We are all required to follow various laws and guidelines in our world. The laws that govern how we live our daily lives, from paying taxes to wearing our seatbelts in the car to paying our taxes and even drinking at the appropriate age, provide a framework. Businesses are similarly compelled by law to do what they must. The laws regulate how businesses are formed, run, and end up. While people and businesses are required to follow the laws, they are different. What are the different types of business law?
Commercial law (also known as business law) governs commercial entities and commercial transactions. There are many types of business law: employment law, formation law, labor law, intellectual property, contract law and negotiations taxes, lawsuits and bankruptcy laws, and antitrust law.
What is Business Law?
The guidelines and body rules that govern commercial activity are called business law. Business law covers two major areas. These divisions include the business entity, its body, and its activities and dealings.
Regulation of commercial entities
The regulation of commercial entities establishes guidelines and provisions that govern a business. As an entity, there are rules that businesses must follow. We will be discussing how to incorporate a business and other details.
A business’s commercial activities are those that are subject to regulation. A set of rules must be followed by businesses to prohibit or exclude certain actions. This is an example of what happens in publicly traded companies. Publicly traded companies must follow the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) standards regarding how they distribute and manage company stock and the transparency they provide to the general public.
Different types of business law
The law of formation refers to the rules that must be followed by a business to become an entity and be recognized as a legal business. A business can’t legally carry out its activities without proper legal recognition.
Many formation/incorporation law elements are filling out the right paperwork and meeting the requirements to ensure a proper business classification. The business must decide on a particular classification and how they want to operate.
This is the most crucial legal action a business can take. It affects every aspect of a business. Your business type will affect the required taxes and management structure. There are also federal and state guidelines that must follow.
Employment law is the relationship between employees and employers. The topics covered in employment law include sexual harassment, workplace conduct and wages, discrimination, workplace safety, and wrongful discrimination.
Interviewees and employees of businesses have certain rights that must be respected. The employment law sets out the guidelines and deals with businesses that fail to follow the laws.
Intellectual Property Law
There are many creative and innovative ideas emerging in today’s digital age. Businesses want to ensure that others do not copy their ideas due to the sheer number of new ideas.
Inventions, literary and artistic works, designs, symbols, and names, are all considered intellectual property. Businesses can protect their unique ideas through intellectual property law. There are several subsets of intellectual property law, such as trademarks and copyrights.
Copyright: Protects original works. It is generated automatically by the conception of the original work. This includes items such as research, computer software, and architecture.
Trademarks are words, phrases, and symbols that identify a brand or source of goods concerning other brands. This includes logos, slogans, and business names.
Although there are many different businesses, they all share the same point: paying taxes.
Taxes are financial fees levied by the federal or state governments and regulated. Businesses must pay taxes or face severe consequences. Taxes are mandatory. These consequences can include severe fines or even significant jail time.
- Sales Tax: Each state in the US has its own sales tax requirements. State taxes will be assessed to businesses based on their location. Companies will also have to pay state taxes for transactions made in other states if they operate across state lines.
- Payroll Taxes and Employment: These taxes are levied on the wages and salaries of employees. Payroll taxes can be used to fund social security and medicare.
- Income Tax: Businesses must pay income tax based on the amount of income they have received. The business’s profit in the preceding year will determine the amount that must be paid in income taxes.
- Property tax: This is the tax on all property owned by a company. Property taxes are determined at the state level. They include factors like the type of building and the base property value.
Contract Law and Negotiations
Contract law covers creating, implementing, and managing contracts between businesses. Contract law for businesses facilitates agreements between groups and businesses.
Contract law is an important area of business law. Many businesses and companies engage in negotiations and agreements. It is important to find someone who can meet the needs of all parties and help form an agreement.
An “in-house counsel” is a group of lawyers that work for high-profile and highly successful companies. In-house counsel refers to a group of lawyers working exclusively for the business. Businesses that have in-house legal counsel do not need to hire outside lawyers. They refer to their legal teams for drafting contracts or handling negotiations.
