With the holidays fast approaching, it’s time to start thinking about your 2018 wrap-up. One of the best ways to make sure you handle that properly and set your business up for 2019 is to complete a year-end legal checklist. 

A year-end legal checklist will help you protect your business and its interests. Here is what should be on your 2018 checklist: 

6 items that should be on your year-end legal checklist 

1. Review employee agreements and independent-contractor contracts

Even if you are happy with your employee agreements and independent-contractor contracts, year-end is a good time to review them. Think about any major legal shifts that have occurred in the past year. For example, this year, you may want to consider a morality clause in the wake of the #MeToo movement or a clause about cannabis use in the workplace. 

By staying on top of the changing landscape, you can help protect yourself against lawsuits and other legal issues. 

2. Review vendor agreements and other third-party contracts 

It is important to review your vendor agreements and other third-party contracts. Make sure to resolve any mistakes or disputes that have arisen. At the same time, double check that there have been no changes to your vendors’ and third-party contractors’ information. For instance, make sure that their offices have not moved over the last year. If there is any new information, amend your contracts to reflect that. 

3. File any necessary Articles of Amendment

If you have not made any legal changes to your company, you can skip this item on your year-end legal checklist. If you have altered your company name or made other key changes to the business structure though, now is the time to ensure all the proper associated documents have been filed.   

4. Compile tax documents, financial statements, and receipts

Tax season is going to be here before you know it. Instead of waiting until the last minute to handle your taxes, use the end of the year to gather all the documents you will need. As soon as you have this information gathered, reach out to your accountant. By meeting with them before the busy tax season, you will have more of their time and attention.

5. Backup files, documents, and reports 

This may sound obvious, but many business owners still forget to do it. In this day and age, much of our work is on computers. While this is great for the planet, it does make it important to do regular back-ups so vital information is not lost in the event of a technology crash. Use this time to remind yourself to do a full backup of all your business’ files. 

6. Set your incorporated effective date to January 1st

If your small business is ready to be incorporated, set your effective date for January 1st. This will keep things simple for your financial statements in the years to come. If you are not incorporated, this is a good time to think about changing that. By incorporating, you will be able to access tax benefits for your company. 

The final item on your year-end legal checklist 

The final item on your year-end legal checklist should be meeting with your small business lawyer. Now is the time to review your year and discuss your game plan for 2019. For example, if you are not incorporated, ask your lawyer if it would be right for you. Having this meeting will help ensure your company excels in 2019. 

Once you have completed the other items on your year-end legal checklist, give us a call to book an appointment with one of our small business lawyers.