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Howard County MD Business Law Blog

Waiver of remedy for a breach of contract

Maryland business owners might be interested to learn about special circumstances when a breach of contract does not require a remedy. In general, a party who was involved in a contract that was breached by another party would be entitled to claim remedies for the material breach. However, the aggrieved party may waive its right to receive remedies in some instances.

One way that remedies for a breach of contract are waived is through a mutual agreement by both parties to the contract. After the breach occurs, the party making the breach and the aggrieved party may sign an agreement that assures no claim will arise as a result of the breach.

Enforcement of the ADA in Maryland

Employers in Maryland are required by federal law to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The law allows employers to offer reasonable accommodations to employees who have a disability. Providing reasonable accommodations protects employers against employment litigation while also maintaining the civil rights of anyone with a disability. The law does provide exceptions for undue hardships regarding an employer's legal obligations to provide accommodations.

Under the federal employment law, a reasonable accommodation may include a change in the physical work environment or in the way that the workplace usually does things in order for an applicant or employee to function in the workplace. The three levels of reasonable accommodation include modifications to the job application process, modifications to the work environment and provision of equal benefits and privileges as employees without disabilities. Examples of what a reasonable accommodation could include are modification of work schedules and enhancing facilities access, such as building handicapped ramps.

Registering a trademark for a new business

Many entrepreneurs involved in a business start-up in Maryland may pride themselves on attending to the myriad details of running a new venture. One thing that even the most conscientious entrepreneurs might overlook during business formation is the registering of a trademark. Having a registered trademark can help a start-up business increase its profile, gain clients or customers and prevent competitors from unfairly taking business away from a start-up company.

A trademark can be anything that members of the public associate with a specific business entity. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has registered trademarks for music, words and phrases, and scents. These trademarks are used on packaging, letterhead and other communication and advertising. The USPTO receives hundreds of thousands of trademark filings each year and registers less than two-thirds of these filings. They may decide not to register a trademark for a new business for several reasons.

What tax year do I use for my business?

A business owner in Maryland or any other state may choose a calendar tax year or a fiscal tax year. A tax year is selected based on when a company submits its first tax return, ask for an extension on a tax return or pays estimated taxes. Unless a company is subject to a required tax year, it is free to choose between a calendar or a fiscal year.

As its name implies, a calendar tax year begins on the first day of January and ends on Dec. 31. Fiscal tax years are 12 consecutive months that end on the last day of any month except January. Companies that keep no records, have no accounting period or do not have a tax year that qualifies as a fiscal year must use the calendar year.

Pros and cons of buying an existing business

Purchasing an existing business is an option for Maryland residents who would like to become business owners. Before going ahead with the purchase of an existing business, however, it us important to consider the benefits and drawbacks of purchasing an established venture. Although there are many advantages of buying a business that has already gone through its startup phase, the disadvantages could give some potential buyers pause for thought.

The obvious advantage of purchasing an existing business is the fact that startup costs will be significantly reduced. An existing business may already have inventory, a trained staff and a loyal customer base. If the business is profitable, the new business owner might also gain immediate access to cash flow that can be used for any improvements they would like to make to the business.

What is the process to start a new business in Maryland?

The first step in establishing any business is coming up with a business plan and structure. The prospective owner of the new business should consider what type of business is ideal for the market and find out as much information about that type of business as possible. After deciding on the type of business, the owner should decide the structure of the business, such as a sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation.

The next step involves registering the business, which requires a name and location. Checking with local and county zoning requirements is an important part of the location selection process because violations can be expensive. Once the name and location are ready, the business owner can use the Maryland Central Business Licensing and Registration Portal to register a business trade name, form a business entity and establish a business tax account.

Business tax planning in Maryland

Tax considerations are important for businesses of all sizes, and planning is important to limit the risk of unexpected consequences. The more your company grows, the more extensive your tax obligations may become. Proper business tax planning can be important to ensure that obligations are minimized so that the value of company holdings and income can be maximized.

Making decisions without experienced insight may be risky due to the fact that the laws related to business taxes can be complex and confusing. These decisions could be risky if your understanding is limited. However, reliable legal representation may allow you to bypass risky decisions that could jeopardize your company. Additionally, you may find that as your short-term tax obligations and decisions are handled, an experienced business tax lawyer may provide long-range understanding of your choices and their implications. In addition to federal income tax concerns, your company may be faced with issues such as managing tax withholding from employees' paychecks and collecting sales tax on products. In the planning process, a legal adviser may provide guidance on managing and monitoring these funds.

How do I start a business in Maryland?

Establishing a new business in Maryland can be both thrilling and intimidating. Proper planning, though, can make the undertaking relatively straightforward. The major steps in the creation of a new business entity are the selection of the business structure, business registration, name selection and application for business license. The four common entity options are a limited liability company, partnership, corporation and sole proprietorship. The latter is generally the simplest but may not offer some of the advantages open to the other entity types. A business attorney could help interested parties decide among the options by explaining the various advantages and disadvantages of each.

New Maryland businesses are registered with the Department of Assessments and Taxation. In choosing a name for the entity, it is first necessary to determine whether the name conflicts with a business that already exists. Name conflicts may result in trademark disputes down the line.

Exelon may acquire Pepco in 2015

Residents in Maryland may be affected by the proposed merger between Exelon and Pepco Holdings that was filed on Aug. 19. The $6.9 billion acquisition must be approved by the Maryland Public Service Commission and other state regulators before it can be finalized. Company executives claim the acquisition will improve the economic environment for the Pepco service areas located throughout the Eastern Shore and nearby Washington, D.C. An executive with Pepco stated that she expects the deal to be approved by the second or third quarter of 2015.

Baltimore Gas & Electric, an Exelon subsidiary, is not expected to be affected by the new acquisition. Pepco executives also maintained that there would not be any rate changes as a direct result of the merger. Between Potomac Electric Power servicing the Maryland-D.C. area, as well as Atlantic City Electric and Delmarva Power & Light servicing New Jersey, Pepco has approximately two million customers.

Restaurant investor brings lawsuit against former partners

Maryland businesses may be interested in the story of one man's restaurant investment that ended in multiple lawsuits. The final trial ended in a settlement.

In the early months of 2011, a New York man entered a partnership with two other men, investing up to $75,000 in the restaurant that the two men owned in Waldorf. The investor also worked in the restaurant's kitchen for three months as a cook. According to reports, the investor was paid only twice during this time, totaling $2,000. Four months after his initial investment, the man then asked his two partners for a certificate of ownership or some other documentation of their partnership.