post-title start a business

start a business

start a business


Business typically exist when the person engaging in the activity will say it does. The label business is simply a statement about the intent: if you plan an activity to earn money by providing goods or services to customers, congratulations, that business is business.

A society On the other hand, is a particular operating structure recorded in a certain jurisdiction. They come with substantial rights and responsibilities.

Many entrepreneurs wonder if their business should go well with companies (through a process called “incorporation”) and, if so, when and what kind of society? We wrote a quick guide to explain this.

What is the alternative to incorporation?

By default, the business has no existence independent of its owners. This is called amen business (Sometimes called sole trader outside the US) if they only have an owner or association if they have multiple owners.

The person businesses are extremely common; Service tax revenues (the US tax agency) realizes approximately 27 million these informally organized enterprises (compared to approximately 6 million formally incorporated companies.) This is largely true throughout most of the countries that distinguish between sole proprietors and companies.

Why incorporate?

So why incorporated if 80 +% of entrepreneurs do not?

The main reasons for selecting a form of business is limited liability and perpetual existence that these agencies can provide because once a company is formed, it is considered a separate legal entity from its owners. Sole proprietors and associations are usually personally liable for the debts and obligations of their companies and businesses cease on the death or departure of key.

Incorporation is mainly about risk reduction for all parties to a business.

  • The incorporation clarify the property rights of entrepreneurs, investors, and employees, allowing everyone to be sure they are getting the deal they believed them negotiated their money / work
  • The incorporation between liability for the debts and obligations of business entrepreneurs in society itself – since the law recognizes it as a separate entity from its owners
  • The incorporation transforms the business of a concept in thing; that the thing can be owned, bought, sold, borrowed against, destroyed, etc., like any other property
  • The incorporation sends a signal to customers, associates, and to the world that the business plan to operate in a professional manner

The chief reason that many entrepreneurs choose not to incorporate it is running a real business is complicated and expensive. A sole proprietorship is when you say it does. It may cease to exist almost as quickly. A society, on the other hand, is like a puppy: possession of it requires you to expensive maintenance, even when you’re tired of him chewing on the furniture.

When incorporated?

That incorporating his business or not a decision to be carefully after talking to its professional advisors, such as a lawyer or accountant. Some factors that typically advise incorporation are:

Stir immediately if you are told by professional counselors

Some companies, by their nature, are thus exposed to the responsibility they should almost always be operated as incorporated entity. Your lawyer and / or accountant can give a brief description of your business, you probably considered their views on whether your industry or business model strongly justifies incorporation.

Your lawyer or accountant may also advise the incorporation as a proactive measure if you have substantial assets outside of the business, such as for example, other commercial interests or a house, which should be protected against debts / responsibilities attached to business.

Fold if you are sharing the property with anyone else

Unincorporated associations may exist. What do they have some disadvantages rivaled structures incorporated association, as the anonymous limited liability companies (LLCs). Most entrepreneurs associated with choosing to have an LLC or corporation.

Associations are extremely customizable as to who contributes what and who ends up owning that because of the association. This customizability can be extremely complicated, and verification of the agreement is fair to all parties (and sufficiently de-risked) can run up a big tab for professional services. It is possible you can save on the costs and complexity by adopting a variant of an LLC or corporation.

An unfortunate fact of start businesses each relationship is ending thereafter. LLCs and corporations have well-established mechanisms to remove or decrease the associated entirely. Associations hoc ads do not often adding extra sore head, expenses, and legal risk to results that are likely already unfortunate for all involved. You can avoid heartache during the dissolution of your ad-hoc organization by formalizing the association earlier.

The legal name for a property right in a society is the equity. There exist a variety of ways to pay. These involve an existing legal infrastructure that goes back hundreds of years. The supports equity have predictable rights they may reasonably assume will be imposed; this is part of what makes the equity in a successful business so valuable.

Most of the founders who want to share the property business with employees or advisers (although they are not full partners), choose to grant-equity through a well-defined instrument-in entity rather after being badly specified, informal agreements that come back to bite you later.

Stir when you anticipate taking investment

Sophisticated investors want to know that, in exchange for their investment, they will share in the economic value of business agreement. It is much easier to ensure that corporate entities to unregistered companies; we have centuries of practice explaining how much money companies are allocating varying amounts of control over their operations, and handling conflicts in interpretation concerning agreements about them.

Most serious investors prefer to invest in a corporate entity rather than an unregistered entity. The precise timing of incorporation depends on the case and the individual investor; sometimes the deal is struck in principle before incorporation and formalized with the newly incorporated company, usually the company being formed is a prerequisite to having the case.

Stir before hiring a full-time employee

There are many, many ways that companies are settled. One of the most comprehensive manner and is the most complicated in their interactions with employees, due to the social importance of the professional relationship. Consequently, the contribution on your first employee because a quantum leap in the level of sophistication you need to bring your business to run and risk potential downside of being non-compliant.

In addition, your business may be responsible in some of these employee stock circumstances. If you have not incorporated business does not have a distinct identity you personally and you personally might be forced to pay for their mistakes.

Incorporated as your business approach the size or hardware complexity

As companies grow, they tend to become more complicated and to increase more risk sources. You board more products to more customers. Your services are starting to get sold to more sophisticated customers, who have more to lose if you break things and propensity to continue when things get broken. You attract the attention of bad actors.

Incorporating can help limit your personal exposure to risks that could properly belong to the business you run.

What “means the physical size” to you is a big question running through your accountant, but as a guideline, the United States, many companies with income above $ 100,000 choose to incorporate.

What types of companies are-there?

Companies in the United States are regulated at the state level, not at the federal (national government). The laws of the 50 states generally provide anonymous limited liability companies (LLCs), corporations (generally referred to as “bodies C”), and some more exotic options that are not appropriate for most standard companies Internet people.

Should I have the CA Company?

Most companies seeking to raise investment by investors in the United States choose to have the CA company, specifically, a Delaware corporation C. It is the overwhelming choice of technology companies and their investor-au- over 90% of IPOs in the US from 2007 to 2014 were Delaware C companies (see right, Page 8). If you have another type of entity, your investors may ask you to dissolve or to convert it to C Delaware Corporation as a condition of, or precondition, investing, which can be unnecessarily expensive.

Why venture capitalists they overwhelmingly prefer to invest in companies in Delaware C?

Training your company in Delaware is the easiest and most effective. Delaware is the state of incorporation for over 60% of Fortune 500 companies Delaware has established a body of laws governing companies: it is the only state to have a separate legal system business (the court Chancery). It is meaningful to entrepreneurs for two reasons. First, there is a body of existing laws for a long time concerning companies which was discussed in the course of Delaware over many years. If any legal action, so there is a high level of predictability. Second, Delaware has a long record of pro-management decisions. Specialist’s venture capitalists (VCs) feel more comfortable when they see that

Should I have an LLC?

LLCs have few advantages over C corporations:

  • Theys cos les to incorporèrent
  • It is generally easier to incorporate and manage a current fashion
  • They offer tax pass-through, which can be more tax efficient in certain circumstances, particularly for smaller companies

Many entrepreneurs, advisors, or solos people doing independent work LLCs choose for these reasons. It is far less common to see the technology of the fastest growing companies choose to organize as LLCs, those companies usually choose to take investment at some point, at which point they typically will be forced by investors to become corporate C.

InCorporatecurrently do not offer the incorporation of LLCs. The streak will add support for LLCs in the future. If you would like to incorporate LLC, email to announce when we add this capability.

A type of company is it more “real business” than the other?

This is an excellent question for many of our international entrepreneurs, since in some countries some class society are treated as citizens of second class company. It is not widely true in the United States. Companies are happy to deal with corporations and LLCs C. Different largely consumers do not understand the difference in particular. Each of the two are well-understood, options supported to interact with the other government.

I heard about S corporations?

An S corporation is not a separate type of society. This is a special way to elect (ask the IRS) tax system emulation function LLCs with turnover of company’s corporate form The IRS covers the subject in more detail right. We’ll cover more detail S companies at a later date.

Who can the corporations?

Essentially anyone can incorporate an American company and have all its equity interests. You must not be a resident of the United States or a citizen of the United States. A foreign company can own and incorporate whole-an American company. Misconceptions about this are common, but our legal guide is clear:

There’s no federal US or national laws that require a shareholder or member LLC to be a citizen of the United States or a resident to form a US corporation. Nationals of non-US can own all the shares of a US company or be the sole member of a US LLC. Neither should a board member of directors of the company or executives of the company own shares (as “the actions of warranty Directors”). Similarly, all the board members of the society of states and its leaders can, if so desired, be non-US citizens and non-residents of the United States.

There exist millions of US companies that are directly controlled by people outside the United States, including many people / companies who are not US citizens. This is considered an incredible amount of business internationally, requiring foreigners to conduct business in the US, and when they do so it is often more convenient than they treat as US entities. People usually incorporate by US companies for such simple projects with an apartment or a condominium.

The companies owned by foreign residents or non-citizens are still companies.

Bookkeeping and accounting

If you get paid, congratulations! You have created something for which the people that have wished are willing to pay enough money. To ensure your healthy business stays, and help you focus more on business than on keeping the lights on, you want to save money you move in and out of your business. Home to the fascinating world of accounting and bookkeeping.

What is accounting? What accounts?

Historically, there was a distinction between the functions of accounting and bookkeeping, but the distinction is weakening as more than two functions are done by computers rather than people.

