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Business structure

The business structure is the choice of entity, such as LLC, partnership, or corporation. The choice of entity affects the liability of the owners, the taxes on the entity, and the requirements to maintain the entity's status. For example, a corporation is easier to show as a different entity than the owner, thereby making liability protection simpler. However, a corporation is taxed at a higher rate and requires more documents and meetings to maintain corporate status. 

Operating agreement

The operating agreement is the governing document of an LLC. It can control the owners' profit sharing, management rights, roles within the business, and can control the owners' rights and duties in various situations such as termination of ownership. The operating agreement is an optional document, but adds enough value that every LLC should have one. A partnership can draft a similar document, called a partnership agreement. Learn more about operating agreements.

Corporate veil guide

The corporate veil is the separation of an entity from its owners. This is what protects owners from liability when they acquire liability under their business name. The corporate veil is not a guarantee when a person uses a business to acquire liability, and the veil can be "pierced" meaning that the owners may be sued for business liabilities. This guide discusses how to maintain the corporate veil and prevent personal liability from business activity. Learn more about the corporate veil.

Employment handbook

An employee handbook is an explanation of workplace policies and procedures. It explains every standard and policy that an employee is expected to uphold, and it acts as a reference for certain procedures such as attendance, taking time off, and how to handle a workplace complaint. 

Employment contracts

The employee contract is the agreement between the business and the employee whereby the business agrees to pay the employee and the employee agrees to perform work for the business. Once a business reaches a certain amount of employees, the employment contract is required by law to include certain provisions. It is also good practice to include other provisions, such as when the employer is permitted to terminate the employee, to prevent employees from suing the business. 

Service contracts

Service contracts are the agreements between a business and their customers. A good service contract will have disclaimers and warranties spelling out the situations where the business is liable for ta result and when the business is not liable. The contract will also provide useful information, such as return and refund or exchange policies. Some professions have specific provisions that must be included as a matter of law.

Financial statements

Financial statements are balance sheets, income statements, and statements of cash flow. These statements provide the foundation of accounting financial recordkeeping for a business. Financial statements are necessary to show to investors or owners, and some entities such as corporations are actually required to maintain accurate statements. As part of the startup package, you will receive customized templates with your business name, logo, and color scheme. Simply fill in the statements as you earn and spend and the statements will provide insight into the financial health of your business while making taxes a breeze. 

Tax Forms & Guide

Tax requirements vary between entities and situations. If you own a business and pay yourself, you may have to report the payments as wages or you may benefit from reporting them as dividends. To do this, both you and your business are required to file specific forms with the IRS. Also, some entities must file their own tax returns. The platinum startup package includes all the tax forms your business needs and a short guide discussing how to remain tax compliant. Learn more about business taxes.

Licensing/franchise agreements

Licensing agreements and franchise agreements both involve allowing another person or business to use your physical or intellectual property in exchange for payment. However, these agreements are drastically different. A franchise agreement allows for more control over the other business, but has extensive legal requirements. It is critical to consult a lawyer to discuss which agreement is right for you and how to structure your agreement to meet your needs.

IP protection (trademarks, copyrights)

Trademarks protect your business name and logo, while copyrights protect your content. It is important to protect this intellectual property to prevent other companies from making money off your creativity. 

 

Buy - sell agreements

These agreements allow owners to set up arrangements for the purchase or sale of their business interest. For example, if one owner wants to sell their interest in the business the agreement can provide that the other owners have the right to purchase the interest before anyone else, potentially even at a lower cost. These agreements are tailored to the business and are highly valuable in protecting ownership of the business.

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Owners are always finding ways to optimize their businesses. The sooner you claim your consultation, the sooner we can help you optimize your legal protections, tax savings, and financial foundation.

© 2018 by Collier Legal, LLC. 

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