Opening a business in Delaware

How do you open a business in Delaware?

Let us guide you through the state government requirements for operating a business in Delaware.

  1. First, you'll need a legal structure and name.

    Why is legal structure an important decision? Business structure impacts control, ownership, taxes and liability.

    • Sole proprietors do not have the same legal protections as a legal entity. Sole proprietors are personally liable for business debts, and do not need to file with the Division of Corporations.
    • There are a variety of different types of legal entities. Consult a qualified attorney, accountant, or other professional if you are not sure which structure to file. Legal entities file with the Division of Corporations.

    After determining what business structure you will have, choose a business name that's not already registered.

    • Sole proprietors, register your business name with the Prothonotary's Office for each county in which you plan to transact business.
    • Legal entities, head to the Division of Corporations to register your business name. Check name availability on their website.
  2. Next, register your business.

    Find out if you need a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN).

    Use One Stop to accomplish these important tasks online:

    • Obtain your Division of Revenue general business license.
    • If you will have employees:
      • File a report (UC-1 form) for calculating unemployment insurance liability.
      • Get Workers' Compensation Insurance (except in certain situations).
      • Register a withholding account to remit taxes for Delaware employees.
  3. Then, determine if you should get other State of Delaware licenses, certifications or registrations.

    To see if yours is one of the regulated industries that needs additional state licensing, certification or registration requirements, check the list of professions and industries that the State of Delaware regulates.

    You'll also need to find out if you need federal licenses, certifications or registrations.

    Consult the list of federally regulated industries and contact the appropriate federal agencies.

  4. Finally, obtain local licenses, certifications or registrations.

    Contact your county, city and/or town to find out about local requirements.

What else should I consider when operating a business in Delaware?

Learn how to set up your legal structure