Business Planning

It’s that time of year again

If you own or run a business in Florida, don’t forget that you need to file your Annual Report with the State. If you do not file before May 1st, your company may be administratively dissolved by the State, or at a minimum, be required to pay expensive reinstatement and/or late fees.  The late fee is $400, and it will NOT be waived.

Information on filing an annual report can be found at www.sunbiz.org.  To make it easy, you can submit the Annual Report and pay the filing fee on-line. To do this, you will need the document number assigned to the business by the State.  You can locate the number by searching the sunbiz website for your business record.

Feel free to give our office a call if you would like us to walk you through the filing process FREE OF CHARGE.  You can also follow the State’s step-by-step instructions here.

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CAUTION: Each year, several for-profit companies send out emails and letters that look very official about the annual report requirement.  They collect email addresses and physical addresses from the State’s website and are soliciting businesses.  These are THIRD party solicitations not associated with the State – you can file your report on-line without going through any of these companies.  If you get an email or a letter offering to file your Annual Report for a fee, throw away the letter. Each year, we get those letters, too! If you are not sure what to do, just give us a call.

Peace of Mind with Asset Protection

In order to protect your assets, you really need to plan ahead. But do not think that “asset protection” is the only way to do this – you first start with having appropriate liability insurance. Anyone wishing to protect his or her assets must consider both asset protection and insurance in order to be adequately protected.

For some individuals, they believe that an asset protection plan is such a formidable measure that plaintiffs will not even attempt to challenge them. But this is definitely not something you can always depend on. These plans will not cover all of the legal fees associated with a lawsuit.

This is where insurance could come into play, as it may cover defense costs. Depending on the type of policy purchased, an insurance company could cover both the fees associated with the defense and the actual cost of a settlement.

In addition to having appropriate insurance, personal and business assets should always be kept separate. All too often, we work with clients who blur the lines between the two.  Many business owners wish to be protected from their business’ liabilities only to be exposed because they did not follow the state law formalities associated with their business.  As simple as it sounds, having a healthy respect for these formalities, which include keeping funds separate and having periodic meetings that are documented, will minimize these exposures.

A good lawyer can effectively manage and balance the necessary issues involved with an asset protection plan. This balancing act should protect a client while giving the client adequate control over his or her assets.

What can you post on-line?

Check out this story from our friends at Fox13, featuring Jeremy Campbell’s story on what you can and cannot say when you post a review of a business on-line.  We were asked to weigh in.

You are certainly entitled to your opinion (such as, I thought that the food at ABC restaurant was not very good), but once you make false statements, you may be crossing the line into defamation.

The bottom line may be be quite simple – just remember that lesson that we learned as kids – If you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all.