Top 10 Things That Will Get Your Small Business in Trouble With the Government
You can’t market your small business if you’re in jail, or worse, your business is shut down completely. Here are some ways to avoid getting into trouble with the government.
- Forgetting to report new employees. In most states, you are required to tell the government when you add an employee. Failure to do so, regardless of whether or not you withhold and pay taxes, could get you into trouble.
- Not paying your taxes. Duh, right? Well, in any given year, about a third of small businesses owe taxes. And the IRS will come after you. States, with huge deficits right now, will come at you even harder. Can’t pay? Be proactive and cut a deal. You can’t dodge it for long.
- Making false performance claims in your advertising. We’re talking Federal Trade Commission trouble here. Don’t do it. At the very least, it will negatively affect your company’s reputation.
- Hiring workers who do not have the proper documentation. It used to be that the government wouldn’t come to your place of business and check ID. Enforcement is stricter than it used to be.
- Improper storage or disposal of hazardous materials. Sometimes, your state laws can be even tighter than the EPA.
- Making workspaces uncomfortable or potentially hazardous. Even little things like not having ergonomically-correct chairs and computer peripherals can be a huge liability. And anyone who has to stand for long periods must have a comfortable place to stand.
- Skimming. This is a derivative of not paying your taxes. We’ve seen many instances–firsthand, not just on the news–of business owners taking money off the top so it doesn’t show as taxable income. Don’t do it.
- Fibbing on a government contract application. This means you must be ADA compliant and employ an appropriate number of minorities if the RFP so requires. You will be audited.
- Creating a hostile work environment. This includes sexual harassment. If you have not read the laws concerning harassment, you should. It is probably different than you think.
- Putting pressure on employees to do something wrong or that they deem unethical. You’re probably better off owning up to whatever it is you’re trying to get them to cover up.David Mace, co-owner of Valé, encourages you to mind your Ps and Qs, and let Valé take care of your business marketing needs.