Obtaining and Filing A Business Certificate In New York

business certificate

Obtaining and filing a business certificate in New York much less any other state is important when starting a business if you do not want to incorporate. Every county requires anyone operating a profit-seeking business, in a name other than their own, to acquire a business certificate. Each county clerk’s office files forms for particular cities. Check with your local county office before filling out the proper form.

Prior to going to the county clerk’s office, get hold of “form X-201 for sole proprietors only” or “form X-74 for two or more owners.” These forms are available at most stationary stores that sell business forms. You will need to buy three but you can go to directly to the county clerks office and get them there too which we recommend. One is filed with the clerk’s office, one certified copy is filed with the bank and one certified copy is to be displayed at your place of business. The form is fairly easy to fill out but use caution because it will be rejected if there are too many white-outs, cross-outs or other correction marks.

There are guidelines that you must follow when selecting a name, including conducting a name search. The name search is easy to do and does not require much time. The clerk’s office now have most this information online so go to their website or you can go to the actual office and conduct a search on there computer. After knowing your name is not taken, you can place it on the form. Know the following words can not be used: Associates, Group, Consultants, Limited, LTD, Inc., Corp., Corporation or Incorporated. Some other words are periodically added to the list so it is in your best interest to check this thoroughly when you go to the clerk’s office.

In New York County filing fees is one hundred dollars ($100) to file and ten dollars ($10) for each certified copy. Outside New York County the basic filing fee is twenty-five dollars ($25) in all other counties and four dollars ($4) for a certified copy. It is very important to know that they accept cash (exact change preferred), MasterCard, Visa, Amex and post office money orders. Any other form of payment not listed will be rejected, so please make sure to use one of the payment types specifically mentioned. You will need to get your forms notarized. Make sure the notary’s signature is in the right place, right below the acknowledgment at the bottom of the form. Know they will not accept the form if you use a Post Office Box address; the name of the business is a proper name (that is not your own); or your place of business is not located in the county in which you are filing.

To file a discontinuance of a business certificate there is no filing fee, however, to change the address costs another one hundred dollars ($100) plus ten dollars ($10) per certified copy. The form you need to amend your business certificate is form T-244; discontinuance of a general partnership is form T-176; and discontinuance of a sole proprietor is form T-341. If you want more detail you can consider going to New York State business express page and using their business wizard at the bottom of the page.


County Clerk Offices:

New York County Clerk | 60 Centre Street New York | (646) 386-5955

Kings County Clerk | 360 Adams Street Brooklyn NY 11201 | (347) 404-9772

Bronx County Clerk | 851 Grand Concourse Bronx NY 10451 | (718)-618-3305

Richmond County Clerk | 130 Stuyvesant Pl Staten Island 10301 | (718) 675-7700

Nassau County Clerk | 240 Old Country Road, Mineola, NY 11501 | (516) 571-3000

Queens County Clerk | 88-11 Sutphin Blvd. Jamaica | (718) 298-0600

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

Westchester County Clerk | 110 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., White Plains NY 10601 | (914) 995-3070


To establish a separate Tax ID for you company you will need an SS-4 Form for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) which you can get from your accountant. You can also apply online by going to IRS Service  click here.  They sometimes ask you to also fax the form, but check with them first. Please know you do not have to create a separate tax identification number but a lot of sole proprietors like to do it to keep personal and business expenses and income separate. Usually this is called a “doing business as” or DBA business.


Disclaimer: We are sharing general information you still should consult your attorney before making any final decision concerning anything we speak about on this website since information or procedures may have changed.