At Coleman Legal Group, LLC we understand that small business need proper legal guidance in order to set up a successful business and thrive in the long run. We are equipped and experienced to help business owners starting a new venture, as well as existing small to medium sized business with ongoing legal issues.
Coleman Legal Group, LLC’s Business Law Attorneys Can Assist You With The Following:
We frequently help new and established business owners with the following:
Give us a call at 770-609-1247 to arrange a confidential consultation with one of our attorneys.
Georgia Areas We Serve
Coleman Legal Group, LLC handles cases in the following cities and communities: Atlanta, Alpharetta, Roswell, Johns Creek, Milton, Cumming, Marietta, Sandy Springs, Woodstock, Kennesaw, Gainseville, Norcross, Lawrenceville, Midtown, Inman Park, Duluth, Buckhead, Dunwoody, Vinings and Smyrna.
Our attorneys frequently handle cases for clients residing in the following counties: Fulton, Gwinnett, Forsyth, Cobb, DeKalb, Henry, Cherokee, Douglas, Carroll, Coweta, Paulding, Bartow, Hall, Barrow, Walton, Newton, Rockdale, Henry, Spalding, Fayette and Clayton.
Coleman Legal Group, LLC’s Georgia lawyers practice in the areas of Business Law, Divorce, Family Law, Immigration and Bankruptcy. We have two convenient offices located at:
Alpharetta Georgia Office
5755 North Point Parkway
Alpharetta, GA 30022
Atlanta Georgia Office
659 Auburn Avenue Northeast
Atlanta, GA 30312
Copyright © 2014 | Coleman Legal Group, LLC | All Rights Reserved. Coleman Legal Group, LLC • 5755 North Point Parkway, Suite 52 • Alpharetta, GA 30022 • 770-609-1247 DISCLAIMER: The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.
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Starting a Business has many legal processes that any entrepreneur or individual starting a business will need to consider even prior to starting the new endeavor. The legal processes involved in starting a business can determine its success in the future. If an entrepreneur lacks the proper legal insight and documents then the business can be subjected to failure before the initial start of the business. If you intend to start a business you should definitely consult with an attorney or other business advisor professional to ensure that your business has a stable foundation for growth and development. Make a Business Plan: One of the first steps to developing a new operation is to create a plan which will outline for 3-5 years how you intend for the business to develop and grow. A business plan should include an executive summary, company description, market analysis, business management/structure, outline of products and product/ service lifecycle, marketing and sales, funding request, financial projections, and appendix. Writing this plan can be done by you; however, you will need to consult with an attorney and other financial professionals in order to help support your projections to obtain particular requests. Again it is important to obtain appropriate legal and accounting advice, assistance, and training. One of the most important steps is to hire either an attorney or financial advisor with business law experience. These professionals are able to assist in the starting the operations and establishing management, obtaining loans and grants, and contracting agreements and arrangements. Business Location and Financing: Even selecting a location for your operation may have legal components that may need to be taken into consideration. One must determine if the demographics of the area, competition in the area, and taxation range of the area will be appropriate for their business when choosing a location. It is important to talk to an attorney with business experience to determine if there are zoning regulations, hidden cost, taxes, and government economic incentives. Searching for a location may also require financing the business to obtain a business location. There are multiple ways to finance a business and an attorney or legal advisor can assist in determining which type of financial loan or borrowing program is right for your particular aims outlined in your business plan. Some financial options for small businesses include general small business loans, microloan programs, real estate and equipment loans / CDC / 504, or disaster loans. Legal Structure / Taxes: You will also need to determine the legal structure of your business as it will determine your federal and state tax obligations. An attorney or financial planner may assist you in determining which type of business entity you should pursue such as sole proprietorship, partnership, and or LLC. Your selection of type of business may in fact alter the IRS collection of federal and state taxes on your business or corporation. Once identifying which type of business structure you will be pursuing it is important to obtain a tax identification number and register for local and state taxes. Registered Business Name: You will also need to register your business under a particular name if operating under a name different then the owners name or an incorporation of the owners name and title. Business names other than just a simple name are also known as DBA’s or “Doing...read more
So you want to start your own company and the first step you need to take is deciding which type of business entity you would like it to be. One of the most powerful entities is the LLC, which has many benefits and advantages. Read on to see if setting up an LLC would be the right decision for your business. Setting up an LLC can protect your personal assets, reduce your taxes and save you some time. The LLC structure is relatively new and combines aspects of the corporation entity with that of a sole proprietorship or partnership, its primary advantage being that it affords its members the personal liability protection of a corporation without all of the formalities of running one. Additionally, LLCs also have the flexibility to be taxed as a corporation or “pass-through entity,” similar to a sole proprietorship or general partnership. Many people consider the liability and asset protection to be one of the LLC’s greatest benefits, as it is viewed as a legally distinct entity from its owners/members. In order to understand the benefits of this, consider that as a sole proprietor, you and your business are legally inseparable. This means that your company’s debts are your own and your property and assets could all be taken from you if your business is involved in a lawsuit or bankruptcy. A general partnership presents even greater risks in this regard since both partners are on the hook for the business, even if it was one partner’s bad decision that led to the