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  • ‘Tis the Tax Season

    As March is coming to an end April, 15th better known as Tax Day is on the horizon. Most people file their 2018 taxes by April 15th. If you haven’t started getting your tax information together and ready to submit, it is now time to do so! Consulting with a tax attorney will help you organize and be prepared to pay your taxes, as well as devise a plan to think about taxes year round.

    As a small business owner taxes and their intricacies may be the last thing on your mind. Hiring a tax attorney will help bridge the gap between doing business and paying taxes and help you avoid any common tax mistakes.

    The number-one tax mistake new business owners make is not realizing they even have a business. As many businesses started as a hobby, the line between business, and pleasure often becomes blurred. If you made over $400 in self-employed income in a taxable year you may be required to file Schedule C (Profit or Loss from Business) and Schedule SE along with your regular 1040 income tax form.

    Don’t forget that many of the expenses you accumulate in the course of running your business are tax deductible. It’s relatively easy to handle most tax deductions. If you buy something, such as office supplies or a banner ad on a targeted website, keep the receipt and deduct it at the end of the year.

    But two of the biggest deductions are slightly more complicated than that. The home office deduction, which allows you to deduct expenses related to the portion of your home that you use for business, requires precise calculations. And the automobile expenses deduction takes very dedicated recordkeeping throughout the year.

    Never ignore these two deductions. They can mean big tax savings at the end of the year. If in doubt, contact a reputable tax attorney to help you make sense of it all.

    Don’t forget to remember sales tax! If you sell products and live in one of the 45 states (plus D.C.) that has a sales tax, you are most likely on the hook to charge sales tax to your buyers. Sales tax can be complicated and many sellers either get it wrong or try to ignore it altogether. Both strategies can have dire consequences. If you sell products, get to know sales tax.

    When is doubt it is always better to go to the professionals than trying to figure it out on your own. While hiring a professional can seem like an unbearable business expense, especially when you’re just starting out, a good tax attorney gives you peace of mind you’re doing everything right. He or she often also saves you money by finding deductions or tax credits that could have otherwise been missed. It’s almost always a good idea to get professional help when it comes to your business taxes.

    The experienced team at Oliver & Cheek, PLLC possesses a wealth of tax law knowledge. They can help clients avoid controversies and save money in taxes, interest, and penalties by helping plan transactions and structure operations. When you file on your own you’re also on your own if the IRS wants to take a closer look at your tax return. When you reach out for assistance with your business tax filings you can be confident you have the necessary backing if the IRS comes calling.

    For more information, or to receive assistance preparing your personal or business taxes, please contact the respected attorneys at Oliver & Cheek, PLLC by calling (252) 633-1930 or visiting

    (Sources: Internal Revenue Service, American Institute of CPAs; Square, Inc.; National Federation of Independent Business; and U.S. News & World Report.)

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  • Corporate Structures and Business Planning

    Structuring the way in which your business will be run and organized can be a daunting task. Trying to choose between registering as a sole proprietorship, general partnership, corporation, or limited liability company? Let Oliver & Cheek, PLLC guide you in these types of decisions.

    Organizing as a Sole Proprietorship

    A Sole Proprietorship is a business that has a single owner who pays personal income tax on all of the profits earned for the business. Sole Proprietorships are common among small business owners who often don’t have to distinguish a name difference between themselves and their business, and is the simplest form of business to begin. A disadvantage of a Sole Proprietorship is that it is hard to obtain loans and other forms of equity. Typically as a sole proprietorship grows it will reorganize as an LLC or Corporation. For more information on organizing as an LLC or a Corporation see our post here.

    Organizing as a General Partnership

    A General Partnership is an agreement between two or more people to share in all liabilities, profits and other assets in a business. There should also be a legal document that proves the partnership exists, such as a formal partnership agreement. In some cases a General Partnership agreement can be made orally and without a legal document however. Setting up a General Partnership is easier and requires less time and paperwork than setting up a LLC or Corporation which makes them a frequent choice for small businesses.

