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.
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. (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.
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
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…)
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…)
It’s the last week of our 50 states of incorporation series and we’re focusing on the Cowboy State – Wyoming. Smack dab in the middle of the Rockies, Wyoming is America’s least populous state, but is easily one of the most beautiful. The vast majority of the land in Wyoming is owned and protected by the Federal Government, and Wyoming is home to the world’s first national park, Yellowstone. Wyoming’s natural beauty has ensured the state’s tourism industry would flourish, and today it generates two billion dollars in state revenue. Along with tourism, Wyoming’s historic agricultural and mining industries continue to drive the state’s economy – Wyoming is the number one producer of coal in the country. Though largely rural, Wyoming is a great state for a small business, thanks largely to the low cost of doing business. So what does it take to get started there? And how do you incorporate in Wyoming?
How do you start a business in Wyoming?
We decided to do something a bit different with our weekly business basics post this time around, and instead look at a new service we’ve just started offering – business license compliance packages. We’ve covered business licenses before, but we thought it’d be a good idea to revisit the topic and explain why we decided to start offering this service to our customers. Our team kicked around the idea for awhile, trying to figure out whether or not there was any demand for this type of service, and we realized that there were three questions we’d have to be able to answer before launching.
Why offer business license compliance packages?
MyCorporation has always aimed to meet all of the needs of new business owners. The next logical step after creating your business is to apply for all of the licenses you need to legally open your doors. Without the right licensing, you’re effectively dead in the water. So expanding our offerings to include licensing just makes sense.
If there is one thing we’ve learned from over a decade and a half of helping small business owners, it’s that every business is different. For new small business owners, it’s important that you choose the business entity that will suit your unique needs. There are four basic entities that you can choose from, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. While there is no “right” choice, depending on what you sell, where you plan to take your company, and how ownership of the company is divided, there will be certain entities that will fit your business model better than others.
Sole Proprietorships and Partnerships
Sole proprietorships and partnerships are the simplest type of business entity. They are also the default option. It doesn’t take much to start a sole proprietorship or a partnership either. Just file for a ‘Doing Business As’ name, apply for the right licenses and permits, and open your doors. If the business is run by two or more people, you will also need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) and you’ll have to file another form come tax time. But this simplicity comes at a price. Everything the business owes and owns is tied to your personal assets. In other words, you, and your partner if you have one, will be held liable for the business’s debts if it fails. Also, if you do have a partner, you may not be protected if they decide to walk away from the business. So, while running a sole proprietorship or partnership is a lot simpler, it does put an undue amount of risk on the owner(s). To limit your liability, consider forming a corporation or limited liability company.
One of the most common questions we get here at MyCorporation about forming a limited liability company or corporation is, “How hard is it to actually run this type of business?” Running an LLC or corporation is very different than running a sole proprietorship, and the government will expect those running the business to adhere to certain rules. It should be noted that the only governance document need for Corporations and LLCs is an Articles of Incorporation or a Certificate of Organization. However, there are other types of governance documents that should be kept and maintained.
In order to form a corporation, you have to file your articles of incorporation. And in order to form an LLC, you have to file what is normally called a certificate of organization. In both cases, these documents act a sort of birth certificate for the new business entity. They disclose the entity’s name, address, registered agent information, and the information of any managers or owners. A lot of states actually offer a “fill-in-the-blank” type of form on the website of their Secretary of State or department of corporations. However, these forms only meet the minimal requirements for a corporation or LLC as set by the state. They also don’t set the rules for how your company will actually be run. Along with these formation documents, you should consider drafting a set of bylaws or an operating agreement.