7 Government Regulations Your Small Business MUST Comply With [2019]

Your business is moving full-steam ahead. Your profit margins are rising, thanks to continued operational improvements. There’s nothing in your path that can slow you down now.

Wait!

Before you crack a celebratory bottle of champagne and kick back, you must make sure you’re abiding by all relevant regulations. Government regulations on business apply to companies in all industries, from NYC construction sites to Silicon Valley start-ups. These regulations can affect your business in a number of different ways, too.

Which Regulations Apply to Your Company?

Unfortunately, the government is not obligated by law to notify you about regulation violations. It’s the responsibility of you, as the business owner, to proactively learn about these regulations, and ensure the business is not violating them.

Regulations on business are created at three different levels of government:

  • Federal Regulations: Nation-wide regulations apply to all businesses.
  • State Regulations: Not all states enforce the same regulations. Businesses with multiple locations across state lines must remain aware of all laws in place.
  • Local Regulations: Regulations on business can vary depending on the specific county or town, too.

Whether you’re just opening up your doors, or you’ve been around for decades, your small business must ensure that its following all applicable regulations.

What Happens if Regulatory Policies for a Business Are Violated?

The penalty for violating a regulation can be steep, but it varies depending on the specific law. Violating some business laws and regulations might incur a fine, but others might ultimately result in a lawsuit.

Top Government Regulations of Business in 2019

1. Tax Code Business Regulations

Taxes are invariably one of the biggest regulations that small business owners need to keep on the radar. But, following the tax code isn’t only about making payments; it’s about paying the correct taxes, and being prepared to make payments at the right time. Some tax laws also fluctuate based on the structure of the business.

Companies across the country must pay a federal tax, and most small businesses must also pay a state tax.

Income taxes tend to comprise a large percentage of overall yearly taxes, but claiming all tax deductions can offset this cost. Many small businesses must also pay employment taxes, which are charged based on payroll costs, including Social Security and Medicare, unemployment taxes, and more. Businesses that purchase supplies or sell products may also have to pay excise taxes. Avoiding taxes isn’t cheap– violating tax codes can lead to jail time, or other penalties.

When it comes to paying the right taxes at the strategic time, there’s no reason to stumble in the dark. Bookkeeping services alleviate the stress of accurate record keeping, with unlimited tax consulting available at all times.

2. Employment And Labor Laws

Labor laws and other business laws and regulations relating to employment are crucial for small businesses to follow as well. The Fair Labor Standards Act defines how business owners must treat employees by outlining policies for minimum wage, as well as overtime. However, minimum wage requirements can also differ based on the state. According to this regulation, overtime fees must be at least time and a half the standard pay rate.

Labor laws are also in place to ensure that employees have a safe working environment, free of danger or hazards. OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, is charged with inspecting workplaces to uphold these standards.

Other employment-related regulations ensure benefits plans, employment permission for non-citizens, equal opportunity practices, fair union interactions, medical leave assurances, and more.

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3. Antitrust Regulations

As a business owner, cornering the market is a natural instinct. But be sure you’re not violating antitrust laws in the process. These small business regulations keep the playing field even for all of your competitors by controlling the ways that business owners communicate with each other.

First and foremost, these antitrust small business regulations prevent business owners from fixing prices with competitors, or taking illicit steps toward lower product prices through price discrimination. Additionally, any formal discussions with competitors regarding supplier boycotts are also illegal.

4. Advertising

False advertising regulations apply to small businesses the same way they apply to huge corporations.

For your marketing or advertising campaigns to be legal (and effective), any claims you make must be true. Blatantly untrue or otherwise misleading advertising can do more harm than good, even if it brings in business in the short term. But advertising rules can vary by industry as well.

In the digital age, advertising refers to more than television commercials and billboards. As advertising has expanded to include the web, the scope of these government regulations has scaled as well. Closely monitor your advertising in the following digital marketing mediums:

  • Social Media
  • Company Website
  • Google Advertising
  • Email

Utilizing digital marketing services is a simple way to avoid the fine print that companies can get tied up in with digital campaigns. These seasoned advertisers are familiar with identifying and avoiding all of the common red flags to keep your business on the right track!

5. Environmental Regulations

Environmental regulations can impact small businesses in a few ways, depending on the business model.

Some environmental regulations relating to marketing and language apply to retailers or suppliers. Others control pollution, emissions and environmental hazards from businesses in the service industry.

You can learn more about which environmental regulations apply on the EPA’s website.

6. Privacy

As dictated by government business regulations, companies are forbidden from compromising employees’ privacy. There are several different rules regarding how employees must save (and not release) private information.

By law, employers cannot disclose any sensitive information they provided to you in confidence. This includes:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Social Security Number
  • Financials like bank and routing numbers
  • Health conditions

While specific regulations can vary, employers are generally permitted to monitor employee activity with surveillance cameras inside the workplace. However, this surveillance must be disclosed to employees.

7. State Licensing

Some states require small business owners in specific industries or verticals to obtain licenses. This is especially common for businesses that sell highly regulated substances like alcohol, or with potentially dangerous environments like construction sites.

Be sure to investigate licenses when starting a business, and renew them as necessary!

Accessing Capital to Go the Extra Mile

Of all the reasons to not abide by government regulations on your small business, a lack of capital should never be one of them. At National, our team of finance advisers can help you overcome last-minute regulation challenges, regardless of your industry or obstacle. Contact our team to speak with a representative, learn about your options, and find a loan that works for you!

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About the Author, Matt Carrigan
Matt Carrigan is the Content Writer at National Business Capital & Services. He loves spending every day creating content to educate business owners across every industry about business growth strategies, and how they can access the funding they need!