So you're ready to start your small business in Georgia? One of the best ways to get your competitive edge is by learning about the various laws you'll need to abide.
For business owners in Savannah, Atlanta or Augusta, it's important to understand state and federal laws and know how to proceed when a legal issue develops. LawInfo has the Georgia small business law information you need from paying business taxes to registering intellectual property.
Common Employment Law Issues in Georgia
Employees in the United States possess more employment rights than those in other countries. This means that small business owners who cut corners to save money could face employment lawsuits. While it may be tough to compete in Georgia as a startup or small business, be wary of some of the common employment law issues your peers and competitors often face, including:
- Discrimination in hiring, promoting or terminating employees;
- Retaliation against employees for obeying the law or reporting employer misconduct;
- Misclassifying an employee as an independent contractor or vice versa;
- Withholding vacation and overtime benefits from non-exempt employees;
- Denying maternity leave to pregnant employees;
- Refusing to compensate an employee's work-related injury; and
- Demanding a tipped employee to surrender all of their tip money.
Typical Small Business Legal Issues in Georgia
Legal issues crop up for all businesses, be it contracts, taxes or employment. Legal questions and issues will vary widely by industry and it's a good idea to consult a business attorney beforehand. But a small business owner may encounter legal issues such as:
- Which legal structure to select (such as a corporation, partnership or limited liability company);
- Extending credit and collecting on past due amounts in accordance with Georgia and federal laws;
- Protecting inventions and trademarks through intellectual property law;
- Maintaining the required level of workers' compensation insurance coverage;
- Hiring and managing employees in accordance with Georgia and federal employment laws; and
- Complying with health and safety regulations when constructing or preparing a work site.
Georgia Small Business Taxes
Small businesses in Georgia are subject to state and federal business taxes. Most businesses will pay the same taxes while other businesses will be responsible for special business taxes. Additionally, every business is partly responsible for paying some of their employee's taxes.
A few of the taxes you or your business may be responsible for paying include:
- Employee withholding tax—Georgia employers are responsible for withholding specific percentages of their employee's income to pay for their federal income, social security and Medicare taxes. Employers must provide employees with their W2, 1099 or G-1003 tax return forms at the end of each tax year for filing.
- Corporate income tax—Corporations that do business, own property or receive income in Georgia must pay a six percent tax on their taxable net income. Shareholders of S-corporations are required to pay the corporate income tax on their personal tax returns.
- Corporate net worth tax—This is similar to a franchise tax, which many states levy against companies for doing business in those states. The tax can range from $10 for corporations with a net worth of less than $10,001 to $5,000 for a net worth of $22 million or more.
- Sales and use taxes—Georgia charges a four percent tax on the sale or use of products within the state. Georgia counties may charge additional sales and use taxes.
Speak to an Experienced Business Law Attorney Today
This article is intended to be helpful and informative. But even common legal matters can become complex and stressful. A qualified business lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a local business attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.