Legal Tips for Businesses

Mention legal regulations to a businessperson and you will probably see their eyes glaze over. One can hardly blame them given the complexities of the subject. That being said, here are a few legal nuggets you should know.

1. Avoid Oral Contracts – In most situations, oral promises to do things are unenforceable, so avoid them. When it comes to contracts, the only thing important is what is in writing.

2. Legality of NCA – Many businesses ask their employees to sign non-compete agreements, also known as NCAs. Keep in mind they are illegal in some states!

3. Identity Theft Tip – Never click a link to a site based on an email you randomly received even if the company is well known to you. Instead, go to a search engine and access the site that way.

4. IRS Email Contacts – Scammers are sending out emails purportedly from the IRS. These messages are scams. The IRS does not communicate with people by email.

5. Corporate Protection and Crimes – A corporation is touted a vehicle to protect shareholders from lawsuits and debts of the business. It does not provide protection from criminal charges.

6. Common Law Copyright – When you create an artistic work such as a book or music, you automatically are granted copyright. If some infringes on your copyright, however, you must have registered it with the Copyright Office to get damages.

7. Website Copyright Issues – Many businesses need websites and yours probably does as well. If you use an outside party to create it, make sure they transfer copyright to you for the site.

8. Corporate Tax Designations – Once you have incorporated a business, you must determine the tax status of the business. If you do nothing, it is automatically taxed as a C-corporation. Alternatively, you can file for a S designation.

9. LLC Tax Designation – Most people know LLCs are great because they can be taxed like a partnership. If you wish, however, you can have them taxed as a corporation.

10. The First LLC – The first limited liability company came to us from Wyoming. To attract tax revenues, Wyoming passed a law allowing them in the late 70s.

The law is a vast and complex subject. A few tips are not going to get you by. If you find yourself in a complex situation, seek out the advice of a good attorney.