Skip directly to menu Skip directly to key industry menu Skip directly to subpage menu Skip directly to site content Skip directly to site footer
Oklahoma Department of Commerce

How to Start a Business

Starting a business is exciting. It can also be a bit overwhelming. We know you probably have many questions and we’re here to help you succeed.

Start-up Steps

These four steps will help you navigate the actions most businesses will need to complete to get started. For assistance, call our Business Customer Services team at 405-815-5218.

Business Name

Secure your idea for a business name by registering it. This isn’t required, but it will protect the use of that name in Oklahoma.

Register your business’s name by filing with the Secretary of State’s office.
Go to

Business Structure

Research and decide on the structure your business will operate under. Sole Proprietorships and Partnerships are the simplest, but offer the least protection to owners. Some structures like Limited Liability Companies and Corporations require registration but come with features that benefit some businesses.

Research business structures and file with the Secretary of State’s office if required.
Go to


All employers must obtain a Federal Employer Identification Number or EIN from the Internal Revenue Service.

Even if you aren’t planning on having any employees, some small business owners choose to obtain an EIN. One benefit for sole proprietors is that they can use their EIN instead of their Social Security Number for business paperwork. This can help protect against personal identity theft.

  1. If you will have employees, you must file for an EIN.
    File for a Federal Employer Identification Number with the Internal Revenue Service.
    Go to
  2. Employers must set up a withholding account for state income taxes through the Oklahoma Tax Commission.
    Set up an Oklahoma Tax Commission business account.
    Go to
  3. You will need to set up an account for employees’ unemployment taxes through the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission.
    Set up an account for unemployment taxes.
    Go to
  4. Obtain a workers’ compensation insurance policy through a private insurer.

Business Licenses

While there is no license required just to own or do business in the state of Oklahoma, many businesses, business owners and/or their employees, require specific licenses and permits to operate in the state. Some permits, like those for construction, are often issued by a city or other local governments.

  1. Sales tax permits are required for retailers, resellers, or others that sell tangible property on an ongoing basis.
    Obtain a sales tax permit from the Oklahoma Tax Commission if you will be a retailer or reseller.
    Go to
  2. Research license and permit requirements for your type of business. Call our Business Customer Services team at 405-815-5345 for guidance. You may also need to consult an attorney.
    Obtain required licenses or permits from the agencies or governments that issue them as well as information on regulations and other operating requirements.

Business people having a meeting at a restaurant

These four steps are a great place to start, but you may have questions that go beyond the basics. Our in-depth Start-up Guide covers the details of starting and operating a business in Oklahoma.

The information on this page is general guidance that applies to most, but not all businesses. Depending on your unique situation you may need to consult an attorney and/or accountant. For further assistance, call our Business Customer Services team at 405-815-5218.

Related Topics

Business Advice & Financing

In-depth training and assistance with things like writing a business plan, getting financing and HR practices are available to entrepreneurs and small businesses.

Learn More

Licensing Requirements

There is no general license required to start or own a business, but some businesses and occupations may require licenses, permits, or registrations.

Learn More

Business Incubators

Incubators help entrepreneurs with an array of business resources, services and professional advice.

Learn More

Women & Minority Business Certifications

Certification programs may benefit businesses that have traditionally faced extra barriers to market entry or participation.

Learn More


We'll be in touch.

We look forward to assisting you.
A specialist will be in contact with you soon.

Phone: 800-879-6552

Your Name*