• The State doesn't care whether or not you use your own kitchen, but your city might. Technically, all you need is to get a business license from the city -- an inexpensive formality in most cases, which just allows the city to regulate zoning and other legal issues. As a practical matter, unless you're doing something that might disturb the neighbors, create a lot of traffic, etc., nobody is going to quibble about just starting your business by going out and getting customers. There's no formal "process" you need to follow to start a business in the U.S. From a tax standpoint, you really should start keeping track of the business expenses and income separately from the first day: it's best to set up a separate checking account, etc. When tax time comes, you'll want to be able to write off the expenses against your income, and that gets pretty tricky if you haven't kept good records and separated the money. Finally, if you want to do business with some name other than your own (i.e. "Magic Foods Catering"), you should file a Fictitious Business Name statement with your county recorder. The bank will want to see that if you want to set up a checking account with that name so that your customers can give you checks with the business name instead of your personal name. Again, this is a simple formality.

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