Startups & Incorporations

Incorporating is just the first step in starting a successful business. You need more than just the right paperwork. You need a trusted business attorney who can guide you through the entire process. The Kisner Law Firm is a trusted advisor to businesses in the Pittsburgh area and across Pennsylvania. We will help you and your business partners tailor your incorporation in a way that maximizes legal protections and minimizes taxes and exposure to liability.

Many considerations affect how we advise our business clients to proceed with incorporation. Below are some of the questions we ask during the process. These are important issues for any start-up to consider.

The business
First, we need to know about the business itself:
  • Does the business sell a product or provide a service?
  • What are the major transactions that are likely to arise?
  • What federal and state regulations apply specifically to these activities?
  • What licenses are required?
The owners
Next, we ask about the owners:
  • How many owners will their be?
  • What are their financial positions?
  • How will ownership, management, and financial responsibilities be divided?
  • How will profits be distributed?
  • Are all owners active managers or are some passive investors?

The information we get in the first few areas of discussion help us to determine what legal entity should be formed. For many new businesses, the limited liability company (LLC) is the best vehicle. Sometimes, a corporation, non-profit corporation, professional corporation, or partnership may be required.

Tax treatment
The discussion about tax issues is one of the most important:
  • What is the best strategy to minimize tax liability?
  • Should we file for an s-election with the IRS?

Legal entities like the LLC can "check the box" to determine their own tax treatment. Depending on the finances of the business and its owners, the difference between the options could result in significant tax savings.

We then move on to discuss more specific issues, like insurance:
  • How much business insurance is needed?
  • What other types of insurance are needed to protect the company?
  • Will the company pay for health or life insurance for the owners?

We work closely with insurance agents representing all kinds of insurance to help find the right combination of policies that will best protect the business and its owners.

Next, we discuss possible employees:
  • How many employees will the business have?
  • Will any of the owners be employees also?
  • Should workers be classified as employees or independent contractors?

Not every start-up business has employees when it first begins operations. Sometimes the business is run only by the one or two owners who founded it. Eventually, though, most successful businesses hire employees, and they need to have a good grasp of the legal requirements.

Last, we talk about the long-term goals of the business:
  • Where do you see the business in 5 years, in 10 years?
  • What legal issues will arise between now and then?
  • What marketing and business strategies can we help point you in the right direction on?

Our meetings with entrepreneurs are always enjoyable because we can learn so much from each other. We become experts in our clients' businesses so we can assist them when legal issues arise, and we teach our clients the most important things they need to know about the legal side of running a business.

Read more about the business law services that the Kisner Law Firm provides.