Tag: business law

Florida Business Law Calls for Liquor License Lottery

It’s an unusual way to make a profit and a quirky area of business law, but some people in Florida only enter the lottery to obtain one of a limited number of liquor licenses issued by the state each year because they will have the opportunity to sell it later to someone who really wants and needs it.

The annual drawing for quota liquor licenses by Florida’s Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco likely will be drawn within the next few months. But forget about entering this time — if you didn’t submit an application by Oct. 23, you’ll have to wait.

Florida is one of 17 states with quotas on liquor licenses. In last year’s lottery, 46 winners were drawn through a lottery system, The Tampa Bay Times reported.

Quota licenses can be used anywhere in an area where alcohol is permitted, and the only way to get one is to win it in a license lottery or buy it from someone who has won it. Although businesses that need a license can enter the drawing, it is most often won by individuals, many of whom turn around and sell the licenses to businesses. The number available in each county is limited.

If the licenses are in high demand, they can resell for as much as $500,000, per the Times. More than 95 percent of lottery winners end up reselling the licenses. Counties where licenses sell for high prices include Duval ($450,000) and Orange ($350,000).

Lottery entries are accepted for 45 days starting on the third Monday in August. People pay $100 to enter the lottery, and can enter for multiple counties, but only once for each county. Last year, the number of people who applied for licenses totaled 11,847.

Winners must pay a license fee that varies county to county, plus $10,500 to a state fund to fight substance abuse. They have 45 days to apply for the license.

Starting A Business? Consult A Good Miami Law Firm

If you’re an entrepreneur interested in starting a business in Florida, one important step you should take to guide you along the right path is to find a good business lawyer, such as the Miami law firm PPK.

But there are other recommended steps you should take as well, volunteer SCORE counselor Gray Poehler told Florida Small Business.

Step one, and the most important step, is to come up with a written business plan Poehler said.

“I see too many entrepreneurs that invest a lot of money with start-up expenses before doing the necessary due diligence,” he said.

Other steps he recommends:

  • Choose a legal structure — For example, a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC)
  • Register a fictitious name — This is the legal term for an assumed name which a business uses instead of the name of the owner, also known as a DBA name
  • State and local licensing — Your business may require either or both.
  • Apply for a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) — Required unless you are operating as a sole proprietor
  • Register to pay Federal, State and local taxes
  • Secure adequate financing — Many small businesses fail in the first two years because they underestimate costs

SCORE is a nonprofit association supported by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) that helps small businesses get off the ground, grow and achieve their goals through education and mentorship. The group has a network of more than 10,000 volunteers, and services are either free of charge or very low-cost.

The www.score.org website offers a free outline for a start-up business which includes financial templates for determining start-up expenses and a 12-month cash flow projection.

Volunteer SCORE mentors share their expertise across 62 industries in person, via email or by video. The organization also offers free business tools, templates and tips as well as inexpensive or free business workshops and webinars.

Poehler, who owned and operated an independent insurance agency with 20 employees and two locations, has been a SCORE counselor since 2005.

New business laws include marijuana sales rules

A new year brings new business law that requires study and interpretation by an experienced lawyer. This year, that includes new marijuana sales laws.

Some companies are exploiting provisions in marijuana sales laws that allow small amounts of the drug to be given from one adult to the other, as long as they aren’t selling it.

The so-called “gifting” provision has companies selling merchandise such as T-shirts or juice that come with a bonus — a small quantity of pot.

Some entrepreneurs see it as an opportunity to get ahead of the regulated market, the Miami Herald reported. But in places where marijuana shops are legal, the practice of gifting may undercut the licensed retailers, who face government oversight and pay sales taxes.

A Craigslist ad in Massachusetts offered plastic sandwich bags for sale for as much as $325 each, while the marijuana inside the bags was “free.” One smoke shop gave marijuana to customers who paid a $25 to $50 admission fee.

Some states ban businesses from advertising marijuana giveaways, but the  businesses often find ways to obscure what they’re doing and rely largely on word of mouth to make sales, per the Herald.

