic/Foreign Limited Partnership document with the Secretary of State. There is a filing fee of $200.00 + $5.00 per page.
3. Limited Liability Company (LLC).
A Limited Liability Company is a legal structure whereby the owner/s of a company are not personally liable for the business debts or liabilities. You can register your LLC by completing and filing the Certificate of Organization with the Secretary of State. There is a filing fee of $100.00 + $5.00 per page.
A corporation is seen as a separate entity from its owners and treated so by law. The business is led by a group of officers known as the board of directors. You can register your LLC by completing and filing the Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State. There is a filing fee of $10.00 + $5.00 per page.
Nebraska Registration and Business Fees:
$10.00–$25.00 + $5.00 /page.
Certificate of Organization
$100.00 + $5.00 /page.
Articles of Incorporation
$10.00 + $5.00 /page.
Certificate of Domestic Limited Partnership
$200.00 + $5.00 /page.
Statement of Qualification
$200.00 + $5.00 /page.
How much does it cost to register a business in Nebraska?
It costs between $25.00 and $200.00 to register a business in Nebraska.
What permits do I need to start a business in Nebraska?
The permits you need to start a business will heavily depend on the nature and location of your company. However, almost all businesses are required to obtain a sales tax permit. You can apply for a sales tax permit from the Nebraska Department of Revenue.
Is Nebraska a good place to start a business?
Yes. Nebraska offers a young and growing workforce, strong transportation systems, and a pro-business tax structure. The state was also named the 9th best business climate in the country by Business Facilities magazine.
How do I form an LLC in Nebraska?
- Name your LLC.
- Choose a registered agent.
- File the Certificate of Organization.
- Complete the publication requirements.
- Create an operating agreement.
- Obtain an EIN.
How do I get a sales permit in Nebraska?
You can register a trade name with the Nebraska Secretary of State.