Attention: Sole Proprietorships – Discover Why You Have the Wrong Business Structure to Grow.

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Have you updated your goals going into the fall for this year? If the outcomes you’re looking forward to this year include making more money, gaining more clients, boosting your profits, cutting your taxes or attracting lucrative joint venture partnerships…

the FIRST STEP is to STOP operating as a sole proprietorship! This is the time to make the shift, not waiting another 5 months until January. You want to escape the sole proprietorship trap for many important reasons:

1. Highest Audit Rate. Filing a schedule C means you are 300% more likely to be audited by the IRS . Why? The IRS is has a $300 BILLION tax collection gap each year, and a large percentage comes from small business owners who file a schedule C – not large corporations. In the eyes of the IRS, small business owners are more likely to under report income and exaggerate expenses. Now, I’m not saying that you’re making these big mistakes yourself, but the IRS will ASSUME that you are, simply because so many other sole proprietors do. That makes you an easy audit target!

2. Highest Taxes. Sole proprietorships pay the highest business tax rates. Not only will you pay the 15.3% employment taxes up to $118,500 in 2015, plus 2.9% for Medicare, you may also be required to pay a number of other state and federal taxes. Of course, as a business you may be able to offset some of that with business expenses or home office deductions (assuming they’re all properly set up and documented), but referring back to point #1, you’re setting yourself up for a potential audit.

3. Highest Liability. Here’s the bottom line for sole proprietorships – when you do business in or own name or under a DBA, you have UNLIMITED PERSONAL LIABILITY for ANY legal issues that come up . Without the protection of a properly structured separate legal entity you may lose most of your personal assets, including the equity in your home. Maybe you’ve been operating as a sole proprietorship because you don’t have many assets to protect right now. If you hope to change that in the future and accumulate more wealth, it’s worth considering that you could be sued later for something you’re doing now. If someone gets a judgment against you, they could chase you for years waiting until you DO have assets to go after. Sole proprietorships offer no protection – even against frivolous lawsuits which run into hundreds of billions in the U.S. each year. Our research turned up a woman who filed over 700 lawsuits. Her “business” strategy was targeting people with money who were unprotected and a person like that will go after anyone!

4. Fewer Funding Options. Operating as a sole proprietorship means you’re self financing your business – most likely on your personal credit cards! That drives your revolving debt up and your personal credit score down – which can hurt your chances for business credit later on. Even though it’s vital to keep business and personal credit separated, your personal credit history does affect your ability to qualify for certain kinds of cash funding options – including the amount of money you get and the interest rates you’ll pay. The key is to STOP using personal credit to finance your business and form a separate legal entity ASAP. This critical step paves the way for financial credibility – which means more and better opportunities to use other people’s money to grow!

5. A Lousy Marketing Message. If your first year profit projection is under $50,000, a CPA or tax professional might advise you to “keep it simple” and start out as a sole proprietor. In rare individual cases that might be good tax advice, but it doesn’t position you for long term success – there are other essentials to consider if you want a complete business foundation. When potential customers or important suppliers or partners are evaluating your business, what MARKETING MESSAGE does your sole proprietorship send? Sharp business people may take it as a sign that your profit (and longevity) expectations are LOW and take their business elsewhere. Sadly, they may never tell you the real reason why they chose not to do business with you – would you risk your own money, reputation or relationships on a company that might not be around tomorrow? You may have already lost revenue and growth opportunities if you’ve been operating as a sole proprietorship. If so, it’s time to position your company as a winner with the right foundation for success.

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Watch this FIRST, Before Forming an LLC or Corporation

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If you’re looking to form an LLC or corporation you must watch my BRAND NEW training to help you learn the 5 Essential Components of a Complete Business Foundation.

Why is this so important? Here’s what my friend, Attorney Lee Philips, said about businesses that rely on online articles of incorporation as their only form of legal protection:

“We slice through those in 15 minutes in court and go after the individual every time. That piece of paper provides NO protection!”

This is a direct quote from a legal expert, a counselor to the U.S. Supreme Court who has tried many cases representing plaintiffs. His courtroom experience has shown him that most business owners have no clue what complete formation entails.

