Staying on the Right Side of the Law as a Small Business Owner

Even the smallest of enterprises is constrained by federal and state laws and regulations. It may not be the most exciting aspect of starting and running your own business, but ensuring that you abide by these laws is essential if you want to avoid the fines and penalties awarded for contravening them. The good news is that in many ways the regulations that are in place are also a sound basis for good management of your business. If you’re starting up, expanding, or just reviewing your position, these are the key areas you need to focus on.
Small Business
Regulations in your business sector
Every sector will have specific laws that you need to be aware of in the operation of your business. For example, if you are in the catering trade, there will be health and hygiene regulations covering the safe handling of food, appropriate training for staff, and the cleanliness of the premises. Building trades will have noise and pollution regulations as well as safety standards to comply with, and retail trades will need to be fully conversant with consumer rights. Whatever your industry is, the best place to start is to check with your trade governing body for the legislation that applies to you. 
Working conditions for employees
When you employ new workers, you need to abide by the employment regulations covering such areas as minimum pay, employer contributions to tax and healthcare, working hours, leave entitlements and discrimination. When you draw up a job description and advertise for a role, you need to make sure that you aren’t contravening any regulations regarding race, gender, color, disability, or any other possible cause for discrimination. These laws are detailed on the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission website, so you can check the requirements there. To ensure you are getting your payroll right, small businesses can use online software tools like a paystub generator to create accurate pay advice slips for employees. 
Financial regulations
This includes completing accurate accounts for your business and making your tax returns promptly when required, with full disclosure regarding all income and expenditure. Attempting to massage your figures to avoid paying as much tax is not only illegal, but could land you in some very hot water! You should aim to take advantage of tax breaks and legal methods of getting tax relief, but keep it to what you are legitimately entitled to do, rather than risk initiating an investigation by the Inland Revenue Service. You also need to check any regulations specific to your industry, for example, the laws on insider trading in financial services.
When you are reviewing your legal responsibilities, remember to check state and local laws as well as federal regulations. There could well be entirely different legislation in place depending on where you are located, so never make assumptions about the law from your previous experience. The amount of information you find might seem overwhelming, but you’ll often find there are sections for different sizes and configurations of businesses, so make sure you pick out the information that is relevant to you. Trade and professional governing bodies are an invaluable source of information and support when ensuring legal compliance, so make use of their help too.

Denny Jones

Hey there, I'm Denny Jones, a seasoned financial writer with over a decade of experience. I'm passionate about simplifying finance and empowering readers to achieve financial freedom. My articles offer practical advice and insights to help you navigate investing, budgeting, and personal finance with confidence. Let's unlock your financial potential together!

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