If you run or own a business, you will often encounter and be subjected to many laws that determine how your business can operate. Non-compliance with these laws can cost you greatly, and it’s important to understand how to maintain your business without breaching these laws.
Though there are multiple legal issues that any business owner (big or small) can face, here is a list of some of the most common legal issues that you might encounter and should watch out for.
Incorrect Tax Deductions
Filing your taxes can be a complicated process for businesses. If you try to handle it without the assistance of a professional, it can become even more difficult. This might be because of the way your business is structured, the complexity of getting the deductions correct or getting your tax obligations wrong.
In this instance, minimising the risk can be as simple as researching the tax obligations that you will have prior to registering the business. If you can afford it or can budget it in, hiring a professional to assist in your tax return can be a lifesaver.
As a business owner, it’s important to remember that you won’t always be able to satisfy every customer. However, some customers may be so severely dissatisfied with your business or products that they may leave a false review, or in the worst-case scenario, take the legal route and sue you.
In the case of bad reviews, if they are falsified you may be able to take legal action to get the reviews taken down. However, in the worst-case scenario, you may need to receive legal assistance from a professional such as a litigation lawyer.
For most industries, there is a licence you are required to get before you can legally trade. Building licenses, liquor licenses and real estate are some of the most common licences business owners have to obtain.
This is to ensure you have been properly taught the laws relevant to the industry and that you know how to operate the necessary equipment.
If you are not sure if you require a licence, it is essential that you check. Having the license is also a great selling point and you can face heavy fines if you are caught trading without the right one.
Employment & Employees
It can be tempting to hire your employees on an informal basis, but this can lead to issues down the track.
Even if your employees are covered by a Modern Award, you should formalise your hires. You can do this by using an employment contract, which will clarify the terms of employment, conduct and grounds for termination.
Further, having the right workplace policies will allow you to set out your office procedures clearly. Legal issues for small businesses can arise in relation to an employee’s use of social media, conduct or even if your employees smoke at work – this is why it’s always wise to have documents that cover these.
People and businesses are coming up with new ideas and technologies all the time. Two people from opposite ends of the country might both have the same innovative idea at different times. Neither has ever talked to the other person and could not possibly know if the idea has been done already. It’s why the issue of intellectual property is now one of the most common legal issues.
Before commencing operations, it’s important to properly check that ideas such as your business name, logo and slogan aren’t already out there. You can search online to see what trademarks have been registered. If there happens to be one similar or the same to what you had in mind, you risk getting into legal trouble for trademark infringement. The lesson here is to register your business’s trademarks early on because they will only become more valuable to your business as it grows.
These legal issues are only a few of the most common but by identifying them as risks of breaching the law that your business can manage, you can form plans to prevent them from occurring.