Utah builds biz license portal

Utah business portal

Utah officially unveiled today a business application that reduces registration time for a new business from weeks or months to about an hour.

Instead of registering with five state agencies and the Internal Revenue Service separately, businesses now can input their data once, to be delegated to the relevant entities. Through a single Web portal, businesses can apply for the state sales and use tax license, an employee income tax withholding number, an unemployment insurance employer identification number, a federal employer identification number and can submit articles of incorporation, among other needs.

New businesses in the three largest cities in Utah — Salt Lake City, Sandy City and Provo — can also start the local business licensing process through the new service.

"This has been a dream in this state probably going back 10 years, pre-Internet," said Amy Sawyer, general manager of Utah Interactive Inc., a subsidiary of NIC, Inc. "(There's) always been the desire among business regulating entities here that there be some sort of coherence and standardization in the business regulation process."

Utah Interactive, which maintains the state portal, helped build the service for nearly $100,000 with contributions from the five partner agencies, Sawyer said.

Government officials also wanted to "demystify" and streamline such services to attract new businesses to the state, she added. Unless individuals knew how to deal with the "labyrinth" of registering a new business, the process was cumbersome and time-consuming, Sawyer said.

The service can be used by about 80 percent to 90 percent of businesses, and the state plans to expand it so all can eventually submit electronically, she said. The state also plans to integrate the business registration processes of all the state's municipalities into the one-stop service.

The biggest challenge in creating the application has been hammering out agreements among the participating agencies and improving their business processes. The group planning the project included representatives from the Utah State Tax Commission, Labor Commission, Commerce Department, Department of Workforce Services, and Department of Environment Quality, along with support from the governor and chief information officer, Sawyer said.

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