    Organizing as a Corporation

    Within a Corporation the most common forms of organization are either a S corporation or a C corporation. What these versions have in common is that a corporation is autonomous from the owners. As in it can act on its own in buying or selling property, legal matters such as suing or being sued as well as ownership can change by buying or selling stocks.

    S Corporations are better for those who offer a public service as it offers the same protection and structure of a corporation yet has the same tax benefits as a LLC. The business pays no tax on the corporate level, however individuals and owners pay taxes on profits.

    C Corporations are taxed directly by the government as well as owners pay taxes on profits made. Owners of the C corp still receive limited liability protection that protects personal assets separate from the business. A benefit of organizing as a C corp is that payroll and benefits among other things can be deducted from taxes.

    Organizing as a LLC

    Unlike a corporation, LLC’s don’t offer shares in their business. If an LLC has multiple owners they all share a percentage of the business. They also have the benefit of being flexible in how they are taxed while offering the most levels of protection between business and private assets. The LLC is either taxed through the individual profits that the owner or owners make, or as either a S or C corporation.

    Organizing as a Non-profit

    Creating a non-profit organization makes any donations or revenue accumulated considered tax-exempt by the IRS. However, your organization must use those funds to support religious, scientific, charitable, educational, literary, public safety or cruelty prevention causes, and give back to improve the community in some way. The staff of a non-profit organization typically has some paid members and other unpaid volunteers, and ultimately relies on the community it serves to continue its operation, as well as good management.

    In the end it comes down to what makes the most sense for your business. With any of the models you choose comes a variety of pros and cons. We here at Oliver & Cheek understand how to help you make the right choice and minimize the cons.Contact us today to set up a consultation.

    At Oliver & Cheek business law is one of our specialties and we are here to help you through all of your business needs, organization and beyond. For more information or to schedule a consultation, please contact Oliver & Cheek, PLLC by calling (252) 633-1930 or visiting

  • Filing for Bankruptcy?

    The law offices of Oliver & Cheek are well versed in the ins and outs of business law, and are here to help your large or small business through any situations. Bankruptcy is never the first choice when a business notices they are struggling. However there are also many ways to benefit from filing for bankruptcy. Below we have listed the different chapters of bankruptcy to help your decide which may be best for your business.

    Ch 7 is a common form of bankruptcy and is available to those who cannot make regular, monthly payments toward their debts. Businesses choosing to terminate their enterprises may also file Chapter 7. The principle advantage is that the debtor comes out without any future obligations on his discharged debts. However, this type of bankruptcy does not wipe out most mortgages or liens. If a debtor wants to keep an item—perhaps a house or car, which is security for a loan—he must continue these payments. If the debtor wants to discharge that car loan, then he must surrender the car to the creditor holding the lien.

    Ch 11 is used by large businesses to reorganize debts and continue operations. Corporations, partnerships, and LLCs are not allowed to file for relief under Chapter 13, thus Chapter 11 would be the only option for these entities if reorganization is needed. If a company files for relief under Chapter 7 it must end operations upon the filing of the case. In North Carolina the bankruptcy administrator supervises the case. A Chapter 11 plan is submitted to the court detailing the proposed treatment of secured and unsecured claims and a judge then approves or confirms the plan. The plan—which details creditors to be paid, how much they are paid, and how long the plan lasts—is then implemented. Usually plans for small businesses last three to five years.

    Ch 12 is used by farmers or commercial fishermen to reorganize their debts and continue operating their farms or fishing operations. The advantage of Chapter 12 is that the reorganization plan will allow payments to be made seasonally, when the farmer or fisherman earns his money. The limitation of only being able to restructure loans in a five-year period in Chapter 13 cases is not a limitation in Chapter 11 or Chapter 12 cases. A corporation, partnership, or LLC, along with individuals, are eligible for relief under Chapter 12 as family farmers or family fishermen.

