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Owning A Business With Your Spouse

Owning a business with family and friends can be difficult and the same applies if you decide on owning a business with your spouse. Your business will take away your personal relationship and therefore you will be required to ensure that you manage doesn’t self-destruct and put some things in writing before the two of you get into business together. What are the things you should do before owning a business with your spouse?

Before owning a business with your spouse

Before you begin your business you will have a number of decisions to make. The decisions will affect the way you pay your taxes which include income tax and self-employment tax. You should be reading this article comprehensively and also having a discussion with your tax advisor to understand the complexities of owning a business with your spouse. This article cannot be construed as legal advice because they are only providing general information. The situations which people face are all different and talking to a legal advisor is suggested before making decisions.

Spouses are owners or owner employee

Both spouses need to decide whether they will participate in the business as owners or one of them will be an employee. The primary reason for asking this question is whether both spouses have the expertise to manage the business? Will they both have a major role to play in the business? Does one spouse have outside commitments other than this business? Are both spouses capable of working in the business full-time?

Both spouses as owners

If both spouses decide they will be owners and participate in managing the business they will have to decide about the type of business that should be formed. They can select an LLC, a partnership or even a corporation if they wish to minimize their liabilities.

The tax situation can get less complicated if one spouse decides to remain as an employee. The spouse who is the owner can set up a proprietorship or an LLC as a single-member with very little paperwork involved. A paycheck is issued to the spouse who decides to remain as an employee of the withholding income tax and FICA taxes. The wages paid will determine whether the employee’s spouse receives Social Security credit. The employee’s salary will be considered along with the profits of the business for the purpose of income taxes in a business that is an LLC or a partnership. In cases where the company is established as a corporation and both spouses are working as employees their employment income along with income from dividends will be included in their taxes.

The most important thing to consider before beginning a business with your spouse

In the best interests of the business and the marriage, there is one thing both spouses are required to do before the start of the business. Just as any business with more than one person being involved the most important thing to do is to get an agreement in black-and-white. Spouses who do not have an agreement between them especially in a partnership agreement or employment agreement may not just be hurting their business but may be exposing their marriage to the risks of failure.

It is in the best interests of both individuals and the business to have an agreement in writing from the very onset. The partners can decide the type of agreement they want to have after consultations with a legal advisor. Both partners must ensure they do not give opportunities for misunderstandings to develop which can be easy particularly when both spouses are managing the business at the same time. Instances like these, will also hurt the business and the marriage and could be disastrous for all the people concerned.

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