Antitrust laws are guidelines designed to ensure fair competition among businesses. Antitrust laws aim to ensure that all businesses, and players in an industry, have equal opportunities. These laws were created to combat unfair business practices and businesses with too much power.
These are the things that Antitrust Laws Act Against:
- Market allocation is when two businesses agree not to move to disrupt the other’s business. They plan to keep their services and products in one region and deny access to others.
- Price fixing: Product prices are usually determined by the market’s willingness to pay them. When a business sets the price for a product or service, it is called price-fixing. In a normal fast food market, the price of a cheeseburger is determined by what consumers will pay. This motivates companies to find a way to sell their product at a price that customers will pay.
- All fast-food burger places would have to fix their prices. Cheeseburgers will now be $20 per piece. Customers will now have to pay a fixed price for a cheeseburger.
- Monopolies: A company that is dominant in a single industry until the competition is eliminated or reduced substantially is called a monopoly.
The area of litigation is one of the most dangerous and complicated aspects of business law. A lawsuit is a claim or dispute brought against another person or party before a judge. Both businesses and individuals can file lawsuits.
Businesses are often the ones that end up in court for an unhappy customers.
Settlements out of court are the most common method for handling lawsuits. To avoid costly and time-consuming legal proceedings, a business may agree with the person bringing the lawsuit against them. A business can also go to court and claim innocence.
While it is not something anyone wants to do, bankruptcy can be difficult for businesses. Many options are available to a business when it comes to filing for bankruptcy. Each option has its pros and cons. The legal process of filing bankruptcy involves choosing the best option for the business.
Federal law governs bankruptcy. A company can declare bankruptcy by going before a court to restructure and declare its debts.
Laws are the foundation of a business.
All businesses share one thing in common: they must adhere to the laws and guidelines. The entire lifeline of any business depends on the laws and guidelines that govern it.
Types Of Business Bank Accounts.
Learn how checking, CDs, and money market accounts work
You may know the ins and outs of managing your personal checking accounts, but what about doing the same for your business? When thinking about different types of business bank accounts, you obviously want to know which ones may best fit your company.
While there is not a one-size-fits-all solution, having an understanding of the different accounts, banking requirements, and when they might be necessary can make your choice much simpler.
Is It Necessary To Have Separate Bank Accounts?
While separate bank accounts are not a requirement for sole proprietors and small businesses that are not incorporated, they can be crucial when it comes to scaling your business.
Though business bank accounts function in the same way as personal accounts, owners gain more protection when designating these transactions. For example, if your business was facing a legal claim, having a business bank account may further protect your personal finances versus having them intertwined with your entity.
You can also accept checks and credit card payments for your business, add employees as authorized users, and start to open business lines of credit. Having a business bank account is also required when applying for many types of loans.
Chances are you’ve already had one or several personal checking accounts, so business checking accounts shouldn’t be a drastic change. One of the main differences, though, is that the account will be in your business’s name, which means more professional invoicing, statements, and checks when issuing payments.
You can make deposits, transfers, and withdrawals just as you would with your personal account. There may be limits on certain types of transactions– for example, with a Bank of America ATM card, users can only withdraw $700 per day depending on the state.
When you’re opening your business bank account, make sure to read all of the details on the financial institution’s site to ensure any limits align with your anticipated transaction volume.
The checking account may or may not come with maintenance fees. Some come with optional services like Positive Pay, which helps prevent check fraud, typically for an additional fee. Generally speaking, business checking accounts will require an opening deposit or a monthly minimum. There are free business checking accounts that waive monthly fees or exclude them altogether.
Business savings accounts do allow your business profits to grow at a set interest rate but compared to checking accounts, the funds are not usually as accessible.
These accounts also come with set guidelines on deposits, concerning both methods and amounts. With Chase Business Total Savings, for example, users are allowed up to 15 deposits and $5,000 in monthly cash deposits at no charge. This means that fees are incurred once maximums are reached.