Accountability records details about the transaction books (Registers) of the company. It has been historically seen to be work done by the retail-oriented specialists, but not something that required a higher degree.

Accountability transforms data in books conclusions about the business health. Part of this function has been largely subsumed by computer program given that books are computerized business, calculating such a report (a report listing assets and current business liabilities) is insignificant.

In most companies, accountants advise on the business structure (egg, how the money flow between a parent company and a subsidiary), design procedures and controls for new transactions which are more complicated than work routine handled by accounting / computer, and advise business owners / managers on financial matters. They also often help with tax planning and preparing tax returns.

What are “books? “

Your business keep many types of discs. One category of these, in which describes the movement of value and out of business, called “books. “The books are tracking the value, not necessarily always money, but for sake of convenience we will talk about money rather than the long list of valuable things business can keep some drives.

The physical manifestation of “books” is different in each case to some companies it is a literal physical book with a record of transactions, to others it is an Excel file, to others it is distributed among multiple different accounting systems.

Each entry in a register has a quantity, description, date, and some notion behind of where the money comes and where it goes. You can think of your bank statement or checkbook register as although relatively simple to your business is likely to have.

Most companies employ bookkeeping double entry, where business keep multiple logical registers, each representing a business account. “Reflects” here may correspond to real bank accounts or to something that it is useful to think about but which is not a physical place of its own, as “income. “The holding of double-books to each transaction recorded twice: as credit and debit account to another.

Bookkeeping double-entry was a revolutionary technology back in the 1400s because it made mistakes and malfeasance less likely than using a simple registry for business. Nowadays computers do most of the actual work and the contractor can probably avoid thinking about the logistics of the accounts that frequently and focus instead on making good decisions about output from the accounting process /accounting.

Separating financial lives

One of the first steps to be taken to establish appropriate accounting controls on your business is to separate your personal life from your business life. It is often difficult early, many entrepreneurs begin with operate the business as an extension of their personal identity. This is natural and expected, but when feasible, you should make a clear division between the money within the business and money out of business.

This has some advantages:

One of the easiest ways to creditors of a company, or others with claims against it, “pierce the corporate veil” is to demonstrate that the company was not genuine business but rather treated as just a separate pocket for the entrepreneur. The “piercing the corporate veil” is legalese for emptying the presumption that society’s responsibilities rest with only the company and not its owners. As the owner of a company, you earnestly want to avoid this event.

The payment of personal expenses out of company accounts or business expenses out of your personal accounts suggests that the company is just a fiction. Since entrepreneurs want to incorporate (and should benefit from) the limitation on liability afforded by incorporation, they should be careful to maintain the distinction.

Besides, it’s just easier operationally if your personal transactions and transactions remain in separate accounts. You have no particular obligation to keep accurate books for yourself, but you do for your business. If each transaction on a credit card is known to be linked to the market, it makes your accounting; if you know for sure that none are linked to the market, then you can spoil this statement without consequences for business.

The execution of discipline on the movement of money between the company and yourself can help external issues before they are insoluble. Companies are complicated; even small businesses can easily have hundreds of transactions in a month. It is very easy to have the incorrect perception that his business doing well while they bleed actually the money. This can happen if you have money coming in and out of your personal accounts all the time, and you might not realize that unless you were paying very great attention to how often you personally support the charges exploitation. This happens even to the very talented entrepreneurs, and this can be a painful realization to wake up to.

Of Internet companies are fortunately well-placed to separate your personal finances, due to what amount of business takes place electronically. If you remember a few simple rules, your business will transfer on to do the right thing. Let’s walk through how you should handle some of the most common transactions.

Ways to simplify accounting

Returned: Open a business checking account as a primary place standing for money for business. Ensure that all income is deposited for business in current account. For example, have the scratch (or your other credit card processor) send money to this account. If you receive checks, drop them into account (rather than cashing).

Doing this will allow you (or your accountants) to quickly sweep deposits in business, which will almost all items of income and match them against your sales.

Non-income deposits: The money comes from time to time in companies for reasons other than “a customer has paid you. “Important examples include investment, entrepreneurs lending money to business, etc. You should keep these transactions as infrequent as possible and properly documented.

Early in business life, when it is not yet positive cash flow, a contractor will often inject money into it. This is fine, assuming you can afford it, but: make this to be as infrequent as possible. The monthly magazine is a good rate for this; multiple times per week is not.

Spending: Open one or a limited number of credit cards. These can be in your own name or in the name of business-business it is often difficult to qualify for credit cards early in the life of your business. Put all the operating costs on a credit card if possible; never put personal expenses on business credit cards.

Do not do the transactions that are mixed in the character; they are painful for accounting later. If you must make a purchase from Amazon with articles related to the market and independent products, make two purchases instead. It may cost you a bit extra shipping (or additional SaaS accounts, or extra time asking a clerk to ring up two purchases at a store), but you save on fees and aggravation compatible. There are many places in your business where your personal attention opens the added value; the answer to the question “was that battery pack you ordered business or personal? “Is not one of them, and n?’

Pay the account of current credit card business, and only current account business.

You should minimize the number of operating costs that occur through any method other than your business credit card, especially cash transactions. If you have refund or an employee, be sure to save expenses and reimbursement.

Of some government agencies, owners, etc. can only be paid by check; use your line banking to write their checks directly to the account current business, or use direct debits or payments ACH to pay them.

Loans business to the entrepreneur: Prefer avoid these. Investors hate because historically they may indicate abuse of company funds. They complicate accounting unnecessarily. They make the story that you and your business are distinct harder to sell. In the best case, you want the flow of cash between business and yourself is unidirectional and relatively uncommon: a monthly pay check, a quarterly distribution, etc. They are easy to explain and have the clear treatment in terms of tax consequences.

The loans become … messy. For example, it is very easy to lose a result of the business loan payments accounting are recorded as fully income (which is incorrect, and increases the tax burden on companies unnecessarily) or considered because income tax by the agency (which is incorrect, but might be difficult to defend against lax accounting data).

If you need credit, get it from a bank. The payment of 18% in April a balance averaging $ 5,000 over a year is a lot cheaper than paying your accountant to answer questions from the IRS about an informal loan is lacking in documentation or extended transaction between the owner and business.

The IRS also has toothy rules regarding the “ready-related party”, which require more documentation than loans received from banks. If you do not maintain this documentation, you can be penalized, not because you had the intention of abusing the loan but simply because you have not followed the rules about documentation.

Talk to your accountant to properly document these loans if you choose to do them. Or save yourself the trouble and just do not borrow money or do not pay at your business without careful consideration.

Cash accounting against the accrual accounting

There are two accounting methods widely used by Internet companies: cash of accounting and accrual accounting. They result in materially different processes involving accounting / bookkeeping and can result in substantial differences in taxes. You likely will select one of the two methods and sticks with it for years at a time. (Both methods involve different ways to keep the books for your company, you must also tell the IRS what method you use when you file your first tax returns for society Changing methods requires both forms of classification. with tax agencies and often a lot of internal work to ensure the transition is explained properly, so you’ll want to avoid it where you can.)

In the cash method, Business records of your income as soon as it will be “available to you without restriction. “It is a term-of-art of the IRS; a simplified view is “if your client thinks they have you paid, you have probably booked income in the amount they think they have paid you. “The income that hit one of your accounts is certainly income as of that instant; checks as of which were sent to you when they are returned are sent rather than when they are received.

Expenditure is similarly simple: you book them when they are actually paid.

Many entrepreneurs start their companies follow the cash method because it is very easy to understand, even for entrepreneurs with no business background.

The accumulation methods more complicated than the cash method. The compromise does is to allow business (and other beneficiaries) to have a more accurate understanding of the true health of the business at any time.

In the accumulation method, income and expenses are recognized when the amount is fixed, known to be (in principle) collectable, and after economic performance occurred.

This means that, for example, if you accept funds for an order but you are not transported, you do not recognize revenue until you were carrying. (You reserve assets for the funds and income from passive undeserved representing the obligation of the company to ship the equivalent value of the goods, then you decrement responsibility when you board and increment the income.) Accounting: easy, once you get the hang of it … but your best time is spent doing almost anything else, and pay someone to do this for you.

Many investors view count books made in the accumulation method because there are a variety of ways to bring through the liquid method of money doing business seem more successful it is actually. The change in its accounting can be done at the end of a tax period, but is a bit of a headache, so if you know you are on the path of investment you might want to start with the accumulation method to save before you revisit all your books a few months down the road.

Terms of justification

Your business is required to power to justify (Provide documentation about the facts regarding) any transaction on your books. You will want to keep organized records, more your books, which will let you quickly answer questions on any transaction.

This is most important for larger transactions or for transactions in some parts at high risk of a tax return, but in principle you need to justify everything.

The IRS does not require that you have any particular style of keeping, only that you are in a consistent manner that leaves you comply with your obligations. The Internet companies usually keep most of their records in one or more computer systems. It is important that you know what information is where you can pull at will, and that your discs are available for the appropriate duration. (Usually this is 3 years after filing the tax return for this year, but there are some exceptions. As a practical matter, the Internet companies should store data indefinitely establishment. The hard drive space is virtually free; it is certainly cheaper than installing a process for routinely take the decision to keep-or-delete about particular documents.)

Justifying income items is quite easy: keep copies of receipts and invoices. (These are described in detail in a later chapter.) If you have particularly large transactions, you probably want to specify the contracts or other documentation certifying the details of what work was actually performed.

