With 2015 on the cusp of wrapping up, I’ve been reflecting back on the last six years of owning MyCorporation. It’s been a long road, but we wouldn’t be where we are today (thriving!) if we hadn’t experienced each and every twist and turn. It all started back in 2004 when I joined the MyCorporation team, not as the CEO but as the vice president of legal affairs. With years in law school and some time in a law firm partnership, I was happy to be applying my legal knowledge in an area that interested me. In 2005, the business was acquired by Intuit. The acquisition brought about a much-needed new perspective on running MyCorporation, but there was still untapped potential that I was wishing I could get my hands on. Then, finally, in 2009 I purchased the division. And now here we are- six full years later! (more…)
A 2014 study by Google found that a little over half of small businesses have a website, though it’s likely that number has gone up since the survey was done. Still, the fact that a little under half of small businesses don’t even have a website it appalling – without one you are losing customers every day. Over 50% of people surveyed said they look up a business online before making a purchase, and that same study found local searches are twice as likely to lead to a purchase. Creating a solid web presence, though, is more than just parking a site under ‘yourbusiness.com’ – you’re going to have to put in a bit more effort to see any real returns. (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…)
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.
Reinstatement is what you have to do to get your business out of an inactive or bad standing with the state. And this time of the year, we’re getting tons of requests and questions about reinstatements from people who let their corporation or limited liability company to lapse, but want to get things rolling again before we get too far into 2015.
Luckily, the reinstatement process is pretty straight-forward, though depending on the reason for the lapse, it can get a little pricey.
How does a company become inactive, or get put in bad standing?
There are a few different ways this can happen. But one of the most common reasons behind a bad-standing is simply the business’s owner forgetting to pay their annual fee. (more…)
Welcome to the first ‘Business Basics’ of the year! We are starting 2015 off strong by looking at privately held companies. The structure of privately held business is often misunderstood. People wonder what distinguishes a privately held company from a publicly one, or believe that any business run by a non-government entity constitutes a private company. That isn’t the case, and so to clear up any confusion, we’ve answered some of the more commonly asked questions we get about private companies.
What is the difference between a privately held company, and a public one?
A privately held company is also known as a ‘closed company,’ because the ownership of the business is closed. In other words, you can’t just decide to buy a chunk of the business off of the market. (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…)
This week we are looking at reasonable compensation, a legal necessity for anyone running a Corporation. Reasonable compensation is connected to one of the most fundamental parts of working for a company – getting paid – and yet it’s so widely misunderstood. When you form an Corporation, you create a separate, legal entity that ‘earns’ money. You then pull your wage from those earnings and pay whatever payroll taxes you owe.
In order to close a loophole wherein those running the corporation could ask for an extremely low salary, pay next to no payroll taxes, and then close the wage gap with distributions, the IRS requires that all corporate officers and executive be paid ‘reasonable compensation.’ But what constitutes reasonable compensation is a little more murky.
Who needs to be concerned with reasonable compensation?
Anyone that is runs, or helps run, a C-Corporation or S-Corporation must be reasonably compensated for their work. (more…)
MyCorporation has spent the last fifteen years working tirelessly to help entrepreneurs realize their dreams and start their own businesses. Our mission has always been to make the lives of small business owners just a little bit easier. And it is with that mission in mind that we are proud to announce our new partnership with Paycheck Accounting Online℠!
Since its founding in 1971, Paychex has been a proven leader in payroll outsourcing, and today Paychex helps over half-a-million businesses to easily monitor and handle payroll, benefits, and human resources.
And now MyCorporation customers can start using Paychex for only $4.99/month for the first 3 months, with the rate increasing to a mere $19/month after that. All you have to do is sign up through this page and complete your business profile, and Paychex will start helping you handle your payroll, allowing you to focus on what you do best – running your business.
We are really excited for this partnership, and know our clients will love working with Paychex.
As we enter week four of our series, we decided to look at a slightly different industry – banking. Now, focusing on banking may seem a bit odd. After all, most people don’t consider banking as something an entrepreneur can even get into. And while there are loads a regulatory loopholes to jump through, plenty of entrepreneurs do start their own bank! And running a bank can be quite lucrative. So if you have experience in the financial industry, and are looking for a change, this could be just the post for you!
How do you start a bank?
Like any business, you need to identify a need. Most communities are served by big-name banks like Chase or Bank of America, and people gravitate towards names they recognize. But even if it feels like your community is over saturated with corporate banks, there could be a place for a small, community bank, like if you decide to focus on serving a particular section or area of the community. Some people also like being able to meet face-to-face with a high-level executive to talk about loans or their account – something they’d never be able to do at a corporate bank.
If the market looks good, you then need to work on getting everything organized. Most states require banks to have multiple directors, who then put in an initial offering to get the bank started, usually around 25% of the bank’s starting capital. Since banks need a lot of capital to run, this is usually a substantial amount of money. Most banks sell off shares to raise the rest of their capital.
When your ducks are in a row, you file for a state or federal charter. Filing this form typically costs thousands of dollars, and requires a substantial amount of preparation. You’ll need to include information like feasibility studies, applications for the directors, projected costs, projected salaries – the state or federal government effectively needs to decide whether or not you’ll be successful before granting a charter. After this, you apply for deposit insurance from the FDIC, which requires banks to prove they have enough capital to cover any risk and losses. It will take a few months before the charter application is processed and, once it is approved, you normally have about a year to start the bank officially.
What business structures are best suited for banking?
Because banks are required to have directors, executives, and shareholders, a bank has to be some sort of corporation. However, in some states, a bank is an entity in itself. Though it is run in the same way a standard corporation is.
How stable is the banking industry?
Very. Because banks have to apply for a charter, an outside organization effectively reviews their business plan and target market, and determines whether or not the idea is viable. Banking costs a lot of money, but if you get a charter, you can usually bet that you’ll be successful. The rate at which banks fail has also slowed substantially as the economy has recovered.
Interested in community banking? Have any questions about the banking industry? Leave a comment below, or give us a call at 1-877-692-6772!