Minimum deposits for business savings accounts may also be higher than checking accounts and the amount deposited may impact your annual percentage yield (APY).
Certificate of Deposit Account.
Certificate of deposit (CD) accounts may be attractive because they can earn you a higher APY and therefore a bigger return.
The caveat is that you are agreeing to put away money for a specified time and penalties will be levied if you need to withdraw before the maturity date. Terms will vary from bank to bank but can range anywhere from 28 days to 10 years.
Rates are also variable, but typically the higher the minimum deposit required the higher the APY offered will be.
A few additional aspects to keep in mind are that though all CDs issued by Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)- insured banks are protected, not all banks are covered. There are also different types of CDs that you can open depending on your long-term financial goals for your business.
Money Market Account.
If you’re stuck between the idea of business saving accounts and CDs, money market accounts (MMAs) may be an option worth considering.
These interest-bearing accounts may offer higher APY than your traditional savings accounts and permit users to issue checks depending on the bank. MMAs can come with fewer barriers when it comes to accessing funding, with some banks offering ATM access and the ability to link to a business checking account to bypass certain fees.
However, like CDs, these accounts may work best for businesses that keep higher monthly balances in savings.
How To Open a Small Business Bank Account.
Now that you know more about the different types of business bank accounts, it’s time to do some research and open your account.
First and foremost, when opening your small business bank account, thoroughly research the banking institution. Is it online or brick-and-mortar? Do they have banking products that your business could use in the future?
Then, determine which accounts you want to apply for and what the requirements are. For example, in addition to business formation documents, there may be financial stipulations regarding your credit. Be prepared and gather all documentation beforehand.
The last step is to make your first deposit, which can usually be done via electronic cash transfer, written check, or cash deposit.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).
Which bank is best for small businesses?
Though the best bank truly depends on your specific needs, US Bank is one potentially attractive option for small businesses. There are no monthly fees for its Silver Business Package and the institution offers different options as your business grows. Meanwhile, online banks such as Bank Novo can be a great free starter option for freelancers looking for a business bank account that doesn’t require a heavy lift.
How many bank accounts do I need for my small business?
There is really no limit to the number of bank accounts that you can have for your small business. However, keep in mind that the more accounts you have, the more effort it will take to manage them all. Start with one in the category you need and open more as it becomes necessary.
Should You Open a Business Savings Account?
Reasons You Might Need Another Account Besides Checking
Savings accounts are joint for personal use, but as a small business owner, you may have considered whether it’s worth opening this account for your business.
To help guide your decision, we’ll discuss what business savings accounts are; cover their benefits and limitations; address the timing of when to open a business savings account, and answer some frequently asked questions on the topic.
What Is a Business Savings Account?
A business savings account can often be opened with a business checking account. A business checking account is typically used for revenue and regular transactions such as paying bills and making purchases, and business savings accounts are reserved for storing funds.
Business owners can move money between checking and savings accounts according to their financial demands. Usually, money is kept in the savings account and moved into the checking account as needed. Below, we’ll discuss the advantages and drawbacks of having savings account for your business.
What Is the Point of a Savings Account?
There are several reasons why small business owners might consider opening savings accounts. We’ll discuss a few of the everyday purposes.
Save for the Unexpected
Savings accounts are great places to store cash to prepare for the unexpected– both good and bad. Having a rainy-day fund for emergencies or unanticipated expenses is essential for small businesses and can bring peace of mind to you as the owner. Cash on hand can also allow you to take advantage of business growth opportunities without jumping through all the hoops involved with borrowing money.
Plan for Upcoming Expenses
Spending money regularly can help you plan for future costs and invest in your business’s growth. Budgeting in advance to prepare for upcoming expenses such as renovations, business taxes, or even retirement can help to alleviate financial stressors.
