Do I need tax and legal advice?
Yes! You need tax and legal advice before you make any decisions about starting your business!
It’s absolutely worth your time and money to book a one-hour appointment with both a tax expert (CPA) and a business attorney. Although several of these topics are discussed on this website, your time with a CPA and attorney will
1) address your specific needs and situation
2) provide up-to-date and qualified advice
WARNING: Only use this hour with the CPA and attorney to learn about the topics below. Don’t use this time talking about HOW to incorporate, file a patent, etc. Don’t commit to hire them to act on your behalf because at this stage, you are not ready to take action. After learning about the issues below as they pertain to your specific situation, you have several decisions to make before you act.
Research these topics on the Internet before meeting with the CPA and attorney. You will better know what follow-up questions to ask and better understand the answers.
Ask the following questions of both the CPA and attorney. Here is a pdf document of the questions below.
TOPIC ONE: What corporate structure should I choose?
a. What is a Sole Proprietorship, LLC, S Corporation, Partnership and C Corporation?
b. How are each of these corporate structures taxed on the federal, state and local (city/county) levels?
c. What are the owner payroll tax amounts and requirements for each of these structures?
d. What are the legal liability issues related to each corporate structure, e.g. if I get sued personally, if my business is sued, if I default on personal debt, if I default on business debt?
e. How easy is it to change my corporate and/or tax structure in the future?
f. Should I die or otherwise become incapacitated, what happens to my company for each of these corporate structures? If my business partner dies or becomes incapacitated?
TOPIC TWO: What do I need to know about DBAs, fictitious names, patents, trademarks, copyrights and other legal protections for my products and company name?
a. Do I need any of these protections?
b. What are the tax planning issues related to buying or selling these legal protections?
TOPIC THREE: In what state(s) should I incorporate?
a. What are the legal, payroll tax and federal tax implications of incorporating in Florida? In another state?
b. Based on where and how I sell my product, do I need to be incorporated in more than one state?
c. What are the implications if I hire employees who live in other states?
TOPIC FOUR: What are my sales tax responsibilities?
a. … if I sell products on the Internet?
b. … if I sell and/or ship products out of Florida?
c. … if I am a service company?
d. … if I sublease office space?
TOPIC FIVE: What is a Registered Agent?
a. Do I need one?
b. Can I act as my own Registered Agent?