Some clients may require confirmation that you operate as a business before you can start a contract. On Upwork, these include certain Enterprise contracts, and you may be asked to provide confirmation in advance of receiving a contract (e.g., when you submit a proposal), so you’re ‘Enterprise Ready’ when you do win a contract.

The good news is that as a freelancer on Upwork, you’re operating as a business, even if it’s only in a sole proprietor basis. Plus, there are benefits for establishing a business entity (see here for what’s right for you).

But freelancing on Upwork may not be enough to prove you are a business for every project.

Here are some ways you can show you have a business

  • Business license
  • Proof of status as a limited liability company (LLC), corporation, or other entity, such as articles of organization, certificate of incorporation, or online registration summary
  • Proof of registration with any tax, social security or other agency as an independent contractor, sole trader, private entrepreneur, or other self-employed individual
  • Proof of registration of a business name (dba), such as a fictitious business name statement, registration of trade name, or certificate of assumed name
  • Form or notice showing your U.S. Employer Identification Number (EIN) or international business tax number
  • Certificate of Insurance or other proof of liability insurance
  • Proof that you have unemployment or workers’ compensation insuranceInvoices to other clients within last 12 months
  • Business tax return (e.g. Schedule C from U.S. Form 1040)
  • Commercial office space lease
  • Coworking space membership or lease
  • Proof of payrolling yourself or hiring employees or freelancers for your business

Note: Your documents may be redacted at your discretion to remove sensitive information, but please leave enough details so that Upwork can still review the document.

Common ways to show you have a business, by country

Below is a list of commonly accepted business documents in countries with more specific guidance.

Country

Commonly accepted business documents

Australia

Canada

Denmark
(More on registry)

  • CVR-number (Central Business Registration Number)
  • Registration as a company, such as Sole Proprietorship (“Enkelmandsvirksomhed”), Partnership (“Interessentskab - I / S”), Entrepreneurial Limited Company (“Iværksætterselskab – IVS”), Limited Company (“Anpartsselskab - ApS”)

Finland
(More on registry)

  • Business license
  • Evidence of registration for tax purposes as a self-employed individual or company

France

Germany
(More on registry)

  • Steuernummer (tax # for non-employees)
  • Gewerbeanmeldung (registration for a business), such as sole proprietor (“Einzelunternehmen”) or limited liability company (“Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung (GmbH)”)

Netherlands
(More on registry)

  • One-man business (“eenmanszaak”) (obtain here)
  • A company, such as private company with limited liability (“besloten vennootschap”) or general partnership w/ 2 or more two or more business partner (“vennootschap onder firma”)

Norway
(More on registry)

  • Enkeltpersonforetak (sole proprietorship)
  • Aksjeselskap (limited company)
  • Other business registration

Poland
(More on registry)

  • Registration with CEIDG as an individual entrepreneur
  • Registration with KRS as a company (i. sp. z o.o., ii. S.A., iii. sp. J)

Portugal
(More on registry)

Provide a specific tax number to prove registration as:

  • Self-employed for social security
  • An Empresário em Nome Individual
  • A company, such as Private Single Partner Limited Liability (“Sociedade Unipessoal por Quotas”) or Private Limited Liability Companies (“Sociedade por Quotas, LDA”)

Spain
(More on registry)

  • Must register with the public Social Security within a specific regime for independent contractors called “RETA” (more)
  • Registration as a company, such as Sociedad limitada or SL (limited company), Sociedad Civil (Partnership), Sociedad Limitada/SL, or Sociedad de Responsabilidad Limitada/SRL (LLC)

Sweden
(More on registry)

  • F-tax certificate (Företagare skattebevis or F-skatt) (obtain here)
  • Registration as a business entity, such as sole trader (enskild firma), trading partnership or limited partnership (handelsbolag/kommanditbolag), limited company (aktiebolag), economic association/cooperative (ekonomisk förening)

U.K.
(More on registry)

  • Status as a self-employed sole trader with a Unique Tax Registration (UTR)
  • Registration as a private limited company (Companies House) or other entity

U.S.
(More on registry).

  • Articles of Incorporation (for corporations), Articles of Organizations (for limited liability companies)
  • Partnership or Operating Agreements, or Corporate By-Laws
  • Registration of a trade name with a state or local government
  • Confirmation of Employer Identification Number from the Internal Revenue Service (Form CP 575 letters)
  • The following tax filings (redacted at your discretion to remove sensitive information): Schedule C, Profit or Loss from Business, Form 1065 (Schedule K-1) 1120-S or 1120,or other tax filing to the Internal Revenue Service

Argentina

  • Proof of registration as a Montrotriuto
  • CUIT Number

Brazil

  • Proof of registration as Profissional Autônomos (self-employed workers); Microempreendedor Individual (MEI); Empresa Individual de Responsabilidade
  • Limitada; Registration number issued by CNPJ

Hong Kong

  • Proof of registration as a SEP with the Inland Revenue Department’s Business Registration Office
  • Certificate of incorporation issued by the Companies Registry

South Korea

  • Business ID Number

Frequently Asked Questions

I don’t have a contract yet, why are you asking me for documentation?

You may be asked to provide confirmation in advance of receiving a contract (e.g., when you submit a proposal), so you’re ‘Enterprise Ready’ when you do win a contract. This will let you get to work faster if you are hired for this or any contract that requires a compliance review. If you prefer, you can wait until you win the contract to complete the process, but it must be completed before you can start the project.

I feel uncomfortable sharing some of this information. Can I black out certain items?

Information that you share through the Upwork platform is protected by Upwork’s Privacy Policy. You can also black out any financial, tax or other information that you consider private so long as there is sufficient information for Upwork to review the document.

What is Upwork Enterprise’s Compliance services?

Some clients receive help from Upwork to determine whether to engage you as an independent contractor or as an employee of our staffing agency. For more about how this affects you as a freelancer, click here.

My country isn’t listed? What should I do?

If your country isn’t listed and you are asked to prove you are a business, your local legal, tax, or accounting professional can help you identify the necessary documentation.

Log in to get personalized help.