Use a calendar to avoid legal compliance problems.
Getting organized and listing out your important compliance deadlines at the start of the year can help you avoid missing deadlines and keep your business out of legal trouble. There are a number of things you can do to stay on top of your compliance dates. First, make a master calendar identifying essential compliance dates. This will include deadlines for:
- State and federal employee tax and business tax filings.
- Filing annual reports and corporate records with the secretary of state.
- Renewing state and local licenses and permits.
- Reviewing and renewing leases, insurance policies, and employee benefit plans.
In addition to external obligations, include other important deadlines for your business, such as reviewing:
- Company policies.
- Employee Handbooks.
- Marketing materials.
- Overdue accounts receivable or debts.
Review and update your confidentiality policies.
It can help to protect your business to review and update confidentiality policies for employees, contractors, vendors, investors, and partners. If you do not have Confidentiality Agreements in place, you may want to consider making one for employees and another for anyone else that has access to your confidential information.
Your company may also benefit from implementing Noncompete Agreements in the event that employees leave. Likewise, protect your trade secrets, such as customer lists, Business Plan, industry forecasts, and marketing plans and analyses by asking employees to sign Confidentiality Agreements or Non-Disclosure Agreements. Your Employee Handbook and HR policies may also set clear expectations for the company and its employees when it comes to confidentiality.
In addition to confidentiality, a data security policy and cybersecurity incident response plan can help prevent and prepare your business for a data breach, data leak, loss of confidential information, or ransomware attacks. A Social Media Policy can help your employees understand what they may share on social media, and can help limit social engineering phishing attempts that lead to data breaches.
Find out if new or existing compliance laws apply.
For 2024, in particular, a new law, the Corporate Transparency Act requires most small business owners to file a new type of report to comply with federal law. This law applies to small businesses that are registered with a state, have less than 20 employees, and make less than $5 million in gross receipts per year. If this describes your business, you may want to talk to a lawyer to make sure you comply before the end of 2024.
As your business grows, it may be subject to different laws and regulations. In addition, each year brings new compliance mandates. Labor and employment laws, tax codes and programs, as well as industry standards can and do change. A short conversation with a lawyer can help you stay up to date on the laws that apply to your business. Joining industry-specific organizations can often help small business owners learn what compliance issues apply to their business. These organizations can also help you keep up on changing regulations and your market.
Some labor laws, such as the federal anti-discrimination laws, only apply if you have a certain number of employees. If your company has expanded, it may now be a covered business. For example, an age discrimination complaint falls under U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) oversight if a business has 20 or more employees who have worked for the company for at least 20 calendar weeks. Also, your company's health insurance and benefits packages may be subject to healthcare regulations. The Family and Medical Leave Act, for instance, applies to private sector employers with 50 or more employees. Similar state laws about healthcare, labor, and more may apply to smaller employers as well.
For help with industry-specific guidance on compliance, or if you have more questions about avoiding legal drama in 2024, reach out to a Rocket Lawyer network attorney for affordable legal advice.
This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.