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Most Common Business Law Issues:

Do I Need a License or Permit from the State to Run My Business?

That will depend on what your business specializes in and what state(s) you primarily conduct your business in. A state may regulate different kinds of businesses by requiring the business, the owner, or the employee to obtain a permit or license from the state to market and sell a product or perform a service. It is important to check in your state whether you or your business are required to have any of these permits or licenses, and if so to quickly begin the procedure for getting them from the state.  Otherwise, your business may not be considered legitimate and may be fined, suspended, or even permanently shut down by the state.

What Do I Need to Do if I Want to Sell Shares of Company Stock to Potential Investors?

In addition to federal security laws, you should be aware of your state's security laws. State security laws will give additional regulations as to how and when you can issue shares of stock to investors.

In addition, the structure of you business will impact what state regulations you must comply with. If your business is a limited partnership, corporation, or limited liability company you are required to file with your state's appropriate office, which probably is either the state's Secretary of State, or the Department of Corporations.

What Do I Have to Do if I Am Going to Have Employees Working for Me in My Business?

First off, just like with federal tax authorities, your state tax authority will require you to have an employer identification number. 

Next, when you have employees on your payroll, you will have to be sure a certain percentage of paychecks will be used to pay various state and federal taxes such as income tax and Social Security tax. The withheld money must then be paid to the IRS and state tax authorities. Be sure to tell the IRS, employees, and the state how much you withheld from the paychecks and for what purposes (in other words, what percentage of what was withheld is going to each type of tax or insurance).

Finally, check to see if you have to register with your state's office that handles unemployment and workers' compensation, most likely with your state's Department of Labor. In addition, if your state has statute equivalent of the federal OSHA, make sure your business is complying with the health and safety requirements.

Are There Any Other State Regulations I Need to Be Aware of?

Depends on what the nature of your business is and what state your business is located in. Many states have specific environmental regulations for certain types of businesses, so be sure to check the requirements in your state. Also, if your business is selling a product, even if your state does not have a sales tax, you will have to file for a seller's permit or sales tax license.

What Can I Do to Make Figuring Out These State Regulations for My Business Easier?

Trying to start a business is hard enough, trying to figure out all of the state laws you have to abide by does not make it any easier. You may want to consult an attorney who has experience dealing with start-up businesses. Your attorney will help you figure out which laws you must comply with and what you must do to meet those requirements.

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Last Modified: 09-30-2013 11:20 AM PDT

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