Nolo's mission is to make the legal system work for everyone—not just lawyers. What we do: To help people handle their own everyday legal matters—or learn enough about them to make working with a lawyer a more satisfying experience—we publish reliable, plain-English books, software, forms and this website. Some of our products have been in print almost 30 years, which is how long Nolo has been in business. Everything we publish is regularly revised, updated and improved by our staff of lawyer-editors, to make sure that it's the best it can be. We pay attention not only to changes in the law, but to feedback from customers, lawyers, judges and court staffers. The Internet is tailor-made for delivering self-help legal information. Online, we can make useful, up-to-date legal information and products available instantly, 24 hours a day. Our site provides articles on almost any legal topic, and links to other helpful websites. People who need more help can buy a book or software program, download a short "eGuide" or electronic FormKit or fill out a single legal form online. (And unlike any lawyer we know, we provide a money-back guarantee.) We also use our website to promote our own proposals for reforming America's legal system, and to poke a little fun at courts and lawyers. Maybe it's because we know the legal system so well—after all, almost all of our editors and authors are lawyers themselves—that we enjoy slipping in a lawyer joke here and there. Why we do it: Everybody knows that lawyers charge too much and explain too little about what they're doing. What many people don't know (although they may suspect it) is that in many instances, lawyers are simply unnecessary. We believe the legal system is in serious need of repairs to make it simpler, fairer and more accessible to ordinary people, and we're working toward those ends. But as long as the system is more attuned to the lawyers than the public, Nolo will keep guiding people through it.
There are some benefits to buying an existing business if you’re not as interested in starting a business from scratch. The key to buying a business? Doing the right research so that you can be confident that what you see is what you’re going to get. Read more »
This article is part of our “Business Startup Guide” – a curated list of our articles that will get you up and running in no time! In theory, choosing a domain name is simple. If it is memorable, pronounceable, short, clever, easily spelled and suggests the nature of the commerce on your website, you’ve got yourself... Read more »
All sorts of groups, from artists and musicians to people active in education, health, and community services wish to operate as nonprofit (or not-for-profit) corporations. Often the reason for doing this is simple — nonprofit status is usually a requirement for obtaining funds from government agencies and private foundations. Obtaining grants, however, is not the... Read more »
Many, if not most, LLC owners overlook a critical element of their operating agreement that can save them both money and angst: buy-sell provisions. When you create buy-sell, or buyout, provisions for your operating agreement, you and your co-owners can prepare for events that have been the downfall of more than a few successful small... Read more »
An LLC operating agreement allows you to structure your financial and working relationships with your co-owners in a way that suits your business. In your operating agreement, you and your co-owners establish each owner’s percentage of ownership in the LLC, his or her share of profits (or losses) and his or her rights and responsibilities,... Read more »
This article is part of our Nonprofit Business Startup Guide—a curated list of articles to help you plan, start, and grow your nonprofit business! Nonprofit corporations are organized very much like regular corporations; however, running a nonprofit corporation means complying with a few special rules. Here’s what you need to know. Organizational structure of nonprofit... Read more »
If you’re involved in a fledgling nonprofit organization, you and the other folks active in the group have probably wondered whether or not you should incorporate. Becoming a nonprofit corporation requires some paperwork, but for many groups, the benefits of nonprofit status outweigh the complications. Here are five circumstances that may make it worth your... Read more »
While diligently filing articles of incorporation and adopting bylaws, many corporate owners overlook a critical element of their business relationship: buy-sell, or buyout, provisions. By creating a shareholders’ agreement with buy-sell provisions, the owners of a small, privately held corporation can prepare for events that have been the downfall of more than a few successful... Read more »
Many business partners overlook a critical element of their partnership agreement that can save them both money and angst: buy-sell provisions. When you create buy-sell, or buyout, provisions for your partnership agreement, you and your partners can prepare for events that have been the downfall of more than a few successful small businesses — namely,... Read more »
If you plan on going into business with a business partner, a written partnership agreement is important. If you and your partners don’t spell out your rights and responsibilities in a written business partnership agreement, you’ll be ill-equipped to settle conflicts when they arise, and minor misunderstandings may erupt into full-blown disputes. In addition, without... Read more »
If you are going into business for yourself and your spouse will help out, you don’t need to hire your husband or wife as an employee or independent contractor, nor do you need to form a LLC or corporation. If you follow certain guidelines, you can continue to operate as a sole proprietorship (a one-owner... Read more »
Most people have heard that forming a corporation provides “limited liability” — that is, it limits your personal liability for business debts. What you may not know is that there’s more to creating and running a corporation than filing a few papers. You’ll need to keep excellent records to handle the more complicated corporate tax... Read more »
By definition, a partnership is a business with more than one owner that has not filed papers with the state to become a corporation or LLC (limited liability company). There are two basic types of partnerships—general partnerships and limited partnerships. This article discusses only general partnerships—those in which every partner has a hand in the... Read more »
If you’ve decided to jump into online publishing — putting out an online newsletter, magazine or other content that will interest your business’s customers — you may think that designing your website is your biggest challenge. But that’s the easy part. Much trickier is gathering an audience that will sustain the publication. Here are some... Read more »
A sole proprietorship is a business that is owned by one person (and sometimes his or her spouse) and that isn’t registered with the state as a corporation or a limited liability company (LLC). Sole proprietorships are so easy to set up and maintain that you may already own one without knowing it. For instance,... Read more »
For most contracts, legalese is not essential nor helpful; contractual agreements are best expressed in simple, everyday English. Although lots of contracts are filled with mind-bending legal gibberish, there’s no reason why this has to be true. For most contracts, legalese is not essential or even helpful. On the contrary, the agreements you’ll want to... Read more »
Here’s the skinny on Internet sales tax: who pays it, who doesn’t and why it makes a difference to state governments and brick-and-mortar retailers. It’s hardly a secret that shoppers hate paying sales tax and love a tax-free bargain. Case in point, the tax-free shops in airports that are so successful at separating Bahamas-bound travelers... Read more »
Nonprofit corporations, by definition, exist not to make money but to fulfill one of the purposes recognized by federal law: charitable, educational, scientific or literary. Under state and federal tax laws, however, as long as a nonprofit corporation is organized and operated for a recognized nonprofit purpose and has secured the proper tax exemptions, it... Read more »
Many entrepreneurs have two goals when choosing a structure for their business: protecting their personal assets from business claims and having business profits taxed on their individual tax returns. Not long ago, an S corporation was the only choice for these business owners. In the last few years, however, the popularity of S corporations has... Read more »
A Limited Liability Company (LLC) is not a separate tax entity like a corporation; instead, it is what the IRS calls a “pass-through entity,” like a partnership or sole proprietorship. All of the profits and losses of the LLC “pass through” the business to the LLC owners (called members), who report this information on their personal... Read more »
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