Receipts / bills generally will be centralized by nature in your system. If you happen to emigrate systems, remember to save the old receipts / invoices somewhere that does not get wiped after the migration is complete. The organizing annually minimally; it is often useful to be able to order them in the year as a common form of investigation is “your book exhibition by item of income for $ 12,000 on December 3, 2012. Justify it in an appropriate level of accuracy. ”

Justifying the expenditure items are modestly more difficult, because expenses are usually much more varied than income. In addition, some flavors of spending irregularly detailed record-keeping requirements.

You will want to have a policy that any purchase of goods or services your company requires a receipt and / or a written invoice and all receipts / invoices are kept in a central location. Many companies employ received-track or expense-tracking software. A low-tech, but still consistent, way to do this is to establish an email address @ receipts for your company and to require all employees as a matter of policy, to provide receipts or there dispatch received here if published a personally.

If a transaction does not result in a receipt, you should treat this as abnormality. Part of the discipline have received is to force money moving out of the company to come up with documentation justifying; transactions that have no receipts are suspicious by nature and can represent the activity on which your business want to keep down as diversion. Most often the reason is innocuous but nevertheless you should immediately create a written record of the transaction and store it wherever you store receipts / invoices. (Note that the embankment of written records such as credit card statements is not acceptable; IRS wants discs are kept contemporary of the transaction or shortly after, when the details are still fresh and when there is minimal chance to dodge for its tax benefit.)

The paper trail should not be particularly developed for most transactions, particularly small-dollar ones; receipts are generally not that developed, either. You will want to cover that you paid (in an appropriate level of detail that “a man” is not appropriate, “the florist on 3rd Street” is probably, at least for a small transaction), exactly how much was paid, the way of payment (an account, cash, etc.), which was purchased, and his reasoning for not carrying a receipt / invoice.

Number of electronic records as written records, especially when you hold an orderly fashion in the course of ordinary business. If it is in the common habits of your business to keep receipts in the receipts @ send inbox, for example, while an email from two-line to receipts @ is a written record created in the course of ordinary business your company, and it will usually treated with current compliance.

You should keep the statements (and similar documents) for all bank accounts, credit cards, etc. indefinitely. Note that banks may keep statements on their own systems for less time than you want them to be maintained, make a practice of recording electronic copies in a place you order. Banks come out from time to time business; you do not want to have to rebuild an account statement there 5 years simply because you closed the account or the bank was purchased in the meantime.

Travel, transportation, entertainment, and gift expenses are sometimes abused by some taxpayers and therefore have specific terms of record-keeping. You should be especially careful to keep written records for contemporaries such transactions; IRS describes what you need publication 463. A forecast of the next attractions: you should keep a spreadsheet for each employee that shows all the travel dates, where they remained (get receipts!), and what was the commercial purpose for the trip. You should, when you do business entertainment (meals included), register the participants and the specific contemporary commercial purpose information on the transaction; many small businesses simply write it on the back of the receipt.

As with most tax matters, the authorities are trying to be reasonable about the degree ceremony required for small transactions, and it rises as transactions become larger, more frequent, or more material throughout the context of your business. It is unlikely that you have to write much more than “Dan Smith; candidate ; offering discussed employment “if you buy someone $ 20 value lunch; If your New Year party cost your company $ 150,000, run it by your accountant and ask them what the appropriate level of justification.

Society taxes

No contractor will particularly like the amount of requested work to calculate taxes (to say nothing of the actual amounts paid), but calculating and paying taxes is a legal obligation and also the contractors undertake a responsibility in exchange for the substantial support that the company gives us.

The beginning of entrepreneurs are sometimes overly frightened about the tax assujetissements involved in starting a business. We want to demystify, so you have a good understanding of what you’ll be asked to pay roughly how it will eventually be, and how to organize your affairs such as the calculation and payment of taxes will be as painless as possible.

There are many varieties of taxes in the United States and around the world. This guide covers a paragraph taxes that your US business entity will likely pay. Entrepreneurs or companies owners can realize the income because of the work for the company receiving dividends, capital gains; make sure you also to handle your personal obligations.

As we saw in the chapter on accounting, the entire profession of accounting exists in large part to help you correctly to figure what taxes you owe. This short guide is not a substitute for professional advice from your accountant. Get an accountant for their advice will save you almost certainly money and effort.

What is tax planning?

Slightly surprising to entrepreneurs, there are often multiple ways of applying the tax law with economic facts of your business. This can result in a different amount of taxes, depending on how we apply the law. Accounting Help companies develop a tax position is consistent with the law and is effective in the amount of tax charged.

Tax planning often begins well before the tax is due or even transactions being entered. For example, since we want to allocate to equity employees in business (to attract desirable employees and reward appropriately the company’s expected success) you get consecutive decisions about business structure the incorporation, perhaps even before using his first employee. Achieving some of the value of those equity, and tax consequences for these future employees, might occur in 5 to 10 years down the road!

Tax planning is legal and expected business. As Judge Learned Hand wrote in 1934, summarizing the previous centuries:

Anyone may arrange his affairs so that his taxes shall be as low as possible; he is not bound to choose that pattern which best pays the treasury. There is not even a patriotic duty to increase his taxes. Time and again the courts have indicated that there is nothing sinister in so arranging affairs as to keep taxes as low as possible. Everyone does it, rich and poor, and like all recover, because nobody has any public duty to pay more than the law demands.

Enforce agencies often, however, have a poor opinion of abusive tax structuring, where the only reason for a certain action business is to avoid taxes, and can apply substantial sanctions when it occurs. Taxes can be a very complicated subject, which is one more reason to have your subsequent changes to accounting review and / or lawyer in your tax strategy. They can provide you advice on whether you are doing something that is mainstream in your country / industry or something that has a higher risk of causing your feedback to be considered inadequate by tax agencies that you are prone to.

Delaware monopoly right

Delaware, like many states, load all companies incorporated in Delaware a “monopoly right. “You can think of the monopoly right as an annual fee to replace the recording of a company in some states, the fee is called indeed a fee.

Almost all taxes are assessed on income or profit. Monopoly right is different. There are two ways to calculate it; each of the two normally start at a relatively small number and measure the complexity of the company.

You or your accountant can calculate your monopoly right in under two minutes. The rules and formulas on the state of Website Delaware.

Companies incorporating with the scratch will usually minimum tax under the assumed parity method, which is currently $ 350 per year.

Monopoly right is due with your annual report ranking, you need to do before March 1 of each year. Tax returns on US companies are generally due on 15 March (assuming your fiscal year is the calendar year); it is generally easier to rank your monopoly right to make your preparation tax return for the tax return on companies that (since you are well organized) will be done and ready to go a day or another in February.

Entrepreneurs can file their own annual report and statutory monopoly relatively easily by the Delaware website, in most cases without requiring professional advice. Your accountant can also do for you; expect to pay a nominal amount (perhaps $ 100) this.

Sales Tax

Right here. Be. Dragons.

In the US, businesses may be required to collect the sales tax by their local jurisdiction (city, county, etc.) and their state. This occurs in each jurisdiction where the company) makes a transaction take place and b) has a “connection” of economic activity.

Generally Internet companies have only a connection in the locations where they have the physical property or employees performing the work on their behalf. You cannot have a connection simply by incorporation in a state by having customers in one state, or having your website be available in a state. (It is, regrettably, difficult say with certainty because some states have become more aggressive in demanding that Internet activity is a connection.)

Therefore, many Internet companies, especially smaller ones, only charge sales tax on a relatively small percentage of their transactions.

You will typically require to charge customers the tax, on every transaction display how much tax you collect and remit the tax to the government agency on a monthly or quarterly basis.

Many communities in the United States also have a “use tax,” which corresponds to sales tax. A user tax is paid by the client in a transaction, not by customers-seller are supposed to indicate the local tax agency “that employs some property that I bought outside of that jurisdiction; Here paying taxes. “Some believe that compliance with user taxes is very, very, very low. Nevertheless, you can have a filing requirement if your business has a physical presence in the US state-check with your state and / or city / Local County.

There has been talk in recent years to establish a so-called “Internet sales tax” to make the treatment of Internet business more predictable, since the current system of taxes is very complicated and many largest retailers (which, because of their operations, have connections in many jurisdictions in the United States) to feel like they pay sales taxes for a disproportionately high while smaller companies (that do cover very few transactions by their connection, or potentially no connection at all) pay little to none. This law has not been passed. You will not likely worry about it until you have $ 1 million in revenue in any way.

The complexity of a sales tax filing considerably depends on the details of your business, including what you sell, how you record the transaction Placement / buyers, how easy it determine where connections or connections of your business are, and the like. In general, most Internet companies get their sales tax returns introduced by the same accountant who handles their tax return on companies. It usually cost a few hundred dollars in professional services fees, but this depends on the complexity of the cases.

Corporation tax

Company’s profits are taxed at the federal and state level. The main form for the federal return is the form 1120.

Some classifications of tax returns or Government are simple enough to do. This is not one of them. While it sounds simple (only five pages first!), You should absolutely, positively have a specialist in tax return or a professional accountant involved in the preparation of any tax return on companies. It is relatively easy to make consecutive errors, and sorting them is a distraction from running your business. In addition, there are a variety of ways to characterize things that are not errors but that in itself will result in you paying excessive amounts to equally valid ways for tax characterizing the same economic facts.

