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Business Resource Guide

Small Business is Good Business
Although not intended as a step-by-step guide to operating a business, the Polk County Business Assistance Guide will help direct you to information sources and agencies you must contact before you can open your doors for business. The growth of small and home-based businesses has initiated certain regulations that you must meet in conducting business from your home or within certain areas.

Many resources are available on these topics at public libraries, public and private agencies, and nonprofit associations that foster small business development, as well as on the Internet. Where possible, this guide provides contact information for these resources.

Polk County and its municipalities, Columbus, Tryon and Saluda, require certain procedures be met before opening a business. Once you have selected the legal form of your business (Proprietorship, Partnership or Corporation) and the nature of your business (Retail, Wholesale, Manufacturing, Service, Agriculture), then you are in a position to contact the various offices referred to in this resource guide.

I. Building Permits / Zoning
In the event that any new construction is involved in establishing your business, you must obtain a permit. Businesses located in the county should contact the Polk County Inspections Office. Zoning and sign ordinance information may also be obtained through this office. New businesses moving into existing buildings will require a permit for change of use. Home occupations will require a permit. The Polk County Planning Office can be of assistance for all of these procedures.

II. Business Privilege License
Polk County does not require a business license, nor does the town of Tryon. Columbus and Saluda do require a business license before commencing operations. Information about obtaining a license can be obtained at the town halls of Columbus and Saluda. Your business located in Polk County may be subject to property tax.

Occupational licenses may be required for certain businesses (hairdressers, construction trades-electricians, plumbers, etc.), while restaurants, stores handling food, lodgings, and others require a Health Department inspection.

A business license is also required by the state of North Carolina. Information about the State Privilege License can be obtained from the local office of the NC Dept. of Revenue. Furthermore, if the business is to be operated under an assumed name, you should register the business with the Polk County Register of Deeds.

III. Taxes
The proper handling of your taxes is vital to your business. The first major tax matter involved is reporting your income to the Federal Government. Accordingly, you should contact the local office of the IRS. The IRS office can also provide tax guidance information about the many aspects of business taxation.

If your business is a corporation, you will need to report your income to the state (corporate income tax).

Every retail operation must obtain a tax number from the NC Dept of Revenue and collect sales tax at the rate of 8% on gross dollar sales. This tax must be paid to the NC Dept of Revenue by the 15th of every month. Polk County and the towns levy personal and property taxes. Property taxes are paid annually on equipment, office furnishings, supplies and inventory.

Annually, Polk County requires a Business Personal Property listing form be completed and filed with the Tax Assessor’s office. This listing should include, for example, any business equipment, furniture, etc. owned by your business.

Lodging businesses are required to collect Occupancy Tax. Filing forms are available at the tourism office at the First Peak Visitors Center in Columbus.

IV. Employer Guidelines
Apply for an employer identification number at the NC Dept of Revenue and the IRS. Both offices will provide information about withholding employee wages and the IRS will provide information about Social Security procedures.

Every employer will need to contact the NC Employment Security Commission about the Unemployment Insurance.

Workmen’s Compensation Insurance can be obtained through your insurance agency.

V. Other Resources
Isothermal Community College 828-894-3092

Service Corp of Retired Executives (SCORE) 828-693-8702

JobLink/ESC 828-245-9841

Business Link North Carolina www.blnc.gov

Small Business Center Network 828-227-3504

VI. Government Agencies

Polk County
Town of Columbus www.columbusnc.com

Town Hall 828-894-8236

Town of Tryon www.tryon-nc.com

Town Hall 828-859-6655

Town of Saluda www.cityofsaludanc.com

Town Hall 828-749-2581

Polk County www.polknc.org

Health Department 828-894-8004

Building Inspections Office 828-894-3739

Tax Office 828-894-8954

Register of Deeds 828-859-8450

Isothermal Region

Isothermal Planning and Development 828-287-2281

North Carolina
NC Dept of Revenue

877-308-9103 www.dor.state.nc.us

Employment Security Office (Rutherford office)

139 E. Trade St, Forest City, NC 28043 828-245-9841

NC Dept of Labor

919-733-7166 www.nclabor.com

Small Business & Technology Development Center,

Asheville Office 828-251-6025 www.sbtdc.org

US Government
Internal Revenue Service, 151 Patton Ave, Asheville, NC 28801

828-271-4764

US Small Business Adm, NC District Office 704-344-6563

Your Partners in Success
Your Bank

Your Accountant

Your Insurance Agency

Property Insurance

Liability Insurance

Workman’s Compensation Insurance

Alternate Funding Sources
SBA 7(a) Loans:
$5M maximum. 85% guaranty for loans of $150,000 or less; 75% guaranty for loans of greater than $150,000. Term loan for expansion, renovation; new construction, purchase land or buildings, equipment, lease-hold improvements; working capital; seasonal line of credit; inventory. Must be a for profit business and meet SBA standards. Long term financing, fixed maturity, no balloons, no repayment penalty under 15 years. 800-827-5722 www.sba.gov

SBA Express Loan: Maximum loan of $350,000 which may be used for revolving lines of credit or for a term loan. Loans of $50,000 or less have interest rates of prime+ 6.5% and loans over $50,000 are prime+ 4.5%. Fast turnaround, streamlined process and easy to use line of credit. 800-827-5722 www.sba.gov

SBA Patriot Express Loan: Maximum loan of $500,000 with use of proceeds same as SBA Express. Small business must be owned by veteran or active duty military or spouse or widow. 800-827-5722 www.sba.gov

SBA Small Loan Advantage: Maximum loan of $250,000. Lender must be in Preferred Lender Program. 800-827-5722 www.sba.gov

Mountain BizWorks: Provides financing to help launch or expand a small business with loans up to $250,000. Their loans include flexible term loans and lines of credit. Mountain BizWorks provide funding when traditional bank are unavailable. The organization emphasizes cash-flow analysis, not just credit or collateral. www.mountainbizworks.org

USDA Rural Development: Provides financial and technical resources in rural areas in order to support community and economic development opportunities, as well as improve quality of life issues.

NC Rural Center Microenterprise Loan Program: works with individuals who have sound ideas for starting or expanding a small business but may not qualify for bank loans. The most popular product — an express loan available in amounts up to $5,000 —can get a loan decision within three business days. The loans are offered in combination with business planning and technical assistance. This loan program gives special emphasis to serving rural, low-income, female and minority borrowers. 919-250-4314 www.ncruralcenter.org

Advantage West’s Advantage Opportunity Loan: Revolving loan program www.advantagewest.com

Self Help Ventures Fund: Provides loans from $1000 to several million. Serves small to medium-sized businesses and non-profits. Partners with US SBA to offer some loan programs. 800-476-7428

Region C Development Corp Inc: a non-profit corporation partnering with the US Small Business Administration and private sector lenders to provide growing businesses with long-term, fixed-rate financing for major fixed assets, such as land and buildings. www.regionc.org

Area Resources
Advantage West

www.advantagewest.com 828-687-7234

Blue Ridge Entrepreneurial Council www.brecnc.com

Carolina Foothills Chamber of Commerce

www.carolinafoothillschamber.com 828-859-6236

First Peak Visitors Center/Polk County Tourism

www.discoverfirstpeak.com 828-894-2324

Polk County Economic Development Commission

www.ourpolk.polknc.org 828-894-2895

Tryon Downtown Development Association

www.downtownTryon.org