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Hi folks, I've enjoyed catching up on this board over the last few days. Thanks for all the sharing of knowledge. I've learned a lot.

I'm in the process of getting my business off the ground. I'm an artist/craftsperson/artisan and having done a few commissioned projects for friends and acquaintances I'm getting ready to sell to the wider public, mainly via a web site and via vending at least one large music/arts festival (starting next year on the festival).

So I have my NY state tax ID# and my domain name set up and have marked my calendar for filing SE tax and sales tax returns and am learning ever more about this side of things.

Here's my problem. I think that I'd like to open a separate personal checking account to use for my business. I'm a small potatoes sole proprietor and I think technically I don't even need to have a separate account, so why should I have to have a business account with its related fees? (Please correct me if my thinking is wrong here.)

Thing is, my legal name is my married name, and professionally I am known by (and want to continue to be known by) my "maiden" name. My Certificate of Authority to Collect Sales Tax has my married name and also the name I've chosen for my business on it. I just renewed my driver's license and that also now has my married name on it. Will I have a problem using my "maiden" name (let's call it my professional name)?

I remember when we were getting our marriage license, the paperwork said that you can use other names as long as you're not trying to defraud. That made it easier to put hubby's name on the form -- I hadn't made my final decision about my name when were were at city hall because I didn't realize I'd be forced to choose right then. I was also influenced by -- this is going to sound dumb -- having just seen that Marilyn Monroe's drivers license had the name Norma Jean DiMaggio on it when she was married to the Yankee Clipper. Obviously having that as her legal name didn't stop the world from knowing her as Marilyn Monroe. (So -- when the studios wrote her checks did they make them out to Norma Jean DiMaggio or Marilyn Monroe?)

And at the time I hadn't found any good information about how changing your legal name affects you in the real world if you want to retain your own name professionally. Boy, did I learn the hard way! (At my old job I had to change things with payroll so my tax documents would jibe with social security, and so then later my employer presented me with a nice Tiffany's award with my married name engraved on it... etc.)

So obviously I'm not trying to defraud, I just want to use hubby's name socially and my own family name professionally.

After writing all this I decided to look at the marriage license stuff again. It's here if you scroll down to "surname options:"

http://www.health.state.ny.us/nysdoh/consumer/vr/married.htm

Now, reading that, it seems like I could just open an account with my professional name, use that name to sign checks, etc. Can that be? Will I have problems with the IRS because my social security # is in my married name? Should I have used my professional name on my tax ID application?

Ugh, it's so confusing...

I should add, I suppose I could register my professional name as a trade/DBA name. But on a personal level I don't want to do that... I'm not a brand or an entity, I'm a person...

; )

Thanks for any help!
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