Feds, states mull business registry

The General Services Administration is leading an intergovernmental project to create a single place on the Internet for businesses to access information on government registration and reporting requirements.

The site would reduce the paperwork burden when it comes to registering a new business, researching and registering company names, applying for an employer identification number and fulfilling other requirements.

The eventual goal is to have the business registry site provide links to the appropriate information and allow business owners to fill out forms online regardless of the "government level of responsibility," said Terri Hobson, a project manager in GSA's Office of Electronic Government.

GSA officials are in discussions with several states and federal agencies to create a "proof of concept" prototype system that they can demonstrate at the fall meeting of the National Association of State Chief Information Officers, Hobson said. NASCIO and the federal CIO Council's E-government Committee are co-sponsoring the pilot with GSA.

The prototype system would operate under the FirstGov for Employers (employers.gov) Web site.

Already, officials from the Internal Revenue Service, the Social Security Administration, the Labor Department, the Small Business Administration, the Commerce Department, the Treasury Department, the Environmental Protection Agency and the states of Illinois, New Jersey and Washington have expressed interest in participating in the business registry pilot, Hobson said.

The participants expect to iron out the pilot details during a July 11 meeting in Las Vegas.

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