chapter 1

WHAT IS CORPORATE COMPLIANCE?

Whether you own a small or large business, you need to follow laws and regulations enacted by federal and state governments. Corporate compliance is an ongoing process, and businesses—especially ones that have incorporated—need to make sure that they're following the rules set in place.

Corporate compliance covers everything from keeping track of important meetings to following the IRS tax code. If your business fails to keep up to date with the applicable laws and requirements, it may incur a variety of fines, from one-time fees to tax penalties.

In addition to following the rules that apply to incorporated businesses, all companies are subject to other laws and regulations that govern hiring, intellectual property and other matters. We'll cover these in the chapters ahead.

If you haven't incorporated your business already, we highly recommend that you do so in order to protect your personal assets in the unfortunate event of a lawsuit or unpayable business debt. While many of the compliance requirements that we'll discuss ahead are only mandatory for incorporated businesses, many of the documents are recommended even if you aren't an LLC or corporation, as good record-keeping is always beneficial to keeping your business on track.

For now, here's a short list of documents that will help you stay compliant as you move along with your business:

  • Corporate Bylaws are the playbook of rules by which your business will operate.

  • Meeting Minutes help you keep track of who was present at important meetings, what was discussed, and what was decided.

  • Corporate Records keep track of any information important to your business. This can include a roster of board members or detailed financial statements and tax returns.

Read on to learn more about these important documents.

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