As a business owner, keeping informed about the finer points of employment law is important. If you're getting ready to hire your first employees, you need to be sure that you understand exactly what you can and cannot do. Don't risk getting yourself into legal trouble by asking the wrong question at the interview or making an off-hand comment that's considered legally unacceptable. I created this site to give you the basics of employment law expectations. I hope that the information here helps you to understand what you should and shouldn't do as you're interviewing and hiring your first staff members.
Filing for bankruptcy can be stressful, but it can also be a relief if you have been drowning under your debts. You can help minimize the stress by preparing properly before you begin the process of filing the bankruptcy paperwork. The following are some tips to make the entire process go more smoothly.
Tip #1: Check your prior years' taxes
You must be up to date on all tax filings before you can file bankruptcy. If you haven't yet filed for the current year, or if you are behind on a previous year's taxes, set aside the time to file before you begin filling out the paperwork. Bankruptcy paperwork depends on accurate income tax numbers, so it is impossible to fill out the forms accurately if you haven't yet filed.
Tip #2: Put away the credit cards
It may be tempting to "stock up" before filing for bankruptcy. This can including charging items that you are afraid will be unaffordable after you file, or taking loans out on items that you think you may need or want later. Unfortunately, acquiring a lot of new debt in the few months preceding your filing doesn't look good. The court can deny to discharge debt if it appears it was taken on in anticipation of the bankruptcy filing. If you do use your card or take out a loan for any reason, keep the receipts for where the money was spent, and be prepared to include a statement with your paperwork that explains why you used the card or took out the loan. The goal is to show that the money was used for necessities, not luxuries.
Tip #3: Don't hide assets
Moving or transferring assets, such as vehicles, land, or homes, to friends or family can look a bit shady to a bankruptcy court, especially if the transfer occurred shortly before filing and there was minimal exchanging of money involved. This can look like you are trying to protect an asset from the bankruptcy proceedings, with the intention of getting it back afterward. You may not be intending to hide assets, you could have simply sold them off in an attempt to pay your debt on your own before seeking bankruptcy. The best way to avoid any appearance of illegal activity is to keep records of all sold assets, along with the amount received, where the money was spent, and the reasons why you sold the asset.
If you have concerns about what you should and shouldn't do to ensure a seamless and smooth bankruptcy hearing, talk with a bankruptcy attorney in your area from a firm like Hornthal Riley Ellis & Maland LLP. They can help you both prepare for your filing and avoid some common mistakes.