Over the last 17 years my company, NCP, has helped thousands of entrepreneurs launch with confidence. Our COMPLETE FORMATION PROCESS ensured that they were starting out with more than just a flimsy piece of paper that provided no protection.

Lee’s comments inspired me to take our training to the next level – we want every NCP client to be CLEAR beyond all doubt what it takes to form a complete and secure business foundation. The result is my  BRAND NEW training called, the 5 Essential Components for a Complete Business Foundationand now you get access to it for FREE (for a limited time).

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Click here to register or get more information: http://budurl.com/LaunchWithConfidence

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Is Your Business Screaming For An IRS Audit?

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As tax time nears you should be aware of the trends that are clear – the IRS is targeting more small businesses for audits and they’re denying deductions left and right.  Sole proprietorships are especially at risk. I have confirmed with my CPA networks that there is a huge risk to continue to operate as a sole proprietorship. Our CPA contacts are also recommending that you should get off schedule C in 2014 ASAP.

Here are just a few of the audit trigger red flags that IRS agents are watching for:

  • claiming 100% business use for your vehicle (this will almost certainly invite an audit)
  • large deductions that seem out of proportion for the business (this is what their computer systems look for)
  • any schedule C deductions for business travel, meals or entertainment (you are able to take these deductions but if excessive and if audited not documented properly you are toast)
  • hobby losses claimed as business expenses (you best be able to prove you were a real business)
  • regular wage income combined with large schedule C losses (you must prove you had a real business, which we teach you those requirements on the training below)
  • any documentation that doesn’t meet their strict substantiation requirements (this is NOT your CPAs responsibility, it is yours)

 The vehicle deduction is a very common slipup. The IRS knows that 100% business use is extremely rare, especially when there’s no other vehicle for personal use. Activities like photography, dog breeding, car racing or other sports or outdoor activities are tough to substantiate as business expenses because they look like hobbies to the IRS.

Could your business be sending an “audit me!” message to the IRS? The surest way to protect yourself is to establish a complete foundation for your business, starting with a properly formed separate legal entity. Do you know the 5 essential elements of a complete business foundation? Take advantage of this brief, free training to find out where you may be vulnerable to the IRS!

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NEW TrainingThe 5 Essential Components for a Complete Business Foundation: 
http://budurl.com/LaunchWithConfidence

Pick your time and date to be part of this special training.

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Operating as a Sole Proprietorship?

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It’s a safe bet that you started your business to succeed and make money, not to add stress to your life and lose money.

To cut to the chase, operating as a sole proprietorship is NOT the fast track to success – in fact, it’s the shortest path to join the 95% of businesses that fail in the first 5 years.

To be fair, you probably made this choice for one of three logical reasons; (1) you were looking for the easiest and cheapest way to get started, (2) you wanted to test the waters to see if your idea would make money, or (3) your tax advisor told you to keep it simple and go the sole proprietorship route until you earn more than $40K to $50K in profits.

Risk taking

Unfortunately, that decision sends a different message to the rest of the business world:

“I don’t believe in myself, my product or my service or I don’t expect
to make $40K in profits.”

For going on two decades now, I’ve helped over 6,000 entrepreneurs reverse that message, escape the sole proprietorship trap and make a fast start to profits. Here are just a few of the strategic insights that woke my clients up to the money they were leaving on the table:

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7 Important Reasons to Form a Corporation or LLC for Your Business.

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Are you operating your business as a real business or as a hobby? It’s time to make your business OFFICIAL before the summer push for business!

Let me ask you two important questions:

  1. Are you operating your business under your own name, a DBA or fictitious firm name, basically as a sole proprietorship or maybe as a general partnership? AND/OR
  2. Are you or your family at risk because of business or personal assets that are unprotected from unexpected losses or legal issues?

If you answered YES to either question please read on for important news about why NOW is the time to form an corporation or LLC for your business.

