General Business (Legal) Stuff

What’s a Tax ID number?

I find that this is much more critical than some people think. A tax ID number is your corporation or LLC’s separate tax identity. Whether it’s opening a bank account, setting up payroll, or filing a tax return, this number is THE number for all purposes. Here’s how you can get one (good luck to you) or here's how you can get one (answered by me). Important note: you need some kind of tax identification to get a Tax ID Number. Usually that original identification comes in the form of an individual's Social Security Number (usually the person forming the entity if it's a small business). But foreign owners have a more difficult time doing this since they don't usually have Social Security Numbers; in that case, they need to apply for an individual tax ID number, and then use that number to get the Tax ID Number for the corporation or LLC.

By | June 15th, 2015|0 Comments

How do I get a tax identification number?

You can go to the IRS’s website, and go through their multi-page question and answer pages. Make sure you're ready with your SS-4, as the IRS may ask for that over the phone if it doesn’t like one of your answers. (PS, the IRS is not in the habit of liking.)

By | June 15th, 2015|0 Comments

Do I need an attorney for this process?

YES! Of course!! Actually, no. Though "need" is a funny word. An attorney is not required to incorporate an entity. But if you learn nothing else from bouncing around this website, it’s that there may be a great deal of things to consider, traps for the unwary, and housekeeping items that may make or break your liability protection. Consider yourself warned!

By | June 15th, 2015|0 Comments

What’s an assignment?

An assignment is a document used to transfer assets from one entity or owner to another. Click here to see if you need one.

By | June 15th, 2015|0 Comments

What’s a capital contribution?

In its most basic terms, this is the money (or sometimes the assets, like equipment) you put into your business. It differs from a loan in that it doesn’t accrue interest payable to you. If you put money into your corporation or LLC (or partnership), then the return of that money to you as you start to distribute money to you, is non-taxable.

By | June 15th, 2015|0 Comments

Do I have to make a capital contribution?

No, a capital contribution isn't necessary. But typically you would, and should, make one. You would because there’s almost no way to start a business with zero invested in it. And you should because if your corporation is “under-capitalized”, then you could be exposing yourself and fellow shareholders or members to personal liability, making the formation of the entity a waste of time and money. And it takes more than $1.00 to protect yourself (but nice try).

By | June 15th, 2015|0 Comments

When is an S Corp election due?

For a corporation to be an S Corporation, the paperwork to make that effective is due no more than two months and 15 days after the beginning of the tax year the election is to take effect (yes, I copied that from the IRS instructions). If you’re really ahead of the game, then anytime during a tax year preceding the year you want it to be in effect. For new corporations, the tax year typically begins on a day other than January 1, unless you formed on that date. So, for example, if your corporation was formed on July 8, then the S Corp election would be due 15 days after September 7, or September 22.

By | August 10th, 2015|0 Comments

Can I cause my corporation to be an S Corp at the end of the year, after I see how my year has been?

You wish. But no. Congress treats this election as a go-forward business decision, not a look-back election. The good news is that it’s easy to revoke, or even “bust”, the election. But be careful about switching back and forth – as in, things don’t work that way.

By | August 10th, 2015|0 Comments

I’m causing my corporation to elect to be taxed as an S Corporation. Does my spouse have to sign?

You’re going to get different answers, depending on the advisor you ask, and the state you’re in. Generally, though, best practice is yes, and sometimes required. PS - If you're keeping this a secret from your spouse, then an S Election is not your biggest problem.

By | August 10th, 2015|0 Comments

Do I need all of the shareholders’ consent for the S Corp election?

Yes. It’s really that simple. Here’s a link to the IRS page that’s chock full of info. PS - Spouses too.

By | August 10th, 2015|0 Comments