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Is Your Home Business Legal?

– Contributed content –

Desktop monitor and keyboard

(Daniel Cañibano on Unsplash)

26 June 2018. Starting a home business is easier than ever. People are setting up websites, advertising their skills and products or working online. This offers people an excellent opportunity to escape traditional employment and create something for themselves. To avoid the pitfalls that they have seen other businesses make, to work flexibly around other commitments, to give themselves financial security and independence and to create something from nothing. Running a home business offers many people a chance to work for themselves, that they might never get out of the home.

It’s easier than ever, and more people are doing it, but, many small businesses fail to consider the law. They set up and get to work without giving any thought to the laws that they might be breaking. This can be costly and destroys many businesses. If you are starting up, or already have, here are some things that you need to do, to ensure your business is legal. If you are unsure or worried that you may have already made mistakes or broken the law, look at law firms who can offer you advice and help you to correct these mistakes before it’s too late.

Your name

Naming a business is hard work. Almost like naming a child. Perhaps even bigger. You can, of course, change it later on if you change your mind. But, this will take time, money and hard work. It’s better to get it right straight away. When you’ve come up with a name that you like, do a name search to make sure it’s not already taken or owned by someone else. It’s worth doing a national trademark search to make sure. Then, trademark it yourself if it’s free.

Laptop on desk

(Kari Shea on Unsplash)

Register for tax

If you have set up a business, you are no longer in employment. You are self-employed, and you own a business entity. This means that you will have to declare your income and pay the relevant tax at the end of the year. To do this, you first need to register your company and get a tax I.D. You might think that you don’t need this until the end of the tax year, but it’s always best to get it done before you start making money. You’ll also need a VAT number. If you are struggling or not sure if you’ve set up correctly, speak to an accountant.

Permits and licenses

As a business owner, it’s your responsibility to check local permits and find out what licenses you might need. This varies all over the world, and there’s no guarantee of what you will need. Check with your local council. For example, if you sell or make food, then your premises will need a health and safety inspection as well as a license to sell to the public. If you deal with the public at all, even if it’s just through contact at trade shows or with delivery drivers and suppliers coming to your home, you should take out liability insurance to protect yourself and your business.

Editor’s note: The views expressed in this story are the contributor’s and not those of Science & Enterprise.

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