  1. Make it Official. Operating as a sole proprietorship or general partnership sends a message that you are still “testing” your business, or that you’re not sure you’ll really make it. Perhaps your accountant told you that incorporating is an unnecessary expense or that it won’t help you save on taxes due to an expectation of low profits. This is the WORST marketing message you can send when you want to attract new clients and partners to your business, who want assurance that you’re about your business and here to stay.
  2. The Law of Attraction. You get what you focus on. Testing, hoping and “seeing if things work out or not” BEFORE you decide to step-up and make your business official by incorporating broadcasts a clear message to the universe that you’re not really serious about your business or committed to a positive outcome. The Law of Attraction states that the universe returns not what you wish for, but what you program into your deepest belief system through your dominant thoughts, actions and feelings. Making your business official and really stepping up says, “I am ready to receive!”. 
  3. Limited Personal Liability. You may be thinking “I already lost everything in the market collapse from 2008” and still recovering. If you’re one of the few that managed to survive and grow your assets since then, but are still holding them in your own name, you’re playing a VERY RISKY game (similar to those with assets in unstable European banks). Even if you don’t have any assets right now, a lawsuit or judgment will destroy any credit you are looking to build in the future PLUS you may be looking over your shoulder for years waiting for someone to come after you when you finally do start to turn things around. That’s no way to live your life. One lawsuit from an unprotected business can ruin your chances of getting a personal auto loan or refinancing your home. Good people who “play by the rules” can still be sued for the most unexpected reasons. You may be thinking “my business insurance will help me out” but are you really covered? Even if your business is never sued, what if you’re unable to pay a vendor and they come after you? Do you want to be personally liable? Put a halt to greedy people looking to take what you have worked for! This is the best time to form an LLC or corporation to limit your personal liability.
  4. Reduce Your Taxes. The bottom line is that operating as a sole proprietorship will cost you the most in employment taxes (up to 15.3% on earned income up to $113,700 in 2013). That means that your income will be taxed as the HIGHEST possible TAX RATE as a sole proprietorship. By the way, filing a Schedule C (the form filed for earned income from a sole proprietorship) also means that your business is among those MOST LIKELY TO BE AUDITED. Why? The IRS has a $300 BILLION tax gap and they believe the biggest tax cheats are the little business owner like you. Why? Their stats show them that sole proprietorship are MOST likely to UNDER report their income and OVER report their expenses (two big no-no’s with the IRS). Operating as an S corporation or LLC taxed as an S corporation in many situations is a much better approach for two reasons. You will have part of your profits as distributions which are NOT subject to the 15.3% employment taxes AND move that profit to schedule E, not schedule C which is more likely to be audited!
  5. Access More Funding Options. Operating as a sole proprietorship or general partnership limits you when it comes to funding options. You are also DAMAGING YOUR PERSONAL CREDIT SCORE by operating this way. How do you finance your business as a sole proprietorship? You use your PERSONAL CREDIT cards which will drive up your revolving debt which will in turn DRIVE DOWN your personal credit score! When you form a corporation or an LLC you will SEPARATE your PERSONAL and BUSINESS CREDIT. Yes, any type of cash funding with a personal guarantee will come into play, but that DEBT does NOT show up in the personal credit bureau which is HUGE for future funding! As you form a new LLC or corporation NCP will help (if you choose) to build your business credit scores quickly and get your business in a position to secure funding to grow. But the first step is to form a separate legal entity.
  6. Simply Your Life. Yes, in fact operating as a sole proprietorship will complicate your life, not the opposite. Separating your business and personal life will make it much easier for you to navigate both from a financial and legal point of view. Now you will have each in its own compartment where it belongs to protect your overall success.
  7. Asset Protection. Forming an LLC for your safe assets like investments (those outside a retirement plan) will help you sleep better at night knowing you don’t have all your “eggs” in one basket. If you are using a LIVING TRUST to protect your assets that will NOT work and everything in your trust may be vulnerable. Do you own other businesses that really should be operating through a separate bank account in a separate entity? Do you own real estate in your own name that may be sending a message that you are rich and have assets worth taking? Have you been in business for years or are you operating more than one business in one entity? Are you doing some business with a new partner and making the big mistake of running that revenue through your current business? Avoid these costly mistakes and form a separate company for that separate business.
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