The income tax is only levied on the returned Rather than the returned. Income is, in general, income without spending. Most things you purchase on behalf of the company, including the salaries of the team and foundation employees can be deducted immediately as expenses.

A relatively small number of things cannot expensed but must be benefited; their frank cost (usually high) gets distributed to business during the life of the thing. This is also referred to as the “depreciation” or “depreciation. “The Internet companies do not typically have high capital expenditures early in their lives, especially because the historical sources of capital expenditure (servers, network equipment, custom software development, etc.) are becoming plus the need to rented cloud providers fairly small amounts of money (and expandable).

Your accountant can give you the wisdom advice on whether any particular expense should be amortized.

If you have a physical presence in a state of the United States, your company may need for state income taxes and more taxes on federal income. Your accountant can advise you on whether your company has a filing requirement in the states where it exists physically or doing business, and can help you prepare for these rankings. Some states have become more aggressive in demanding that Internet activity can, in certain circumstances, cause classification condition.

Numbers taxpayer identity

All tax returns are associated with taxpayer identification numbers. There are several varieties of this. The ones you see most often are:

Social Security numbers (SSNs): Citizens and people of the United States authorized to work in the United States published a number by the administration of social security. It is widely used by government agencies and private entities as well to identify them. SSN is considered very sensitive (Because the experience is often used to authenticate whether someone is a particular person).

The general shape of an SSN 123-56-6789.

Companies do not have SSNs. You may have an SSN if you are not a citizen of the United States or have not been used in the United States before. You will provide a place the following when asked:

Different taxpayer identification numbers (ITINs): No human physical person (a living, breathing) to classify taxes but cannot get a SSN (SSN because typically requires the legal right to work in the US) may ask the IRS for an ITIN, which NHS works as a substitute. They are not very difficult to get a file you just form and do not expect approximately six weeks.

Most owners of scratch companies not themselves need an ITIN; your society rank of US taxes, but you might not have yourself Tax File obligations of the United States. If your accountant tells you otherwise, file a W-7 and get published. You can also get a contemporary published any tax filing; submit the tax filing on paper with ITIN listed as “pending” and include a W-7 form. This generally has a delay in processing your tax file, and should be avoided when you can, but it is always better to file on time and to delay treatment than to rank or categorize late.

An ITIN is like a SSN, but the first digit is always 9.

Identification of business numbers (Eins): Eins identify Individuals Business people (I.e. d. Companies) (real people). You receive an EIN after filing aSS-4 with IRS;

You will be asked for your EIN used by financial institutions in the US, and occasionally by other companies. This is probably not a good idea to edit it, but they are not as sensitive as SSNs are treated. (The revelation of your SSN to an unauthorized person is an immediate emergency, the revelation EIN your company happens rather habit.)

An EIN 12-3456789 like. Note that this is the same number of digits as the SSN but related investment union is different. This is unfortunately not the case that the hyphens material-some SSNs do not have the same numbers in the same order that an Eins, so make sure you always fill in the right box and include the hyphens in the right areas.

Informational Returns

Companies, including your own, have an obligation to report certain transactions to the government through “informational returns. “The government matches the informational returns against the tax classifications of individuals and companies, to ensure that taxpayers do not forget to pay taxes on income they received.

Your company will publish routinely informational returns. You may occasionally receive them, and so should understand how this process works by both.

There are several varieties of informational returns. Both he has most likely to publish that you are W-2, which record salary income to an employee, and 1099-MISC, which show the payment for services to individual entrepreneur. (You will not provide usually a 1099-MISC to a company, even if you purchase services from them.)

Your accountant will take care to classify W-2s and 1099s in your name earlier in the calendar year. You will provide a copy to the taxpayer that you post one at the IRS, and keep one for your own records.

To publish any informational return, you need someone to impose the number-typical SSN Identification for W-2s and SSN, ITIN, or (rarely) for an EIN 1099s. There is a form to formally ask someone the tax identification number; it’s theW-9. We only use the W-9 with US taxpayers; if someone is not a person in the United States (for example, if you use someone abroad), you’ll want to get them to give you anon place. (This provides a paper trail in case the IRS asks “why did not you file by 1099 for this entrepreneur?” “They do not subjugation to US tax so we do not have to. “” Oh really? “” This is their W-8BEN. “” Then. “) CORRECT since the IRS loves forms, there are separate (theW8-BEN-E) for when you need a W8-BEN a corporate entity.

Your company may from time to time be requested a W-9 or W8-BEN. This could happen if someone believes they must classify, or may have to file an informational return about you. For example, a financial institution may apply for one of these to open an account, perhaps in anticipation of having to file a 1099-INT for reporting interest income at a later date.

In some cases, you may be asked any of these forms by mistake. Some relatively common mistakes:

Only people of the United States (including companies) should be requested a W-9. If you are not a US person, you should be asked a W8-BEN.

Any company incorporated in the United States is a US person, regardless of who owns it. Many barred customer’s societies Delaware C whose address and operations are international; those are Always US persons and therefore should only classify W-9s not W8-BEN-Es.

Sometimes people ask companies such forms when they have no real need for them. You have no particular obligation to provide if there is no legal requirement for an information return. That said, companies have no particular obligation to do business with you, and some companies require these forms at certain points as a matter of policy. Often the easiest resolution is to say “you can check with your accountant to see if it is really necessary? “You might reasonably decide to simply provide the form, even if not required.

It is usually in your best interest to provide W-9s or W8-BEN! A common reason why your return request is to document their decision not to retain money in your name. (If you’re unfamiliar with taxation in the United States, they might have a legal obligation to hold maybe 30% of your payment and send it to the IRS. The IRS will then wait for you to submit a declaration and perhaps to get some of that. The assumption is that people who are known to taxation are honest and can be trusted to stand on their own money before introducing a statement to determine which part should be sent to the IRS. A W-9 states that “the relevant laws indicate that the IRS trusted me implicitly,

Your company may receive informational returns. The most likely for customers is a 1099-K streak, showing income of processing credit cards for a year. You must not do anything in response to an information return and you must not send him to the IRS, have already received a copy. You will have the income shown on the return recorded in your books somewhere, and your books to drive your tax return.

The scenario informational topics of a return is actually where the return shows a lot of money and tax return on companies obviously do not reflect the money on it. This can result in the IRS making a correspondence audit, asking basically “we know that you received last year $ 5,000 in interest. Where did the reveal this on your tax return? “Since you are a taxpayer respectful of the law, you will have a ready answer to this question, and that’s the end of it.

Many entrepreneurs believe that informational returns reflect the returned (Profits) but it is not the case. For example, a 1099-K reflects total payments which is not even close to the companies taxable income they must always pay expenses, etc. The IRS will have the number for a subset of its revenue for the year (and ask for an explanation if you show $ 200,000 payment by credit card but only claiming $ 120,000 of income), but they do not tax revenue they impose the business profits.

What is transfer pricing?

Companies are more and more business internationally, and this raises difficult questions about where the related parts working in concert produce profits in their business and they should be imposed. This is also true of many customers, which could have a corporate entity in the US and in their home country.

Movement of money business document between their own international operations using the transfer price mechanism to describe the internal movements of money, goods, services, and benefits between related parties or more as if they were the dealings “of the arm’s length” independent companies.

The transfer price has grown over the years as companies and tax administration is trying to address the complexities of international business. It is a tool for taxpayers consider how best to allocate this income to the tax authorities consider whether too much or too little was assigned to a territory, particularly when there is a difference in tax treatment between the territories.

Reasonable prices

The general theory of transfer pricing is that entities mutually agree on a Fair price for goods / services moving between them, record their rationale, and also make sorting books separate entities stipulate this match-on reality and the flow of real money.

Generally the market-based economies assume that there is no such thing as a “reasonable price” except in the framework of an agreement between a buyer and a seller. How the software “Should” cost? Nothing, or $ 0.99, or a million dollars a year, according to the agreement between the parties. The authorities treat the choice of a buyer and seller agree on a price with the substantial compliance, including in matters of taxes, the IRS will default to assume that the price of a spending item is reasonable.

There is a warning here that is very important for the transfer of money: we assume that the buyers and sellers in most transactions are the transaction because they like the terms of the transaction, not because they have larger relationships that transaction. This is called treatment “at arm’s length. “When the buyer and seller are related to each other, such as being married or being under common corporate control, the transaction might perhaps be influenced by their desire not to end up sleeping on the couch. Or, more disturbing perspective of the IRS, reduce the tax paid.

Consequently, the transfer price is about documentation “in the hypothetical world where both companies were not reported them at all, we could have reasonably agrees to buy this thing because it is value, and pay that amount of money because that’s what this thing would cost on the market.”

Examples of transfer pricing

Two examples that are common among companies:

Software sales by the US subsidiary of a foreign company:

Suppose we have the founders of a software provider that operates in India as a private limited company (PLC), the Indian equivalent of a US company C. We will call monitoring software server, for concreteness.

The PLC sells server monitoring software directly to Indian companies, but its software is used by customers worldwide. They establish a Delaware corporation C as subsidiary to sell their software to customers worldwide so they intend PLC to continue to sell domestic Indian customers.

In this case, the ultimate economic goal of the company is to assign much of the profits to where value creation occurs, which, since the software is actually happening in India, India should be. This will leave the Indian PLC pay its expenses (including payroll for the engineering team), offset the founders and product benefits will go to the founders or (presumably to the country people of investors). The company will accordingly leave an amount to the entity of the United States in proportion to the work performed by it.

