Building Your Business with Compliance in Mind

A new business has many considerations in order to maintain compliance with federal, state, county, and local tax laws and government regulations, plus any regulations that may govern their industries. One of the first things you’ll want to do, after reviewing all regulations applicable to your locale and industry, is to obtain any necessary licenses or permits. The level of regulatory compliance to which your company will be subject will vary depending on a variety of factors, such as the type, size, form and location of your business.

New York Tax Laws

Businesses that operate in New York are required to register for one or more tax-specific identification numbers, licenses or permits. These may include income tax withholding, sales and use tax, and  excise tax, and may require registration with Federal, State and/or local government authorities. For more information about business registration and your tax obligations, download the NY State Tax Guide for New Businesses or visit the New York Business Taxpayer website. The Tax Guide for New Businesses outlines the procedures to follow and the forms to file with the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance (the Tax Department). The guide also addresses business owners purchasing an existing business or purchasing assets from an existing business.

Federal and New York Labor Laws

Whether you hire your own employees or use independent contractors, you will need to have a solid understanding of federal and state labor laws covering everything from benefits and wages to discrimination and harassment. Making day-to-day decisions that do not violate the law or ethical standards is critical to your success as a company. To mitigate civil penalties and criminal liability, employers must have standards and procedures in place to prevent and detect unethical — and even illegal — behavior.

The New York Department of Labor has set forth a number of labor laws concerning minimum wage, hours of work, child labor, payment of wages and wage supplements, industrial homework, apparel industry registration, registration of Professional Employer Organizations and farm labor.

The website provides a guide that lays out ten easy steps to hiring your first employee, along with an entire Employment and Labor Laws Resource Center designed to help you understand federal and state labor laws, which ones apply to you, and how to comply.


The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is a Federal government agency within the Department of Labor that maintains guidelines to ensure a safe and healthy work environment. OSHA’s mission is to prevent work-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths. OSHA penalties can cost a company up to $70,000, depending on how likely the violation is to result in serious harm to employees. Some industries are required to keep records of work-related injuries and illnesses, while others are not. To learn more about OSHA regulations and how to comply with its safety standards, visit the OSHA website.

Industry-Specific Regulations

You should be familiar with national trade and professional associations specific to your industry. But if you want a comprehensive directory, start with the National Trade and Professional Associations Directory. It provides detailed information about just about every association community you could think of, including:

  • 7,400+ trade and professional organizations
  • 20,000+ executive contacts
  • New conferences every year, plus conference chairs and non-convention events with more than 100 attendees
  • Advance information on future conferences
  • Education-related details, such as certifications and continuing education
  • Membership lists

Many local and school libraries will have a copy in their reference section if you aren’t prepared to purchase your own.

Similarly, the Encyclopedia of Associations contains detailed information about more than 100,000 nonprofit membership associations worldwide, including the organization’s name, address, and phone number, together with the primary official’s name and title, founding date, purpose, activities and dues, national and international conferences, and more.

Another key source of market research information can be found in newsletters published by trade associations, government agencies, industry groups, political groups, and several major corporations. The Oxbridge Newsletter Directory lists several thousand newsletters, arranged by functional area. Check your local library for availability or purchase your own for $1,000.00.

Legal Guidance

Again, the importance of securing a knowledgeable business attorney cannot be underscored enough when it comes to keeping your company ethical and compliant. A good business attorney — especially one with litigation experience in the event you find yourself entangled in an investigation or the subject of legal action — will help you set up your business with compliance with federal, state, county, and local laws in mind and if necessary help you put a corporate compliance plan in place that will keep you free from the snares indigenous to a litigious society such as ours.

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