Being the sole proprietor of a business has many benefits, even if it does require a heavy workload. The possibility of bankruptcy, however, can be terrifying, especially when you’re on your own.
If you ever find yourself in a position where bankruptcy is your best option, it’s critical that you’re prepared. The following are three things you should know about sole proprietorship and bankruptcy and what it means for you and your business.
1. You and “the business” are not separate entities.
You may wonder if it’s possible to file bankruptcy for the company and not involve your own credit in the process. In short, the answer is no. Even though you have a license from the city for “doing business as” you do not get to sever yourself from your company entirely in times of bankruptcy. While corporations and LLCs are able to keep their personal accounts out of their business, as sole proprietor you are not. Make sure to check all of your finances and consult a bankruptcy attorney to see how your decision to file will affect you in both the short and long term.
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Be honest: how difficult were your taxes this year? Did you have trouble figuring out how much you made and how bad your expenses were? Were you afraid you missed something? How many fistfuls of hair did you pull out?
Many sole proprietors start their businesses as a hobby or side income. It might not seem worth it to go to the hassle of opening a whole new business bank account. But keeping your personal and business finances combined can lead to some pretty bad headaches. And not just at tax time, either. There are several reasons why you should consider splitting your two financial worlds up immediately. Here are a few that could be affecting your business right now.
One of the most common questions we get here at MyCorporation about forming a limited liability company or corporation is, “How hard is it to actually run this type of business?” Running an LLC or corporation is very different than running a sole proprietorship, and the government will expect those running the business to adhere to certain rules. It should be noted that the only governance document need for Corporations and LLCs is an Articles of Incorporation or a Certificate of Organization. However, there are other types of governance documents that should be kept and maintained.
Articles of Incorporation and Certificates of Organization
In order to form a corporation, you have to file your articles of incorporation. And in order to form an LLC, you have to file what is normally called a certificate of organization. In both cases, these documents act a sort of birth certificate for the new business entity. They disclose the entity’s name, address, registered agent information, and the information of any managers or owners. A lot of states actually offer a “fill-in-the-blank” type of form on the website of their Secretary of State or department of corporations. However, these forms only meet the minimal requirements for a corporation or LLC as set by the state. They also don’t set the rules for how your company will actually be run. Along with these formation documents, you should consider drafting a set of bylaws or an operating agreement.
Operating agreements are one of the most vital, and overlooked, tools in running a limited liability company. We’ve actually covered operating agreements as part of our ‘ABCs of MyCorp’ series, but we never delved into what an operating agreement should actually say. As a quick refresher, an operating agreement is essentially a document that defines how the LLC will be run, and the SBA recommends that every LLC draft one. The trouble is that only a couple of states, like Missouri and New York, legally require new LLCs to have an operating agreement. But without the rules, structure, and regulations an operating agreement provides, your LLC could be in serious trouble if partners disagree, a member wants to leave, or if the state starts questioning the validity of your LLC. Operating agreements are also pretty easy to draft and only need to cover a few key areas.
This week we are looking at Texas – the Lone Star State. As the saying goes, everything is bigger in Texas. The state has successfully accommodated changes in the economy and US consumption – though it was originally a cattle state, oil rich land and a strong infrastructure has turned the cowboy state into one of the economically diverse states in the USA. In their Best States for Business survey, Forbes ranked Texas at #7 with the state’s economic climate in first place and most analysts also expect Texas to see some serious growth in the next few years. If you’ve ever wanted to start a business, Texas is a great place to do it. But how hard is it to start a business, form an LLC, or incorporate in Texas?
What do you need to start a business in Texas?
Surprisingly little! Some states require sole proprietorships, which are the simplest type of business entity, to register before they do business. All Texas requires is that the sole-proprietorship’s owner file an ‘Assumed Name Certificate,’ also known as a ‘Doing Business As’ name, with the County Clerk. Depending on where you plan on doing business, and what sort of business you run, you may also need to file for a business license – the Small Business Administration has a handy tool to help new business owners figure out exactly what they need on that front!
Whether you’re a new entrepreneur or an old hand, money occupies a prominent role in your business. Failing to get – and keep – your finances in order can doom your company or consulting practice in the long run. While each entrepreneur has their own set of unique financial challenges, there are several areas where nearly all entrepreneurs can draw from a general well of wisdom.
1. Pay yourself first, Uncle Sam second.
No doubt, you’ve heard the expression “pay yourself first.” That’s good advice for everyone. However, entrepreneurs must remember that with no employer-initiated tax deductions to count on, they must also make provisions to cover self-employment taxes.
2. Hire pros, but know what they’re doing.
You didn’t go into business to spend hours working on spreadsheets. That’s why you hired a Certified Public Accountant. However, you should still understand the basics of keeping the books, if for no other reason than to be able to answer your accountant’s questions at tax time.
The 2014 tax season is here and here at MyCorporation, we’re taking a closer look at taxes in the United States and throughout the world in our latest infographic. Curious about where your tax dollars go? How the state corporate income tax rates vary throughout the U.S. and how they’re compared from all around the world? And what do we plan on doing with our tax refunds this year, anyway? Find out the answers to these questions and more below!
This post is brought to you by GoDaddy Online Bookkeeping (formerly Outright) the simplest way to manage your small business finances online. Sign up today for a less taxing tax time!
Think there’s only one way to pay your taxes when you have an amount due? Sure, in years past that was the case. You could send a check along with your filed tax forms and that was pretty much the extent of it. Paying taxes was part of the reason why tax time was such a pain for every hard working person in America.
Now, though, technology has made it where you have lots of options when it comes time to fork over your hard-earned money. However, you can’t utilize them if you don’t know what they are, so we thought we would take a quick look at your options to help you out. One of these should help you comply with your tax obligation with no problem.
It’s the season to get your paperwork ready for Uncle Sam. As you prepare for April 15, be sure to remember the available deductions you can take advantage of as a business owner.
Your taxable profit will be lower the more deductions you take, so it’s in your best interest as a business owner to maximize them, so long as they adhere to the IRS deduction rules.
Most “small” businesses do not provide a 401(k) as a benefit for their employees, but if you can, you have a distinct advantage when hiring. And, a 401(k) plan has several tax advantages. First, your business is generally permitted to take a tax deduction for its contributions to the plan when the contributions are made. Those can be made as a simple match—or—in the form of profit sharing.
When it comes to obtaining a company vehicle, you have a couple of options available to your business – you can opt to either buy or lease. Let’s examine these options in detail.
Buying a car
If you decide to buy a car, keep taxes in mind. Writing off the costs on your taxes can be done in two ways – actual costs or mileage – and there are limits on how much you can take in a given year. If you choose actual costs, you have to do that every year you claim the vehicle; you cannot change your mind later. There are different amounts you can write off depending on the type of vehicle you own, too, whether it is an electric car or an SUV. If you’re looking to invest in a hybrid vehicle for your business, be sure to keep in mind that it will no longer qualify for a tax break.