Your Business License Questions Answered

Posted by American Ltd on Sep 17, 2019 10:55:50 AM

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kylesteeddesign/3When opening a small business, it’s important to research any business license and permit requirements that may apply to your industry. It does not matter if you're an LLC or Corporation not having proper licensure can be extremely detrimental to your business. It can cause unnecessary stress, confusion, and potential fines.

To help you avoid this and better understand the basics of business licenses, we’ve answered these 4 common questions. 

1. Why Do I Need a Business License?

Obtaining proper business licenses and permits ensures that your business is maintaining compliance with federal, state, and local laws. Keeping your business license up to date is just as important as paying your taxes and annual state fees.

When applying for a bank account, you will most likely be asked to present your business license. Your business license can also help you with business financing, and may make things smoother when filing your taxes.  

2. What Are the Different Types of Business Licenses?

Keep in mind that business license types and requirements can vary from federal, state, county, and city levels. The following are a few common types of business licenses and permits to help you gain a general understanding of what you may need.

Basic Business License: This is typically issued by the city or county in which you’ll be operating.

Health Department Permits: If you prepare, serve, or sell food products, this will most likely be required,

Sales Tax License: This license is typically required for the sales of products and services.

Zoning Permits: This permit states authority to use a certain area of land for a certain purpose.

Professional & Occupational Permits : These may be required for services that are regulated by the state. These services may include, but are not limited to:

Medical Services                Legal Services

Tax Servoces                    Real Estate Services

Be sure to review your state laws if you are in an industry that may require an occupational license.

Federal Permits: if your business involves any of the following, it is best to contact federal departments for specific requirements.

Alcohol, Tobacco, or Firearms  Ground Transportation

Drug Manufacturing                Broadcasting

This is a sample of industries that may require federal licensure. Please check with federal agencies for your specific requirements. 

3. Are There Penalties for Not Having a Business License?

If you do not obtain required business licenses and permits, you are highly jeopardizing the security of your company. Not having a business license can leave you legally vulnerable, result in high financial penalties, and in some cases may lead to imprisonment. Aside from this, it negatively impacts your credibility as a business owner and will cause long term negative effects for your business. 

4. How Do I Get a Business License?

Since business licenses are handled on many levels, we suggest doing research with your state to find out exactly what you may need. You may find that your local city hall, state’s government websites, or www.sba.gov are great resources.

Since researching all of the requirements on the Federal, State, Country, and City level can be a time consuming task. American Incorporators Ltd. offers a service that researchesdetails, and lists all of the licenses and permits you will need. The only thing you would need to do is answer a few quick questions about your business. If you’d like to learn more, visit our Business License page.

Having the proper business licenses and permits is just as important as incorporating your business. Do not leave this process out of your business plan. We hope that this eases your business license research process! If you have any questions, feel free to post below or contact one of our Incorporation Specialists by dialling 800.421.2661

For more information and answers to your 50 most common incorporation questions read our FREE eBook

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Topics: LLC Creation, Tips & Tricks, Corporation Creation, Business Maintenance, Business Licenses, Alabama

What is a C Corporation

Posted by Cory Josephs on Aug 14, 2014 11:43:00 AM

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What is a C Corporation?

A C Corp is legal structure that businesses establish that is a separate entity from the owners and the people that manage it. Corporations are owned by their shareholders, and provide owners limited liability. C Corporations are the most widely type of entity for businesses large and small that have shareholders. 

What's the difference between a C Corp and an S Corp?

All corporations both S and C are started as a C Corp. Once the C corp is formed the business has 75 days to to elect to become an S Corporation.  This election is done with the IRS. More information abour S Corporations can be found Here.