damages. By contrast, if your LLC business hits hard times, you are not personally responsible. There are limits to this protection, however; you and other LLC members could be liable for the debts of an LLC if: – You personally guarantee a debt – You intermingle your personal funds with LLC funds – Your LLC has minimal capitalization and minimal insurance – Your LLC fails to pay state taxes or otherwise violates state law LLCs are also the most flexible business entity when it comes to taxes since it is by default recognized as a “pass-through” tax entity by the IRS. This means that it “passes” income, deductions, losses, gains and taxes credits directly through to you and thus you will pay taxes at your individual rate. Additionally, if you actively participate in running your LLC, you are allowed to deduct operating losses against your regular income. Another advantage of running an LLC is that ownership interests may generally be sold to third parties without disrupting operation, unlike in a proprietorship or general partnership. For example, if you one day plan on passing the family business down to another family member, this would be easier done by converting your proprietorship to an LLC. Legally speaking, a proprietorship is legally bound to you in such a way that if you die, the business dies as well, and others will have a very difficult time inheriting your life’s work. Other benefits of an LLC include that it has no ownership restrictions, it provides living trust flexibility, it makes it easier to raise capital (through selling membership interests or creating new classes of membership interests), and it also offers greater credibility when dealing with other companies as well as banks and potential partners. Share this:EmailPrintFacebookGoogleLinkedInTwitterPinterestMoreRedditPocketTumblrUpdated:...read more
What is a Business Plan? Writing a business plan is an important part of ensuring you will be running a successful, lucrative business for years to come. Most business plans are comprised of several key elements, although it can depend on the use and audience. The most important thing to remember is to continually update your plan to reflect the state of your business. Business plans are not only important for new businesses but are key tools for growth and success throughout the lifecycle of a company. Your business plan will ultimately outline your long-term and short-term goals as well as your sales targets and expense budgets through several common sections, but your language, format and formality level will reflect which audience you are trying to appeal to. Thus, with length, detail and presentation being variable, here are some common elements required to build a successful business plan: – Executive Summary: this is effectively a snapshot of your business plan as a whole and touches upon most aspects of the company. It should be compelling and intriguing, but also just a quick overview on the main points. – Company Overview: should provide information on what you do, why you’re different, and what markets you serve. This section is usually omitted from internal plans. – Product/Service Information: What is it you will be selling or providing and how does it stand out from what is already on the market? How will it benefit your consumers and what is the lifecycle of the product or service? – Marketing Plan: What is your sales/marketing strategy? – Major Company Milestones: Where do you see your company going and when? How do you plan on getting there? – Organization and Management: Money flows to people and not ideas, so make sure to emphasize the team members and their experience and credentials – how will they make the business grow and what expertise will they add to the operation? – Financial Plan: Investors want to know exactly where their money will be, what it will be used for, and when they will get it back and make a profit. Provide projections to supplement your plans and crunch all the numbers meticulously to prevent misunderstanding and avoid ambiguity. Some common plan types include: – One-page Plan: this type of plan is quick, concise and to the point. It serves two purposes: to introduce your business to outside investors and/or outline the basics of early stage companies that are still unsure of the specifics of their operations. More detail and refinement can be added as the company becomes more defined, but one page plans are usually useful tools for outlining the entire concept of a company at a glance. Often times, these plans are the initial document issued to investors to ‘hook’ them in and should thus be efficient and effective in their overall presentation. – Internal Plan: an internal plan is useful to companies because it can dispense with formality and focus on important points for company team members. It should address business strategy, milestones, marketing, plans, budgets, and forecasts and should omit any information on the company history and the team that would be surplus. – External Plan: this is considered the “standard” plan and its main objective is to convince investors to fund the...read more
Income Taxes: All businesses are required to pay state and federal income taxes. Specific requirements vary based on the legal form of the business: – Sole Proprietorships report revenue and expenses from business activities on the Schedule C and include them with the Form 1040 individual tax return. – Partnerships require an information return on Form 1065; since partnerships are not taxable entities, the business’s income is reported on the partners’ individual returns and taxed at their individual rates. – Corporations must file a separate return. “C” Corporations use Form 1120 or 1120-A and “S” Corporations use Form 1120-S. The “S” Corporation does not pay taxes; income of the corporation is reported on the individual returns of the shareholders in proportion to their ownership share and taxed at their individual rates. Employment taxes: Businesses with employees must withhold state and federal employee taxes and pay employer taxes. Both must be deposited (usually monthly or quarterly) in a federal reserve bank. Use pre-printed coupons bearing the employer name and EIN. Quarterly 941 returns must also be filed. An approximate total of employer tax cost is 11.15 percent of gross payroll, which includes a 7.65 percent Social Security cost as well as a 2.7 percent SUTA and a .008 FUTA. Wages and withholdings should be reported on Form W-2. Businesses who utilize independent contractors earning over $600 a year must report the earnings on Form 1099. For more information you should contact the Georgia Department of Revenue, Income Tax Division, 404-417-2311. Sales Tax: Business that sell or rent tangible items must comply with Georgia sales and use tax regulations. Contact the Georgia Department of Revenue Taxpayer Services Division at 404-417-2400. Property Tax: Property taxes are a significant planning consideration for businesses that will require a lot of investment into inventory, property, or equipment. Businesses operating in Georgia are subject to an ad valorem property tax on real property, equipment and inventory owned by the taxpayer on January 1 of each year. Local county or city officials determine the value of the property and the millage rate used to determine tax value. Share this:EmailPrintFacebookGoogleLinkedInTwitterPinterestMoreRedditPocketTumblrUpdated: Friday, March 7,...read more
