There are no state licensing requirements for gift shop businesses themselves. Always check with your city and county government to determine the need for a local merchant license as well as any special zoning requirements. However, the kind of products being sold could be regulated at the state or federal level:
Food that is not pre-packaged:
Live plants and/or flowers:
Any liquor related items:
Additional information can be found from the Federal Trade Commission
To order their publications:
If your business will be using scanners or scales to weigh items being sold, the Missouri Weights and Measures Division at the Missouri Dept. of Agriculture must inspect and approve your equipment. For more information, contact Missouri Department of Agriculture, 573-751-5639
Anyone conducting business in the State of Missouri under a name other than their own legal name (e.g., John Doe), must register the business name with the Missouri Secretary of State. Missouri law allows businesses to operate under four forms or organization:
Each structure has its own advantages and disadvantages and there are many modifications and variations within these forms. The key to selection revolves around the concept of liability and taxation. You must decide which of these structures best suits your business. In choosing your business structure, consult with a qualified accountant and/or attorney who are familiar with your resources and objectives.
The Licenses and Registration Checklist is a guide to help you with the licensing and registration requirements for starting your new business.
You can download forms on the web at: www.sos.mo.gov/business/corporations/forms.asp
or request them from the Secretary of State's Office at (573) 751-3200.
Understanding the taxes that apply to your business and how to meet the legal requirements of those taxes is critical. Consultation with an accountant or attorney is advisable.
Tax considerations are essential during the formation of a new business and during its entire life. When a business is just starting out, it may have little or no income or assets and the choice of structure may not seriously affect its tax liability. However, as the business grows, the tax implications become more significant.
Choosing a particular structure does not necessarily determine how the business will be taxed. The table found in Starting a New Business in Missouri identifies the state and federal forms that must be filed for different business structures and compares the tax liabilities for the most common business structures.
Tax responsibility includes federal, state and local taxes. As a business owner you will be responsible for income taxes, payroll taxes, property tax and other miscellaneous taxes.
Businesses making retail sales must obtain a Missouri Retail Sales License from the Missouri Department of Revenue. A bond, based on projected monthly gross sales is posted at the time of application. An application form (Form 2643) can be obtained from the Dept. of Revenue on the web at dor.mo.gov/forms or by calling (800) 877-6881. Those businesses buying wholesale or operating solely as a wholesaler should complete a Form 149 Sales/Use Tax Exemption Certificate (see: www.dor.mo.gov/tax/business/sales/forms/149f.pdf ) and provide it to their supplier showing the sale is exempt from sales tax.
For more information on taxes and access to printable copies of the required forms visit: Doing Business in Missouri: Taxes.
Obtain a copy of Employer's Tax Guide from your local IRS office or call (800) 829-3676. "Circular E" explains federal tax withholding and Social Security tax requirements for employers as well as containing up-to-date withholding tables for you to use to determine how much federal income tax and Social Security tax is to be withheld from each employee's paycheck.
What is involved?
For more information on your responsibilities as an employer, please contact your local Missouri Career Center (formerly Job Service). To locate the nearest office, check the phone book or call 1-888-728-JOBS or visit www.missouricareersource.com.
For a complete discussion on hiring employees, your responsibilities, and access to the required forms, refer to: Doing Business in Missouri: Hiring Employees.
You may also find the following information helpful as you begin your business: