COVID-19 UPDATE from Bellas & Wachowski

Articles Tagged with Chicago Small Business

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George Bellas advises on E-Commerce

There is no doubt that e-commerce sales have grown tremendously over the last 20-plus years. That is in part because online purchases are taxed differently than in person sales, and small businesses have noticed the advantages of this system.

The setup is quite simple: a small business may house their servers or warehouse their goods in one state, all while shipping their products to the other 49 states. It is important to know that small businesses are not required to collect sales tax in a state in which they have no physical presence. Until recently, small business owners could expand their consumer base across the country largely without ever collecting a penny in sales tax. This approach yields more clients, more sales, and more revenue. However, as the old cliché goes: “More money, more problems.”  In this case, it’s “more money, more tax problems.”

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Attorneys Misty Cygan and Geo Bellas can help your get business off to a good start.

We’ve run a series of posts recently about the steps involved in launching a business.  These have covered issues like deciding what type of business you want to start and what your business model will be; putting together a business plan and identifying sources of capital investment; and naming and registering your business.

This final post will flesh out how forging a beneficial relationship with a law firm that delivers services in a punctual, professional and affordable manner is key to the endgame of getting started with your new venture.

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Considerations for Starting a Small Business

Recently, we ran a post What to consider when Starting a Small Business, Part One  about some of the early steps in starting a small business—deciding you’re ready, figuring out what type of business you want to start, surveying your competitors, and figuring out the optimal business model.

At that point, it’s time to get down to the proverbial brass tacks and put together a business plan, which really doesn’t need to be more than one page long unless you’re going to apply for a loan from a bank (in which case you should find out what the lending institution requires).

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Are you thinking about starting a small business?

It can be an exciting and challenging endeavor, although it’s more likely to succeed if you plan ahead, take it step by step, and surround yourself with trusted, experienced advisers.  Of course, such an important endeavor – not to mention a life alternating event – requires hard work, ingenuity and more than a little legal advice.   You can start by going to our webpage on What to Ask When Staring a Business.

Keep in mind that there might never be an absolutely perfect time to start your own business – so for starters you need to take stock of your mental state and make sure you’re as ready as you will ever feel.  

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Business interruption insurance & COVID

Should business interruption insurance cover losses due to the COVID-19 shutdowns, even if said insurance policy contains a virus exclusion?

A bar and restaurant based in Park Ridge and a former jewelry store in Chicago have gone to the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to argue that their policies with West Bend Mutual Insurance Co. should cover such losses, which they say are due to the Illinois state government orders, not the virus itself. (Mashallah Inc. et al. v. West Bend Mutual Insurance Co., U.S. Seventh Circuit, 21-1507)

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Drop the Mask in your business?

After a year of employee and customer mask requirements being a no-brainer for small businesses, the CDC’s recent change in guidance that those who have become fully vaccinated against COVID-19 need not wear masks in many public settings has required business owners to put on their thinking caps again with regard to this issue, for the first time in more than a year.

Major retailers like Costco, Kroger, Walmart, Target, Walgreens and CVS have revised their guidance to match that of the CDC, although individual store locations in more highly populated areas like Chicagoland have not necessarily followed suit.

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What Can Small Businesses Do About the Maskless?

As more states lift requirements that people wear COVID-19 masks indoors when in public, what can small businesses do to protect their employees—and other customers who still prefer to wear masks?

As of April 5, more than one-third of states (18) lacked mask requirements, some of which never had them in the first place, according to the Associated Press. But business owners are certainly legally entitled to require them if they so choose, given that their public-facing spaces are still private property that they either rent or own, as long as they don’t discriminate. Customers who refuse to wear a mask, are asked to leave and stubbornly do not are therefore trespassing, and business owners could involve police if they so choose.

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CTA – Federal Reporting Requirements for Small Business

The paper work for many small businesses will be increasing.

Many small businesses with 20 or fewer employees and $5 million or less in gross receipts or sales will be subject to new federal reporting requirements under the Corporate Transparency Act (“CTA”), a section of the National Defense Authorization Act enacted on January 1. This will include both those formed in the U.S., whether through a state or an Indian nation, as well as those formed outside the U.S. but registered to do business here.