Some things to know if you're thinking about starting a C Corporation

  1. C Corporations may have an unlimited amount of shareholders
  2. Owners do not need to be citizens or residents of the United States
  3. C Corporations shares may be owned by another business
  4. C Corporations are required to have bylaws, hold annual meetings and keep accurate record of the meeting minutes. 
  5. Corporations can raise capital by through the sale of their stock.
If you want to incorporate your company don't worry, American Incorporators Ltd. provides fast and easy incorporation services for you so just give us a call at 800.421.2661 or Click Here for more details.
Form Your LLC Now 

Topics: Corporation Creation, Corporations, incorporation, easy incorporation, s corp, s corporation, starting a business, c corp, create a corporation, what is a c corporation, C Corporation

Why You Should Incorporate Companies

Posted by Cory Josephs on Jul 11, 2014 3:44:00 PM

There are 5 Different types of entities than can own a business.

  • C Corporation
  • S Corporation 
  • LLCs & LLPs 
  • General Partnerships
  • Sole Proprietorships
For more information on the different types of entities click here 
Incorporating your business into a Corporation or LLC has so many features
  1. Limit the Liability and Protect the Assets of Owners
  2. Increase Tax Savings 
  3. Raise Capital 
  4. Perpetual Existence
  5. Simple Estate and Family Planning
If you own a business as a Sole Proprietorship or General Partnership you have unlimited financial and legal liability. For example if your business gets sued your personal assets are not protected.
 Protecting Personal Assets

Topics: LLC Creation, LLC Creation, Tips & Tricks, Corporation Creation, Limited Liability Companies, Corporations, incorporation process, incorporate now, incorporate today, incorporation, forming a business, easy incorporation, Asset Protection, s corp, business partnerships, s corporation, what is an s corporation, process

State Basics: Forming a Business in Arizona

Posted by Samantha Miller on Mar 26, 2014 12:51:00 PM

dreamstimefree 232115 resized 600When forming a business in Arizona, you’ll want to be mindful of certain requirements and potential restrictions. You will have the option to form a Corporation or a Limited Liability Company. Before you make your decisions, it’s best to understand the difference between the two, and how Arizona will treat your business formation.

Corporations 

Corporations will be required to have a name that is entirely distinguishable from any other business registered in the State of Arizona. The name of your business must also include a corporate identifier. For corporations, you can use “Association, Corporation, Company, Incorporated, Limited” or any abbreviations of those corporate identifiers.

Arizona does not require that you list a specific business purpose on your Certificate of Incorporation. They do require that you list at least one director on your Certificate of Incorporation. The State of Arizona does require publishing.

Limited Liability Companies

When forming an LLC an Arizona, your company name must also be different and distinguishable from any other registered authorized Arizona business entity or any reserved names on record. You’ll need to include a corporate identifier. LLCs can use “Limited Liability Company, Limited Company” or any abbreviation of these words.

LLCs are not required to list a specific purpose on your Certificate of Formation and are also not required to list members on their formation documents.

Both Corporations and Limited Liability Companies may have varying annual requirements. To keep up with Arizona’s requirements, we recommend visiting their Secretary of State website, or giving us a call.

If you’re a small business looking to get started in Arizona, The Arizona Commerce Authority is a great resource where you can learn about programs that can help you get your business up and running. Arizona businesses also recommend Arizona’s SBDC Maricopa County Colleagues division. 

If you're ready to form a business in Arizona, we offer incorporation and registered agent services. Either click below or call 800.421.2661 to get started!

 

Form in Arizona!

Topics: Corporation Creation, Limited Liability Companies, Arizona

State Basics: Forming a Business in Alabama

Posted by Samantha Miller on Mar 5, 2014 3:25:00 PM

 describe the image Each week, we’ll be providing you with basic information on forming a corporation or limited liability company in a specific state. Today, we’ll get started with Alabama.

Forming a corporation or a limited liability company in Alabama can take a considerable amount of time longer than other states. If this is where you are conducting, we recommend you for in Alabama, despite the time it may take. 

Before beginning your initial filing document, you may be required to obtain a Certificate of Name Reservation from the State of Alabama. This filing will be sent to the judge of probate, who then forwards the filing to the Alabama Secretary of State.

Alabama requires that you include a corporate name identifier in your company’s name. Corporate identifiers for corporations include “Corporation, Incorporated, Inc., and Corp.” For LLCs, corporate identifiers include “Limited Liability Company or LLC.” Alabama also requires that your business name be distinguishable from any other registered or authorized Alabama business identity.

