What Goes into 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. operating agreement 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.

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50 States of Incorporation: Texas

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. Incorporate in TexasIn 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!

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15 Essential Financial Planning Tips for Entrepreneurs

15 Essential Financial Planning Tips for EntrepreneursWhether 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.

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Tax Stats 2014 (Infographic)

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!

Tax Stats 2014 Infographic

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3 Different Ways You Can Pay Your Taxes

3 Different Ways You Can Pay Your TaxesThis 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.

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5 Tax Deductions for Your Small Business

5 Tax Deductions for Your Small BusinessIt’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.

1. 401(k)

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.

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Should Your Business Buy or Lease a Company Car?

Should Your Business Buy or Lease a Company Car?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.

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14 Tax Issues Facing Small Business Owners in 2014

14 Tax Issues Facing Small Business Owners in 2014 This post is brought to you by TaxAlli.com.

It is that time again! If you’re like most taxpayers, you find yourself with an ominous stack of “homework” around tax time and putting together the records for your accountant is never easy, especially if you run a small business. As the tax filing deadline approaches now is the best time to make sure you can maximize your 2013 tax return, but more importantly to start planning ahead for 2014.

2014 will be a challenging tax year for businesses and higher-income taxpayers. The following issues are concerns that may impact you and your business’s tax liability in the New Year.

Small Business Health Insurance Credit – The tax credit to small employers (25 or fewer equivalent full-time employees) that provide an affordable health insurance plan for their employees and supplement at least half the premiums, will increase to 50% of the employer’s contribution in 2014, up from 35% in 2013. For non-profit employers, the credit will be 35% in 2014.

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50 States of Incorporation: Oregon

Oregon is one of the most ecologically diverse states in America, with rolling forests, wind-swept coasts, and beautiful mountains. This natural beauty is one of the main drivers of tourism, one of the state’s largest industries. Oregon is also home to growing businesses in the tech, forestry, and manufacturing industries, and, according to Forbes, the state is poised to see some serious incorporate in Oregon growth. Today we’re answering the question of how to start a business in the Beaver State, and how to form an LLC or incorporate in Oregon.

What is needed to start a business in Oregon?

Oregon requires that all businesses within the state register with the Secretary of State’s Office. Now, if all you want to do is run a sole-proprietorship, you may only need to file for a DBA, or ‘Doing Business As’ name. This registration is meant to prevent fraud, and allows you to do business under a name other than your own. If you want to form a limited liability company or incorporate in Oregon, you’ll have to do a bit more paperwork.

How do you form an LLC or incorporate in Oregon?

Forming an LLC or incorporating both turn your business into its own, separate legal entity. That is good news for you because it means your company can effectively carry, and is responsible for, it’s own debts, so creditors cannot seize your personal assets to pay for the business’s debts. To form an LLC, you file your Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State and pay a $100 fee. This form will ask you for the business’s name, which must contain the words ‘Limited Liability Company,’ or the abbreviations ‘L.L.C.’ or ‘LLC.’ Along with your company’s name, you have to list its address, organizers, and the name and address of its registered agent.

If you’d like to incorporate in Oregon, you fill out your Articles of Incorporation, file them with the state, and pay a fee. Your corporation’s name has to include a designator like ‘incorporated’ or ‘corporation,’ and you will have to list the names and addresses of the incorporators, as well as the name and address of your registered agent. Corporations, however, are a bit more complicated to run, and you are required to name a board of directors, who will then help lead the business. You should also prepare corporate bylaws to guide the business’s development, and prepare minutes for any meeting at which a major business decision was made.

Does the state offer any support to small businesses in Oregon?

Yes! Oregon actually has a very handy online tool called Business Xpress meant to help out new small business owners. Using it, you can track down forms, find networking and training opportunities, and even start a business plan! The tool also has links to programs meant to support women and minority business owners in Oregon, so be sure to look around and see if there are any opportunities or grants you can use to boost your business.

Are you ready to start a business in Oregon? Have any questions about how to form an LLC or incorporate in Oregon? Give us a call at 1 (877) 692-6772 or leave a comment below!

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Business Basics: Trade Dress

This week we thought it’d be a good idea to look at one of the most important parts of a product’s branding, its trade dress. You are affected by trade dress every single day, whether you realize it or not. If we describe a white coffee cup with a green circle on it, you’ll know it’s from Starbucks. Or if we show you a bag with a red square and yellow arches, you’ll think McDonalds. Essentially, trade dress is the various characteristics that make up a product’s or package’s appearance. But how do you protect your own trade dress? And does building a brand mean marrying that packaging?

Trade Dress

We bet you still know what company this is.

Why should you build trade dress recognition?
Because your company needs a way to immediately distinguish itself. Your brand embodies all of the goodwill and trust you’ve built into your company, and something as simple as a color, font, or even the shape of your product’s box can evoke all of those feelings within whatever customer is looking at your product. That’s why you want your trade dress to be consistent over all of your properties. Your logo, signage, site, and product packaging should all be built around some common element that inextricably ties your business with your product or service.

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