/Tag:incorporate a business

What Every Small Business Should Know About 1099s

Every year when tax time rolls around, I field questions from business owners about whether or not they need to send 1099s to their vendors. As common as 1099 forms are, they remain one of the most misunderstood Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requirements.

To make sure you understand the circumstances under which the IRS requires issuing 1099-MISC forms to vendors, I’m going to provide some basic “must-know” information here.

What Is A Form 1099-MISC?

You must issue an IRS Form 1099-MISC to each person you’ve paid $600 or more in services (including parts and materials), prizes and awards, rents or other income payments. The 1099-MISC only applies to payments you made in doing business; it does not apply to payments made for personal purposes.

To Whom Do You Need To Send A Form 1099-MISC?

If your business paid more than $600 to a vendor or sub-contractor [individual, partnership, Limited Liability Company (LLC), Limited Partnership (LP), or estate], you are required to send a Form 1099-MISC to document what you paid them throughout the year. In general, anyone who worked for you—other than your employees—will need a 1099 from you.

Also, unless an exception applies to them, you need to issue a 1099 to your landlord if you are paying rent for business purposes. You must also issue a 1099-MISC to your attorney if you paid for legal services that amounted to more than $600 during the year.

Are There Any Exceptions?

There are. The list is rather long, but most commonly these types of vendors do not get 1099-MISC forms:

Also, you don’t have to send 1099-MISC forms to vendors to whom you made your payments via a credit card, debit card, gift card, or a payment network like PayPal. The onus to report vendor compensation is on those payment companies.

How Do You Figure Out If A Vendor Needs A 1099 From You?

I recommend before you request vendors to do any work for you, ask them for a completed W-9 form. The W-9 will give you all the information you need for filing taxes. It supplies a vendor’s mailing information, Tax ID numbers, and business structure (so you’ll know if the vendor is incorporated or not and does or does not need a 1099).

When Is the Deadline To Send 1099s?

By January 31, 2017, you must do two things to comply with your 2016 tax year 1099 obligations:

  • Submit Form 1099 to each vendor (reflecting what you paid that vendor in 2016).
  • Submit a copy of the Forms 1099 you sent to each vendor, along with a Form 1096 that discloses in total what you paid to all vendors who received 1099s from you.

Make sure you check on your state’s rules, too. Some states require they also receive your 1099s.

What Happens If You Miss The Deadline? 

Sending the required 1099-MISC forms late (or not at all) could cost you. The penalties vary depending on how far past the deadline you wait to issue the forms. If your business had gross receipts of $5 million or less, the amount you’re smacked with could range anywhere $50 to $260 per form (for tax years 2016 and 2017). If you’re caught intentionally not providing a payee with a correct statement for tax year 2016, you could face a fine of $520 for each form not submitted (that amount will increase to $530 for tax year 2017).

Where Can You Get 1099 Forms?

Unfortunately, you cannot download 1099 Forms from the IRS website. You can, however, order them from the IRS site and have them mailed to you, or you can pick them up at an IRS service center, post office, or another location that supplies them.

Eliminate Headaches—Do It Right From The Start!

Whether you’re in the early stages of launching a startup or already running a small business, I recommend you talk with a tax professional who can share more details about 1099s and the other aspects of filing your tax returns.

Starting a business or ready to change your current business structure? Contact us about making the registration process hassle-free and as fast as possible. We’re here to handle all of your legal document filing needs!

CorpNet FAQs – Business Licenses

 

As an online legal document filing service that helps entrepreneurs with an array of startup needs, we get asked a ton of questions from our clients about various topics. We decided to start sourcing these questions and create a new blog post series for our readers, as some of you may be wondering the same thing but haven’t found the answer elsewhere.

Today we are launching our new FAQ series starting on the topic of business licenses. Here are some of our most frequently asked questions on the popular topic followed by answers from our CEO Nellie Akalp. Still have Questions? Feel free to post in the comments below and Nellie will be happy to provide additional insight!