There are a variety of ways to accomplish this. It is by making the entity of the United States of dealer PLC software. The society will document exhaustively they have sought reseller arrangements. Suppose, hypothetically, that the result of this research was that independent dealers have typically received 20%. They will then sign the entity of the United States a formal agreement with the dealer PLC, forcing him to pay 80% of invoices that charge customers for the software PLC developed.

The fees are within the Indian PLC as income, after which it is taken against expenses (payroll, servers, etc.) of the Indian entity and imposed on the net by India.

The other 20% of sales are to the society of the United States. The business apply some of them to the costs required to operate the company in the United States, such as accounting fees, legal fees (for contract negotiations, etc.), bank fees, and similar. This will result in the entity of the United States earning a modest profit; this income is taxed by the US. Profit after taxation can be sent to the parent company of C, where it may or may not be imposed, or it can be kept in the US for now, to be deployed later such as increasing the operation of the United States, buying capital based in the United States on behalf of American society, or similar.

Sales of physical products by an American company taking investment:

Suppose we have the founders in Hong Kong that make iPhone cases locally, with the intent to distribute internationally. They could choose to take investment. If their investors in Silicon Valley, their investors likely will require them to establish a Delaware corporation C to invest in it.

In this case, the ultimate goal of the company is the first US transfer of funds in Hong Kong, uses these funds to establish a manufacturing operation, and then sells the products of their operation by the entity States -United.

The first part of this would be the entity of the United States contracting with the company in Hong Kong to service-design, branding, and etc. professionals. This would provide adequate justification to pay the company the money to get up and running. This is recorded as income by the Hong Kong Company and spending by American society.

The Hong Kong operation begins to produce iPhone case. It will sell to the US Company, which will sell worldwide. Here, the company would prefer to sell them at the lowest possible price (because it raises the profits of the entity of the United States, which will meet US investors), but the considerations of the compliance evaluation will comply with other manufacturers of goods sold at retail in the United States. It could, for example, finish the wholesale price (paid by the US Company on the Hong Kong Company) would be 40% of retail sales. The company, too, would document exhaustively their reasoning for this evaluation, and shown on invoices / bills of shipping / etc. between the two companies.

This is likely to leave the Hong Kong company with a modest profit (service work and cases of iPhone are sold wholesale, that gets imposed in Hong Kong). The US company has paid labor services and case wholesale, will be sold then the case on to a retail price (higher) of retail (through its website or any other channel), if any winner hopefully profit. The income is taxed in the United States; after taxes, it is possible that dividends would flow to investors or the company’s owners.

Some not-so-obvious observations here:

The company had the choice to sell the case by the Hong Kong entity or the entity of the United States. Why sell the entity of the United States? The main reason is that investors invest in the hopes of having the value of the company product and the company will hold to keep most value in IT Service entity of the United States will own the brand, designs, and trade relations, and “just” do make the entity Hong Kong real work on its behalf.

Would it be safe to run this example in the other direction? It would be significantly more risky. Usually the transfer price that works to identify income in high-tax jurisdiction, rather than a low-tax jurisdiction, is not monitored closely. The transfer price that works to identify the income in a low-tax jurisdiction of the other, usually gets investigated thoroughly. The company in Hong Kong tax rate is less than half the rate in the United States; IRS therefore might assume that an entity of the United States paid a Hong Kong entity relative could make for optimizing taxes rather than for legitimate economic reasons. This does not make it impossible just harder to justify; one reason to have accounting costs get a good sense of what the risk of a given tax position and then make a business decision on how to optimize for the tax savings against the risk of taxes.

The transfer price can become very complicated Especially because corporate structure gets more complicated types start getting complicated transactions (it is much more difficult to explain multi-national multi-party financial transactions than simply selling an iPhone case), and size of business increases.

A company making millions of dollars of income will likely have their transfer pricing strategy designed or remodeled by accountants specializing in their industry. However, even smaller companies should document their transfer pricing position; not having the documentation would make it very difficult to avoid penalties if the IRS were to examine yourself and challenge your transfer pricing.

On the application of disproportionate way of target players share larger (because tax agencies understand that the big players are where the money is).

This should not scare you -the IRS, like most tax agencies is quite reasonable and just wants to be paid an amount consistent with your responsibilities under the law. If you have a disagreement in good faith with the IRS, it will be resolved in the ordinary course of business, for your professional advisors. It is quite uncommon and not overwhelmingly likely to be the reason that his business fail; focus your efforts on making something people love and sell effectively. You can, and should, hire accountants worry about these kinds of things for you.


The “audits” is a scary word for many entrepreneurs. They should not be.

An audit is simply a formal investigation by a tax agency in the accuracy of the information on your tax return. The overwhelming majority of audits are “correspondence audits” – the tax agency sent you simply a letter usually because a computer compared to your informational returns filed tax return and noted a possible malfunction. Your response to correspondence audits will usually be written by your accountant, but it is likely to be relatively simple. (Often, the question can be explained away in a single paragraph.)

The IRS sometimes select returns for closer examination. You should absolutely, positively have professional representation if selected for one of these audits; they can be quite stressful and distracting to run the business, although be-if you introduce specific declarations business-not a well-organized emergency.

These audits usually require a visit in person at the local IRS office or at your office. (The IRS maintains offices in US embassies around the world to international tax issues. Their staff are generally small and they have to be very selective in the audit activity, but you should still introduce precise statements on time.)

In case of an audit, accountant or tax attorney will instruct you as to your answer. You should follow their advice to the letter; this is what you pay. Some things naively might seem like a great idea, as provided to the Rizal the financial data of your business, can delay the resolution of the audit or overcomplicate things, for example by causing the review of business parts that were not originally in audit scope.

Audits are rare, especially for smaller companies. You should know that they are a possibility if you run a business, but they are just that-an opportunity for a relatively common meeting between your business and the government. You should treat the opportunity as a responsible professional: hire an accountant, enter honest statements, hold information in an organized fashion, and spend your time worrying about raising business rather than worrying about the unlikely event of an audit. If you are actually audited, you still will treat it like a responsible professional: call in your accountant / tax attorney and follow their instructions.

The tax is a moving target

Accounting is a deep field, like software development or marketing. One similarity is that the profession’s core is basically the same from year to year. Another similarity is that the things are always changing, constantly.

There is a global interest in tax reform right now. The tax agencies are still arguing with getting their heads around the Internet, and subsequent changes in the Internet businesses positions could occur at any time.

Just as you would not put your marketing strategy or technique once and then forget it, you will want to work with your tax advisors on (minimally) annually to ensure that the way you have structured things still meets and always in your best interests.

Sometimes you’ll even get unexpected good news! For example, when the author of this guide started his business, he double was imposed by the social security systems of both countries on the same income. A few years in business, they have signed a totalization, which allowed him (and similarly situated companies) pay only the system of their country of residence. It was the material savings available due to a change in the law, he would have missed had it not routinely reviewed its tax strategy with a professional.


Your business has several forms of leverage available to them, enabling them to create more value. One of the most important is the ability to hire people.

Contractors against employees

There is a distinction in the rights of US employment between employees and those working on behalf of a company but not used by it. This includes independent consultants and contractor for the sake of not repeating ourselves, we will call the contractors below.

Employees have their work activities substantially controlled by the company. Entrepreneurs operate their own businesses and happen to have the company as a customer of their business; their relations with the company are more similar to that of a seller with their client an employee with their boss.

Many smaller companies, including Internet companies prefer to employ people as entrepreneurs because there is less paperwork required for employees, the direct cost is lower and it is fractionally easier get in and out of relationships with entrepreneurs. US laws and different states have established some protection for employees who do not apply to contractors.

Determining whether someone is an employee or contractor

The IRS lists three tests, which has several forks:

Unfortunately for entrepreneurs, these tests do not have so-called “safe harbors” – there is no simple way to tell with certainty that someone will definitely classified as a contractor held for an entrepreneur. The tests are balancing act-examination official weigh the different factors against each other to come to a determination. While it is important for you that someone is classified as an entrepreneur, you should know that your position on each issue and you should try to make it be overwhelmingly clear (And documented!) That tests consistently indicate contractor relationships.

This is a complicated area of ​​law. You should discuss this with your attorney before hiring anyone.

How do I use one?

Assuming you’ve decided to hire someone as a full employee, you will want to consider having a Letter of Offer employees and one Employee Handbook. Your contract of employment will usually be short and standardized across all employees in your company. Your employee handbook will be slightly longer, and describes a wide range of policies that your company has established with which you expect that employees are familiar.

Your letter of offer and your employee handbook will be written by lawyers, and likely not adapted for the customer’s needs with your company details at the beginning. They are risk-reduction devices for business; Chief purpose explains that each employee was given proper notice of a variety of things that, in your jurisdiction, you must provide the explicit opinion. It is highly dependent on your particular jurisdiction, which is one reason that you will always talk to a lawyer before hiring someone for the first time.

Intellectual property Tasks

The companies produce the “intellectual property” (IP) – copyright, patents and invention-as something that goes without saying. The IP can be as simple as “words on your website” or as complicated has fully – functional software application process or business.

It is critically important as technology companies, especially product companies own all the IP have produced for him by employees and contractors. If it does not, an employee or contractor could a later claim that you are violating their IP by continuing to operate your business, and forces you to stop, circumcise their IP (at great cost), or pay them a sum of exorbitant money to leave.

