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Developer
Posts: 1,269
Registered: ‎12-29-2010
My Device: PlayBook, Z10 LE, Dev Alpha C

Company name for sole propietorship (US based incorporation)

For US based businesses my understanding is that a sole propietorship corporation is created out of thin air just by you using your company name on your tax return to report business related income and expenses (individual and business expenses are co-mingled).  This entity doesn't shield the owner from personal liability for the business, but in the case of free apps with the typical  EULA, there's likely little to worry about for an individual.

 

Is it ok to just make up a company name in your vendor portal account for purposes of signing your apps, just for the sake of a little personal privacy (the suggested company name for individuals seems to be to use your full legal name)?

Developer
Posts: 6,541
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Re: Company name for sole propietorship (US based incorporation)

You're correct about Sole Proprietor vs something like LLC.  On your taxes, you're using your SSN vs a FEIN.  I would stick with your surname.  If you do a business name and your county/state/federal somehow finds out that you are operating a business that is not licensed, they may try to recoop fees that would normally be collected (just guessing).  As with anything like this, please seek out answers from a qualified tax person or CPA.

Developer
Posts: 6,473
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Re: Company name for sole propietorship (US based incorporation)

A few comments (noting that I'm Canadian, but by and large these things are very similar).

 

First, "sole proprietorship" and "corporation" are mutually exclusive.  I think you just meant "a sole proprietorship company", in which case what you describe is correct (again, in Canada).  Anyone can operate a business without registering a business name provided the business name is the same as their name.

 

If you want to promote yourself in any fashion other than with your own name, you generally would have to register the name.  This may cost a nominal fee, such as $50.  It's referred to variously, including with the acronym DBA (Doing Business As).  Actual limited liability corporations, of course, require a registration and it usually costs more than $50...

 

As for what you can do in the Vendor Portal, I have no idea.  I don't know which jurisdiction(s) would apply, and I haven't read any of the various agreements we have to agree to with an eye towards that sort of issue.

 

I do know that, technically, in Canada, you would be violating one or more laws if you were to "operate as a business" and use an unregistered name other than your own.


Peter Hansen -- (BB10 and dev-related blog posts at http://peterhansen.ca.)
Author of White Noise and Battery Guru for BB10 and for PlayBook | Get more from your battery!
Developer
Posts: 146
Registered: ‎03-27-2011
My Device: Blackberry Playbook
My Carrier: WiFi

Re: Company name for sole propietorship (US based incorporation)

Wish I could help, but as a Canadian there isn't much insight I can provide. I know up here (Alberta, Canada) it's as simple as visiting a registry and filling out a few forms.
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Developer
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Re: Company name for sole propietorship (US based incorporation)

When you want liability protection, you will need to "upgrade" to LLC.  Depending on which state you are in, the state will require a minimum fee/tax per year.  In California, it is about $800/year, plus any county fees.  Some states, like Viginia, the county tax rate is a percentage of your revenue after some threshold.

Developer
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Re: Company name for sole propietorship (US based incorporation)

 


peter9477 wrote:

 

First, "sole proprietorship" and "corporation" are mutually exclusive.  I think you just meant "a sole proprietorship company", 

 

I do know that, technically, in Canada, you would be violating one or more laws if you were to "operate as a business" and use an unregistered name other than your own.


Yep I mixed together the two terms (sole prop & corporation).  Thanks for responses.

 

 

 

Developer
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Re: Company name for sole propietorship (US based incorporation)

Also, I believe registering under a name other than your own requires documents to prove the existence of your company, so you'll need to get some if you want to register.
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Developer
Posts: 1,269
Registered: ‎12-29-2010
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Re: Company name for sole propietorship (US based incorporation)

 


jtegen wrote:

When you want liability protection, you will need to "upgrade" to LLC.  Depending on which state you are in, the state will require a minimum fee/tax per year.  In California, it is about $800/year, plus any county fees.  Some states, like Viginia, the county tax rate is a percentage of your revenue after some threshold.


 

And given the current condition of state budgets I wouldn't be surprised to see them be aggressive about this.  

 

In general it's going to be real interesting how much business killing red tape gets put  in place or cleared away for app economies.  Doing micro transactions in global markets with a web of tax laws is a non starter if you have to keep up with umpteen tax id forms and a maze of filing schedules.  RIM needs to shield indy devs from international red tape as much as they can (i.e. absorb the red tape at the vendor portal level rather than allow it to be replicated at the developer level for thousands of developers).  It's all good and well to talk up powerpoint slides about how big the global smartphone market is but if you make $1000 each from 20 different countries and each one of them forces you to "go find us a shrubbery" (Monty Python reference) it could end up making it  not worth it.

 

 

Developer
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Re: Company name for sole propietorship (US based incorporation)

@Brandon_Appetizer, I'm puzzled how one can prove one has a business (which requires registration) before one has registered said business...  Generally the registration documents are the first official ones any company ever has.


Peter Hansen -- (BB10 and dev-related blog posts at http://peterhansen.ca.)
Author of White Noise and Battery Guru for BB10 and for PlayBook | Get more from your battery!
Developer
Posts: 146
Registered: ‎03-27-2011
My Device: Blackberry Playbook
My Carrier: WiFi

Re: Company name for sole propietorship (US based incorporation)

Peter, I realized after I posted that my statement was ambiguous. I was referring to needing to provide proof to register for the App World.
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