Business Licenses

Q: What’s the difference between a business license and registering a business? If I already registered my LLC or corporation, do I still need a business license? 

A: Registering your business and getting your business license are two different things – and you most likely will need to do both. Registering a new business with the state (either by forming an LLC, corporation, or filing a DBA) provides a legal foundation for your business. Then, the business license(s) gives you the right to operate your business…similar to how a driver’s license lets you drive a car.

Q: How do I know what kind of business licenses I need? 

A: The specific license and permit requirements vary based on your type of business and your location. As expected, a home contractor or restaurant will have more permit requirements than a web designer. Find your business type on our Business Licenses page to check the specific requirements for your business. If you don’t see your specific business listed, give us a call at 1.888.449.2638 and we’ll help you out.

Q: What are the penalties if I don’t have the right licenses for my business? 

A: You can face fines, and even have your business shut down if you are caught operating without the right licenses/permit paperwork in place.

Q: How much does it cost to get a business license or permit? 

A: Exact costs depend on the license type and your location. Find your business type on our Business Licenses page to view the pricing for your particular business license and location.

Q: What if my business is involved in more than one type of activity or has multiple locations?

A:  Each business location and each business type is subject to licensing requirements, so you most likely will need to get the proper permits/licenses for each location and business activity.

Q: How long does a business license last? 

A: Typically speaking, a business license will last one year (although some locales give you the opportunity to apply for a three-year license). If you sign up for our free B.I.Z. service, we’ll automatically notify you when any licenses are coming up for renewal.

Q. If I change my legal structure, can I keep my old business license? 

A. No. Any change of legal entity (e.g. if you change from a sole proprietorship to an LLC or corporation) requires a new business license. If you change your legal structure, you will need to apply for a new business license for the new entity.

Q. Can I transfer my business license to a new owner? 

A. Typically speaking, you cannot transfer a business license from one owner to another. The new owner of the business will need to apply for their own business and specialty licenses.

Do you need help setting up a business license or have a question about another aspect of starting a business? Call the CorpNet.com team today for a free business consultation at: 888.449.2638

Image: Adobe Stock

 

 

                               

Why Customers Love Us – CorpNet Reviews

Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 2.43.23 PMWe’re back with another month of fantastic 5-star reviews of CorpNet.com services! The summer days are getting hotter, but we have the AC cranked up and we’re working hard ensuring happy customers across the board.

Here’s a look back at some fantastic 5-star reviews of our services these past few weeks. Do you need to incorporateform an LLC or file a DBA? Check out all of our reviews on TrustPilot and reach out anytime for a free business consultation at 888.449.2638.

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By | July 14th, 2016|CorpNet Reviews|0 Comments

Why Customers Love Us – CorpNet Reviews

Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 12.42.22 PMOne thing we strive for here at CorpNet.com is stellar customer service. We go above and beyond with every order to ensure our customers are happy, and if they are not, we make it right!

Summer is in full swing and many people are planning their annual vacation to relax, unplug and unwind. But there are still many individuals hard at work making their business dreams a reality and we’re thrilled we can help them along the way while exceeding their expectations for a document filing service. Some customers even left amazing CorpNet.com reviews!

Here’s a look back at some of these amazing 5-star reviews of our services these past few weeks. Do you need to incorporateform an LLC or file a DBA? Check out all of our reviews on TrustPilot and reach out anytime for a free business consultation at 888.449.2638.

 

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By | June 21st, 2016|CorpNet Reviews|0 Comments

Business Name Registration Or Trademark: Which Is Best?

Key to brand cloud shape

One of the most valuable assets your business will ever have is its name. Your business name is more than what your company is called—it represents your brand’s identity and it’s a way for you to distinguish yourself from your competition. With your business name carrying that much weight, it makes sense to protect it.