This is not a speculative threat for Internet companies. The IP is probably central to the entire operations of the company. Many Internet companies have trajectories where some events, such as receiving the investment or closing an acquisition, are triggered on investigations intensive diligence regarding the appropriate IP property. The combination of these factors transform anyone with IP not assigned to a company headache if they are willing to cooperate or a very expensive problem if they are not. Note that, as a society progresses, it will tend to part ways with an employee or a partner in circumstances less-than-ideal at least once; you do not want to be issues of IP available a stick to beat you with that occurring.

There is a relatively simple method to insulate your company IP issues: working with counsel to obtain signed Task IP of everyone who works for your company without fault. This includes all founders of the company, all employees and anyone working for the company in any capacity, including independent contractors and entities doing work for hire for you. It does not matter if someone is only a customer service contractor or an independent web designer brought in for a day.

It is also easier to ask everyone to sign an agreement that IP task to track which should have signed an agreement, especially as the technology industry changes it is rife with CTOs that were rented as internals ‘was it four years ago and have not signed a new contract since.

Your lawyers can draft an IP task for you, or that you include in your employment agreement or MSA standard contractor you ask to be signed separately but simultaneously. Your agreement will likely default to the company with everything that an employee thinks even during their term of employment with you. Employees could push on this and their reasoning may or may not be sound; if applicable, your lawyer can discuss it with them. Generally, you should stick with the form that you have been provided except in extreme circumstances.

Most law firms that do substantial amounts of business with Internet companies will have an IP task caliber ready to go for a symbolic price. They are often quite long, as is a high preponderance issue for Internet companies and get these agreements examined in a variety of high-stress scenarios with huge amounts of money on the line.

If your company later gets a movie made about him having an IP task ready from day to prevent a subplot this to pay a ridiculous amount of money on someone who has never really worked for you.

Many Internet entrepreneurs are amazed how investors and lawyers are insistent about it. For technology companies, Pipis the business. Moreover, IP ownership issues it is usually much easier go on the input (when the IP cannot be worth much) than the posterior (where the IP may have proved integral to success of the company) and pay attention to the input is key to ensure you are free from the issues down the line.

Equity for employees

We will write more lately about this. Meanwhile, know this above all: most sophisticated founding avoid giving equity (or rights to acquire equity, such as stock options) quite the founders or employees. Instead, they insist on “investing” where the right to equity or options is earned over time. The norm in Silicon Valley is “inauguration four years of a cliff a year”; the person has no right to equity or option exercises during the first year, has rights to 25% of the reward immediately the date of their first birthday and gets straight to the rest even during the 36 months following.

The inauguration is critically important. Foundation teams break. Frequently! The employees quit or get fired. Frequently! You may not want a material part of your company to be owned by someone who worked for you for six weeks … there five years. It could complicate discussions about receiving the investment or sell the business, and it may not align incentives with the sustained effort over time that sets meaningful companies.

Pay slip

Your company will be required to calculate and retain an anticipated amount of taxes to all employees of the company. (In the US, employers retain an anticipated amount of taxes, but employee files a tax return once a year to calculate how much actually “really” have-then arrange directly with the government for the difference. )

Many employers in the United States’ run payroll “every two weeks, traditionally the Friday. Some pay twice a month, the 15th and last day of the month. It is less common to run monthly magazine (which may or may not be permitted in your jurisdiction); some employers run the weekly, which is more expensive and more work but results in the employee obtaining paid more often they like.

At smaller scales, some founders are trying to calculate the payroll for the founding team and the first employees only. Virtually all starts with a handful of employees will choose to use a payroll service to control the calculation of payroll, deduction of withholding tax at source, submissions quarterly returns withholding tax at source, and other assorted operational tasks.

Your payroll process does not typically includes entrepreneurs, who are responsible for their own tax payments, which are paid periodically after they charge you (under your contract) rather than a very predictable program like most employees.

Your business, once a year, will publish “an informational return” to each employee or contractor of your business. In the US, most employees receive a W-2 and contractors receive a 1099-MISC. These will generally classified by your accounting department or payroll on your behalf. When you hire someone, ask them to complete a W-9 form to receive their Social Security number or other unique identification number that will be required for the current payroll for them. If you hire someone who is not a citizen of the United States or a resident and that does not actually do the work in the United States, you cannot be required to pay employment taxes on them, but you should collect their information on a W-8BEN to document this choice. For details, please ask your accountant international taxation is very fact-specific and can get tricky, especially when bilateral tax treaties entered into play.

Risk management

Many entrepreneurs believe that this business operation is probably the riskiest thing they have ever done. That’s probably true, at least from the perspective of financial decisions. (Commercial bankruptcy is unfortunate but highly survivable; each sports cars and the two kill a much higher fraction of users.)

The risk in business is handy. This is a main reason why businesses exist as a concept; they bring a source of risk (the company) and then separate into common economic upper undertake the risk, responsibilities related to risk, and the actual functions to operate the business.

Incorporation is a way that Internet companies employ to limit the risk, covering the amount the owners / investors are exposed to liability for debts or damage or injury to others should not, generally resulting business in the owners / investors. Companies do not like the prospect of losing all their capital when such a trial, though, so there should be other mechanisms as well. We’ll talk about some of them.


Insurance is a way to transfer the risk from the insured to the insurance company. The insurance company did this in exchange for guaranteed payments (“premiums”) of a large group of policyholders. Assume the insurance company assesses the insurance properly and / or investing premiums before paying, they benefit to offer this service while their customers are trading the uncertainty of a catastrophic loss for the certainty of predictable insurance payment.

Businesses buy a number of types of insurance. The overwhelming majority of policies (and the share of payments) is for insurance on employment, which is discussed in more detail elsewhere. A much smaller part is for policies that protect the society.

Liability / professional errors and omissions insurance

Companies that produce software that interacts with other business data or produce the software business running, or working on systems owned by customers, have relatively high risk in case of their default software operation. A software update disrupts midsize business can cost them tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost revenue; they might decide to continue to collect. A contractor who accidentally drops the production database while the trial could be held responsible for all costs to replace it, which could be almost unlimited.

These risks are covered by professional liability insurance, sometimes called insurance “errors and omissions” (E & 0). The mechanisms of politics are simple: pay a little money each year (usually about $ 1,000 at the beginning; he slowly measure the number of employees or corporate income). If you do not get sued, nothing happens. If you get sued, you “open a claim” (forward appropriate details) to your insurance company. The responsibility for claims covered by your insurance shifts to your insurance company, to the extent described in your policy and subject to the limits and deductibles. The insurance company typically succeed respond to the suit, which will often result in them offering a settlement to avoid the expense of trial. (The trials are expensive and almost nobody wants to take through the entire process.)

Very few software providers actually get sued! (Insurance companies reported in regulatory filings that the risk for such small software development consultation is less than 1% per year. You can dig out of this fact rankings regulatory if you want to.) Most companies that deal primarily with consumers limit their liability with contracts and offer refunds if the software is not loving customers. It’s incredibly unlikely that you will be sued just because someone is simply unhappy with your services.

That said, if your softwaredamageActuallya materiallycustomer, which is quite plausible for B2B services, a trial is a distinct possibility. This is especially the US True, dealing institutionally much controversy through the court system where they would be resolved through private negotiation or other countries. (It sometimes amazes contractors doing business internationally.)

In addition, because the sophisticated businessknowthat there exists the possibility that you do you interface with their systems expose them to expensive remediation, they often require, as a term to do business with you, you carry an insurance policy.

The policy limits for E & O policies typically start at $ 1 million. (The trials are usually significantly cheaper than limit do they average about $ 40,000 in the regulations and costs asregulatory classifications of. A company E & O through all their policyholders in the technology industry companies) Purchasing more is relatively inexpensive; $ 1 million is generally sufficient for companies just starting. You can (and should) replace your policy annually; Renewal time is a great time to think if you have adequate coverage for your exposures.

Commercial insurance in the US is generally sold by agents of insurance companies, which are sales representatives combination and professional advisers. Of course, since they are paid on commission by the insurance companies, professional advice is often as you make more of them. Your lawyer or accountant can often give you a rough idea of ​​what is the appropriate level indicated the level of exposure of your business.

General Liability Insurance

Virtually every business should pay insurance “general responsibility” if you have a physical presence in the United States. (If you do not, you can choose to skip this if this is not the norm in your country.)

General liability insurance is often sold bundled with the E & O insurance.

Insurance E & O ensures against the risks posed only by the type of work you do. The overall responsibility is more diffuse; it ensures against the risks posed by the physical existence of your company. For example, if you have an office, it is theoretically possible that someone could slip in or outside the office, resulting in your company is responsible for their (perhaps essential part) medical bills. It is relatively uncommon, but the overall responsibility covers enough sources “relatively infrequent” distinct effort to be worth the peace of mind it brings to many entrepreneurs.

In addition to accidents to your physical location, general liability could protect against embezzlement of employees, having the fly of your business property, the loss in the event of a fire or similar. The risks covered are listed in your specific policy; read himvery carefully. You file typically only a general query of responsibility when something extremely expensive thing happened, you do not want to be told that “we do not cover this very expensive thing that happened; did you not read paragraph D on page 22? It clearly indicates that … ”

Contrary to occasional grumble, insurance companies usually are not crooks. They are extensively regulated in the United States. They are just by the nature of the business,verydetail oriented, a lot more like programming than creative writing.

