working at home is illegal?

hello everyone.
i need help to figure out what i should do with letter i received from building department.
the letter says someone called building department i am running business on my semi basement.
i am only working as a designer. but i have some printing machine i got from my friend in the garage.
please help what i should do. i live in NY.

thank you so much for any helpful information.

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If you’re designing/printing as a hobby, you’re fine. If you have clients, you need to register your business name with the state, and make sure that your building can be zoned for a home-based business.

You really need to check with the various state departments concerned with running a small business—they have all the information you need.

In our town, at least, you can apply for what is called a “special use permit” if you want to do business out of your home. It is much less complicated to get the permit than it is to go through a zoning change. As long as you don’t put a sign up, or advertise, you may be able to get by with just calling the printing activity a hobby. The burden of proof would be on the city to prove that it is anything more than that.

thank you so much.

This is one case where you should ask for permission FIRST rather than asking for forgiveness later. As long as you don’t cause excessive traffic (customers, deliveries), put up commercial signs, or markedly change the exterior appearance of the lot due to the business (i.e. junk in the yard) you should be fine unless you are in a subdivision that bans home businesses outright.

It can be a pain to find the right person in the planning department to talk to about this, so show up in person, be persistent but nice, and have at least half a day to kill.

If you NEVER sell anything, then it is a hobby and they can’t do anything. But if you sell so much as one thing they could pursue it if they wanted to allocate their resources in such a poor way.

Always better to have the permits before anyone complains.

The State has an interest in tracking businesses to be sure that the proper taxes are being paid and to see that any chemicals that are being used are being stored and disposed of properly. My print shop is regularly inspected by the fire department. When I first started I thought that this was a pain but I have since decided that it is clearly to my advantage to have another set of eyes looking around and sharing safety tips with me. If you are going to run a business then do it right.

thanks to all.
everything was fine.
i only have computer and desk anyway.
but i did ask if working at home is ok.
person from building department said, it is ok to use 25% of space of home. but who really measure exactly? but it was good experience to know all.