Alabama does not require that a specific purpose be listed on your formation document for both corporations and limited liability companies.  For corporations, Alabama requires that you have one or more Directors listed on your formation document, but does not require you to list any officers. For a Limited Liability Company’s formation document, Alabama requires that one or more managers or members be listed.

Keep in mind that Alabama may have annual filing requirements for both corporations and LLCs. These filings may be due on a certain date and may cost varying amounts. To be sure that you’re receiving up to date annual requirement information, you can check the Alabama Secretary of State website. You receive further information regarding these filings by calling 800.421.2661.

Alabama Business News is a great site if you’re interested in keeping up with business developments and your potential competition! 

Get Started in Alabama

Topics: LLC Creation, Corporation Creation, State Basics, Alabama

Your Business License Questions Answered

Posted by Samantha Miller on May 17, 2013 3:42:00 PM

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kylesteeddesign/3When opening a small business, it’s important to research any business license and permit requirements that may apply to your industry. Not having proper licensure can be extremely detrimental to your business. It can cause unnecessary stress, confusion, and potential fines.

To help you avoid this and better understand the basics of business licenses, we’ve answered these 4 common questions. 

1. Why Do I Need a Business License?

Obtaining proper business licenses and permits ensures that your business is maintaining compliance with federal, state, and local laws. Keeping your business license up to date is just as important as paying your taxes and annual state fees.

When applying for a bank account, you will most likely be asked to present your business license. Your business license can also help you with business financing, and may make things smoother when filing your taxes.  

2. What Are the Different Types of Business Licenses?

Keep in mind that license types and requirements can vary from federal, state, county, and city levels. The following are a few common types of business licenses and permits to help you gain a general understanding of what you may need.

Basic Business License: This is typically issued by the city or county in which you’ll be operating.

Health Department Permits: If you prepare, serve, or sell food products, this will most likely be required,

Sales Tax License: This license is typically required for the sales of products and services.

Zoning Permits: This permit states authority to use a certain area of land for a certain purpose.

Professional & Occupational Permits : These may be required for services that are regulated by the state. These services may include, but are not limited to:

Medical Services                Legal Services

Tax Servoces                    Real Estate Services

Be sure to review your state laws if you are in an industry that may require an occupational license.

Federal Permits: if your business involves any of the following, it is best to contact federal departments for specific requirements.

Alcohol, Tobacco, or Firearms  Ground Transportation

Drug Manufacturing                Broadcasting

This is a sample of industries that may require federal licensure. Please check with federal agencies for your specific requirements. 

3. Are There Penalties for Not Having a Business License?

If you do not obtain required business licenses and permits, you are highly jeopardizing the security of your company. Not having a business license can leave you legally vulnerable, result in high financial penalties, and in some cases may lead to imprisonment. Aside from this, it negatively impacts your credibility as a business owner and will cause long term negative effects for your business. 

4. How Do I Get a Business License?

Since business licenses are handled on many levels, we suggest doing research with your state to find out exactly what you may need. You may find that your local city hall, state’s government websites, or www.sba.gov are great resources.

As you can see, knowing exactly what business licenses and permits you may need can be difficult. American Incorproators Ltd. offers a service that researches, details, and lists all of the licenses and permits you will need. The only thing you would need to do is answer a few quick questions about your business. If you’d like to learn more, visit our Business License section.

Having the proper business licenses and permits is just as important as being incorporated. Do not leave this process out of your business plan. We hope that this eases your business license research process! If you have any questions, feel free to post below or contact one of our Incorporation Specialists by dialing 800.421.2661. 

Topics: LLC Creation, Tips & Tricks, Corporation Creation, Business Maintenance, Business Licenses

How To Set Up Payroll For A Small Business

Posted by Samantha Miller on Mar 13, 2013 10:22:00 AM

dreamstimefree 155115Setting up payroll for your small business doesn't have to be a daunting task.  You'll find that here are many benefits to establishing a payroll system.  In addition to saving you time, it can keep you from incurring any IRS penalties.  We’ve outlined these seven steps to help you set up your small business payroll system in no time.  