One company sells drinks priced from $55 to $150 that it advertises come with “love” or lots of love.”  When the Associated Press put in a $60 order, the reporter received a bottle of Tazo juice and an eighth of an ounce of marijuana.

A $100 T-shirt from ordered from another company included a bonus bag of pot as well.

Retail shops in states that have legalized marijuana should make the practice of gifting obsolete eventually, as people demand want quality control-tested products, experts said.

In November 2016, Florida voters approved Constitutional Amendment 2, which gave individuals the right to use medical marijuana if they suffered from certain debilitating medical conditions as determined by a licensed Florida physician.

Business Law Experts, Banks Navigate New Tax Laws

Businesses navigating the new tax laws may want to seek advice from a business law expert. Executives from two major banks said Friday they expect big benefits will result for businesses from the new Republican tax bill.

JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo they expect to see significant benefits through both lower taxes and increased business. Jamie Dimon, chief executive officer of JPMorgan, said a lower tax rate would not only be good for his company but ultimately would be good for the country as well, ABC News reported.

The company’s chief financial officer, Marianne Lake, said in a conference call with investors announcing the company’s quarterly results that “The modernization of the U. S. tax code is a significant step forward for the company and a big win for the economy.”

Both JPMorgan and Wells Fargo have raised their minimum wage for employees to $15 an hour before the tax bill passed, and there may be additional wage increases. The chief executive officer of Wells Fargo, Timothy Sloan, said in an investor call that he estimates 70,000 employees will benefit from wage increases.

The new tax bill lowered the corporate tax rate to 21 percent

JPMorgan told investors Friday it earned $4.23 billion in the fourth quarter, or $1.07 a share, down from $6.73 billion, or $1.71 a share, in the same period a year earlier.

Wells Fargo reported earnings of $6.15 billion in the fourth quarter, or $1.16 per share, versus $5.27 billion, or 96 cents per share, in the same period a year ago.

If you’re looking for help navigating business law and changes that might affect your business, turn to the Miami business litigation firm Pollack, Pollack and Kogan. PPK represents clients and acts as local counsel for out-of-state and foreign attorneys in the fields of complex civil and commercial litigation, probate litigation, injunctive relief, judgment and debt collection, contract litigation, landlord- tenant disputes, legal ethics dilemmas, securities arbitrations, and all business concerns and disputes.

Miami law firm represents businesses

The new year presents business owners with not only interpreting new tax laws, but all of the usual legal challenges of running a business, as well. The Miami law firm Pollack, Pollack and Kogan law firm supports its clients in all areas of business law, keeping up-to-date on changes that may affect the way their clients do business.

The goal at Miami law firm PPK is help the business owner navigate the constantly-changing economic landscape while dealing with any legal obstacles that may stand in the way.

The firm is recognized with the highest peer review rating for professional excellence. Partners Gary W. Pollack, Bretton I. Pollack and Lyudmila Kogan work diligently to ensure that all clients receive skilled, ethical, and zealous representation in the State and Federal Courts of Florida.

In addition to assisting clients with litigation matters, Pollack, Pollack & Kogan, LLC also provides representation in arbitration proceedings. Arbitration is an alternative method of resolving disputes where issues are decided by a neutral third party outside the public setting of the Court system.

Pollack Pollack & Kogan Miami business lawyers regularly help clients with:

Contractual Disputes and Breach of Contract Litigation

Sales and Commercial Law

Corporate and Partnership Law

Shareholder Disputes in Closely Held Corporations, Partnerships, and LLCs

Breach of Fiduciary Duty and Mismanagement

International Transactions and Shipment of Goods

Securities Arbitration

Collection of Unpaid Wages and Unpaid Overtime Wages

Federal Litigation

All Other Business Disputes

The attorneys at  Pollack, Pollack & Kogan are up-to-date with what’s going on in the ever-changing business world and are in touch with the business owner experience.

The Miami law firm Pollack, Pollack & Kogan LLC represents clients in all areas of business law. The business litigation firm acts as local counsel for out-of-state and foreign attorneys, in the fields of complex civil and commercial litigation, probate litigation, injunctive relief, judgment and debt collection, contract litigation, landlord- tenant disputes, legal ethics dilemmas, securities arbitrations, and all business concerns and disputes.

