Business Owners and Legal Responsibilities

business and legal certificationFederal, state, and local laws place numerous legal responsibilities on business owners. The following are only a few examples of the legal responsibilities of business owners in Washington state.

Registration, permits, and licenses

If you wish to operate as an LLC or corporation, you must properly register with the Department of Revenue.1 Before you start operations, you must comply with all of the Washington state requirements for your type of business. The exact permits or licenses you require will vary depending on your specific business. For example, any business that sells food must have a permit, and many professions such as lawyers, doctors, and accountants, require state licensing. The Department of Labor has information regarding licensing on its website.2

Taxes

The IRS and Washington state both have extensive and specific tax laws that relate to business. The way you are taxed usually depends on the business entity you chose, and an attorney can advise you on your tax liabilities. You must also withhold proper amounts of tax from the paychecks of any employees.

Product safety

If you are designing, manufacturing, or selling a product, you have the legal duty to ensure that product is safe for its intended use. If the product is defective and injures someone, you may find your business facing legal liability in civil court and sanctions by the state or federal government.

Premises Liability

Just as any products must be safe, the premises of your business must also be safe for any customers or other visitors. You must regularly inspect the premises for potential hazards and make necessary repairs to avoid injury to visitors.

Human Resources

If you have any employees, you must comply with federal and state labor laws, anti-discrimination laws, and more. You may not necessarily get around these laws by simply classifying a worker as an independent contractor when they truly should be classified as an employee.

These are only a few examples of the legal issues that business owners may face. You never want to jeopardize the success of your business by failing to comply with the law. Instead, always consult with an experienced business law attorney at the Dickson Law Group in Seattle or Tacoma today. Call us at (206) 621-1110 or (253) 572-1000 to discuss your legal needs.

1http://www.dol.wa.gov/business/

2http://dor.wa.gov/content/doingbusiness/registermybusiness/