Deciding on the legal form of business you want is an important part of setting up a business that will thrive. Your decision should be based on issues of liability exposure, taxes, future expansion plans and the number of owners involved. The legal form you choose will affect the future of your business in a myriad of ways, so consulting an attorney, CPA, or financial consultant is an important step in the decision making process. Below is a summary of some of the most common types of legal forms and what they mean: Sole Proprietorship: This is the easiest type of business to form, and the individual will start the business in his or her own name. There is no distinction between personal and business activities. Partnership: This will entail a relationship between two or more people who join to carry on a trade or business. Each person will contribute money, property, labor, or skill and expects to share in the profits and/or losses of the business. It is strongly recommended (but not required) to form a formal, written partnership. Corporations: There are several basic steps to creating a corporation: – Reserve the corporate name – Once you receive a written notice, you have 90 days to complete the incorporation – File the articles of incorporation – Complete the transmittal form – Send articles, transmittal, and check to the Secretary of State’s Office – Publish intent to incorporate in the county’s official paper – Hold organizational meeting o Adopt by-laws o Elect directors o Elect officers o Issue stock There are several “corporate kits” you can use to help you form a corporation, but legal counsel is always recommended. In order to register your business as a corporation, you must contact the Georgia Secretary of State, Corporations Division, at 404-656-2817. Corporations are subject to an annual registration with the Secretary of State which costs a small fee and is required by April 1 each year. To form an “S” Corporation, you must file IRS Form 2553 within 75 days of incorporation. Limited Liability Company (LLC): This legal form of business combines elements of a “C” corporation and a partnership. Share this:EmailPrintFacebookGoogleLinkedInTwitterPinterestMoreRedditPocketTumblrUpdated: Friday, March 7,...read more
Before you start: – Select the legal form of the business (sole proprietorship, corporation, partnership, Limited Liability Company, etc.) – Apply for federal and state employer tax identification numbers if needed – Obtain proper licenses for your business – Apply for worker’s compensation and other insurance through private insurance carriers (In Georgia, worker’s compensation is required by law for three or more employees regardless of the number of hours worked by each employee) – Register a trade name, if applicable – Apply for: trade name registration, fictitious name registration, trademarks, copyrights, or patents necessary to protect your business – Consult and hire qualified advisors for legal and tax related purposes, as needed – Check whether there are any other steps necessary to legally be considered a business After you start: – Make estimated income tax payments – File tax returns (both state and federal) – Comply with all state and federal requirements for withholding and payment of payroll taxes – Comply with all Georgia sales – Pay local property taxes if needed – As your business grows, check requirements needed for larger businesses (e.g. The Americans With Disabilities Act and Family Medical Leave Act) Share this:EmailPrintFacebookGoogleLinkedInTwitterPinterestMoreRedditPocketTumblrUpdated: Friday, March 7,...read more
Business Tax Certificate in Lieu of “Business License”: You must obtain a tax certificate in the county where the business is located. Only one tax certificate is required to operate your business throughout the state of Georgia. Home based businesses usually require business licenses, however. Check for restrictions. Additional state licenses are required for certain businesses like grocery stores, restaurants, schools, establishments serving alcoholic beverages, hotels, nursing homes, motor transport companies, child care centers, etc. For more information, contact the Licensing Boards Division, GA Secretary of State at 478-207-1300. Worker’s Compensation: Regardless of the hours worked, businesses with three or more employees are required to carry worker’s compensation insurance. Trademarks: Having legal proof that your were the first person to use a product name, process name, or company name is the best way to protect it from use by others and to help in resolving any future legal disputes. If the name will be used nationally contact your attorney to help with national registration. Patents: Contact U.S. Department of Commerce, Patent and Trademark Office at 1-800-786-9199 for information on registration and protection. Business Trade Name: A “trade name” or “fictitious name” is any name used in the course of business that does not include the full legal name of all the owners of the business. Notice of this filing should be published once a week for two weeks in the legal publication of the county in which the trade name is registered. State and Federal Securities Law: It is important to comply with state and federal securities laws when a newly formed corporation issues shares of stock. Under the Georgia Securities Act, it is unlawful to offer for sale any security unless it is subject to an effective registration or the transaction is determined to be exempt from registration requirements. “Going public” is the common term for selling a company’s stock to a wide range of other parties. Only a small percentage of companies reach the size and financial conditions to consider this arrangement, as it requires extensive and expensive legal assistance as well as registration with federal and state agencies. Share this:EmailPrintFacebookGoogleLinkedInTwitterPinterestMoreRedditPocketTumblrUpdated: Friday, March 7,...read more