Starting and operating a business can be a very complicated process, and many entrepreneurs, while they have a great business sense and business plan, do not have all the answers when it comes to the legal side of the equation. Your business is an important investment to you, and using an attorney to guide you through the formation process, operation of the company, drafting of agreements, and purchase or sale of a business can save you a great deal of time and a significant amount of money down the road.
Entity Selection and Formation
Perhaps one of the most crucial decisions an individual has to make when starting a business is which type of entity to use. This decision is extremely important because it will affect how the entity and individual are taxed, the individual’s responsibilities and liabilities, and the individual’s level of personal exposure. When starting a business, an individual must deal with state, local, and federal taxes, and there are certain default tax classifications that occur unless a special election is made. For example, when an individual forms a Limited Liability Company (LLC), there are default federal tax classifications based on the number of LLC members. The federal and state taxation of the LLC are determined based on that classification, and a timely filed election can completely change how the LLC is taxed. Additionally, depending on the entity selected a person may have responsibilities assigned by statute that they are unaware of. For example, when a corporation is used, certain positions must exist and specific meetings must occur. If an individual does not keep up with his or her duties or fail to hold proper meetings, personal liability could exist. Furthermore, many individuals elect to use a corporation or LLC for the purpose of limited liability (protection of personal assets), but failure to operate the entity properly allows for the elimination of the “limited liability” and opens up the door for personal liability (known as “Piercing the Corporate Veil”).
If the wrong entity is used or an individual fails to operate their business properly, an attorney is limited in what they can do to assist. That is why it is important to select the correct entity to use for your business from the beginning and learn the correct way to operate your company (from the legal perspective) to ensure all the safety nets will stay in place if something goes wrong. An attorney can assist in determining the most advantageous entity for an individual to use based on that person’s situation and specific business needs, and can explain how the business must be operated to reduce the risk of personal liability.
Please feel free to contact us to learn more about the different business entities available, and discuss your personal situation and business needs.
Contract Drafting and Review
While operating your business you are almost inevitability going to use contracts, whether another individual or company requires your signature or you require a customer or employee’s signature. Contract law can be very complicated and without a properly drafted or reviewed contract, you can be subjecting yourself to serious risk. This is an area of the law where failing to recognize a future conflict and leaving out a proper term can cause for serious and costly disputes.
Working with an attorney can ensure that the agreement contains all the proper terms and provides the proper protections. Additionally, an attorney can help explain the rights and responsibilities created by the contract to ensure you know exactly what you are signing.
For assistance with employment and independent contractor agreements, non-compete agreements, leases, buy-sell agreements, general contract review or drafting a contract of your own, please contact us today.
Small & Family Business Succession Planning
With small and family businesses, individuals have had the benefit of seeing their business grow and often sacrificed a great deal to build-up that business to what it is today. Due to that hard work and dedication, there is a certain pride that every business owner feels having created a successful enterprise. That is why it is so important to plan for what will happen upon retirement, when it is time for the next generation to take over. Unfortunately, business succession planning is not as simple as handing over the keys to a car. There can be significant tax consequences involved with the transfer of a business.
With a practice that focuses on estate planning, asset protection and business law, Giles Robinson, P.A. is able to combine these different areas of law to create the optimal business succession plan for you and in doing so reduce your tax exposure.
Contact us today to discuss your business succession planning needs.
General Counsel Services
Small Businesses often have legal questions and must deal with a large variety of legal issues that naturally occur over the course of business operation. Giles Robinson, P.A. offers general counsel services to small businesses to assist with these legal issues. The general counsel services vary based on the specific needs of your particular business, but it can range from general legal advice to contract review to deal negotiation to registered agent services.
Please feel free to contact us if you are interested in finding out more information about general counsel services for your business.
Business Tax Matters
For most transactions, tax consequences exist. Some are simple, while others are extremely complex and costly. When engaging in a transaction, there may be multiple roads that will get you to the same finish, however, depending on which road you take can affect the tax consequences of the transaction. Giles Robinson, P.A. can assist you in accomplishing your business goals while selecting the most tax efficient manner of doing so whether it is regarding entity formation, business sale/purchase, or business reorganization.
If you are contemplating a transaction and would like to know the tax consequences and the alternatives, contact usfor assistance.