As you start your business, consider these two approaches to prevent other companies from using your name and confusing your customers:

Business Name Registration 

If you form an LLC or apply to incorporate a business in a state, your business name is automatically protected in that state after the state has approved your application. No other LLC or corporation will have the right to register their company under that name within the state. Just how different a name must be from another business name varies from one state to the next. For instance, one state may deem it perfectly fine to register “Linda’s Spa and Salon, LLC” when there’s an existing business registered as “Lynda’s Spa and Salon, LLC.” Another state might consider the name “Linda’s Spa and Salon” deceptively similar to the other business’s name.

Note that there are some limitations to state protection. Sole proprietorships and partnerships in that state can still use your name if they so desire; they just wouldn’t be able to form a corporation or LLC using your name. Also, just because you register your business name with the state doesn’t mean a business in another state can’t use the same name. In fact, they could even incorporate or form an LLC using your name, provided they do it in a state or states other than those where you’ve registered your name.

To decide if brand protection at the state level will be enough, I suggest you consider your type of business and business model. If you are opening a local retail store or restaurant, for example, it might not matter to you if another business uses the same name in a different state. How likely would customers be to confuse the two? Probably not at all.

On the other hand, if you have ideas of expanding your business nationally, or are planning to sell your products/services across the country, or have concerns that a partnership or sole proprietorship might use your name, then you might consider protecting your name with a federal trademark.

Federal Trademark Protection

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) grants trademarks, which identify the source of products or services. A trademark can be a word, phrase, design, or symbol (or a combination of any of them) that distinguishes a company from its competitors. The USPTO can grant trademarks on distinctive names, logos, and slogans. As the owner of a trademark, you have exclusive rights to the mark. No one else may use it at either the state or federal level.

Expect to pay a little more for a trademark than you would for registering your name with the state. The base rate is $325 per class and it will cost more if you hire a professional to prepare the paperwork for you. It may take from six to 12 months for the USPTO to process your request. Although the process is more involved than registering a business name with the state, a trademark provides you with exclusive rights to your name in all 50 states—and trademarks have an unlimited lifespan, provided you comply with renewal requirements.

If you’re thinking about filing for a trademark, I suggest you do some initial homework so you don’t apply for a name that’s already in use. Don’t risk having your application rejected and losing the application fee you submitted.

First step: Conduct a free basic search to see if anyone has a pending application with the USPTO for your proposed trademark or anything similar to it.

Second step: Do a comprehensive name search to see if anyone is using your proposed name at the state or local level.

Isn’t Your Brand Worth Protecting?

Whether your business will have sufficient protection by registering your name with the state or you’ll require exclusive rights in every state, your business name and the brand it represents is worth securing. Consider talking with a legal expert who can help you decide which option is best for your business. And if the paperwork and process of registering your business name or filing for a trademark intimidates you, remember that CorpNet is here to help. Call anytime for a free business consultation at 888.449.2638!

Image: Adobe Stock

Why Customers Love Us – CorpNet Reviews

Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 2.43.23 PMAnother month, another great set of 5-star CorpNet reviews to showcase our stellar customer service.

Our team has been hard at work helping all kinds of clients with their business startup needs. From assisting someone who accidentally selected the wrong entity to helping an oversees entrepreneur, our team gets the job done so you can focus on what you do best – running your business.

Here is a look at why customers love using CorpNet.com to incorporate, form an LLC, file a DBA and more! Check out all of our reviews on TrustPilot. Are you ready to get your business off the ground? Reach out anytime for a free business consultation.

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Why Customers Love Us – CorpNet Reviews

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We get asked a lot how we are different from our competitors. Although we offer similar services, we take great pride in our stellar customer service which sets us apart from the rest!

You call us, use our chat feature or email us – one of stellar tenured business filing experts in our Westlake Village, CA headquarters will answer. We’re a small team who wants the best for you and your business! No outsourced call centers here!

Just to show how much our customers love us we are starting a new series on the CorpNet Blog sharing some CorpNet reviews. These clients took the time to leave us a great review and we appreciate every single one of them.