You can earn more interest– money that the bank pays you for using your funds– by keeping your cash in a savings account than you would in checking. Some savings accounts, such as a high-yield account, have a higher interest rate or annual percentage yield (APY) than others.
Linking a business’s checking account to its savings account can help prevent overdraft fees. If there aren’t enough funds in the checking account to cover expenses, money can be automatically transferred from the savings account. This can help protect against unexpected fines.
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) typically protects business savings accounts. If a bank cannot pay you back your money or has closed down, the FDIC will ensure that your funds are repaid up to an insurance limit of $250,000.
Limitations of a Savings Account.
While savings accounts can come with many benefits for your small business, there are some limitations to consider before opening an account. For instance, savings accounts may require a minimum balance to prevent you from being charged a fee. You must meet this minimum threshold to avoid regularly paying money to maintain an account.
There is also an opportunity cost of keeping too much of your funds stashed away. If you own more money than necessary in your business savings account, you could take advantage of opportunities to grow your business or invest the funds in places that might bring higher returns.
When You Should Open a Business Savings Account.
Savings accounts can be very beneficial for business use. Business owners should be attentive to a bank’s terms and potential fees when deciding where to open an account.
However, opening up a savings account may not be as much of a priority if your business is still relatively new or needs more income to meet the minimum account balance requirements.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).
What do I need to have to open a business savings account?
The documents required to open a business bank account will vary depending on the bank. Most banks usually request you provide your business’s employer identification number (EIN). However, if you’re a sole proprietor, you’ll use your Social Security number, formation documents, ownership agreements, and business license.
Which types of savings accounts will earn you the most money?
High-yield savings accounts can be an excellent option to earn more money from interest than traditional accounts. When deciding where to open a high-yield savings account, pay attention to account details such as the annual percentage yield (APY), fees charged, and minimum balance requirements.
How many business banking accounts should I have?
There is no set answer regarding the number of business banking accounts a small business should have– it depends on the business’s financial needs and goals. Having multiple business banking accounts can help keep your finances organized, make it easier to prove your creditworthiness, increase security, and take advantage of various offerings. However, the more accounts you have, the more complicated it can manage, as each may come with its own set of fees and requirements.
Buying vs. Leasing a Car for Business: What’s the Difference?
Many small business owners may find that a car becomes necessary to operate their businesses, whether starting or aiming to grow their ventures to the next level.
The first step in this process is deciding whether buying or leasing a car for business purposes is best for you. The main difference between the two is that buying a car gives the business complete ownership, allowing it to customize and put on unlimited miles. However, leasing a vehicle for your business can mean lower monthly payments. To help you with your decision, here are some considerations when choosing a business car lease versus purchase.
Buying and leasing a business vehicle comes with initial costs that may dictate your choice. Buying a car can take a significant down payment, affecting your immediate cash flow. Leasing a car, however, typically requires a security deposit, usually equal to one month’s payment rounded up.
Many business owners take out loans from banking institutions to purchase a car outright, creating higher monthly payments toward the loan’s interest first and principal second. Buying a vehicle takes up short-term cash flow and could affect your ability to take out additional loans for the business. Yet this translates into long-term value as you have a stable asset on your balance sheet.
Leasing a car can mean lower monthly payments to free up your immediate cash flow. Because of smaller amounts, you can afford to drive an updated vehicle that generally would be out of your price range. However, going from one lease to the next can lead to higher costs over the long run.2 Buying a car becomes a more favorable option for value over time because payments stop once the loan is paid off.
Regularly scheduled maintenance checks and repairs are crucial to keeping your asset running smoothly. But how you take care of maintenance depends on whether you lease or buy.
Depending on the agreement, leased vehicles include some form of maintenance, some repairs, and even free oil changes, which can alleviate the stress of vehicle repair. A lease also covers essential wear and tear, although anything out of the ordinary will result in fines. Buying a vehicle places the responsibility solely in the hands of the owner. You bear the cost of scheduling and repairs, although excessive wear and tear isn’t a concern.