American Bar Association focuses on wellness

Many people make New Year’s resolutions that include making lifestyle adjustments that improve their mental and physical health. The American Bar Association has announced that in 2018, it plans to promote policies that help its members improve their health, the Daily Business Review reported.

American Bar Association President Hilarie Bass announced that a key project for the organization in 2018 will be promoting wellness initiatives at law firms, where employees often work long hours under stressful conditions.

A 2016 ABA study showed that substance abuse and mental health problems were widespread in the legal profession, and that the legal profession must change to address these problems. Bass, together with the ABA board of governors, created a well-being working group called the Working Group to Advance Well-Being in the Legal Profession to help law firms develop wellness initiatives.

The group hopes to develop a plan to send to the ABA’s house of delegates by mid-2018. The  House of Delegates will have the final say on the policy resolutions.

“Too many lawyers and law students experience chronic stress, high rates of depression and substance use,” Bass said. “This is not compatible with a sustainable legal profession.”

She said law firm policies should eliminate any policies that make lawyers feel they will face a stigma if they come forward seeking help with substance abuse or mental health issues.

They need to be able to come forward confidentially and without repercussions, Bass said.

She also suggested that law schools train students and that law firms instruct young associates about the importance of well-being. Law firms also should discuss eliminating alcohol from events, Bass said.

She said she is confident that the working group will develop useful recommendations that law firms will be easily able to integrate into their culture.

The Miami law firm Pollack, Pollack & Kogans LLC represents clients in all areas of business law. The business litigation firm acts as local counsel for out-of-state and foreign attorneys, in the fields of complex civil and commercial litigation, probate litigation, injunctive relief, judgment and debt collection, contract litigation, landlord- tenant disputes, legal ethics dilemmas, securities arbitrations, and all business concerns and disputes.

Florida tax law favors athletes

Tax law changes in Florida may make the state more attractive to athletes who are free agents, Tucson.com reported.

New tax laws set to take effect January 1 cap deductions for state and local taxes for married couples filing jointly at $10,000, which is an obvious advantage for highly-paid athletes.

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said he doubted the tax law advantage, which is also available in Texas, Nevada and Washington state, would have much effect on where athletes decide to play. Players are more likely to consider playing time, winning and what’s best for their families as deciding factors.

But teams in tax-free states with a higher percentage of take-home pay might use the tax law advantage as a negotiation tactic.

“The state with no income tax would always win the ties,” said sports agent Joseph Linta.

The top tax rate has been lowered to 37 percent for single filers earning more than $500,000 and married couples filing jointly earning more than $600,000. That is down from 39.6 percent for single filers earning more than $418,400 and married couples filing jointly earning more than $470,700, per Tucson.com.

California had the highest state tax in 2017, a 13.3 percent rate, followed by New York with a top tax rate of 8.82 percent. New York City has a maximum rate of 3.876 percent for a total of 12.696 percent.

A player with an offseason residence in Florida, Alaska, South Dakota and Wyoming would benefit by having more of his money paid in a signing bonus rather than salary.

The Miami law firm Pollack, Pollack & Kogans LLC represents clients in all areas of business law. The business litigation firm acts as local counsel for out-of-state and foreign attorneys, in the fields of complex civil and commercial litigation, probate litigation, injunctive relief, judgment and debt collection, contract litigation, landlord- tenant disputes, legal ethics dilemmas, securities arbitrations, and all business concerns and disputes.

Benefit corporations attract millennials

The Wisconsin legislature has passed new legislation allowing Wisconsin businesses to incorporate as benefit corporations, which focus not only on shareholder profits but also on their impact on the environment, the community and society.

Tax law treats benefit corporations and C Corps equally, but a benefit corporation requires its corporate directors and officers to consider all stakeholder interests when making decisions.

Incorporating as a benefit corporation may give companies a leg up in the competition to attract top talent. Studies show that millennials want to work for a company that shares their values, and are willing to accept a pay cut to do so, Forbes reported. They’re also more willing to buy products from socially responsible brands.