You will buy your general liability insurance with an insurance agent, presumably the same one that sells you your E & O line. The policy could be combined with your policy E & O or be sold separately. Expect to pay only a few hundred dollars this year.

Risk reducers for warranty

As part of obtaining a written insurance policy, you will be asked by the department of “guaranteed” by the insurer that needs to decide if your business has a risk level that can be profitable assured given the premium the insurance company wants to charge you. It is to your advantage to know to answer questions of a guarantor in a professional and honest manner such that they approve your application.

Usefully, know the kinds of things that insurance companies look is very useful, because they are literally in business to figure what choices end badly. You can change some of your business operations for more positive responses to their questions, both of which increase your likelihood of getting covered with lower premiums and also remove the sources of risk to your business.

Here are some questions that might Thee asked:

Do you use written contracts to sell services? The answer is, of course, “yes. “Some guarantors will drill into details of the contracts, such as:

  • The contracts they have words limiting the scope of your warranty or guarantee as to work?
  • The contracts they have terms intensified to the level of care that you are required to provide, or are you given more discretion?
  • The contracts they have mid-project control issues such as milestones with approval required from the customer, a defined repayment schedule, etc.?
  • They limit the contracts of damages you may be evaluated?
  • The contract he is considering a formal change order process where both parties must be in writing agreed scope changes?

All of these allow guarantors to see that your contract was written in anticipation of potentially considered him a controversial project with a client.

Do you have substantial experience in the industry? More experience is better than less experience, of course. It is usually to your advantage to write your description of your experience in a way that is absolutely true and easily understood by someone who is not an expert in your field.

Click-through agreements and public orders

Some kind of framework contracts are relatively non-negotiable. You almost certainly an agreed-for example, if you have never “accept the Terms of Use” or sign a contract with a mobile phone company.

These contracts are used when a) is in talks individualized contract terms with each client would be against-productive and b) when contracts can still clearly limit the exposure of the company at risk.

You are strongly for some contracts that generally apply to people doing business with you. You will also few public written policies that are not contract, but rather are designed to clarify some important details about doing business with you.

Depending on what your company does, you might want to have:

  • privacy policy
  • Refund, warranty and return policy
  • Terms of use / Terms of use

Privacy policy

Every Internet company gathers data. Big, big mountains of data.

Consumers want to know that you will not abuse personal information you collect. More importantly, the government regulators want companies tell consumers about the practices in company data. Laws, regulations, and tips cover there and sometimes contradictory about intimate revelations, some of which vary by industry or the state (excluding all foreign laws), but usually you will have a written privacy policy available your website or mobile app anywhere you do business.

Companies that collect personal user data or handle online generally have a privacy policy. You may be legally required to report a privacy policy under certain national laws and / or laws that apply to specific industries or if you engage in certain activities, such as online advertising. There is a wide range of counterparties, including financial institutions and host providers, which would take the non-existence of a privacy policy against you, even if you have good inside were understanding “we are just the usual no-spam, Google Analytics, Nginx standard logs. “Also, if you sell to other businesses, your business customers will likely require you to report a privacy policy as a condition of doing business with you.

Privacy policies are less a legal contract and a semi-standardized way for you to communicate your plans regarding data with customers. Having an inaccurate privacy policy may be worse in some respects than not having it at all.

The privacy policy is usually written in non-technical language and clear is relatively short. Important aspects to cover in a privacy policy of the United States include:

  • What information you gather
  • Who has access to it
  • Under what circumstances would you want to release it to third
  • How you use data for advertising, including online tracking
  • For how long you store

Additional information may be required if you are doing business in whole or in part outside the United States, where more stringent laws of privacy may apply (egg the European Union).

Most Internet companies do not list every single bit of information they collect, but rather employ representative examples, largely because customers are not competent to assess the details. (If you are in a very conscious field of privacy such as health care or if you collect personal information from children, where there exist specific regulations, details import quite a few and are out of scope of this guide.)

If you do not have a ready privacy policy, consider what information you collect, organize your thoughts inwardly, then take a pre-written privacy policy and adapt to customer needs to ensure that it is accurate to the operations of your business, working with your attorney if needed. Automatic, WordPress manufacturers have generously released their under a license lax, so that you can make light edits to it and has a reasonably sensible policy ready almost immediately.

As always the documents as a contract, if you have any questions, ask a lawyer.

Refund Policy / returns policy

When e-commerce first began, people were terrified about sending money over the Internet. What if the goods exactly they did not like? What if the GIF 20kb not showing the color of the dress exactly? What if? What if? What if?

Reimbursement policies are a great way to meet pre-emptive “what if? “In a way that increases your conversion rate, minimizes unhappy customers, and streamline your operations. If you take online payments, your payment processor will require that you have a refund policy reported evidence; it is usually to your advantage to have clear near the checkpoint because some clients look.

Generally most Internet companies choose to be extraordinarily generous with refunds. This is especially true IP-based companies that have relatively little hard costs to provide their goods / services, such as software or SaaS companies.

Many software providers have the following as their full refund policy. (Feel free to use or adapt, if you want.)

Refund Policy we want you to be thrilled with your purchase. If it is not satisfactory for any reason, we will gladly refund the full purchase price for up to 30 days after your purchase.

The policies for e-commerce companies are usually a little more complicated, especially around the returns of actual goods, such as clothing and other consumer products.

You should report what the process for requesting a return, where the returned item should be shipped, if the item can be returned if used, which are the timelines, which absorb the cost for shipping ( and return shipping), etc.

The has one might ask “why even the most generous refund policies often time-limited? This is something that your accountant will probably require you; unlimited refund policy greatly complicated when you are allowed to identify revenue. Many companies say officially they only treat repayments in the first 30 or 60 days while they (officially or unofficially) actually pay any purchase ever made, even years after the fact.

In some countries it is a legal requirement that the repayment period to extend receiving a product or performing a service, not the date of transaction, if the transaction is above. There may also be conditions that the repayment period is at least a certain period (egg, 90 days). Generally one can simply adopt the most generous terms; tightening your language repayment is very rarely the point of most leverage in your business.

Terms of use / Terms of use

Most commercially operated websites, and almost all Web applications, will have conditions. (These are sometimes called “Terms of Use” and abbreviated TOU or the TOS.)

They range from informal descriptions behind what constitutes acceptable use of the site (often including words such as “spamming no,” “no loading virus,” and “no threats of violence”), for applications, full contract specifying the terms of payment, limitation of liability, etc.

Many companies do not charge directly their website choose to edit more informal conditions. If you take commitments to your site, you may need that customers accept the terms of use through checking a box during the engagement. Save the date / time of acceptance, in case you’d be informed about later.

If you sell software or software as a service, your conditions of use is probably a real contract, although short. A lawyer can write one for you, but it’s probably unnecessary unless your software works in a market that is likely to require a high level of attention to the concerns of compliance or accountability. (Health care, financial services, and similar mind-came to ask your lawyer if you’re curious.)

If you produce the software for consumers or smaller businesses, you can probably adapt Terms lax authorized Automatic their product WordPress. This will only take you a few minutes. Force clients to agree on it via a checkbox by registering for your service; save the time consent was given.

Do I have never actually need these things!?

You may never find your policies examined in a court of law.

Having policy is used as a control by companies and regulators if you operate your business in a professional fashion.

You will not likely be approved by a financial institution to accept payments unless you have a TOS, refund policy, and in returning the policy (if you board the actual goods).

For example, in case of a chargeback filed against a purchase for your software, you can expect to lose almost automatically if the issuing bank says “the customer said they did not agree on salary. You have a contract? “And your only response is” good it has registered for an account. “The right answer is” Bob Smith has registered for an account on 23 March. He affirmatively accepted our terms and conditions, a copy of which I have attached. The conditions explicitly state that customers have to pay for the service. ”

You always lose some chargebacks, even when you have documented everything properly, but do everything correctly gives you an opportunity.

Companies can benefit from the practice of drafting a privacy policy as it forces you to think critically about your practice data, understand the regulatory landscape (which may involve some – and expensive – rules and strange regulations), and establish policies and procedures that will benefit your company long-term. The establishment of good privacy practice at the outset of aid to ensure that you maximize the value of your data assets, avoid regulatory pitfalls and mitigate risk (and consequences) of a data breach.

Become minimally comply with these policies can usually be done quickly and effectively, especially in light of the benefits. You will need to review and update these policies (especially your privacy policy) as your business changes and grows, and can expect to do a deeper dive in the future when you have more resources. With that said, depending on where you are doing business and what your business is, these documents may need to be changed more often. For example, if your business involves processing data provided by children, then there is a patchwork of different national laws that currently apply and the regulatory landscape is constantly changing; if your business is a subscription service,

Transactions and agreements

Most contractors have signed a contract at some point in their lives before establishing a company, but the types of contracts (and related and documentation agreements) employed by companies to the “transactional” trade every day are new to most entrepreneurs.

We will walk you through what you’re likely to run into in the first year of running a company online. We are not lawyers, and rely on your counsel for a legal opinion, but this will help you hopefully have a more productive discussion with your lawyers about what documents you need written.

Letters of intent

A “letter of intent” (LOI) (sometimes called a “Memorandum of Understanding” (MoU)) is a tool to sell. Some of them are contracts on their own; some of them are not. The point of them is to force the two sides to agree on approximate terms on paper, producing engagement signal to make a deal, without actually agree on a deal.

