Our ETS class started off the New Year learning about taxes and legal protections from the area’s finest lawyers and certified public accountants. Our expert panel covered establishing a business entity, drawing up contacts, protecting intellectual property and paying taxes.
Pantae Stevenson of The Law Firm of Pantae Stevenson explained business entity options such as a sole proprietorship, a limited liability company, and S and C corporations. She encouraged two of our students, cousins starting a cupcake business, to have a detailed partnership agreement. Ginny Cascio of McMillan Metro, P.C. also provided a list of possible contract terms for our entrepreneurs to consider such as termination, confidential information, and dispute resolution. For example, she stressed the importance of stipulating when the business will be paid in contracts with clients. Doing so sets a solid payment expectation, ensures the business’s sound financial operation, and prevents future misunderstandings.
Ruth Mae Finch of Finch & Associates, LLC and Harold L. Novick of Novick, Kim, and Lee, PLLC discussed protecting intellectual property. They explained how our entrepreneurs could obtain trademarks, copyrights, patents, and trade secrets and encouraged them to choose unique business names. I was surprised to learn protecting intellectual property is affordable. For example, you can register a copyright online for $35.00 and the protection lasts throughout your lifetime plus 70 years.
Rosemary McMahon of McMahon & Company, P.C. and Tariq Shafi of Shafi & Company provided information about federal, state, and local taxes. Because business is often conducted across state lines in the DMV area, our entrepreneurs must pay close attention to each state’s registration rules and regulations. If you are unsure about whether you need a certified public accountant, know that may local representative offer free consultations.
Although legal protections can be confusing, our panel really helped outline the important topics to keep in mind. Here’s to hoping our entrepreneurs took good notes!
Many thanks to our panel for volunteering their time!
Written by Kimberly Barton, a guest blogger who’s a new Alexandria resident. She recently graduated from the University of California, Berkeley and is interested in local programs that empower, educate, and support women. Connect with her on LinkedIn.