Some colleges, such as Princeton, even forgive or reduce student loans for graduates working at a benefit corporation, per Forbes.   

Millennials want their work to be meaningful, and to have a positive impact on the world through their work, Business Insider reported. Workers who feel they are making a difference through their work will stay with a company longer and be willing to work more hours.

They feel working for a company that shares their values is more important than a higher salary or flexible hours, per Business Insider, and only slightly less important than the chance to work with talented people, which they deemed most important.

Forbes reported there are more than 5,500 benefit corporations in the United States, and that 34 U.S. states have passed the benefit corporation legislation.

The Miami law firm Pollack, Pollack & Kogans LLC represents clients in all areas of business law. The business litigation firm acts as local counsel for out-of-state and foreign attorneys, in the fields of complex civil and commercial litigation, probate litigation, injunctive relief, judgment and debt collection, contract litigation, landlord- tenant disputes, legal ethics dilemmas, securities arbitrations, and all business concerns and disputes.

8 ways to fight employee stress

The holidays can be a stressful time for some people. But if you are a business owner, there are some things that you can do to make this time of year — and all year round — a little more calm for your employees.

Smallbiztrends.com offers these suggestions for reducing employee stress:

Focus on open communication — Don’t take for granted that you know what employees want or need. Make sure they know you are open to comments, questions and suggestions.

  • Listen to them — Stop and really focus on what your employees are saying. Don’t just hear what they are saying; really listen.
  • Encourage them to ask for what they need — This should include working from home when the babysitter doesn’t show up, or other situations that require flexibility.
  • Build community — Encourage team members to support each other.
  • Allow a personal touch — Let them show a little creativity in their jobs, and to decorate their workspace in a way that reflects their personal style.
  • Be transparent — Let them know how you feel about challenges on the job, and that you’re aware everything isn’t always perfect.
  • Be authentic — Don’t try to be someone you aren’t; it will only alienate people.
  • Check your intentions — Are you keeping in mind that your employees are fellow human beings and not just a means for you to increase your bottom line?
  • Provide mental health days — The hope is that employees will feel comfortable enough to share whether their stress is work related so you can fix the cause.

The Miami law firm Pollack, Pollack & Kogans LLC represents clients in all areas of business law. The business litigation firm acts as local counsel for out-of-state and foreign attorneys, in the fields of complex civil and commercial litigation, probate litigation, injunctive relief, judgment and debt collection, contract litigation, landlord-tenant disputes, legal ethics dilemmas, securities arbitrations, and all business concerns and disputes.

Florida is among best states in which to do business

Florida has ranked within the top 10 states in which to do business in a list compiled by Forbes magazine.

Florida ranked number seven and North Carolina first in the Forbes best states for business in 2017 list, based on seven criteria and published by the magazine last month.

North Carolina ranked second lowest in business costs, high in offering incentives, and boasted a young, educated workforce. Rates of people moving into the state are high, and the state is the only one to rank among the top five for 12 straight years.

Texas, with the second largest economy in the United States after California, came in second. The state has strong employment, and 10 percent of the 1,000 largest public and private companies in the United States are based in the state.

Utah, formerly first, came in third this year because of rising labor costs and a weaker economic forecast.

Nebraska and Virginia round out the top five on the list. Nebraska has a low unemployment rate of 2.9 percent, which is among the lowest in the United States. Virginia offers strong incentives and government policies that are friendly to businesses.

Florida followed Georgia on the list. Rounding out the top 10 were Colorado, North Dakota and Indiana.

West Virginia ranked as the worst state on the list for the third year in a row. Also low-ranking were New Mexico, Vermont and Alaska.

The rankings were based on business costs, labor supply, regulatory environment, economic climate, growth prospects, quality of life and population.

The Miami law firm Pollack, Pollack & Kogans LLC represents clients in all areas of business law. The business litigation firm acts as local counsel for out-of-state and foreign attorneys, in the fields of complex civil and commercial litigation, probate litigation, injunctive relief, judgment and debt collection, contract litigation, landlord- tenant disputes, legal ethics dilemmas, securities arbitrations, and all business concerns and disputes.