All businesses pay a federal income tax, whether its as its own entity or through the income tax of the owner. But, sales tax is a completely different story. Sales tax is determined by each individual state and the requirements for multiple state businesses are often complicated. Those requirements get further complex when you are an online business as you may not have any physical presence in the state itself. Whether or not your online business has to pay sales tax all depends on the states’ definition of one word: nexus.
The IRS, nearly every state tax agency, and even some cities require employers to withhold a certain amount from their employee’s paychecks to cover income tax, social security, and medicare obligations. These are payroll taxes, and it’s your responsibility, as a small business owner, to collect and send them in. The amount varies from state to state, and in some cases city to city, but there are three main steps to collection.
Everyone you hire fills out a W-4, which gives you some basic information like family size and other deductions. Continue reading
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.
This is easily one of the most commonly asked questions we get. Each state has different rules and regulations when it comes to income tax. Most have both, some don’t collect personal income tax, and a few don’t college corporate income tax. And to a new business owner forming a corporation, forming in a state without a corporate income tax might sound awesome! After all, who likes paying taxes?
Unfortunately, things aren’t that cut and dry, and there are good reasons why so many business owners opt to stay in the state that they do business.
You can form a corporation in another state
Have any questions about starting your own business? Not sure where to even start? Not to worry! We are proud to announce that, in conjunction with the Google Small Business Community, our CEO Deborah Sweeney is going to be fielding any and all questions about the legalities of starting your own business this Thursday. The Hangout starts tomorrow at 12:30 PM, and if you want your questions answered, you’ll need to RSVP and submit them to the moderator here.
So don’t forget to tune in! We’re really excited about this opportunity, and look forward to a great discussion.
I’ve always believed that my business’s success hinges on the open and honest relationship I have with my team. I have to trust that my employees will do the job they were hired to do so I can focus on running and growing the company. However, I have unfortunately had to deal with members of my team breaking that trust in the past. And, while you should always consider giving people a second chance at the workplace, second chances also mean you should look at what they did, and determine whether what happened was a minor transgression, or a serious breach of trust.
Look at the big picture
It can be really easy to focus too heavily on the employee when making this sort of decision, but you need to consider a lot of different factors. Firing someone can leave a long-lasting impact on your business, especially if other employees don’t agree with your decision. Was this betrayal of trust more personal, or professional? Occasionally we have to swallow our personal pride for the betterment of the company, and objectivity is key to making this sort of a decision. If this is an isolated incident, then maybe a second chance is in order.
Consider the impact on your business
If this employee has proven themselves to the company and has spent years working within it, firing them could hurt your business. So you need to ask yourself if the employee’s separation will actually be good for the company. Do they contribute to inter-office harmony? Are they replaceable? Will their absence help or hinder day to day operations? Being slighted by someone you trust is always a jarring experience, but it isn’t worth sacrificing your team’s dynamic to make a point. But if this employee did actually harm the company, it may be worth sending them out the door for good.
Corporate seals are a remnant of the middle ages, back when official documents were legitimized by a hot wax imprint of a seal or crest. The practice of ‘sealing’ documents kept on throughout the centuries, though the hot-wax method eventually gave way to rubber stamps and paper seals. Today, corporate law still allows for the use of corporate seals, though they are no longer as important as they once were. This week in business basics we answer a few of the most commonly questions we receive about corporate seals, and let you know if you should get one for your own corporation.
What is a corporate seal?
A corporate seal is essentially a signature for your business. When you incorporate, you turn your business into its own, legal entity. Since a corporation cannot sign anything, a corporate seal is used to mark legal and official documentation. These days, most corporate seals are either rubber stamps or steel embossers, and are normally designed to fall apart if tampered with to help avoid fraud.
Do I need a corporate seal?
Nevada was born from the discovery of a major silver mine, and its reputation as a state where you can make it rich, and quick, has been well-earned. Home to Las Vegas, Nevada is known for being a place to gamble, and tourism remains its number-one industry. Of course, there is so much more to the ‘Silver State’ than the Las Vegas Strip. Nevada is still home to some of the most active precious-metal mines, and is a major ranching state.
Nevada also has a reputation as being a tax haven – the Tax Foundation ranked Nevada as having the third most-business friendly tax laws of all fifty states. Naturally, we receive plenty of questions on how to take advantage of that lax-tax law. If you are considering whether you should incorporate in Nevada, take the following into consideration:
- A few forms are all you need to form a limited liability company or incorporate in Nevada. To help expedite the process, Nevada’s Secretary of State has set up ‘The Silver Flume‘ – an online business portal that allows entrepreneurs to register their business and set up a new business entity. The filing fee for corporations can fluctuate from the minimum of $75 depending on how many shares the corporation will be authorized to issue.
Are you a small business owner, entrepreneur, or just brimming with advice about the start-up world that you want to share? We want you to come and blog with us!
What started as just a few guest inquiries last spring has become a tremendous success on our MyCorp blog – now we have guest writers from all over the country (as well as outside of the United States) contributing their thoughts and ideas about small business with us. In fact, our program has been such a success that MyCorp recently had the honor of being placed at #11 on a list of the top business blogs that accept guest posts! And while we are absolutely thrilled to be on that list, it’s also been a lot of work getting there as guest blogging is pretty time consuming on the email front.
Until now, our guest-blogging system has essentially been an e-mail address and some generic guidelines. But we’re streamlining the process for 2014 to make it easier on contributors with a revamped system, and are proud to unveil our new article submission process!
Business Basics started out as a way to educate would-be and current entrepreneurs on the basics of running a business, and has slowly morphed into a place where we can try to tackle some of the most common questions we get about the ins-and-outs of business ownership. But, after looking through a few old posts, we were surprised we hadn’t delved into a very, very important part of running a business – protecting your intellectual property! To help rectify this, here is the first post in a series looking at IP protection. This week we are going to look at the trademark.