Deciding whether to buy or lease a car for a small business means being clear on the purpose of the vehicle. Knowing this will help you figure out how many miles you plan on putting on in a year.
A lease agreement comes with a mileage allowance that dictates how many miles you can put on the vehicle. When you go above the budget, you start incurring mileage fees, which add up quickly. Prices range anywhere from 10 cents to 50 cents per additional mile.
Mileage considerations can make buying a car a more cost-effective decision in the long run. You don’t need to limit your drive time or hold yourself to a set amount of miles because your ownership gives you complete authority.
Some small businesses may want to utilize vehicle marketing by outfitting their automobile with company decals and stickers. Buying a car gives you the option to customize it however you prefer.
A leased car must be returned near showroom condition, apart from normal wear and tear. Customizations are not allowed for these vehicles or may result in significant fees.
A small business reaps considerable tax advantages when utilizing a specific vehicle for company operations. An owned car can use depreciation and standard rate or actual costs as deductions. A leased car can use the standard rate or substantial cost as an expense, but not both.
Depreciation: Depreciation is the amount you can deduct over the vehicle’s lifespan that accounts for a drop in value. A car becomes less valuable over time from wear and tear and mileage accrual, which can be claimed as a deduction.
Standard rate: As determined by the IRS, a business owner can deduct the standard mileage rate for business miles driven using the traditional rate method for the lease. This must be started in the first year the car is available to your business. The standard mileage rate was 58.5 cents per mile for the first half of 2022, and for the final six months of 2022, the standard mileage rate is 62.5 cents per mile.
Actual cost: You can use the exact cost method to deduct the expenses associated with operating a vehicle, including gas, oil, repairs, and depreciation or lease payments.
Which Is Right for Your Business?
Deciding whether to lease versus buy for business depends on your circumstances and how you weigh the different considerations. There is no one-size-fits-all methodology for small business car leasing or ownership, but there are a few questions to answer that can provide clarity on what works best for you at any given time.
- How much money do you currently have for a down payment?
- How many miles do you think you’ll put on in a year?
- Do you want any customization on your business vehicle?
- How will the car be used, and will that incur abnormal wear and tear?
- Do you want to deal with maintenance yourself?
Every business case will be different regarding buying or leasing a vehicle. Buying a car offers a long-term investment if you have enough borrowing power and cash flow. Further, if your business will need to use a vehicle extensively, purchasing a car outright means you aren’t limited to a specific amount of miles.
On the other hand, a more limited cash flow may make leasing a car a much better decision. Renting a car is also best for a business owner who doesn’t want to take care of maintenance or desires the latest vehicle on the market.
Best of Both Worlds Option.
Some leasing agencies may offer a chance to purchase the vehicle once the lease ends. Also known as a lease buyout, this is a fantastic option to keep your cash flow available during the lease while also investing in a long-term asset. Reach out to a few leasing agencies to explore adding this to your lease terms.
Finally, your business growth may call for a change in vehicle ownership. You always have the option to lease a car first and buy one after that lease ends if it’s a more financially sound decision.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).
Is it better to lease or finance a car for tax purposes?
Both buying and leasing give you tax advantages with adequate recordkeeping. Buying a car means you can use depreciation as a deduction if you use the vehicle at least 50% of the time for business purposes. Buying and leasing also suggest using a standard or actual cost method to deduct things such as mileage or lease payments, gas, and repair.
When starting a small business, is it better to buy or lease a car?
This answer differs for every business. Small business owners need to consider the vehicle’s purpose, how often it will be driven, and what level of maintenance they’re comfortable putting on their shoulders (or wallets).
How can I ensure my business car?
A business car must be insured just like a personal vehicle. You can work with a local insurance agent or business advisor to find the best insurance coverage and prices. Leasing and buying may also affect coverage type and price.
Types Of Business Bank Accounts.
Should You Open a Business Savings Account?
Buying vs. Leasing a Car for Business: What’s the Difference?
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