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Howard County MD Business Law Blog

Business tax planning tips

Maryland business owners should have a long-term plan when it comes to paying taxes. Whenever a business experiences a financial gain or a financial loss, it may be a good idea to talk to a financial adviser who may be able to help a company minimize its tax burden. The first step that a business may want to take when it makes a profit is to create a retirement plan for its owner.

This will help an individual save for retirement while being able to deduct the contribution as a business expense. The next tip for business owners is to consider the structure of the business. While a sole proprietorship makes it easy to run the company, incorporating may provide legal protection that could save money in the future. An attorney may be able to help with additional paperwork that is involved when running a corporation.

Strategies for selling a business

Maryland businesses owners and residents may be aware of the recent trend towards acquisition of companies at all levels. Mergers and purchases are increasingly common from very small to very large businesses as companies take advantage of growth trends in the economy to buy up other companies. Because of these trends, business prices are currently 30 percent higher than they were in 2011.

Many small business owners might wonder about the process of selling a company to another business. It is essential to prepare correctly for the sale, which might include an accurate assessment of the company, and it is also important to create an exit strategy that provides for certain considerations, including how taxes might be levied on potential profits from the sale.

Uber facing problems in Maryland, D.C.

On July 3, more than 30 Maryland cab companies filed a lawsuit in Baltimore Circuit Court against the popular ride-sharing company Uber. The cab companies claim that Uber is interfering with their business by using a surge-pricing model, which the plaintiffs claim is similar to price fixing. Uber is barred already from operating in the state of Virginia.

Uber began its operations in San Francisco where one of the oldest cab companies in the city is now saying that it may go out of business within 18 months because of the competition it faces from Uber. The cab companies who filed the lawsuit in Baltimore are saying that Uber is not subjected to the same regulations as are cab companies, but Uber says that its ride-sharing model is not the same as a taxi service. In Maryland, Uber has proposed that it be regulated differently than cab companies, and the cab companies are lobbying against these proposals.

Judge dismisses shareholder claim against Hewlett-Packard

Maryland businesses may be interested in the resolution of a shareholder lawsuit against a major Silicon Valley technology company. The lawsuit was brought about when the company's former CEO, who had been credited with improving the company's financial position, was accused of sexual harassment.

Technology company Hewlett-Packard has Standards of Business Conduct in place, describing its commitment to acting ethically in its business practices. The standards were updated in 2006 after private company information was leaked to the media. In 2010, the then-CEO was accused of harassment by an independent consultant working for the company. Although an internal investigation found no wrongdoing, the CEO left because of the allegations.

Consider tax implcations before forming a LLC

Business owners based in Maryland owe it to themselves to study the tax implications that come with forming a LLC. LLC's are a popular form of business organization because the offer an opportunity to organize a business that is separate from personal expenses and liability.

For partners looking to start a small business and protect their family assets, this is an attractive option. Many times, when forming their business, individuals tend to put the potential taxation repercussions. When filing federal taxes, the IRS has no designated form for LLCs. Owners can file as if the business were an S or C corporation.

Rising use of non-compete contracts sparks controversy

Well drafted employment contracts are critical for many employers in the Columbia area. Successful companies often recognize that because employment is at-will under Maryland law, it is important to draw some contractual parameters. At-will employment means that both the employer and the employee have the right to terminate employment at any time for any reason that does not violate the law.

In many industries, non-compete contracts are a key element of employment contracts. Non-compete clauses are often used to keep a salesperson from leaving the company to work for a competitor, taking along clients and leads. Non-competes are also common in the technology industry where they are used to restrict employee movement in order to insulate companies from the theft of trade secrets and intellectual property.

High or low ranking? Is Maryland a pro-business state or not?

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley is unquestionably enthused by a pro-business endorsement rendered the state by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. That entity gives Maryland high marks for business innovation and entrepreneurship, ranking it preeminent among all American states in those categories. O'Malley obviously likes to pass along that view, mentioning it frequently in speeches.

What the governor prefers not to note is an alternative view advanced by the national nonprofit group Tax Foundation, which gives the state comparatively poor marks for its business and corporate tax policies. In stark contrast to the chamber's number-one ranking, the foundation places Maryland near the bottom of all states, making its business climate appear decidedly unwelcoming.

Top things Maryland parents should say to their kids in a divorce

It is never easy to go through the end of a relationship, whether one is living in Maryland or elsewhere. This can be particularly true if children are involved. Parents who want to minimize the negative fallout from the dissolution of their marriage may choose to participate in mediation or collaborative divorce. Open communication plays a large part in the success of either. The following are some common topics that could be addressed during the process.

You are not to blame. It doesn't matter how old the child is when divorce occurs -- he or she will want to know why it is happening. It is important to offer regular validation that they do not share any responsibility for what's taking place.

Having an amicable divorce, is there really such a thing?

Thanks to the recent split of Gwyneth Paltrow and her husband Chris Martin, news stations and social media have been questioning the reality of amicable divorces. As many Maryland couples who have been down this road before can attest, divorce isn't easy. Emotions are typically running high and finding common ground and creating a fair settlement often seems far from reach, especially if children are involved.

It is no secret that children are affected by their parents' divorce. If the situation is tension-filled and seems bitter, children will notice and it can greatly affect their emotional state. There are some things parents can do to help their children through this difficult and often devastating process.

Financial spring cleaning aids Maryland couples' divorce efforts

Spring brings with it a renewed sense of purpose. As the weather turns warmer, it is not uncommon to get the urge to do a little spring cleaning. For couples in Maryland and elsewhere who are going through a divorce, it may be as important to do financial spring cleaning as it is to sort through cluttered closets. Here are some tips to get started.

Organize the paper trail. During a divorce, many documents will be needed to keep the proceedings moving forward. If they are organized and readily available, it will make things easier for everyone involved.