Before starting a business, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the laws that govern business operations. The last thing you want is to receive a court summons for violating business laws. Lawsuits are time-consuming and expensive, and they could cripple your company financially. To prevent this from happening, here are the regulations you should know as a business owner.
Licensing and Permit Laws
Business license and permit requirements vary based on your industry and location. Familiarize yourself with land use permits, sales tax licensure, zoning regulations, and license requirements for other general business operations.
Depending on the type of business, you may also need a permit from the local health department. Check the website for both local and federal small business authorities for resources to ensure you’re staying compliant.
Your advertising efforts must be truthful and not misleading to your audience. Whether you’re placing ads on billboards or the internet, ensure you adhere to consumer protection laws. Keep in mind that online marketing is governed by laws related to:
- International sales
- Sales tax collection
In addition to laws stipulating how you can promote your business, you must also consider product packaging regulations. If your business sells a physical product to consumers, any product labels must adhere to stringent guidelines.
Choosing a name is one of the first things you need to do when starting a business. Coming up with a great business name can be an uphill task, and when you finally nail it, you want to start using it immediately. However, rushing forward can cause problems.
Trademark laws require you to confirm that no other business has registered the same name. Visit the State Secretary’s website to verify if the name you choose already exists as a registered business name. If not, file a ‘Doing Business As’ form in your state or county to register the business name.
Employment and Labor Laws
If you’re thinking of hiring employees, keep in mind the many types of employment laws that exist. These laws relate to:
- Workers’ compensation
- Occupational Safety and Health Act regulations
- Equal employment opportunities
- Family and Medical Leave Act
- At-Will work doctrine
- Workplace harassment
- Non-US employees
- Benefits and wages
- Drug-free work environments
Some states also require that employers share notices where employees can easily see them. For example, regulations may require you to post signs reminding your food service employees to wash their hands. Be sure to check the laws in your jurisdiction to determine what messaging is required for your workplace.
Every business must file business taxes. To do this, you must have an employer identification number, which you can apply for through the IRS. You also must know how much tax your business should pay, depending on the number of employees.
Crucial tax requirements to review include social security, federal tax, federal unemployment, and Medicare. Talk to an accountant to help you figure out and plan for your tax obligations.
The government wants to know that you’re doing everything possible to protect your customers’ personal information. You must have a sound security system in place and avoid distributing the data you collect to third parties. Your data and information systems must also be safe from external threats and attacks.
There are business laws that stipulate what you should do if your business hits a financial roadblock. If you are on the verge of bankruptcy, ensure you know what the law requires before filing the paperwork. An attorney specializing in business finance is an important asset to have when facing potential bankruptcy.
Familiarizing yourself with all the laws that apply to your business can seem like a daunting task. However, staying informed is the best way to remain compliant and avoid finding yourself in court. The good news is that your local Small Business Administration office can help you stay on the right side of the law. Moreover, a business law attorney can help you tackle the legal requirements of running your business and will provide expert support should you encounter a roadblock.