When you start a business in Buffalo, WY, you’ll find there are plenty of ways to write a business plan or prep for a meeting with your bank’s loan officer, but no matter what type of business you’re starting, there are concrete steps each business in Buffalo must follow. That’s why we’ve created this page.
Below, you’ll find a list of the tasks you must actually complete to ensure your business is compliant with all federal, state and local mandates, and this page will help make sure your business stays that way.
Starting a Business in Buffalo, WY Checklist
Once you’ve secured your start-up money and crafted your Buffalo business’ game plan, you know what you’ll be offering customers. Now it’s time to make your plan a reality. Follow the checklist below to make sure your business is taking the right steps:
Starting Your Business
- Form a Business Entity
If you’re business will consist of anything more than selling knitted scarves on Wednesday nights at the Buffalo Mainstreet Market, you’ll want to seriously consider starting an LLC or corporation for asset protection. These business entities are formed with the Wyoming Secretary of State and carry a filing fee of $100. There are businesses that offer filing services for a nominal fee, or you can simply do it yourself.
- Create LLC or Corporation Governing Documents
Once you’ve formed your Wyoming LLC or Wyoming corporation, you’ll find one of the organizational benefits of a business entity is that you can create rules for how they operate (LLCs use operating agreements, corporations use bylaws). These documents will help to give structure to your business. Your Wyoming business entity’s governing documents are not filed with any government agency, and they don’t need to be fancy. You can find free operating agreement or bylaw templates online with a simple search or write your own. At a minimum, these governing documents should explain who owns what percentage or share of the business and how losses and profits will be distributed. You can add rules and make amendments as your business grows.
- Obtain an Employer Identification Number
Commonly referred to as an EIN, FEIN, or Tax ID Number, this nine-digit number is basically your business’ social security number and will be required when paying your taxes. You can apply for an EIN online at the IRS’ website. The form you file is SS-4.
- Open a Business Bank Account
To open a bank account in your business’ name, different banks have different requirements. Typically, a bank will require your personal information, as well as a copy of your business’ formation documents, Tax ID Number, governing documents, and possibly a resolution stating that you are allowed to open a bank account on behalf of the business. The best advice is to call your prospective bank ahead of time to find out what they require, so you don’t waste any of your time.
- Banks in Buffalo
First Northern Bank of Wyoming
141 South Main Street
The Bank of Buffalo
106 Fort Street
First Interstate Bank
40 East Hart Street
99 South Main Street
Registering with the State
- Department of Revenue
Although Wyoming doesn’t have a corporate tax or a personal income tax, nearly all businesses (if you’re selling services, products, any tangible property) must register with the Wyoming Department of Revenue. To register, you must complete the Sales and Use Tax License Application. The form is only one page and asks basic questions about the type of business you’re operating. The application requires a $60 filing fee and can be mailed to:Wyoming Department of Revenue
Excise Tax Division
122 W. 25th Street, Herschler Bldg.
Cheyenne, Wyoming 82002-0110
- Workers’ Compensation and Unemployment Insurance
If you’ll be hiring any type of employee (even part-time workers) and your payroll will be more than $500 annually, your business must register for Unemployment Insurance and Workers’ Compensation with the Wyoming Department of Employment. You can register online on the Department of Workforce Services, or by mail/fax by completing the printable registration form. You register for both Workers’ comp and unemployment insurance on the same form. The form is free to file and can be completed before hiring any employees.
Specific Business Licenses and Permits
The State of Wyoming does not have a general business license that all businesses must obtain. Instead, certain types of businesses and businesses engaged in certain types of activities must acquire licenses and permits specific to their trade or activity. Here, you’ll find the types of businesses and activities requiring state licenses and permits by department:
The Wyoming Department of Agriculture oversees all businesses that work in the foods industry. All businesses (bakeries, restaurants, honey processors, day care providers, bed and breakfasts, etc.) that work with food or water for consumption in any way, need to register with the Department of Agriculture will need, at a minimum, to obtain a food service license. The license costs $100 for the first year, $50 for each year there after. Businesses operating in the following areas will need additional licensing: Bed and Breafasts; Eating Establishments; Commercial Feed Distributors; Food Warehouses; Dairy Farms; Grain Warehouses; Apiaries; Bakeries; Slaughterhouses, Businesses with a Swimming Pool or Spa; Grocery Stores; Nurseries; Livestock Sales; Mobile Food Retailers.
- Collections and Brokers
If your Buffalo business will be working as a collection agency, mortgage lender or broker, or as a pawnbroker, you’ll need to register with the Wyoming Department of Audit.
- Child Care
All businesses involved in child care must register with the Department of Family Services, which offers three different child care license types. Licenses will cost $50 annually.