  1. Obtain an EIN. You must make sure that you have an Employer Identification Number, or an EIN. This number is used when you report employee information or taxes and other documents to the IRS. If you have not obtained an EIN, you can click here for more information. 
  2. Check State & Local ID Requirements. Different state and local government agencies require a business to also get an ID number so they can process local taxes.  Check with your state or local government agency.
  3. Fill Out the Proper Forms. Have your new employees fill out W-4 forms (Federal Income Tax Withholding form).  Once your employee completes the form, these forms will allow you to withhold the right amount of taxes from the employee's pay.  You also want to be sure to withhold the right amount of taxes depending on if the employee is an independent contractor or an employee.  Business.gov provides an easy-to-understand distinction between the two.
  4. Decide on a Pay Period. Some states predetermine employer pay periods, so be sure to review your local regulations.
  5. Maintain Careful Documentation. This includes compensation, paid time off, overtime pay as well as health plan premiums, retirement and any other contributions.
  6. Choose a Payroll System. You can choose to run payroll in house or use an outsource service . If you’re considering in-house payroll, you can find software to maintain your payroll. Keep in mind that in-house payroll can be time consuming, and if you do not pay close attention to detail, you may face penalties as a result of small mistakes. Outsourcing your payroll can also save you time. Using an experienced accountant or payroll service provider may save you time and money in the long run. Don’t forget to consult within your network – ask other small business owners how they’ve handled their payroll to gain a better understanding of your options.
  7. Preserve Well Kept Records. Make sure you’re aware of proper record keeping techniques.  You must keep W-4s on file for every active employee. After an employee is no longer working for you, you are still required to keep copies of their forms for an additional three years thereafter.  

With a little research and simple organization, you will have your small business payroll set up and running.  Review your options and understand what will work best for you. Don’t forget to network with your peers to gain a better understanding of the best options for people in your industry. Remember to follow all IRS and/or local government instructions carefully; when in doubt, ask a professional accountant for advice. 

Topics: LLC Creation, Tips & Tricks, Corporation Creation, Business Maintenance

How To Find Your First Employee

Posted by Samantha Miller on Feb 22, 2013 3:04:00 PM

http://www.flickr.com/photos/sidelong/For small business owners like you, trying to find your first employee can be a challange. When hiring employees, small business owners must ensure that they are meeting their tax and legal obligations, and you must also make sure that you are hiring the "right" candidates for the job. In order to most successfully hire your first employees, we’ve outlined 8 key steps to finding the perfect fit.

  • Obtain an EIN or an Employer Identification Number if one has not already been assigned to the company. 
  • Open bank accounts in your company's name if one does not already exist. Employees' pay should be taken from these accounts.
  • Obtain copies of all of the documents necessary to report the new hire to the government and to operate the business legally. The Small Business Administration (SBA) has published a description of all of these forms on its website.
  • Create a job description. The job description should be accurate and understandable, and it should include an overview of both the company and the position (i.e., tasks involved, qualifications, salary range, etc.). More tips for writing effective job descriptions can be found online via Inc.com and the Small Business Administration’s website.
  • Publish the job description. You have many outlets to find your perfect fit. Try publishing the description on your company's website, on job-search websites, social media sites, and even in the newspaper. Here's a great article outlining 10 places for you to start your search. The open position can also be promoted by recruiting firms, or presented at career fairs. Make sure it is visible to the best potential candidates for the job itself.
  • Create a list of questions to ask prospective job candidates. For ideas, check out Monster.com's list of 100 potential interview questions.
  • Conduct the interviews. Make sure to include company and job-specific questions, and always be cognizant of the "7 C's."
  • After conducting interviews, select the best candidate for the job and extend an offer.
  • Start working!

By following the steps described above, you can be sure that you’re meeting all of your obligations and that you’re hiring the best possible candidates for your jobs - the first time and every time!


Topics: Tips & Tricks, Corporation Creation, Start a Business From Home

What Are The Duties Of Officers Of A Corporation?

