Choosing the right type of business entity is actually a fairly difficult decision. Every alternative has its upsides and downsides -- including both tax and management consequences that can be important to the business' success and to your potential personal liability if it fails.
Remember that an online business may have customers throughout the United States and, indeed, all over the world. Screw up and you and your business could be sued in hostile jurisdictions in which you'd find it inconvenient and expensive to litigate.
If you're serious about owning and running a small business, you can't afford NOT to locate and hire a lawyer to be your business' regular outside counsel. Let him or her advise you on whether and how to incorporate, and also help you avoid the many other legal pitfalls that afflict new businesses. You may think you can't afford such a lawyer. That's wrong: You can't afford NOT to have one, and a good one will more than pay for himself, many times over.
Avvo.com is a good resource for helping locate such a lawyer, or -- while that's not my own regular practice area -- I'd be glad to recommend someone in whom I have a great deal of confidence if you'd like.
I cannot agree more with the prior attorney comments. If you are serious about your business venture, get top flight people around you- a good tax/corporate attorney, a good tax accountant, etc. For example, do not even consider a DBA since that offer you no liability protection, while an LLC, S corporation, C corporation insulates you personally against business debt. The tax, accounting and practical considerations all need to be weighed in making this decision. So get good counsel BEFORE you do anything.
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Mr. Fromm is licensed to practice law throughout the state of PA with offices in Philadelphia and Montgomery Counties. He is authorized to handle IRS matters throughout the United States. His phone number is 215-735-2336 or his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org . For further tax advice check out his website at www.sjfpc.com . and his blog at >
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In addition to the above responses, you should be aware that running this type of site also brings added scrutiny to you and additional requiremetns to make sure you are in compliance with state and federal laws. Even deciding which state to incorporate in and from where to conduct your business may alter what you can and cannot say or post on the site. No one should start a business with a good one or two hour sit-down with a lawyer who has experience in the kind of business you want to engage in. That applies doubly for anyone whose business can be categorized as "adult." The money you spend up front will be significantly less than what it would cost you to deal with the legal issues down the road.