Unemployment insurance, at its root, is pretty easy to understand – it’s just a program meant to protect workers that become involuntarily unemployed. But because it is run on a hybrid state-federal system, and is often calculated based on weird variables like experience ratings, the entire concept quickly becomes muddled. Most states also change rates and maximum taxable wages on a year-by-year basis, so what was paid last year may not be the same this year. Thankfully, as long as you learn a little bit about unemployment programs and stay on top of those annual changes, UI shouldn’t cause too many problems. (more…)
Corporate meetings aren’t exactly fun; they’re tied to board rooms, suits, and a lot of financial talk. And so smaller corporations – especially those with just a handful of shareholders – often ask whether they really have to hold a meeting every, single year to effectively rubber-stamp the same board of directors and file their annual report. The answer, of course, is yes. Annual shareholder meetings are legally required for private and public corporations, regardless of size. But your annual meeting doesn’t have to be a stodgy affair. In fact, one of the best parts about being a smaller corporation is the extra little bit of freedom you have in how these meetings are run.
Forget the Board Rooms and Offices
You have to set the date of your annual shareholder meeting in your bylaws, but the location is up to you. Plenty of corporations opt for the traditional, formal meeting – everyone gathers in the office, there’s a podium, people wear suits, and everything is very cut and dry. But what if you run your business from home, as nearly half of all small business owners do? Or what if you want your annual meeting to be a bit more enjoyable? There’s absolutely nothing wrong with meeting at a restaurant, or around your kitchen table. In fact, we’ve talked to plenty of CEOs who make their annual meeting a potluck; the few shareholders they have all bring a dish, they sit down, do their formal meeting, and then spend the rest of the day eating and talking. Some states actually do set a minimum for the number of shareholders that must be present, so hosting a more laid-back meeting can help ensure people do come.
Have the agenda laid out and ready to go
The chair can technically “wing” the meeting if they have a good idea as to what needs to be voted on. Normally these meetings are to appoint and/or remove directors, modify corporate bylaws, vote on shareholder initiatives, and approve transactions requiring shareholder approval like mergers or asset sales. But it’s a better idea to list out what, exactly, needs to be brought up so you can keep the formal part of the meeting as quick and easy as possible. Different states may also require different numbers of votes depending on the transaction – sometimes a simple majority is not enough – so planning this out lets you know what numbers you actually need.
Keep your minutes light
You must keep the minutes of your annual meeting, but you do not have to transcribe every, single thing said. Note the date, time, and place of the meeting, take attendance, lay out the agenda, and record votes. If anything new is brought up during the meeting, make sure to note that as well. Otherwise, your minutes can effectively be a quick sketch of your annual meeting. Just make sure, before everyone leaves, you pass around the minutes so everyone can review them. These constitute an official document and it’s important they portray the meeting accurately.
Every corporation must host an annual meeting for its shareholders, but there’s no reason why it has to be this dreaded, boring affair. Corporations, especially those with just a handful of shareholders, have a bit of leeway as to what the meeting will actually look like. Set out the agenda, keep minutes, and vote, but feel free to make this a meeting of friends, as well as a meeting for the shareholders.
Have any questions about corporate governance? Want to form your own corporation but not sure where to start? Click here for a free consultation, or give us a call at 1-877-692-6772 and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have!
Procrastination tends to hit business owners hard when it comes to incorporating or forming an LLC. A lot of small business owners resolve to file the necessary paperwork, and then never do. And now they’re facing the end of another year and wondering if it’s even worth filing this late in the game. Believe it or not, it is! But around this time of the year, we usually tell customers to consider a delayed filing over a traditional, immediate action. Delayed filings are the perfect option for businesses owners who know…
They want to form an LLC or Corporation
Forming a limited liability company or incorporating is easily on of the best ways to protect yourself and your personal assets from any debts associated with the business. The government treats corporations and LLCs as their own legal entities, separate from the owner or owners. Any debts it incurs, loans it takes out, or judgments against it are therefore its responsibility and, in most cases, your personal assets will not be seized to pay for those debts. However, forming an LLC or incorporating requires the company’s managers to jump through a few extra loopholes, like paying fees and filing reports annually. Incorporate or form an LLC now, and you may be on the hook for 2015’s fees, even though the company only existed for a month. Plus, depending on your state, you may have to file different returns for the months your business was not its own entity, and the month it was.
That’s where delayed filing comes in. A delayed filing allows you to file the proper paperwork now, and set an “effective on” date a month or so into the future. That way you finish out this year as a sole proprietorship or partnership and, early next year, your LLC or Incorporation is officially approved and formed.
They do not want to be rushed
There is a lot of work that needs to be done at the end of the year. You have to put your books in order, evaluate the staff, and make it through the holiday season. But forming a legal business entity comes with its fair share of responsibilities as well; if you rush through your paperwork, and anything is amiss, the state will reject your filing. We are right at the cusp of December, so take this brief bit of time to make sure your ducks are all in a row – you have a registered agent, a physical address, and a protected DBA name – and then fill out your forms and opt for a delayed filing. That way you won’t have to struggle through all of the normal, extra work that comes in December and January.
They don’t mind waiting a little bit
I know how frustrating it can be to wait on the government to approve your paperwork, but trust me, patience pays off. You actually save a bit of time filing now and opting for a delayed filing instead of filing at the beginning of next year because a lot of businesses wait until the start of the year to send in their forms. State offices get swamped, the delay gets longer, and then you’re stuck waiting until February or March to hear whether your LLC or Corporation was formed. A delayed filing means your paperwork is approved before that rush or, at the very least, that the state will put your paperwork at the top of next year’s pile.
Ready to form an LLC or Corporation? Want us to help you file the right paperwork or opt for a delayed filing? Click here or give us a call at 1-877-692-6772
There’s nothing simple about starting and owning a business. Choices are everywhere — in business plans, company names, pricing, employees, benefits and office space. But first, in order to register your company with state and federal agencies, you’ll need to choose a business structure, and this choice can have ramifications that are not immediately clear.
A business’s structure is basically the way it’s organized. It answers questions like who’s in charge, how profits will be distributed and whether owners are responsible for debts accrued by the business. The most common IRS-recognized business structures include the following: (more…)
Hiring your first employee is an exciting time for your company. Your daily duties have expanded and you need to hire someone to take over some of the responsibility. Before you interview and find the person you want to bring into your company, you need to understand the legal requirements for hiring and maintaining employees.
Over the past couple of years, controversy rose around independent contractors. The line between employee and independent contractor has thinned, and many are confused over how workers should be classified. In general, the independent contractor is considered to self-employed, and the company is their client. This means that there are some vast differences between the tax obligations for independent contractors and employees.
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…)
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…)
Welcome to our weekly post on small business industry! We took a couple of weeks off for the holiday, but now we are back and ready to tackle S – Stockbrokers! The financial industry is notoriously complex, so starting your own, private brokerage firm can be a bit tough. However, with a bit of experience and all of the right qualifications, it can be done!
Are stockbrokers heavily regulated?
Yup! Independent brokers have to jump through loads of regulatory loopholes before they’re allowed to open their business. (more…)