Finance Law

Finance laws exist to ensure fair competition and to protect the financial interests of companies and individual investors. These resources will provide you with a starting point for learning about finance laws common to small businesses.

Antitrust Law

Many organizations, both government and private, use competitive bidding processes to make sure they get the best goods and services for the best prices. The Sherman Act and other antitrust laws prohibit any agreement among competitors to fix prices, rig bids, or engage in other anti-competitive activity. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Justice enforce the antitrust laws.

Provides antitrust compliance assistance resources for businesses.

FTC's antitrust arm, the Bureau of Competition seeks to prevent business practices that restrain competition. This site includes all regulatory information concerning the enforcement of antitrust laws by the FTC.

Frequently asked advertising questions, compliance guides, fact sheets, policy statements, and staff comments on various advertising issues.

Bankruptcy Law

Business owners who can't afford to pay back their creditors often look to filing bankruptcy as a way to settle their debt and avoid costly legal action. When you file for bankruptcy, your creditors may be prevented from collecting on debts until the process is completed.

How much creditors can collect depends on how your business is structured. If your business is a sole proprietorship, your personal assets may be used to pay off business debts, depending on which form of bankruptcy is chosen. Corporations, limited liability companies, and some forms of partnerships protect personal assets from being used to pay off business debts. Not all bankruptcies are voluntary. Creditors can also petition for a business to declare bankruptcy.

Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 apply primarily to individuals, but affect small business owners who operate as sole proprietorships. Under Chapter 7, the bankruptcy trustee will sell assets to satisfy outstanding debts and discharge debts that can't be satisfied with the available assets, Under Chapter 13, the trustee sets up a three to five year repayment plan for the debtor to repay debts from current income. The debtor is allowed to keep more assets under this plan.

Chapter 11 applies to both individuals and small businesses. Small businesses who choose this option operate under increased scrutiny but may keep operating under a reorganization plan. Chapter 12 applies to family farmers and fishermen.

The following resources provide some basic information about bankruptcy law: