California Dreamin’: How the Golden State Can Provide Golden Opportunities for Your Business

California Dreamin’: How the Golden State Can Provide Golden Opportunities for Your BusinessIf you’re an entrepreneur, you know that when setting out on a small business venture, there are many factors you must consider. What will be the size and scale of the company? How will you get initial funding to jump start their project? Who will you choose to partner with?

Perhaps the most significant of all these very fundamental questions is that of location: where will you start your business? The location of your business is the foundation upon which the answers to all of the aforementioned questions are built. “Location, location, location” is the saying so often associated with the real estate industry—and it applies well to business also.

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The Evolution of an Entity: A Closer Look at Benefit Corporations (Infographic)

Our blog has taken a turn for the Benefit Corporation lately, inspired by the momentum started by B Lab, the founders behind the movement, and this month we’ve created an infographic on how this fairly new entity has been taking the nation by storm. 20 states, along with Washington D.C., have passed Benefit Corporation legislature and our infographic goes in depth to discuss the growth of the B-Corp to come, a look at a few famous companies that you might not know are B-Corps, and a timeline that looks into how long it took states like California, Maryland, and Delaware to enact Benefit Corporation legislation.

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The Skinny on SHOP: The Small Business Health Option Program

Under the new laws, affordable healthcare is right around the corner.

Is it me, or do you feel like all of your business expenses are going up? Rent is higher, payroll fees are up, taxes in California, healthcare costs. These are all fixed costs, meaning that they don’t go down. They stay where they are and that means less money flows to your bottom line.

Check this out. I’ve got a fixed cost for you that could go lower! Like 10-30% lower — now that’s a ballpark.

Your healthcare costs. Yep! Whether you are self employed, a small business with employees, or an individual, you need to know what is coming down the pike on Jan 1, 2014.

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Last Minute Tax Organization Tips!

With only 11 days left until April 15th arrives, small business owners and entrepreneurs everywhere are scrambling to get their federal and state taxes filed and sent along to the IRS with California doing the most scrambling of all. CohnReznick recently reported in one of their company newsletters that for LLCs and Corporations in California that fail to file their tax returns on time, they may wind up paying a $2,000 penalty as issued by the California Franchise Tax Board.

Don’t endanger your overall tax position – take our CEO Deborah’s tips into consideration when it comes to getting your taxes prepped and sent on their way. Best of all, these tips can be applied to the years to come beyond the 2013 tax year and once they’re in place will make filing taxes in the future much easier and more organized.

1) Make sure you have your documents prepared.
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What is a trademark? What is a copyright?

Many people often confused copyrights and trademarks or use them interchangeably when they actually protect different things. Copyrights typically protect original works of authorship such as novels, movies, songs, computer software and poetry. Copyright does not protect facts, ideas, systems, domain names, names, titles or slogan. Trademarks on the other hand protect a word, phrase, symbol or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of goods of one party from those of others.

To find out more about our trademark & copyright offers, click here.

What's in a brand?

Forming a corporation or LLC is one step in the development and protection of a brand. Protecting your company name with the Secretary of State in which your corporation or LLC is formed does not necessarily mean that your trademark or brand name is avaiable on a nation-wide basis.

If you’re building a brand, which may go beyond the formation of a corporation or LLC, then considering a trademark search is a good way to go. A good example is our own company. Our corproate name is “My Corporation Business Services, Inc.”, but our brand name is “MyCorporation.com.” We do business under our brand name, it’s simpler, it’s more catchy, and it’s more well known. For that reason, we made sure the name was available on a nationwide level – that it can be used without conflicting with another company.

To evaluate whether there are other companies using your brand, a trademark search is the way to go. It’s a great first step in the process because it’s better to make sure the brand name is available before you invest in the brand only to discover it’s already in use.

A brand can be a company’s biggest asset – look at Amazon, Nike, McDonands. It’s often not the products, but the brand names with which we are familiar. Familiarity often results in customer loyalty, and it all starts with the brand.

Is my Corporate/LLC Name Protected?

Customers often inquire whether the reservation and filing of a corporation protects the name of the business. While it may protect the business name with the Secretary of State in the state where the corporation or LLC is filed, it does not necessarily protect the name as a trademark.

Trademarks can include any words, phrases, symbols or designs that identify and distinguish the source of the goods. There are numerous advantages to securing federal registration of a trademark. Perhaps the most important advantage is that federally registered trademarks are national in scope, regardless of the actual geographic use of the mark. Hence, trademark protection will protect your business name, which is distinct from filing for a corporation or LLC with the Secretary of State.

To find out more about trademark registration and the advantages of trademark protection, click here.

Need help finding a CPA?

Let us assist you in finding the right CPA for you and your business at no charge.

We know that many of our customers need help with issues involving accounting and taxes. At no cost to you, we can help you find a qualified Accountant that understands your business.

We have a network of over 450,000 CPAs to help you find a good match based on your location and services requested. We will have up to 5 Accountants contact you to discuss your needs. You are in no way obligated to use the services offered by any CPA – simply hear what they have to say, and the decision is yours.

Click here to submit your information to get matched with a CPA.

Business and Tax Savings Tips

As business owners prepare for tax season, many sole proprietorships begin to consider the tax benefits of incorporating or forming an LLC. Similarly, business that are incorporated are looking to maximize their tax savings – especially during this tough economy.

The IRS states that any “ordinary and necessary” business expenses can be subtracted from your business income prior to being to taxed. Here’s the interesting part: Your business does not even have to make a profit for your expenses to be deductible. You must only establish a “profit motive.” Under the Internal Revenue Code, a “profit motive” is presumed if you earn any net income in any three out of five business years. Furthermore, the general rule is that as long as the expense is made for business (not personal) purposes, you can deduct it from your business income. Continue reading

California Secretary of State Information

California Secretary of State

The California Secretary of State, Corporations Division, is the California state agency that will process a filing for forming a corporation or an LLC (limited liability company) in California. The Office of the California Secretary of State offers the following corporation and LLC filing services:

California Secretary of State Contact Information:
California Secretary of State
1230 J Street
Sacramento, CA 95814