When is my New Orleans Occupational License Tax Due?

Every business operating in New Orleans is required to have an occupational license issued by the City. That occupational license is issued annually, and it’s essentially a permit that lets you operate, and a tax based on the revenue your company generates.

Since it’s an annual permit, you must renew it each year. According to the City’s Muncipal Code, which is available free on Municode.com, Section 150-952, that tax is due on January first of each year. If the tax is not paid by March 1, the tax is delinquent and subject to penalty and interest.

Note that the City has a whole slew of ordinances regarding occupational licenses, so this answer may change depending upon which industry the city’s classified you under. But, generally, if you’re running a business, you should add “Check on my Occupational License Tax” to the lists of tasks to get done at the beginning of each year.

If you have a business partner, you need a buy-sell agreement

Buy Sell 1A buy–sell agreement, or a buyout agreement, is a contract between co-owners of a business that addresses the situation if a co-owner is, for any imaginable reason, no longer a part of the business. For example, if a co-owner wants out of the business, wishes to retire, goes bankrupt, becomes disabled, gets divorced, dies or simply wants to sell his shares to someone else, a buy-sell agreement is, in essence, a premarital agreement or a “business pre-nup” between all the business partners or shareholders governing what should be done in such circumstances. This forces the business owners to talk and set guidelines for the process before it happens, to avoid expensive litigation if a dispute arises.

Every business with multiple owners should have a buy-sell agreement. Without plans written in stone for all future transitions, owners are playing a game of financial Russian roulette. As soon as these incidences occur, it is in everyone’s best interest to deal with the change and move on with, or without, the business.

Buy–sell agreements consist of several legally binding clauses. Sometimes they appear as a component of an operating agreement, other times they stand as a separate document. The standard clauses denote who is eligible to purchase a departing partner’s ownership interest. Most of the time this is limited to other owners, but sometimes it includes outsiders or relatives.

Clauses within the Buy-Sell Agreement

One of the most common clauses indicates the buy-out triggers, such as a partner’s death, divorce, bankruptcy, etc. We’ll discuss those triggers in more depth in a separate post.

Price can also be pre-negotiated, or the co-owners can agree on a valuation method, such as asking the company’s accountant, and what price or value is assigned to the former partner’s interest. Hiring an appraiser or using a valuation formula to put a price on shares or stakes is crucial before drafting a buy-sell agreement. To alleviate the stress of different valuations derived from different methods, it helps that the owners to agree on a way to value the company in advance.

Fund Your Buy-Sell Agreement with Life or Disability Insurance

Finally, most buy-sell agreements should be funded by insurance. If you’re a 50% co-owner in a business valued at $500,000, and the buy-sell has been triggered, you’ll have to come up with $250,000 in cash to purchase your partner’s share. That’s usually easier said than done, and sometimes means you have to sell the business because you cannot fund the buy-sell. That’s why you should fund your buy-sell agreement with insurance.

What does the Hobby Lobby Case Mean to your Louisiana Small Business?

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By now, you’ve probably heard about the landmark United States Supreme Court decision in the matter of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby (Most people just call it Hobby Lobby). The decision allows “closely held,” for-profit corporations to be exempt from federal laws if the owners object because of religious beliefs and if a less restrictive means of furthering the government’s interest exists.

Exemptions for Small Businesses with Less than 50 Employees

There are already exceptions to federal laws in place for small employers, defined as businesses with under 50 employees, as well as exceptions for religious employers such as churches. However, Hobby Lobby, founded by self-made Evangelical Christian billionaire David Green, is an arts and crafts company with about 21,000 employees. The decision in this matter pertains to companies that employ over 50 full time workers, and the mandates that the Affordable Care Act (“ObamaCare”) requires specifically of those employers.

The Hobby Lobby Decision

Green believes that life begins at conception, specifically fertilization, and objected to providing health insurance coverage to his female employees for four specific FDA-approved contraceptives, which he sincerely believes prevents implantation of a fertilized egg, and in his opinion constitutes abortion. Hobby Lobby’s case was consolidated with a case by Conestoga Wood Specialties, a furniture company owned by the Mennonite Hahn family, who hold the same beliefs. Conestoga employs approximately 1,000 people.

In this decision, the Court was careful to denote that the intent of its ruling was to only recognize a for-profit corporation’s claim of religious belief if it is considered to be a “closely held” corporation – not a conglomerate such as IBM or Bank of America (which are publicly traded). “Closely held” commonly refers to a company owned by a few insider shareholders, usually who also occupy the board. Though the ruling only applies to these “closely held, for-profit corporations,” who amass a small subset of the nation’s employers, many believe (based on a dissenting opinion written by Justice Ginsburg) that the ruling may have a more encompassing effect in future.

The Court interpreted the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), a 1993 federal act aimed at preventing laws that substantially burden a person’s free exercise of religion. Following RFRA, the court completely overturned the “contraceptive mandate”, a regulation adopted by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which requires employers to cover specific types of contraceptives for their female employees.

The Court said that the mandate was not the least restrictive way to ensure access to contraceptive care, noting that a less restrictive alternative is already being provided for religious non-profits (who are already exempt from the mandate). The decision was split 5-4 down gender and party lines, and both sides had much to say on the matter.

What Others are Saying

This was clearly a significant decision for employers, so we’ve compiled some thoughts from around the web that provide both neutral tone arguments and a few from opposing sides.

Six Myths And Facts About The Hobby Lobby Decision

Supreme Court Rejects Contraceptives Mandate for Some Corporations

At Supreme Court, baffling decision follows awful Hobby Lobby ruling

Hobby Lobby ruling much more than abortion

Hobby Lobby decision: 5 takeaways