It is no secret that starting a business can be so exciting because it allows you to be your own boss. However, it can also be quite challenging, especially if it is your first time. There are plenty of things that you need to keep in mind. For instance, you must be familiar with certain business laws.
As an entrepreneur, there are plenty of business laws you need to know and abide by because failure to do so can land you in the wrong side of the law and you may risk getting hefty fines as well.
In this article, we have broken down some of the most important business laws that every entrepreneur must understand. It doesn’t matter your type of business, whether it is an anonymous LLC or a partnership business. If you are planning to start your business very soon, here are important business laws you should be familiar with.
- Intellectual property laws
The term “intellectual property” typically relates to intangible property like trademarks, patents, and copyrights. For U.S. companies, the U.S. Patent and Office [USPTO] oversees domestic and international intellectual property protection.
If you have developed a new product, of course, you need to protect it with a patent. In addition to that, you can protect your logos, name, and symbol by applying for a trademark. Trademark is simply a phrase, word, symbol, sound, design, color, or anything that can serve to identify your brand, product, or service and distinguishes it from other brands, products, or services. In the U.S., you can obtain your trademark registration through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Before you select a trademark, you must do your “clearance search” to ensure that your preferred trademark is not already taken.
On the other hand, patents protect the rights of inventors. This means that the patent owner has the right to stop others from developing, using, or selling their invention. Patents generally last 20 years from the date the application is filed.
- Employment laws
Employment laws, also known as labor laws, are among the general set of rules that apply to businesses that have employees. These laws typically cover the rights and responsibilities between employers and employees. They are governed by both state and federal law. Following these laws are crucial regardless of the size of your business or type of your business because the last thing you want is facing legal problems for treating your employees unfairly. Some of the employment laws you need to know include:
- Fair Labor Standards Act
This law sets the federal minimum wage. It also categorizes employees as exempt or non-exempt from overtime pay. All employees are generally entitled to overtime unless there is a legal exemption that applies.
- Equal opportunity laws
The equal opportunity laws are overseen by the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which ensures that everybody has an equal chance for work and that there is no discrimination against anybody in the hiring process. These laws also ensure that no employment decisions are made based on protected characteristics, such as sex, age, race, color, disability, nationality, etc.
- Workers’ compensation
This is a kind of insurance that offers financial benefits and even medical care for workers who get injured or become sick because of their job. The employer is required to pay for this insurance and cannot ask the employees to contribute. This can help employers to cover any accidents that may happen in the workplace.
- Family and Medical Leave Act
This set of laws requires an employer with more than 50 employees to give up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to eligible employees for either a birth or adoption of a child, or due to serious illness of the employees, a spouse, parent, or a child. This can be unpaid. The employer must also hold the employee’s job for that period of 12 weeks.
- Occupational Safety and Health Act
This Act typically requires employers to provide their employees with a safe working environment without any serious hazards. The Occupational Safety and Health Act can only be enforced through inspections and a few site visits. Of course, as an employer, you must promote safety in the workplace to prevent unnecessary accidents. This can also help you avoid getting fined.
- Business tax laws
Just like it is important to get familiar with tax laws in your personal life, you should also familiarize yourself with business tax laws. If you don’t understand these laws, you can contact a professional who can take you through them so that you don’t end up on the wrong side of the law and even pay hefty fines.
When you are starting your business, one of the first things you ought to do is to register your business with the IRS, which tracks all businesses through an Employer Identification Number [EIN]. In addition to that, you will need the EIN to open your business bank account, apply for a business license, as well as register with a payroll service.
Here are the types of business tax laws
- Income tax
Any business is required to file an annual income tax return, except partnership businesses. In that case, you will be required to file an informational return.
- Employment tax
If you employ employees in your business, you must pay all taxes associated with having them. These taxes include Federal unemployment [FUTA] tax and Social Security and Medicare taxes
- Privacy laws
It is crucial to maintain your customers’ privacy, and the Federal Trade Commission enforces the laws that protect the privacy of consumers. Of course, all consumers and employees are more concerned about the privacy of their personal information. That’s why as an employer, you should clearly communicate how you use their data.
- Advertising laws
If you are planning to advertise your anonymous LLC business online or in print., there are rules and guidelines that protect consumers as well as businesses that you should know. It can also help maintain the advertising media’s credibility. These advertising laws work to eliminate practices or acts in advertising that might deceive customers or be unfair to them. These laws and rules are enforced and enacted by the Federal Trade Commission.