Here is a look at why customers love using CorpNet.com to incorporate, form an LLC, file a DBA and more! Check out all of our reviews on TrustPilot. Are you ready to get your business off the ground? Reach out anytime for a free business consultation.

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Expecting A Tax Refund? 8 Business-Savvy Ways To Spend It Wisely

US treasury check.

According to the IRS, it expects more than 70 percent of taxpayers will receive tax refunds this year. Last year, the average refund of the 109 million issued was $2,797. That’s no chump change!

If you’re one of the fortunate taxpayers who will get a tax refund this year, how are you planning to spend that “bonus”?

Decisions…decisions.

While you may find it tempting to blow the cash on a Louis Vuitton handbag or put a deposit on a tropical vacation getaway, there’s something more fulfilling you can do with that money:

Invest it into your business

Yes, I know it doesn’t sound very sexy at face value. But by putting that money back into your company, you’ll expand upon its potential and promise.

How might you use your tax refund to boost your business? Here are a few ideas for making good use of it:

  • Use the money for a consultation with your accountant about tax planning for the future. Just because you got a refund this year, doesn’t mean you will next year!
  • Give your website a make-over. If you’ve got a DIY site, consider hiring a professional to create one that will more successfully generate traffic and leads.
  • Register to attend a highly regarded business or marketing conference. Not only will you learn a lot of relevant information to make you a more enlightened business owner, but also you’ll make valuable connections with other professionals.
  • Get yourself or an employee some specialized training to up your game in the competitive market. When you expand upon your skill set and hone your craft, you make your products and services more valuable to customers.
  • Ditch an old, unreliable piece of office equipment (e.g., laptop, printer, etc.) and purchase a new one. Equipment that doesn’t do the job well can kill productivity and add a lot of stress. Your refund money will be well spent by giving yourself the tools you need to work more efficiently.
  • Buy yourself an ergonomic desk chair. Your comfort and physical well-being should always be a priority if you want to work like you mean business.
  • Join a well-respected networking group. Do some research and find a group that has highly motivated, accomplished members who have a genuine interest in supporting and encouraging each other. While no networking group membership guarantees you’ll get business from it, a culture of camaraderie provides a firm foundation for referrals and for the purchase of services or products between members of the group.

As you can see, you have plenty of ways to creatively use your tax refund to better your business. Whether you’re just starting your company or want to grow it, make the designer shoes and fancy cocktails in coconuts wait. Consider putting your refund dollars where they’ll really make a difference—into your business.

Image: Adobe Stock

Should You Convert Your Business Structure to an S Corp?

Question Mark for Making Decisions

You’ve been chugging along as a sole proprietorship for a while now, but you’re beginning to realize that might not be the best idea to protect your business. So you’re considering converting your sole proprietorship to another structure, specifically the S Corporation.

Ask yourself the following questions to determine if now is the right time to convert your business structure.

1. Do You Want to Bring on Investors?

Maybe you bootstrapped your business, but now you’re ready to take the company to the next level, and to do that, you need investors. This is an automatic reason to convert to an S Corp because investors rarely want to invest in a sole proprietorship (it puts their assets at risk).

If you want potential investors to take you seriously, change your structure to an S Corp. That way, they aren’t liable for your company’s debts or legal fees, and they’re more likely to give you the money you need.

2. Are You Worried About Protecting Your Personal Assets?

Did you realize that as a sole proprietor, the law sees you as an individual as the same as your business? That means if you are ever sued, you may have to shell out from your personal savings to cover legal fees if your business doesn’t have the funds.

Incorporating, on the other hand, separates you from your business, providing a legal shield around you that protects your assets and finances from being taken for the business.

3. Are You Looking for Some Tax Relief?

While incorporating won’t magically eliminate your taxes, there are some pretty great tax perks, like only being taxed once (versus twice like with the C Corporation) and being able to report your business profit and loss on your personal income tax forms.