- Liquor and Cigarette Sales
Any business engaged in the sale of liquor is required to register with the Department of Revenue and obtain a liquor license. There are eight different types of liquor licenses, and although fees vary depending on license type, liquor licenses aren’t cheap. Businesses selling tobacco products also need to register with the Department of Revenue.
If your business will be involved with transporting people, junkyard control, outdoor advertising, commercial vehicles, fuel sales, vehicle sales and/or disposal will need to register with the Wyoming Department of Transportation.
Businesses selling services or products dealing with outfitting, fish preserves, live bait, fishing derbies, taxidermy, fur or game birds, need to register with the Game and Fish Department.
- Electrical Contractors
Contractor licensing in Wyoming is not done by the state, except for electrical licensing. Electricians need to register and be licensed by the State Fire Marshall.
Learn more about Wyoming business licensing and permitting.
- Registering in the City of Buffalo, WY
The City of Buffalo does not have any local business licenses or taxes which businesses need to register for; however, Wyoming relies on the local government to license contractors, so in short, if you’ll be making money working on a house or commercial building, you’ll need a contractor’s license. All building contractors, plumbers, mechanical/HVAC, or tree trimmers, need a license from the City of Buffalo. Most of the licenses cost $75 annually and can be obtained by submitting their credentials and applications (which can be found on the City of Buffalo website).
- Registering with Johnson County
Businesses in Buffalo have no registration requirements with Johnson County. The county does impose an additional sales tax, however, when your register with the Department of Revenue that additional tax is taken into account at the state level.
For most businesses, starting a website is no longer an option—it’s necessary. Websites are a simple way for you to reach potential customers and clients through social media marketing and online advertising. Plus, it’s a simple way for customers to find your business and one more way to make a sale. But where do you start?
- Get a Domain
One of the first things your website needs is an address. These are called domain names. To get one, use a domain registration service like GoDaddy.com or NameCheap.com and perform a domain search to find a domain that’s right for your business. Once you find an available web address, you’ll be able to purchase it.
- Build Your Website
If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, try using a website service like WordPress. There you’ll be able to pick a theme, register a domain, and get to work on building your business’ website.
- Hire a Web Designer
If you’re not tech-savvy or don’t have time to build a website, you can hire a web designer like Bighorn Web. They’ll build whatever kind of site your business needs.
Once you’ve registered with the state, formed your business, gotten your EIN, and done everything else, you’re almost there. If you’re working from home, you’re ready to make your first sale, but if you’re operating a storefront in Buffalo, you’ve got a few logistics left: utilities.
Depending on where you live in or around Buffalo, your electricity will either be through Rocky Mountain Power (1-888-221-7070) or Powder River Energy Corp (1-800-442-3630).
Montana Dakota Utilities supplies all of the Buffalo area with natural gas. Contact them at 307-674-6466.
- Water and Sanitation
All garbage and water services are provided by the City of Buffalo. To set up an account, call (307) 684-5566
- Internet and Phones
Depending upon your needs and location, Buffalo has a variety of ISPs to choose from: Charter Communications, Century Link, ACT, Visionary Communications, Wyoming.com, and Collins Communications.
- Annual Reports
If you’ve formed an LLC or corporation in Wyoming, once a year, by the first day of anniversary month in which your formed your business entity, you’ll be required to file an annual report with the Wyoming Secretary of State. The annual reports cost $50 to file ($52 online). If you don’t file your annual report within 60 days of the deadline, your corporation or LLC may be administratively dissolved by the state.
- Annual Meetings
If you elected to form a corporation in Wyoming, you’ll need to hold annual shareholders’ meeting. These don’t need to be super fancy and they can take place at a bar, restaurant, coffee shop, anywhere, just so long as it is documented where and when they happened and what was decided at these meetings. Holding these meetings will help prove your corporation was accurately maintained should the corporation ever be sued and you wind up in court. LLCs are much looser in this regard and are not required to hold annual meetings.
Paying taxes is never fun, but it’s part of running a business, and fortunately, Wyoming doesn’t have a corporate tax or a personal income tax.
Paying sales tax to the state may occur monthly, quarterly, or annually. When remitting sales tax to the state on a monthly or quarterly basis, you must file Form 41 with the Wyoming Department of Revenue. When remitting sales tax to the state on an annual basis, you file Form 42 with the Department of Revenue.
For your federal tax return, depending on which entity you’ve formed, you’ll be required to file a particular form with the IRS.
LLC: LLC income and expenses are typically reported on Form 1040, Schedule C, E, or F, if there is only one LLC member. LLCs with more than one member file a partnership return, Form 1065. LLCs can be treated, tax-wise, as a corporation by filing Form 8832.
Corporation: Corporations complete their tax return by filing Form 1120 with the IRS.