Posted by Samantha Miller on Jan 4, 2013 4:36:00 PM

When forming a corporation, you’ll come across the term “officers.” This is a term unique to corporations and does not apply to Limited Liability Companies. Your Board of Directors is the governing body of a corporation who is elected by shareholders. The directors are then responsible for selecting the officers of the corporation and for the supervision and general control of the company.

officers of a corporationAn officer can be defined as individuals appointed by the board of directors who are responsible for carrying out the board's policies and for making day-to-day decisions. The necessary positions and duties of officers are typically set forth and stated during the creation of your corporation’s bylaws.

Here, we briefly describe 4 commonly valuable officer roles and their duties in the corporation.

  • President. The president is responsible for managing daily operations of your corporation. If you do not have a chairperson, your president will preside over all meetings of the board of directors. You may want to consider appointing a Vice President to fulfill the president’s duties, should the president be unavailable. However, it is important to note that if the president is to leave a company, the vice president does not automatically assume the position of president.
  • Secretary. Your secretary will be responsible for maintaining your corporate records and is commonly responsible for recording minutes during your meetings. If your bylaws state that you must notify shareholders and directors of meetings, your secretary would be responsible for sending out the notification.
  • Treasurer. Treasurers will maintain corporate account books, including your profits, losses, assets, and other pertinent tax information. Your treasurer may or may not be involved with daily financial record keeping, depending upon how you set forth their duties in your corporate bylaws. If they do not partake in daily bookkeeping, you may decide to have the treasurer oversee the daily activity of your internal accountant.
  • Assistant Positions. If you have a large corporation, you may find it beneficial to create assistant secretaries and treasurers. These assistant positions can help you to proficiently manage workloads while saving time if you have multiple offices. Creating assistant positions also offers the opportunity to boost employee morale without significantly changing their specific career duties.

While these are the most common roles and duties of officers of a corporation, you may find that you do not need to fulfill all of the above mentioned positions. Keep in mind that we do recommend having a president and secretary at minimum.

If you’d like to learn more about the common characteristics of corporations, take a look at our previous blog post. As always, if you have any questions that aren’t answered on our blog or in our Learning Center, one of our incorporation specialists would be happy to assist you by calling 800.421.2661. 

Topics: Corporation Creation, Corporations, Minutes, Officers

How Incorporation Can Protect Your Assets

Posted by Samantha Miller on Oct 19, 2012 3:39:00 PM

Incorporating is an important step to providing you and your business with more security. Corporations historically started as a means for people to gather their finances for large business endeavors, while benefitting from protection from liability. Without such protection measures, people were less likely to invest in projects, leading to the continuation of corporations.  

This limited liability feature is one of the most prominent features of corporations and limited liability companies. You can protect your personal assets by incorporating or forming a company. When you do so, you are creating a legal entity that is separate from yourself. This means that your personal assets and your business assets will be separate. In the event of a lawsuit or if your business should fail, your personal assets cannot be touched.

As an owner, you are separate from the legal business entity, but you still must be sure to follow all state rules and regulations regarding your corporation or limited liability company.

A few steps to insure that you protect your assets include…

  • Creating proper articles of incorporation and bylaws, along with any other set state requirements.
  • Acting in accordance to the company’s articles and bylaws.
  • Vigilant recordkeeping habits, including attention to detail.
  • Maintenance of annual taxes. 

Aside from these basic steps, there are further ways to maximize your liability protection. Here, we’ve noted 3 Key Do’s and Don’ts that will help you protect your assets. 

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Once you incorporate your business, you are on the road to protecting your personal assets. You should keep in mind that there are still legal obligations for you to follow in order to achieve maximum liability protection. If you’d like to learn more about incorporation and its benefits, check out our Learning Center. You can also learn more about state specific requirements by visiting our detailed State Database.   

Our “How Incorporating Protects Your Personal Assets” info sheet summarizes asset protection strategy and other benefits of incorporating. It’s available for free download by clicking the button below!

Protecting Personal Assets

Topics: LLC Creation, Corporation Creation, Asset Protection