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Subchapter V for Small Business Owners
For the past two years, small businesses whose bottom lines were impacted by the onset of COVID-19 enjoyed greater protections while going through Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganizations in the form of higher debt limits under the Small Business Reorganization Act.
That act, passed in August 2019 and enacted as of February 2020, established what came to be called “Subchapter V” of the SBRA, aimed at providing a simpler, less costly and ultimately more beneficial Chapter 11 process for small business debtors who would struggle to afford administrative and other costs.
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Repayment of Student Debt by Employers
Retaining employees, and attracting new ones, has always been at the forefront of employer’s minds, but never more so than right now.  An extension of the student loan repayment plan for employers is one attractive way to stabilize your workforce.
The CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act) extended tax-free employer sponsored student loan repayment through 2025.  This means that employers can give each employee up to $5,250 of non-taxable money to pay off student loans per year.  The amount the employer contributes is deductible by the employer and it
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The Metaverse
The metaverse isn’t just for gamers anymore.
With the rise of block-chain technology, cryptocurrencies, and non-fungible tokens (NFTs)—along with the increasingly realistic-looking realms created in virtual and augmented reality—these three-dimensional realms, best known for games like Fortnite and Roblox, are increasingly becoming a place to do business.
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Continue Reading Metaverse Becoming a (Virtual) Reality

NFTs as a Business Asset
Simply put, NFT’s (or “tokens”) are digital assets. Various examples include movies, drawings, music, and digital artwork.
By their very definition, NFT’s are non-fungible, meaning that they cannot be traded for something else.  For example, Da Vinci’s original Mona Lisa is non-fungible; only one original version exists, and there will only ever be one.  Contrarily, U.S. dollars are fungible—trade one dollar for another dollar and you end up with the same thing.
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Data Management Key to Business Success
Small businesses should have thorough, regular—and secure—processes for gathering, storing and interpreting data, which in the “Information Age” has become critical to staying a step ahead of competitors and the marketplace as a whole.
Without deliberately planning and engineering the most effective ways to integrate various types of data flows in every part of your business operations, you can’t fully understand how data can help you make key decisions and otherwise leverage its benefits for key purposes.
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New CDC Guidelines
The CDC has released new mask guidelines easing former recommendations. The CDC is no longer using vaccination status as the benchmark for mask guidelines and are now using low, medium, and high levels for counties to measure COVID risk and mask recommendations.
For low level counties no masking is required. In medium level counties individuals can consult with their doctors about mask needs and recommends masks indoors for contact with high-risk individuals. Finally, in high level counties masking is recommended for all individuals indoors in public.
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Independent Contractors
A recent Illinois Court of Appeals decision in an Illinois Wage Claim Act case puts a magnifying glass on the sticky wicket employers can find themselves when they are unable to pay an outside contractor, at least under certain circumstances.
The decision in O’Malley v. Udo, 2022 IL App (1st) 200007 (Jan. 14, 2022) revolved around an independent contractor who was paid $1,000 per work day plus expenses, was sent 1099 forms at the end of the tax year, was mostly free to work from his Evanston home, and otherwise clearly identified in the written agreement between the
Continue Reading ‘Independent Contractor’ Might Be a Trojan Horse

Do you need a business license?
In the past two years about 30,000 new businesses were started in Illinois.   Most of those new business had to get a specific license for their particular type of business.   Not all businesses do, but many will need an Illinois Business License specific to their occupation, which vouches for the fact that you’re qualified to perform a certain type of skill and reassures customers that you will be accountable for your work.
For starters, you will need a Certificate of Registration common to all types of businesses. Then, you will need to drill
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George Bellas advises on E-Commerce
There is no doubt that e-commerce sales have grown tremendously over the last 20-plus years. That is in part because online purchases are taxed differently than in person sales, and small businesses have noticed the advantages of this system.
The setup is quite simple: a small business may house their servers or warehouse their goods in one state, all while shipping their products to the other 49 states. It is important to know that small businesses are not required to collect sales tax in a state in which they have no physical presence. Until recently,
Continue Reading Tax Liability Stemming From Online Sales

Illinois Freedom to Work Act 
Illinois Employers who want to protect their business and trade secrets by using restrictive employment contracts will find new hoops to jump through.   The enforcement of non-compete and non-solicit agreements, designed to erect roadblocks to prevent former employees from gaining an unfair advantage due to their proprietary knowledge of your business or relationships with your customers, has always been tricky.  But a recent law will make it more complicated.
An amendment to the Illinois Freedom to Work Act that will take effect on January 1, 2022, will create new hurdles for business owners hoping to
Continue Reading You Might Need to Rework Your Non-Competes

Wills Can Be Signed Electronically
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, wills needed to be signed in person and witnesses (including notaries) needed to be on hand to see the will creator’s actually sign the will.
When the pandemic got underway, Illinois Governor Pritzker signed an Emergency Order declaring that for health and safety related reasons, wills could be signed electronically and that notaries public and other witnesses could view the signing from afar, provided they had a dependable audio and video connection.
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Continue Reading Electronic Will Signing, Remote Witnessing Made Permanently Available

Attorneys Misty Cygan and Geo Bellas can help your get business off to a good start.
We’ve run a series of posts recently about the steps involved in launching a business.  These have covered issues like deciding what type of business you want to start and what your business model will be; putting together a business plan and identifying sources of capital investment; and naming and registering your business.
This final post will flesh out how forging a beneficial relationship with a law firm that delivers services in a punctual, professional and affordable manner is key to the endgame of
Continue Reading Starting a Business: What Can Your Law Firm Do for You?

Illinois Cannabis Business Market
Licenses for a legal cannabis business have been a hot topic lately, and now the the Illinois Supreme Court has made its first ruling related to the byzantine process of obtaining a license for a legalized cannabis business in the state, and it seems likely to be the first of many.
The legislative effort to limit the number of licenses the state issues drives up the value of said licenses to the point where it almost seems to bait those who don’t win the competitions to get one, and who sometimes end up angry and confused
Continue Reading First Cannabis Litigation a Wafting Indication of What’s to Come

Considerations for Starting a Small Business
Recently, we ran a post What to consider when Starting a Small Business, Part One  about some of the early steps in starting a small business—deciding you’re ready, figuring out what type of business you want to start, surveying your competitors, and figuring out the optimal business model.
At that point, it’s time to get down to the proverbial brass tacks and put together a business plan, which really doesn’t need to be more than one page long unless you’re going to apply for a loan from a bank (in which case you
Continue Reading Considerations for Starting a Small Business, Part Two

Are you thinking about starting a small business?
It can be an exciting and challenging endeavor, although it’s more likely to succeed if you plan ahead, take it step by step, and surround yourself with trusted, experienced advisers.  Of course, such an important endeavor – not to mention a life alternating event – requires hard work, ingenuity and more than a little legal advice.   You can start by going to our webpage on What to Ask When Staring a Business.
Keep in mind that there might never be an absolutely perfect time to start your own business –
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Business interruption insurance & COVID
Should business interruption insurance cover losses due to the COVID-19 shutdowns, even if said insurance policy contains a virus exclusion?
A bar and restaurant based in Park Ridge and a former jewelry store in Chicago have gone to the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to argue that their policies with West Bend Mutual Insurance Co. should cover such losses, which they say are due to the Illinois state government orders, not the virus itself. (Mashallah Inc. et al. v. West Bend Mutual Insurance Co., U.S. Seventh Circuit, 21-1507)
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Continue Reading Park Ridge Bar Loses Claims for Business Interruption Insurance Coverage