When an individual or a group of people are considering starting a business, one of the most important issues to address is the type of business entity that will be utilized. Businesses entities are created by state law and include the following types of entities:
Many entrepreneurs or business owners (of small and large businesses alike) are go-getter types of people, are not afraid to take calculated risks, and are accustomed to relying on themselves and their colleagues to make smart business decisions. But in some cases, reliance on an attorney can be important to secure assets, avoid unnecessary risks, and maintain your interests in the courtroom (if it comes to that). Do you need a business attorney? Consider some common scenarios in which legal counsel could be indispensable to your business success:
Commercial letters of credit can be valuable tools for communicating assurance of payment, for securing assets and contracts, and for achieving mutual benefit for both parties to a sales import or export agreement. However, many submitted letters of credit suffer from fatal defects. It is important to understand some of the most common mistakes and errors in securing commercial letters of credit, as well as how to avoid making them.
Business fraud is a serious issue that can have a significant impact on those affected, including other businesses. According to a survey conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), 45 percent of U.S. organizations have been the victim of economic crime in the past two years. Business fraud occurs when one party uses trickery or deceit in order to obtain value or to gain an unfair advantage over another party. When a business fraud is perpetrated by one business upon another, the financial consequences can be significant. Fortunately, companies that have suffered a financial harm because of fraud can often recover for the losses they have sustained by filing a legal action against the person or party that defrauded them. There are many ways in which a business can be the victim of fraud.
Contracts are an essential part of conducting business. In fact, every business, from a small sole proprietorship to a large fortune 500 retailer that operates in all 50 states, enters into contracts whenever a customer buys goods or services. Business contracts can cover nearly every aspect of business and can include employment contracts, nondisclosure agreements (NDAs), buy-sell agreements, and purchase orders, just to name a few.
In the age of technology and the Internet, many businesses are more concerned than ever about protecting trade secrets. Data shows that trade secret litigation in federal courts has more than doubled between 1995 and 2004 and it is projected to double again by 2017. In over 85 percent of these cases, the person alleged to have misappropriated trade secrets was either an employee or business partner. It is estimated that businesses lose hundreds of millions of dollars every year due to the misappropriation of trade secrets.
California's version of the Uniform Commercial Code's implied warranty of merchantability protects the consumer from suffering losses resulting from faulty consumer goods. Business owners must be aware of their options and should consult with counsel to devise a suitable business strategy to protect your business from losses while maintaining a high level of customer service and satisfaction. An experienced business attorney can help the business owner avoid pitfalls associated with implied warranties from the sale of consumer goods.
Taxes collected by California retailers from in-state transactions are called sales taxes. The retailer is responsible for collecting this tax from the customer at the time of sale and for reporting and submitting that tax to the state of California. Also, thanks to California's e-fairness law, out-of-state retailers, including online retailers, are responsible for collecting taxes on sales to California customers. However, in cases where the out-of-state retailer isn't required to charge a sales tax, the customer may be required to pay a "use tax," which is a tax on personal property that is used, stored, or consumed in California. It's a counterpart to the sales tax and you should not ever pay both on the same transaction. Both of these types of taxes go to support California's government.
Although the shareholders have aligned objectives when they create a corporation, or invest in one, their goals may change over the life of the corporation. This commonly leads to shareholder disputes. These disputes may arise among evenly divided shareholders (50-50) or between minority and majority shareholders. Some common issues that give rise to shareholder disputes involve control or direction of the corporation, financial difficulties, mismanagement, election of corporate officers, voluntary and involuntary dissolution, wrongdoing or oppression of minority shareholders.
In today's world, business or contract disputes arise in a variety of forms. Business disputes can range from unfair competition to violations of trade secrets. Contract disputes often involve breach of contract, rescission, reformation and even subrogation, among others issues. But many businesses are unaware of the several alternatives to filing a lawsuit to settle such a dispute.