Registering your business is not optional whereas certification is optional. When you register your business, you are establishing your business presence in the eyes of local and State governance. Certification, on the other hand, is a process you go through in order to qualify your business to various institutions. There are many types of business certification. On this website, we only cover Navajo Preference Certification.
If you’re setting up or thinking about a brand new business, you must first decide on the type of business to start. This decision determines how much you pay in taxes, the amount of paperwork you will manage annually, and the personal liability you face. The structure of your business – a Limited Liability Company, a C-Corp or S-Corp, a sole proprietorship, or Partnership – depends on the nature of your business and your vision. Generally, a sole-proprietorship is the most simple and most common way to operate a small business. Visit the Business Structures page to learn more about the differences, pros, and cons of different business identities.
No, legal counsel is not a requirement to complete the documents for registration or for Navajo Preference certification. If you have questions about completing the forms, you can get advice from legal council or your local RBDO. Similarly, an accountant is not required to file your tax forms on the Navajo Nation.
The information on this website was researched by Catapult Design, a Navajo-led non-profit organization, with input from Western RBDO. We created this resource because we hoped that access to this information would help address common questions about starting a business on the Navajo Nation and eventually lead to more Navajo-owned businesses operating on the reservation. We will continue to edit and expand on Build Navajo. If you would like to keep up-to-date on the site or have a question to submit, please use the form in the footer at the bottom of this page.
The forms are the same regardless of race. However, eligibility for Navajo Preference Certification is limited to Navajo owned companies. Similarly, a registered agent with an address on the Navajo Nation is required to register any business on the Navajo Nation.