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…)
We’re a couple weeks into 2016, and we’re already starting to see some trends form. In our industry specifically, we’ve been noticing the following:
1.We are seeing a growth in small business s-corporation elections to minimize the risk of audit and put owners of the business on payroll to save on potential employment taxes. This is a trend because as small businesses incur more expenses (increasing minimum wages in many states, health care costs and the cost of employees), they are looking for ways to save on taxes. Business owners who put themselves on form an s-corporation and put themselves on payroll are able to save on self-employment taxes because they only pay self-employment taxes on the salaried portion of their income (as long as the salary is reasonable) and not on the remainder of the income. (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
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…)
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.
Although internships are not necessarily a new idea, their rise as an essential part of the college kid’s life has only occurred in the last decade or so. Employers set out every year for a new batch of interns, each with their own set of requirements. From talking to my own college intern, I can tell you that most students her age don’t have a great grasp on the specific characteristics employers look for in an intern. The issue arises because many consider interns to be their own class of employee that has very different expectations than the rest of the company. We asked some experts on what exactly they look for in an intern and, as to be expected, the results were all over the board.
LinkedIn is a very effective medium to increase customer acquisition, especially in the Business to Business market. But with the different types of advertising, the bidding payment system, and a plethora of targeting opportunities, the advertisement choices on the platform can be a tad difficult to navigate. The key to understanding LinkedIn paid advertising is to know a great deal about your target audience.
If you have ever watched the TV show, Shark Tank, you know just how aloof business evaluations can be. The mere fact that a valuation can be negotiated shows just how much subjectivity business evaluations hold. But regardless of how you come up with the number, the valuation of your business is vital. The value of your business can help you determine your company’s financial and competitive standing. For larger public corporations, a valuation is typically created through the stock price. What about private corporations? There are three easy ways to find the value of your business regardless of size.