4. Do You Want to Reduce Your Likelihood of an Audit?

Sole proprietors are nine times more likely to get audited than corporations. What does that tell you? It’s time to change your business structure! Being audited can be a paperwork nightmare that can eat up precious time you’re better off spending running your business, so if a simple switch of business structure could reduce your chances, go for it.

5. Do You Plan to Sell Your Business?

Whether you want to sell in a year or 10, the S Corp is the ideal business structure to make that transition a breeze. Because you can’t transfer ownership of a sole proprietorship (it’s tied to you and only you), the S Corp is a better entity to package up and hand over to the new owners.

If these questions made you realize that, yes, you do need to convert your sole proprietorship to an S Corp, now’s the time to do it. As long as you file File Form 2553 by March 15, 2016 (or let CorpNet do it for you), your business will be treated as an S Corp for the 2016 tax year.

Don’t delay! Get your S Corp Election order processed now with CorpNet so you can reap the tax benefits for 2016.

Image: Dollar Photo Club

Nellie in the News: February 2016

Wow – February went by fast around the CorpNet offices.  March is already next week and we’re busy helping entrepreneurs start a business making the year fly by already.

Nellie has been busy leading us daily and sharing her expertise across blogs, podcasts, webinars and in-person events. Here is what she was up to this month.

Want Nellie to speak at your next event or share her tips on your podcast? Contact her today

nellie in the news

Speaking

Startup Weekend Ventura County

Nellie and her husband/Business partner Phil Akalp will be speaking on starting and growing a successful business on March 11, 2016. More info and tickets: http://bit.ly/1QomPa1

OCIACC

Nellie will be presenting a workshop to the Orange County Iranian-American Chamber of Commerce on March 22nd at 6:00pm all about Small Business Incorporation. Members can attend for free and non-members have to pay $10. More info and tickets: http://bit.ly/24nCWMJ

 

Interviews & press Mentions

monster.com – Tips on how to Jumpstart your Company’s Social Media Strategy http://mnstr.me/1QXTTYA

Parent Entrepreneur Podcast – Tailor your Parenting Experience to Create Business Success with Nellie Akalp http://bit.ly/1X1jcJV

Hearpreneur – Nellie and 14 Entrepreneurs Reveal What Entrepreneurship Means to Them http://bit.ly/1LbC6a6

Small Business Advocate – Why Your Business Should Be its Own Legal Entity with Nellie Akalp http://bit.ly/1PMjKC3

Small Business Advocate – Should Your Business be an S Corporation or an LLC with Nellie Akalp http://bit.ly/1PMjKC3

Cake HR blog – “Mompreneur” – A defining or limiting word for working moms? http://bit.ly/1RmWyeD

Office Hours FM – Legal Startup Tips with Nellie Akalp http://bit.ly/1RJJYq9

Thousand Oaks Acorn – In Business for Business – a feature story on Nellie Akalp http://bit.ly/1ToHPjz

amazing.com Nellie and 5 Entrepreneurs Share the Best Advice They Ever Got http://bit.ly/1ouonH9

SCORE podcast – Business Incorporation 101 with Nellie Akalp http://bit.ly/1PLyobp

Working Women Entrepreneur – Do It To Win It with Nellie Akalp of CorpNet.com http://bit.ly/1UkIFPd

 

Expert Contributed Posts

Forbes – 6 Ways to Fall In Love Again with Your Business http://onforb.es/1O52Usw

Small Business Trends – The Right and Wrong Reasons to Incorporate or Form an LLC http://bit.ly/1PKDOVq

Huffington Post – The Problem with Agreeing to Let Someone “Pick Your Brain” http://huff.to/20LzyvR

Showcasing Women – Do I Really Need a Patent? What You Need to Know Today http://bit.ly/20qVWoI

Freshbooks – Why You Need a Business Bank Account http://bit.ly/1PMPfIN

GoDaddy – How to Avoid Late Fees (and worse fates) For your Business http://bit.ly/1QcaAPq