All businesses pay a federal income tax, whether its as its own entity or through the income tax of the owner. But, sales tax is a completely different story. Sales tax is determined by each individual state and the requirements for multiple state businesses are often complicated. Those requirements get further complex when you are an online business as you may not have any physical presence in the state itself. Whether or not your online business has to pay sales tax all depends on the states’ definition of one word: nexus.
The IRS, nearly every state tax agency, and even some cities require employers to withhold a certain amount from their employee’s paychecks to cover income tax, social security, and medicare obligations. These are payroll taxes, and it’s your responsibility, as a small business owner, to collect and send them in. The amount varies from state to state, and in some cases city to city, but there are three main steps to collection.
Everyone you hire fills out a W-4, which gives you some basic information like family size and other deductions. (more…)
Payroll may seem like a straightforward topic, but there is a lot more to it than just tracking hours and cutting checks. Unfortunately a lot of small business owners don’t realize that and, before they know it, they’re up to their ears in tax forms and reports they’ve never even heard of. Calculating, and staying on top, of payroll can actually be pretty complicated, especially if you don’t have a background in accounting. So what do small business owners absolutely need to know about setting up a payroll system?
You must withhold taxes
The federal, state, and local governments can all levy tax on income, and it is your responsibility as an employer to withhold the necessary amounts from your employee’s paychecks and send that into the proper agency. (more…)
Estimated tax payments are a pretty straightforward topic. You probably remember that, back when you worked for someone else, you had your taxes taken out of your paycheck. You don’t get out of having to pay tax when you start your own business – the IRS still expects you to pay what you owe. But what if you’re just starting out and not making much money? Or you’ve had a bad quarter and don’t have the money to cover what you normally send in? Do you still have to send in your estimated tax payment?
If you expect to owe more than $1,000, then you very likely have to pay estimated taxes. (more…)
An Employer Identification Number, also called an EIN or a Federal Tax Identification Number , is a unique set of digits assigned to a business by the IRS. With it, tax agencies can easily track the financial activity of your company, and make sure that you pay your taxes. But, if you run a sole-proprietorship, the IRS can already do that using your personal social security number. So in what cases do you need an Employer Identification Number?
When you hire someone
The only time you can really get away with using your social security number is when your business is considered a sole-proprietorship, and you’re the only employee. The IRS figures, in cases like that, the company’s profit flows directly to you, and you pay your taxes from that. But that changes the minute you bring anyone on to help run the company, and that includes a business partner. Once you start hiring, your company must have an EIN.
When you form an LLC or Incorporate
Incorporating or forming an LLC separates you and the business. (more…)
The short answer – yes. But, regardless, it may still be a good idea to hire someone else to be your registered agent. Registered agents exist because of due process. When you turn your business into its own, separate legal entity by forming an LLC or incorporating, you’re effectively giving it a right to due process. That means, before a lawsuit can go forward, your business must be properly notified. A registered agent, then, is the point of contact for notifying your business about impending lawsuits.
However, many states use a business’s registered agent as a contact point for other important matters. They’ll send state documents, franchise tax forms, and other reminders to the company’s registered agent, rather than to the company itself, since reaching an established point of contact is a pretty reliable way of getting in touch with the business.
For a nominal fee, you can appoint someone to be that point of contact.
So why wouldn’t you want to be your own registered agent? Acting as your own registered agent will save money, but there are downsides to that choice. For one, a registered agent must have a physical address within the state the company was formed in. So if you formed and do business in a state other than your own, you have to designate someone in that state as a registered agent.
Further, registered agents are the contact point for sensitive matters like lawsuits or summons. Having a registered agent outside your company keeps the office from panicking, like they would if you were served in your own office.
And finally, your registered agent is going to get a lot of important paperwork. It’s their job to keep track of what they receive, and send it along to you. When you run a business, it’s easy to overlook or forget about things like annual reports and fees. A registered agent will really help you from losing track of that important paperwork.
You – or in some states, your business – can act as the registered agent. Or you can hire an outside agency. Just be sure, regardless of what path you choose to follow, that your registered agent is dependable and discreet.
Up next in our MyCorp FAQs series is “What are the fastest states?” It’s a question our customer service department receives on a regular basis. We get it, sometimes entrepreneurs are just very excited to get the ball rolling, and, other times, they find themselves in a desperate time crunch.
Though, like we’ve mentioned before, a lot goes into picking the correct state for the formation of your business, knowing which states file the quickest can help you make an educated, calculated decision. (more…)
This is easily one of the most commonly asked questions we get. Each state has different rules and regulations when it comes to income tax. Most have both, some don’t collect personal income tax, and a few don’t college corporate income tax. And to a new business owner forming a corporation, forming in a state without a corporate income tax might sound awesome! After all, who likes paying taxes?
Unfortunately, things aren’t that cut and dry, and there are good reasons why so many business owners opt to stay in the state that they do business.
You can form a corporation in another state
Recently we’ve started exploring an often over-looked sector of American small business – franchises. Franchising is a major part of our economy, accounting for 4-5% of the country’s GDP, according to the IFA. It’s also a great way for people to be their own boss and open a business, without having to start from scratch. A misconception amongst would-be franchisors, however, is that they’ll get everything they need from the main-office. While that’s partly true, there are a lot of ways MyCorp can help franchisors.
We act as another level of support
When you buy into a franchise, you usually get three things from the head office – a right to use its name, access to its system of success, and some assistance when you first start out. (more…)
The end of the year is right around the corner, and every year we hear small business owners panicking about December’s rapidly approaching end, wondering what they have to do to end the year right. Not to worry – ending the year is actually pretty easy, as long as you don’t wait until the last minute to get everything done! So if you haven’t already, start thinking about…
Submitting any filings or dissolutions
Some of the most common questions we are asked revolve around the best time to form an LLC or incorporate. And while there are no ironclad answers to those questions, the beginning of the year is normally a good time to send in that paperwork. Deadlines and renewal dates are easier to remember, staying on top of your taxes is simpler, and you can even file your paperwork early and miss the beginning of the year rush if you opt for a delayed filing. (more…)