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The Mistake of a Business Owner Regarding LLCs

Hypothetical 1:  Sarah starts Paint by Sarah, LLC by filing the articles of organization with the Minnesota Secretary of State and obtaining the EIN herself. Because she is under the mistaken impression that her husband (who has nothing to with the business except to listen to his spouse vent) is automatically an owner of the business, she states the the LLC agrees to be taxed as a partnership. However, she never files partnership returns, which creates huge tax consequences and penalties to her. Moral of this hypothetical story: The application for an EIN looks deceptively simple, but it is often a...

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Estate Planning Documentation

Now that you have your estate planning finalized, it is important to make your personal representative’s (also known as the executor) job as painless as possible. If your personal representative does not know what assets you have, what debts are outstanding, etc., the costs to your estate for determining the assets and liabilities could be significant. In addition, it also increases the possibility that an asset is missed and not discovered until years later, which even causes more hardship and frustration. Having a binder of information for your personal representative is essential. Updating that binder on a periodic basis is prudent. Your...

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The Mistake of a Business Regarding Do-It-Yourself (DIY)

In an era of do-it-yourself videos and a worldwide library of information available on the internet, engaging in a do-it-yourself project seems relatively easy. Especially considering that a lot of us remember our information being obtained generally from looking up books in a library according to the Dewey Decimal System or in the Encyclopedias that were sold by door-to-door salesmen to your parents. But, even with the amount of information currently available, a do-it-yourself project should be undertaken with caution. When you complete do-it-yourself legal projects on your own, it is not uncommon that you end up with a larger...

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OSHA Still Applies in a Pandemic

OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) is the governmental agency that oversees the law requiring employers to provide a safe workplace to its workers.  Generally, if you are a private employer in the State of Minnesota, you are required to provide a safe workplace that complies with OSHA.  That requirement – of providing a safe workplace to your workers – still is required for an pandemic, such as COVID-19. Businesses in Minnesota are under the jurisdiction of Minnesota OSHA (unless you are a federal agency, the United States Postal Service, etc.).  Even so, those employers under the jurisdiction of Minnesota OSHA...

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Employee Right to Know About Infectious Diseases

Since 1983, Minnesota law has required employers to have a written Employee-Right-to-Know Program (ERTKP). The ERTKP covers hazardous substances, harmful physical agents and infectious agents. With COVID-19 now is the time to make certain you have an ERTKP and implement it. As part of your ERTKP you must have training made available at no cost to your employees. If you have not conducted training in the previous year, schedule it immediately. Your business is required to have training updates yearly. If you already have provided the initial training, your training updates may be brief summaries of information from previous training...

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Your Will is Probably Still Valid After Your Marriage or Remarriage

It is important that you are re-evaluating your estate plan about every five years (and after a major life event) to make certain that it still meets your needs. However, if you have a will (or a trust) and then you get married/remarried, it is imperative that you understand the consequences of what will happen to your estate if you do not execute a new one after your marriage or remarriage. Hypothetical 1:  Adam has two adult children from a prior relationship. He has a will that gives his entire estate to his two adult children equally upon his death. Adam...

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Review Your LLC Documents Now

Starting in 2015, Minnesota completely changed the LLC laws. For companies that were organized prior to the change, it is essential that you review your LLC documents now. You should review your LLC documents in consultation with an experienced business attorney. You want to make certain that your documents under the old LLC law will not have unexpected consequences under the new LLC law. As of January 1, 2018, all LLCs were automatically transferred to the new law. One of the huge changes under the new law is that unless your LLC has an operating agreement stating the distribution of profits/losses...

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Employee Notice Required for Wages

In 2019, the Minnesota legislature passed new wage theft laws. As part of those new laws, as of July 1, 2019, all employers must provide each employee with a written notice at the start of their employment and keep a signed copy of the notice on file. In addition, the employer has to provide notice to the employee before any changes regarding wages, etc. prior to the change taking effect. The written notice must include: Employee’s employment status and whether an employee is exempt from minimum wage, overtime and other state wage and hour laws, and on what basis. • Number of...

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The Mistake of a Business Owner/Nonprofit Regarding Charitable Gambling

Giving back to the community and doing good is an essential part of the human experience. However, in doing so, you must make certain that you are in compliance with applicable laws. This article will explore the topic of lawful charitable gambling, which is complicated. Violating charitable gambling laws is a crime. First, for-profit businesses are not allowed to conduct lawful charitable gambling in Minnesota. The only organizations that can conduct lawful charitable gambling are registered nonprofit organizations (note: just because you are a nonprofit does not automatically mean your organization can conduct lawful charitable gambling). Second, there are only five...

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Tips and Tip Sharing

An employer cannot use tips (e.g., gratuities) that employees receive towards payment of minimum wage. In addition, an employer cannot require an employee to share tips with the employer or other employees. Nor can an employer require that an employee contribute any or all of the tips received into a fund or pool operated for the benefit of the employer or the employees. However, an employee can voluntarily share tips with other employees. If an employee voluntarily shares tips with other employees, who are indirect services employees (e.g., bus people, dishwashers, cooks or hosts), the voluntary tips that were received...

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