Minimum legal age for business

anushahanna used Ask the Experts™
Is there a minimum age limit for owning a business in usa?
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Think it's just 18, being a legal adult?
Unfortunately no, Contractors go bust and reopen under kids name.
Child labor laws in California state that (almost) all minors under 18 must have a work permit issued by their school.  Exceptions are:
  - Employed by family in agriculture.
  - Minors who are self-employed.

In California, the owner of a sole proprietorship is obligated only to pay personal income tax, not business tax.

If you are not using a fictitious name, you don't need paperwork with your local authorities for that.

If you are single, under 65, and not filing as a dependent, you must file personal income tax for income over 14,622.  If you're filing as a dependent, you still must file if your income is more than the amount of the standard deduction allowed for you as a dependent.  See here.

So far, I'm not seeing any minimum age yet.  The only hurdle is with banking.  If you are a cash business, then no worries, except your bookkeeping and income taxes.  Some banks may not want to open an account for someone who is not legally able to sign contracts (at age 18).

Strangely, in certain documents, the U.S. government will recognize legal signature of immigrants starting at age 14.
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I had a cool-aid stand when I was eight.  Registered to my name and completely legit.
Nobody ever hastled me for being too young.

I did have a couple of people who tried to make trouble like calling cops, etc.  I just comped the cops some cool-aid and donuts (kept just for that purpose) and the troublemaker went away - without cool-aid or donuts.
Tiras25, you are a fine example of American business acumen.  And the stereotype of bribing cops with much browbeating could they do when faced with fluttering eyelashes and a chocolate-covered with sprinkles?
I know kids who started mowing lawns when they were 12 and who had set up a small business.  You cannot be legally bound to a contract before you are 18 so it limits the number of things you can do as a business owner.


Thanks for the helpful info.

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