Growing Pains: 5 Business Law Basics to Be Aware of When Expanding Internationally

The globe is full of new markets and customers. However, your international expansion shouldn’t commence until you’ve learned some general business law basics. With a baseline understanding, you’ll know which professionals to call in to support your growth. This could mean hiring the best business lawyer Albury has to offer, partnering with a tax agent in Milton Keynes, or finding a superb commercial real estate agent in Dubai. 

Before you get there, however, let’s take a look at the five most crucial business law basics to keep in mind:

Many countries distinguish between independent contractors and employees. Since exact definitions may vary, it’s important to research specifics. For example, in the UK, an employee is basically anyone receiving a salary or wage from your company. With that salary or wage comes the right to join trade unions, the right to sick pay and holiday pay, the right to a minimum wage, and much more. 

1. Employees differ from independent contractors

These employee rights are similar in the EU and other developed nations. When taking on employees, companies need to consider tax filing and payroll obligations alongside proper local employment contracts.

2. Nearly every country wants taxes

Although tax laws may vary from country to country, nearly every country wants businesses to pay taxes. These include local payroll taxes and social security payments (which are usually taken care of by payroll providers). They may also include sales taxes and value-added taxes (VATs). 

Reaching out to experts for tax structuring advice can help keep these tax obligations to a minimum. Furthermore, agreements between companies are important for spelling out each entity’s responsibilities under the global transfer pricing rules. 

3. Intellectual property isn’t global 

More often than not, the intellectual property (IP) rights that protect you at home won’t protect you abroad. Since trademarks, patents, copyrights, and more are a huge source of profit and competitive edge, it’s important to apply for IP protection in the markets where you’re planning to operate. Although this may cost a bit upfront, it will save you a lot in the long term.

Individual filings are fine if you’re operating within one country. However, if you plan on expanding to multiple countries within a region, it may be better to seek out region-wide protection such as the ones provided for EU nations. 

4. Data protection laws vary

Like intellectual property and taxes, data protection laws vary from country to country. If you plan on expanding into European markets, then it’s especially important to pay attention to data protection laws. That’s because the EU has strict laws regarding how businesses can receive, retain, and use the personal data they process. Those laws involve asking for user consent before processing personal data and then not transferring that personal data outside the EU without following guidelines for protection.

5. Real estate

If you’re considering buying or renting a property in a new market, it’s important to familiarize yourself with how local real estate works. This means understanding both the landlord’s obligations and the tenants’ obligations because these are far from universal. 

A shortlist of questions to consider include: 

  • What happens when the lease is up? 
  • Is the landlord allowed to raise the rent? If so, how?
  • If you plan on taking out a loan, can the lender request early payment of that loan?
  • During and after your rental period, how are damages and repairs managed?

A reputable commercial real estate agent will be your best source for answers to these and other questions.

Keep these five business law basics in mind to ensure you’re able to expand safely and efficiently into international territory. 

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