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Advice for Starting a New Business

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...

What are the advantages of a small business LLC?

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...

What is a Business Plan and Why Do I Need One?

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...

Tax Issue Basics for Business Start-Ups

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...

Determining the Legal Form of Business That is Best

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...

Georgia Business Start-Up Checklist

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,...

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