Business law is the body of law which govern what goes on with commercial dealings, and there are basically two major categories: taxation of commercial activities and regulation of business transactions. Taxation refers to the taxes that a commercial entity must pay. It may be based on income, assets or consumption and may be annual, quarterly, monthly or yearly. There are also rates of taxation for different classes of business activities, some of which are personal and some of which are business-related. There can also be direct taxes and indirect taxes. Some taxes may be imposed directly by a government agency such as the Federal tax administration or the State tax administration.
There are three major branches of business law. The first category is that of federal commercial law. This covers all federal government departments, agencies, authorities, corporations and even Indian tribal governments. This includes sections dealing with: aviation, interstate commerce, licensing and manufacturing licensing, postal and utility laws, real property law, trademark law, tax laws, labor laws, intellectual property laws, departmental trade laws, departmental law and consumer protection laws. Virtually every agency and bureau of the United States government have some sort of regulating or implementing body for commercial matters.
The second category is that of state commercial laws. This covers state and local government entities in the US. It is an important aspect of business law as it authorizes the manner in which commercial entities must conduct their businesses and regulates the way in which they must compensate their workers and suppliers. For example, state laws may govern the minimum wage, taxation of business sales, insurance requirements for small businesses, duration of licensure for food operations, minimum number of employees required for each type of business and more.
The third category is that of international business law. This mainly concerns the laws of entities and individuals who conduct businesses in other countries. This can include transacting business with businesses in China, India, South Africa, the Philippines, in Europe or with the Middle East. It can also include international business law with respect to trademarks, copyright and patents as well as the supply chain. In this regard, the term international refers to any location where businesses are conducted, regardless of the names of the countries.
The fourth sub-category is that of economic sectors. This includes sectors such as the financial industry, property development, information technology, outsourcing, telecommunications and the service sectors. Of these, the financial sector is perhaps the most common among all other sectors, with almost all businesses, large or small, engaging in some form of transaction or exchange of value on a daily basis. As far as economic sectors are concerned, there are two types of industries that engage in such transactions: one is the financial industry and the other is the service sector. These are further subdivided into four different categories: general commerce and marketing, retail trade, professional and technical services and business process outsourcing.
The fifth sub-category, which encompasses almost all aspects of business law, is that of intellectual property. This includes such elements as trademarks, patents, copyrights and trade secrets. Some examples include the design of a logo, designs for advertising and logos used by commercial entities. A trademark is a word, design, symbol or phrase that identifies a particular product or service. There are many other types of intellectual property, including patents, copyrights and the information in a database.
The sixth sub-category is that of relationships. This includes cross-cultural and trans-regional business relationships. These are crucial to business success, and business lawyers help their clients understand the legal implications of these relationships in both domestic and international arenas. They also assist their clients in fulfilling their obligations in business entities based in one country or jurisdiction while conducting business in another. These obligations include taxes, licensing fees, payments and services. Again, this is not an exhaustive list and other categories may be found within business law.
The seventh and final sub-category is that of corporate law. This area of business law addresses the issues that surround business corporations, partnerships, limited liability companies and corporations. These legal matters impact the economic standing of businesses, affecting both their financial situation and social standing. Business law firms to assist their clients in avoiding problems when incorporating, establishing corporate names and filing for personal bankruptcy. In addition, business lawyers help their clients to settle their debts and deal with estate taxes, inheritance taxes and income tax.