Keeping Your Home-Based Business on the Right Side of the Law
Have you been dreaming of running your business from home?
Whether it was brought about by a long-standing desire to take your working life into your own hands; a real hatred for your boss; or simple because it was a new year’s resolution that you’re determined to stick to: starting and running a business from your home is never a bad idea — if you’re willing to think about everything involved with business, that is.
It is easy to jump into a business with only an eye for all the profits you can make, without thinking or even knowing about everything that needs to be done. With the power of running your own business, comes great responsibility in regards to keeping it legal.
Here are a few things to remember.
Check the name
Make sure you do your research before you legally provide the name details of your company; you need to do so to make sure you’re not nicking another company’s name!
Trade mark infringement is serious: a registered trade mark may now be infringed by use of that trade mark as a trade or company name.
Because of this, it’s imperative that you make use of the Intellectual Property Office in order to see if that name you’ve had your heart set on is actually yours, and more information can be sought here. Just be thankful you don’t have to go through this when naming a child!
Don’t avoid tax
Avoiding tax includes: not telling HMRC about tax you owe on business profits, keeping business ‘off the books’ by dealing in cash and not giving receipts and hiding money, shares or other assets in an offshore bank account.
If you ever find yourself doing any of these things, first and foremost: stop doing them. Although you’ve never really had any extensive dealings with the tax office, or HMRC in general, it doesn’t mean that you won’t when you’re running your business.
When you’re not in a ‘traditional business environment’, i.e. an office, it’s easy to forget that your business is in fact bona-fide in the eyes of the law.
Fraud investigations tend to be complex and highly intrusive, with enforcement officers searching business premises (often without prior warning), accessing confidential information and seizing or freezing assets and other material. If sufficient evidence is discovered, lengthy court proceedings are likely to follow.
Individuals and businesses caught-up in serious fraud allegations therefore need to be proactive to ensure their rights are respected and protected, which is why tax fraud solicitors should be sought if ever you do find yourself on the wrong side of the law, whether you meant to, or not.
For instance, the authorities may have misinterpreted the evidence or exceeded their authority by failing to follow strict procedural rules. It’s therefore vital that if you or your business are under investigation for fraud, you receive expert legal advice from solicitors with specialist fraud experience from the outset.
Be wary of scams
And of course, don’t get yourself involved in any scams. This may sound simple to do, because you’d never do something like that, would you? But sometimes, the scam could be happening right under your nose, and you might not even know. Be conscious of what and more importantly who you involve yourself with: you don’t want to end up on this list!
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