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Does My Business Need a License to Sell Online?

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By Ephrat Livni, Esq. on December 14, 2015 5:59 AM

Not every business needs a license. You can open an online store with no license, depending on what you are selling, of course. If you are selling books or clothes or crafts made in the US, you will not need any special license.

But if you would normally need a license to sell a particular item, warns Entrepeneur -- say, food, medical devices, diet pills, or nutritional supplements -- selling online does not relieve you of your legal obligations.

How to Get Started

Even if you need no special license, you will need to do certain things for your online business, just as you would for any other. Register your business with the state and make sure you pay taxes if you do generate an income online.

Another thing to consider is your physical location. Your business is online but if your products are at home with you, check local zoning laws to see what limitations there are on running a business of a particular type out of your home.

Privacy Policies

Also, be sure to make yourself aware of online privacy principles, as each state has different requirements. For example Delaware just instituted new online privacy rules to supplement federal laws that are meant to protect children from inappropriate advertising.

Delaware's Online Privacy Protection Act mimics the federal law but extends further. Be aware that online privacy and data protection are important issues for any e-biz.

Selling Stuff Online

When you open a store, you have certain hours and rules and employment requirements to follow. An online business means a different set of concerns that will probably be a lot less obvious to you.

Before you get started, speak to a lawyer. Counsel can clear up any questions, as well as get you thinking about additional issues you may not have considered. Talking to an attorney in advance of any major moves can save you lots of trouble and money down the line.

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