Mayhall Fondren Blaize

Business law attorney is critical in the company's startup stage

A business starting up in Louisiana will do well to follow some beginning principles of business formation. First, a legal structure must be chosen to house the business. This can include a business corporation, partnership, LLC, sole proprietorship or certain permeations of those entities. This first critical decision will hopefully have the input of an experienced business law attorney and a tax consultant or CPA.

Perhaps the most popular and flexible business structure today is the LLC, or Limited Liability Company. As the name implies, it affords the first protection that any startup will be concerned about, i.e., that there be protection from personal liability. It is risky enough to put one's investment on the line but to have one's personal assets be exposed to the debts of the business is too much stress for most small business owners.

The basic business corporation also provides limited liability, but it may be preferable to think corporate later on, as the business grows and takes on true corporate scale. There are less expansive types of corporate entities, one being the Subchapter S Corporation, which provides limited liability, but which has a special tax advantage for smaller companies to pass through profits or losses onto one's personal return without filing a corporation return. The foregoing structure is meant to avoid the prospect of double taxation, where the income is taxed to the corporation and then taxed again to the owner on his return.

All of the required paperwork must be filed in the appropriate office of the Louisiana state government, after the decision is made on a choice of business entities. With the help of an accountant, a top-notch bookkeeping system should also be set up. Licenses and permits must be acquired and tax withholding, along with a procedure for payment of taxes, must be established. The list is not complete, but again, working alongside the business law attorney chosen by the company, and with the assistance of the tax specialist, all of the remaining necessities will be established and put in place.

Source:, "Legal Protections for Your Small Business", Sarah Landrum, Dec. 27, 2017

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