Choosing the legal structure for your business depends on several factors including formation requirements, liability issues, tax and succession-related concerns. Common business entities are sole proprietorships, partnerships, C-corporations, S-corporations or Limited Liability Companies (LLC). For information on each type of company, click on reference. It is best to consult with an accountant and/or attorney to choose the appropriate legal entity for your business.
What is the difference between an employee and an independent contractor?
- The major factors to consider in deciding whether a worker is an independent contractor or an employee fall into three main categories namely; behavioral control, financial control and relationship of the parties. Usually a worker is considered an employee only when the business has the right to direct and control the worker. Typically, if you have significant investment in your work you may be considered an independent contractor. If a worker receives health insurance or company paid retirement such arrangement would justify an employee/employer type relationship. Please refer to the IRS Form SS8 or contact the IRS directly when in doubt.
Do I need Workers Compensation Insurance and how do I obtain it?
- Georgia employers with three or more employees are required by law to carry Workers Compensation Insurance. This insurance is regulated by the state but sold by local community insurance agents. A minimum of three quotes is recommended. Owners that work in the business are considered employees but can exempt themselves from workers compensation insurance coverage. For more information, visit the Georgia State Board of Workers Compensation.
How do I find a good attorney?
- To find a good attorney, it may be wise to talk with a several prior to making a selection in order to make sure that there is a good fit between the business owner and the attorney. Generally you want to get an attorney that is familiar with your industry. It is advisable to inquire up front about the rates for the services provided. The business owner may also wish to seek references from other business owners who have used the services of a given attorney.
What types of insurance should I carry for my business?
- You should determine the appropriate type of insurance your company needs based on the different risks inherent to your business. There are many types of insurance available: liability, property and worker’s compensation. An insurance agent or broker can guide you to make choices that will effectively meet the specific needs of your business.
What is a copyright and how do I obtain one?
- Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States (title 17, U.S. Code) to the authors of original works of authorship, including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic and certain other intellectual works. This protection is available to both published and unpublished works. Copyright is secured automatically when the work is created A work is “created” when it is fixed in a copy or photorecord for the first time. Copyright registration is available. For more information, click on reference.
What is a patent and how do I obtain one?
- A patent is a property right granted by the US Government to an inventor “to exclude others from marketing, using or selling the invention in America or importing it for a limited time set when the patent is granted. To get a patent, an application must be filed in the US Patent and Trademark Office. For more information, click on reference.
What are trademarks and servicemarks?
- Trademarks (e.g. Coca-Cola) and Servicemark (e.g. UPS) prevent others from using the same name. Trademarks/servicemarks cannot be used to prevent others from making or selling the same goods or services under a clearly different mark. A trademark, issued by the US Patent and Trademark Office, lasts for 10 years and can be renewed. For more information, click on reference.
Can the SBDC review my legal paperwork (e.g. leases, contracts, etc.)?
- SBDC consultants do not provide legal advice. We encourage you to establish a relationship with an attorney that specializes in business issues who can review your legal documents.