Whether it's a startup out in the garage or a mom-and-pop restaurant in town, if you are starting a small business, you will first need to draft and file some basic business documents. This is in addition to obtaining all necessary city, parish, state and federal licenses and permits to operate.
If this is your first foray into the business world, it's easy to become overwhelmed and confused about where to start. The following details the documents every potential business must have to legally operate.
Register your business entity
This must be done before you can take further action. But first, you must decide on which type of business you want to register as, since there are tax consequences and other liabilities and benefits for each category.
Your options include registering as a sole proprietorship, a limited liability corporation, a company, corporation or partnership. It really cannot be stressed enough that you should first consult with your tax adviser and a Baton Rouge business law attorney prior to registering your business so that you take full advantage of the business structures that are available to you.
Get a tax ID number
While both partnerships and sole proprietorships use the Social Security number of the owners for the tax ID number, LLCs and C-corps need federal tax identification numbers from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). To get a tax ID number, business owners must file an SS-4 Form. Businesses also must register with the Louisiana Secretary of State.
What about those permits?
It's important for business owners or their attorneys to do their due diligence before attempting to seek permits for their business. For instance, suppose you purchase or lease property for your restaurant or bar first. Then, when you go to file for a permit to serve or sell alcoholic beverages, you discover that your close proximity to a school or church precludes alcohol sales from that location. That's an expensive mistake that could have been entirely avoided.
Start your business off on solid legal footing
For your business to flourish and turn a profit, it's vital that its clear path to success not be marred by permit woes or failing to file the necessary documents with the state, parish, city or federal governments. Seeking the counsel of knowledgeable legal professionals can streamline the process and assure your compliance with all regulatory bodies.