Ask Entrepreneur - Legal Basics For Startups

When should an employer notify employees that it is not funding a SEP IRA?

Does my employer have any legal obligation to notifiy employees that the employer is NOT funding the SEP IRA? I accumulate my SEP IRA percentage over the year, ending in December: It's payable March 15. My employer told me on March 11 that it is NOT funding it. The employer is located in California.

How should we structure a private investment group looking to move into other investments beyond the capital markets?

I have started a small general partnership with 13 members investing in the U.S. securities market. Going forward, members of the group would like to expand some of the group's funds into outside investments, such as purchasing small existing businesses or franchises.

We would like to move the partnership either to an LLP, LLC or corporation. We will be talking to business consultants when we reach this point, but I would like to have an idea of how to structure this so I know what to expect.

The goal would be to have each of the members in charge of a subsidary relating to the initial holding group. Is this possible, and how can it be structured to the avantage of everyone in the group?

How do I close an incorporated business that never got off the ground?

I started a business about 15 years ago. Because of sickness, I couldn't get it off the ground. I never had any revenue or inventory. Now the credit people have it listed as a current business. How do I unincorporate?

We are in the process of selling our C Corporation. What kind of insurance policy can I get to make a stock purchase attractive to our buyer?

Also, what insurances policies are available to the buyer to protect against liabllity?

How would I dissolve a partnership that's not "legally" a partnership?

I am 22 years old. When I was 19 I started a successful business and filed it as a sole proprietorship. Last year, I allowed an employee/friend to invest a certain dollar amount into the company. We found a basic partnership agreement online and changed it according to our needs. We both signed this, saying that I control 80 percent of the business, and he controls 20 percent. We never changed the legal form of the company out of a sole proprietorship, so I think legally I have 100 percent ownership still. My name is on every document we have; his is on none except for the partnership agreement we signed. Since then, I have learned that his poor management skills, poor communication skills and overall poor business skills are starting to pile up and hurt the business. So my question is: Can I dissolve this?

Would it be legal to sell replicas at a retail store?

I'm thinking about opening up a store selling replicas and I'm wondering what legal issues I might run into.

Can I get in trouble for doing jobs under the table, even though I'm underage?

I cut lawns, sell split and dried wood, make maple syrup and sell it, and do other assorted jobs. I pocket all the money. Can I get into trouble for it? Also, what could I do to turn one of these into a legitimate business, even though im 17?

If I have an idea for what I believe is a new product, how do I check for previous patents?

I have an idea and a design for a new item. I've searched the web and can't find this product--but that doesn't mean it does not exist. I don't know whether I need to pay a service to check patents or if I can continue with my idea. Also, if I need to search patents, how do you find the correct agency to go through?

I have not yet started my business. Can I receive money from investors at this point?

A big portion of the capital-raising efforts of this business will be through investing in the stock market for growth. Is there a legal way to reinvest investors' money into the stock market without a series 7 license? I am trying to find out if I can begin the process before becoming incorporated. I also need to know what specific licenses, if any, I will need once I am incorporated.

Is a signed work order an acknowledgment of indebtedess?

A work order constitutes an agreement to perform a service. Indebtedness does not occur until the service is performed. So does a signed work order acknowledge an indebtedness?

Is it legal to sell another company's products if the product is already available on the market?

I would like to start a cafe in the California area, but I want to use packaged mixes from a cafe in another state to prepare my coffee and pastries. Do I need a license or approval from the cafe to profit from its mixes?

Can I use a rented mailbox address as my legal business address?

I am starting a home-based online retail business and need to file a dba application. It asks for a legal street address, a post office or other mail-only address and then my address as owner. Can I use a rented mailbox address for my legal street address (so I don't have to make my home address public)?


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