Unfinished Business…

It’s a known fact that the federal government alone has established too many laws to count. The Internal Revenue Code contains over 3.4 million words and is approximately 7,500 pages when printed. State and local governments have joined in on the madness adopting thousands of new laws each year!

In law school everyone learns that “ignorance of the law is no defense.” So how can a business begin to comply with the countless laws out there?

After you’ve formed your entity, and after you’re following corporate formalities and have a written agreement with founders, you might feel like you have done everything you need to. But you haven’t. In business there is always more to do. The great General George Patton challenged his troops stating that we should “always do more than is required of you.”

We have worked with countless businesses that have neglected a small handful of tasks that are required of them by state or local government. Not knowing what was required was always their downfall. Most are no longer in business or experienced a significant setback from their noncompliance.

Neglecting state and local law compliance will put you out of business.

So how does a business learn what is required? Unfortunately the best answer any seasoned corporate attorney can ever give is “it depends…” This legal essential can not be reduced to a simple checklist. You’ll need to take General Patton’s advice and make sure you do more than is required of you.

So what do these requirements depend on? Determining what you need to do for your business to comply with state and local law depends on your state, city, location, number of employees, industry and maybe even your age and gender. There are numerous factors that may affect what is required of your business. This is where a Briefcase attorney will assist you in determining exactly what is required for your business.

The most common is the requirement that a business obtain a business license if they are conducting business within the geographical bounds of that locality (Note: a locality is a city, town or village). Another common form of registration is for state and local taxes – either general business, personal property, sales or some combination of those. Registration for licenses and taxes may be the same transaction or it may be different registration processes. Lastly, some business types may need an additional or special license.The following are the general requirements and state and federal laws that most business need to consider to comply with state and local law:

  • State Tax Registration
  • Business License
  • Zoning Approval for Operations
  • Industry Specific Registration
  • Workers Compensation Insurance
  • Unemployment Compensation Act
  • Occupational Health and Safety Laws
  • Fair Labor Standards Act
  • Family Medical Leave Act
  • Equal Employment Opportunity Act


The above list isn’t meant to be exhaustive but is meant to get you thinking about what state and local requirements might apply to your business. If you haven’t considered all the items on the above list you likely have some unfinished business to take care of.

Briefcase and our attorneys are here to help with the unfinished business of complying with state and local law.

Launch. Grow. Protect.
This post is to be used for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, business, or tax advice. Each person should consult his or her own attorney, business advisor or tax advisor with respect to matters referenced in this post. Briefcase assumes no liability for actions taken in reliance upon the information contained herein.