    Ch 13 is a “reorganization” bankruptcy that allows a person to repay some or all debts. The amount paid to creditors is based on what you want to keep, what you earn, and how much non-exempt property you have. Those who choose this option are usually behind on their house and car payments, but desire to catch up on those payments to keep the property. This option does not necessarily mean all creditors will be paid in full—it is a way to repay taxes to the IRS or North Carolina Department of Revenue as there are no penalties when you pay through a Chapter 13 plan.

    All of us here at the law offices of Oliver & Cheek understand that no one option will be entirely perfect for your business. For many filing for bankruptcy is the last resort, we are here to help guide you through the process, helping you pick the best strategy and ultimately trying to save your business. For more information feel free to contact us today!

    At Oliver & Cheek business law is one of our specialties and we are here to help you through all of your business needs, organization and beyond. For more information or to schedule a consultation, please contact Oliver & Cheek, PLLC by calling (252) 633-1930 or visiting

  • New Year Estate Planning

    It’s 2019! Every new year brings changes and goals that we want to accomplish. While you’re making a list of 2019 to-do’s be sure to add updating or planning your estate to the list. We’ve added a quick graphic that breaks down the basic differences between Wills and trusts, two common ways to plan your estate.

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    Regardless of which you choose both are great options for planning your estate during your lifetime as well as taking care of your loved ones after you’re gone. To learn more about which tool may be right for you call us at Oliver and Cheek to schedule an appointment.

    For more information or to schedule a consultation, please contact Oliver & Cheek, PLLC by calling (252) 633-1930 or visiting

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  • Congratulations to our new Partners

    The Law Offices of Oliver & Cheek, PLLC have recently named Benjamin R. Eisner and Ciara L. Rogers as Junior Partners with the firm. Oliver & Cheek, PLLC is a full service business firm providing legal services to large-sized business, professional associations, limited liability companies, partnerships, joint ventures, non-profits, and individuals.

    We are honored to have Ben and Ciara as junior partners with the firm. They both have excellent and established reputations in their fields. This will continue to be an asset to not only our firm, but to the people in Eastern North Carolina who benefit from their services,said George Oliver, Managing Partner.


    Benjamin R. Eisner received his B.A. degree in American Studies from the University of North Carolina, his MPA from the University of North Carolina School of Government and his J. D. from Campbell University School of Law. He is a member of the NC Bar Association. His focus is on business law, bankruptcy, civil litigation, workouts and alternatives to bankruptcy, and foreclosure defense. He has been with Oliver & Cheek, PLLC since 2010 (?).


    Ms. Rogers received her B. S. degree in Political Science from Averett University and her J. D. from North Carolina Central University School of Law. She is a member of the North Carolina and Virginia Bar Associations. Her focus is on Debtorsand CreditorsRights, Chapter 11 Bankruptcy and Representing Chapter 11 and 7 Bankruptcy Trustees, General Litigation, and Employment Law.


    Before joining Oliver & Cheek, Ciara was a law clerk to the Honorable J. Rich Leonard and the Honorable Randy D. Doub of the Eastern District of North Carolina Bankruptcy Court. She also served as a magistrate judge under the Supreme Court of Virginia from 2009 to 2010. Ms. Rogers also interned with the Bankruptcy Administrator of the Eastern District of North Carolina, in 2008. She has been with Oliver & Cheek, PLLC since 2012 (?).


    Oliver & Cheek, PLLC is a full service business firm providing a wide range of legal services to clients in North Carolina. Major practice areas include bankruptcy; employment law; alternatives to bankruptcy; business law; estate planning and administration; receiverships; commercial real estate; tax planning and controversies; and state and federal civil litigation. Oliver & Cheek, PLLC has offices in New Bern, Greenville, Raleigh, Wilmington, and Wilson, NC.