Tennessee Business Facts
Tennessee is an export leader that sends over $32 billion worth of products throughout the globe in 2013. The state is home to a number of foreign-owned companies. The economy of Tennessee is made up of industry clusters in aerospace, automotive manufacturing, chemical production, health care, biotechnology, energy technology, agriculture, food production, and entertainment.
Major Companies Headquartered in Tennessee
Tennessee is the headquarters of many major companies including FedEx, HCA Healthcare, Community Health Systems, AutoZone, and Brookdale Senior Living.
Tennessee is a desirable home base to many major companies, because of several attractive factors. The Volunteer State has managed to maintain sound fiscal management and budgetary discipline, which allows Tennessee to make meaningful investments in public education, workforce development and international business reach.
Tennessee is an ideal startup environment for reasons such as no personal income tax on wages and salaries, being a right-to-work state and having the lowest state debt per capita in the country, per The Tax Foundation.
Tennessee also boasts the second lowest state and local taxes paid per capita in the U.S., per The Tax Foundation.
There are 3 basic options: a DBA, a Corporation or an LLC. Click here to learn more about business entities.
Choosing a business name is easier said than done – many legal and business problems can arise from picking the wrong name (you can always change it later but the less times you have to do that the better). In Step 3 we’ll show you how to search for the name in Tennessee, but we highly recommend you do the following before searching Tennessee state databases:
NOTE: Familiarize yourself with the Tennessee naming guidelines. LLC entity names need to contain the words Limited Liability Company or the abbreviation LLC, and certain words are restricted or prohibited.
Restrictions on Tennessee Business Name & Business Purpose
Each state has its own requirements for registering a business. Now that you’ve chosen a business structure and selected your business name, here are the requirements to register your business in Tennessee.
How to form an LLC in Tennessee
TIP: Speak to your tax advisor about this important issue because it adds complexity to your LLC most people would rather avoid.
How to Incorporate in Tennessee
Considerations when incorporating or forming an LLC in Tennessee
How to File a DBA in Tennessee
Sure, you could do all the steps above or you could spend 5-10 minutes on our order form and let us take care of it while you work on more important things.
Your EIN is like your Social Security Number for your company. It’s required for Corporations and LLC’s and optional for DBA’s (if you don’t have any employees, then it’s required). However, if you are a DBA and don’t obtain an EIN you will be forced to use your Social Security Number on many documents so it’s typically recommended you obtain the EIN to prevent identity theft.
TIP: We will obtain your EIN for you if you we form your company.
To keep business and personal expenses separate, you should open a separate account for your business. In addition, getting business credit cards is how you begin to build a company credit profile (corporation or LLC required) and can later qualify for larger loans and lines of credit. To open the account simply call your chosen bank and inquire on the steps to open a business bank account. Typically you’ll need a) your filed paperwork, b) your EIN and c) a company resolution authorizing your company to open the account (signed by the owners, members, officers or directors, etc.).
Top 5 Major Banks in Tennessee
Click here to view a list of our recommended banks in our Vendor Network.
TIP: Our business formation service includes a free banking resolution for your use.
Setup your Accounting and Record-keeping system and learn about the taxes your new company is responsible for paying.
Company documents generally are required to be kept for 3 years, including: a list of all owners and addresses, copies of all formation documents, financial statements, annual reports, amendments or changes to the company. All Tax and Corporate Filings should be kept for at least 3 years. View our “Accounting & Financial Management” section for help with setting up an accounting system and purchasing accounting software.
Now that you’ve registered your business name you need to obtain a business license for your company – this authorizes your company to do business in your city or county. Typically this also involves registering for state taxes and permits (the city may require them as part of the business licensing process).
TIP: We work with a company that can obtain and prepare business licenses and permits for you. Click here to learn more.
If you intend to hire yourself or others as a full or part-time employee of your company, then you may have to register with the appropriate State Agencies or obtain Workers Compensation Insurance or Unemployment Insurance (or both). View our “Employees & Payroll” section for help with hiring employees and processing payroll.
Review our list of recommended Payroll Providers in our Vendor Network.
There are many types of insurance for businesses but they are usually packaged as “General Business Insurance” or a “Business Owner’s Policy”. This can cover everything from product liability to company vehicles. A decent policy can run as little as $300/year and offers a great extra level of protection.
Prepare the business as if someone needed to take it over and run it for you. This means have a method to process orders, pay bills, pay employees, pay taxes, maintain your permits, etc. Basically, try to make the operational aspect of the business as automated and efficient as possible so you can concentrate on growing your business. View our “Manage Your Company” section for help with systemizing and automating your business.
Now that you’ve set-up the company for success, you need to get the word out. Create a marketing plan for your products and services that targets your ideal customer. View our “Marketing & Sales” section for help for more information.
DBA: Your Fictitious Business Name should be valid for 5 years (unless you change company name or other information listed on the FBN) at which point you’ll need to renew it with the county.
LLC: Tennessee corporations are required to file a Periodic Report with the Tennessee Secretary of State each year, due on or before the first day of the fourth month following the end of the taxable year, in addition to general taxation. The filing fee is $50 per member, with $300 being the minimum and $3,000 being the maximum. Information on your business’ taxes can be found here.
Corporation: Business in Tennessee should file a report annually with the Secretary of State of Tennessee each year, due on or before the first day of the fourth month following the end of the taxable year. The filing fee is $20 + a 2.29% surcharge if filing online.
Click here to view our MyCompanyWorks Premium™ service which can automate most or your ongoing compliance tasks.
Division of Business Services (for Corporation and LLC filings)
312 Rosa L. Parks Avenue, Snodgrass Tower, 6th Floor
Nashville, TN 37243
Tennessee Taxation Departments
Tennessee Labor and Employment Departments
Tennessee Startup Resources
1. Small Business Administration (SBA) Tennessee District Offices
2. SCORE Tennessee
3. Tennessee Legal Statutes
5. Tennessee SmartStart
6. Tennessee Angel Investors
7. Tennessee Business News
9. Tennessee Small Business Development Center
10. Sustainable Tennessee
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