LOIs are extremely useful for businesses. Some scenarios:

An entrepreneur may want to sell some of their business to another company. This sale very likely require “diligence” – an in-depth inspection of the books, records, and the capital led by the purchaser process. The coach can be extremely disruptive to operations from day to day business, and is something that companies do not want to offer simple tire players. In addition, diligence expose potential buyers to sensitive information marketing business.

As a result, sellers try to sign LOIs with potential buyers, which soft-commit the buyer to buy “contingent on the successful completion of due diligence. “These often include (or be paired with) non-disclosure agreement which prohibit the buyer to use or make public information they receive from the seller in the diligence.

It is clear that gets the recipient of this provision: access to detailed information about the capital, they would not get off the LAW. It is less clear what gets the seller. Typically they preload part of trading in the discussion about ACT-ask the buyer to provide to commit to consecutive terms of supply as the price or timing. This comes with an understanding: the violation of the LAW leaves neither one nor the other party with recourse to a court of law, but the assumption is that trying to rape slay negotiations about the sale real.

LOIs are also a good market signal, but real effective interest by obtaining a done deal. It is very, very easy for a lot of people in any society to say yes to a meeting and say a number of resounding positive things at this meeting. “It sounds like a great idea! “May be the least expensive to grow sentence in English. Forcing produce a formal document, however, active pulses in real companies as legal services and company executives. The legal department of a reputable company does not sign documents just to be polite.

For related reasons, Lois are extraordinarily helpful for the client development. Many internet companies begin without a clear vision of what they are building. If you talk to potential customers about their problems, they will often describe them in great detail. If you say “want to solve your problem with the software,” then they will often be very supportive of that, out of a combination to reflect your enthusiasm and wanting to be polished. But that does not mean they actually buy.

It is difficult to sell the software that do not exist for six months, and many entrepreneurs are not comfortable doing so. It is far less difficult to simply ask your prospective customer a soft commitment as a LAW. “Great, I’m glad you like the idea. You will agree on an ACT where after us to deliver this in approximately six months, you are committing to a pilot of 3 months at $ 1,000 per month tracking $ 5,000 a month to conduct if the pilot is successful? ”

The conversation around the often LAW discover things that simply talking about the problem does not. For example, the prospective client might say, “Oh, wait, I do not have the budget,” which feels like a painful thing to hear but are actually a step very useful in conversation. You can request that that their company has the authority to purchase / budget, how can they get the budget, that they would describe this software as something budge table (a feature that put another team save ? a service component?), etc. You could also just move you find a client that can actually buy your software.

Many companies died because they have established something that nobody wanted to buy. Your company should not be one of them. Ask LOIs or other clear indications of interest and supported before building your products; produce only things for which you have been able to successfully find the potential buyers.

Main Agreement services

In general, companies selling two things: products or services. The products often do not have a very detailed contractual story to them: you pay your money, you get your product, the end. (Your lawyer will tell you that there are excellent conditions for substantial contracts around the sale of a product. Take their advice over this generalization.)

Services, on the other hand, almost always are governed by contracts, and contracts become very extensive. Larger companies often have preferred contracts (sometimes called “the [our] paper”) that anticipates their core concern by buying services and ensure that the provisions they want are in contracts. Smaller companies may, on the other hand, prefer to work off their paper sellers.

Since adapt a contract to customer needs for every possible services that commitment (many of which are different from each other) would be unwieldy, the services industry often divide their contracts into two parts: a service agreement master (MSA) and one or more working relationship (RTD).

The precise line between what terms within its MSA and what terms within its RTD depends on how his lawyer or lawyers of his client, decide to draw them. Usually the details about the full scope of relations entering MSA details about the particular project falling within the RTD.

Work Reports

Work reports (RTD) is used by many services companies, when paired with MSAs, to reduce the complexity and cost of negotiating contracts with a core contract negotiated in the past (MSA) and then attaching different supplements (RTD) for the commitments, projects, etc. discreet. The RTD contracts are subject, and the review and negotiation of contract, but they are usually less controversial than MSA.

Sows usually include agreement about:

  • Scope is that work needs to be done
  • Benefit-specific identification of what should be given to the customer
  • Price it either a single number or a rate (per unit, per employee week, etc.)
  • Timeline-when key milestones are due for work
  • Acceptance-what constitutes “good enough to get ‘paid work and what constitutes a defect that needs revision

The acceptance criteria are one of the most important commercial terms and among the easiest to overlook. For example, if the acceptance is based on an officer called your customer send you a written acknowledgment that they have inspected the services provided, language and defaults to the non-acceptance: Unless this manager works (inspection) your name, your job does not get admitted. You can ask your lawyer to give you the language which defaults on acceptance. In this model, you give your customers limited time to lodge a written objection to services provided after the expiry of which they “will be considered admitted”. This puts the responsibility on your client to check your work in time.

This is much more reliable to get your work accepted without problems, and changes the tenor of the customer interaction. Instead of harassing someone you need good relations to indicate “please drop down what you do and look at this thing to make me; I want to get paid, “simply sends you reminders polite” Hey, just a quick note: remember to have until Friday to lodge any objections if you need. This is just to your advantage; if you have no objection, no action required. ”


So you’ve done the work and want to get paid. How customer ask yourself a good money? With an invoice.

A bill is simply a formal written request for payment. Since the presence of them is used as a control factor for many companies, especially the larger ones, you’ll likely publish. The exact format is far less standardized in the United States it is in many countries.

Typically, an invoice will include:

  • A specified list of goods or services purchased, with minimal detail about them
  • A unit price and quantity for each line item
  • Subtotal
  • Any sales tax assessed
  • The total amount charged
  • The total amount actually due, if not the same as the amount was charged (i.e. d. If the customer has already paid part of the bill)


  • Your address
  • Name and address of your customer
  • Payment Terms
  • Instructions payment method
  • A number of PO if you were provided

The most of this are quite explicit. Exceptions:

Number of Poi you do business with larger corporations or government agencies, they could have you issued a formal purchase order (PO), which is tracked with a number of OPs. They will not pay any bills unless it has the number of PO it. This is a person controlling it from accounting working in accounts payable has no personal knowledge that your payment request is authorized or not, so they will want to see that pre-authorized by someone within the organization (through a purchase order that they can look) before you send the payment.

Payment Terms: Helping your client, you usually put the payment terms (which were negotiated and MSA or RTD) on the bill. The most common payment term is “NET 30”, which means that the bill is due in 30 days of the date it was published. The companies not paying bills on time is extremely common in the USA; this is one reason why the nudge customers use credit cards or similar to the time the order is so popular.

Method of payment: Companies that pay bills overwhelmingly want you to pay with checks. You do not want to accept payment in test, and so probably includes payment instructions, such as “please pay us via ACH using the following information:” This statement will be neglected by habit and you will receive a check in mail anyway, to any address you wrote on your bill. For this reason, you should be careful to put a working address on your bill.

US bills not usual identity numbers or anything concerning business include VAT taxes. Many Internet companies doing business around the world ask their customers “is something that we should put over your bill? “ European companies generally ask their VAT number to be on it for compliance with tax obligations.

It is not common to issue invoices for payments that were already made (a receipt is generally more suitable for this purpose), but if you do, you should put the amount paid, the date paid, and a notation for to the processing entity know they must pay nothing further.

A whim of several of your customers: people expect the bills look like official document And putting your logo on them, provide them as PDF, and putting a little work into the design will more likely they are accepted as simply providing the same content as the plaintext. Some of your customers ask you a “real” invoice even if they have all the information to you as clear text already.


Customers, particularly business customers rely on companies to help them to organize their finances. You should offer customers a written receipt for every transaction with you, especially for transactions that are arranged immediately (via, for example, a credit card) or otherwise not billed.

Receipts are formal documents, but even low-ceremony that the bills are in the United States.

Typically, you write about them:

  • The Name and business adresse
  • A specified list of what was purchased, in the minimal detail
  • Subtotal
  • Any sales tax assessed
  • The total amount paid
  • The date and time of the purchase

You can add on option:

  • How the payment was made (the “credit card with the latest 1234 figures” is common)
  • The customer name
  • A reference number for you to find the transaction later
  • Instructions for the customer if they have a question about the purchase

If you sell to consumers as opposed to businesses, but some of your customers are actually buying for business use, they often “expenses” purchases to their employer. Their employer will need a receipt for this process. This can, depending on your business, be a core reason use receipts. Many of these customers will want that received “official seems” so as invoices, with something that is “not just plain text” can be useful to reduce the number of inquiries you get about your receipts.

Customers frequently lose receipts. If you have persistent relationships with a client, it’s a good idea to keep a copy of their receipts in their account on your website / online store / etc. This will troubleshoot them, and save your team from having to answer a lot of questions of a general nature “I need a receipt for my purchase my class taxes. I think it was back in July. Can you help? ”

There is more to learn

The mechanisms of running a business are complicated, and there are many, many more that could be said about each of these topics. You should also start to become familiar on marketing, sales, and details of how your business spread generate value.

We’re in your corner on this. InCorporatewill continue to write about topics of interest to entrepreneurs. Please feel free to write us at if there is something you would like us to cover.

If you would like to receive updates as we expand this guide or publish new, give us your email address below. We will tell you as we launch new important updates, probably once or twice a month.


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