What You and Your Business Need to Know When Prepping for 2020

December 2019

2019 is nearly in the books. Businesses are busy winding up year-end obligations, people are preparing for the holidays, and decision-makers across the aviation industry are making plans for 2020. We have prepared a short New Year Business Checklist of items to review with your managers, staff, business partners, and stakeholders to make sure your business avoids legal and regulatory trouble in the New Year.

  • Deal Planning. If your company is in the market to make substantial acquisitions or sales in 2020 (think: selling your business and/or acquiring aircraft, engines, or inventory), the time is now to make a plan for getting the deal set up so you can hit the ground running in the new year. FMJ’s experienced attorneys are here to advise you from the earliest stages to make sure your deal closes quickly, efficiently, and cost-effectively with minimal tax exposure. The earlier you get started the better.
  • Tax Law Planning. The tax laws are always changing, especially for businesses that operate across state and international borders. When your business changes, you buy another business, acquire an aircraft, or start operating in a new jurisdiction, make sure you know the implications before you close. Getting educated and pre-planning your tax strategy is always time well spent.
  • Medical Certifications for All Pilots – (14 CFR § 61.23). Stay on top of medical certifications and put procedures in place to ensure there are no lapses in certification. Remember, scheduling an exam with a certified examiner, awaiting the report, and completing the necessary paperwork takes time. Get an early start and make sure all pilots meet their deadlines. In the event one of your pilots inadvertently missed the deadline or scheduling issues prevent timely compliance, there may be options to avoid any issues with the FAA. Contact one of the FMJ aviation attorneys immediately and consider filing a NASA report to protect your license.
  • Insurance Planning. One of the most important things any business in the aviation industry can do to protect its bottom line is to make sure it is adequately insured with the correct types of coverage to protect all aspects of its operations. When something goes wrong, the costs of repair, loss in revenue, and ensuing litigation can be staggering. Making sure you have the right coverage is paramount, but reading and understanding insurance contracts can be a daunting task. Review your documents, talk with your agents about whether your coverage anticipates the actual risks of your business, and make sure you have all the coverage you need: first-party property damage and personal injury, third-party liability and indemnity, products liability, employment practices, errors and omissions, directors and officers, and workers’ compensation insurance.
  • Employer-Employee Relations. All businesses which have employees (from one to 100,000) have the potential for employment law compliance problems issues. A broad regulatory framework of local, state, and federal regulations control many aspects of the employer-employee relationship and a little planning can go a long way to avoid issues down the road. Make sure your employees are properly classified (exempt/non-exempt, employee/independent contractor), update your policies and employee handbook (or create one) to reflect new changes in the law, make sure employee benefit plans are in place, and all disclosure requirements are met. FMJ’s HR & Employment practice group is here as a resource for business owners, executives, and HR professionals to make sure these things are done right.
  • Contract Renewals and Terminations. The business world is always changing and keeping on top of all of your written contracts with customers, vendors, and business partners can be the key to maintaining strong relationships and ensuring flexibility in your operations. Identify all written contracts to which your business is a party and keep copies of those contracts in a single file or folder for easy reference. Make a note of the terms of those contracts, the date of expiration, whether the contract automatically renews or requires a separate renewal, what options you have to renew or amend, and the deadline for canceling contracts when the parties can’t agree otherwise. The language of the contract is what governs the relationship between the parties. Miss a renewal deadline and you could be left without important contractual protections. Miss a cancellation deadline and you could be stuck in a bad business relationship for another year. Stay organized. Keep track of deadlines. And avoid legal disputes that could interrupt your business operations.
  • Cybersecurity and Data Management. Every business that has customers and employees collects and retains data about those individuals and their transactions – whether they mean to or not. Data privacy and cybersecurity regulations have been evolving and become more complex at a break-neck pace over the past few years. Make sure your data is secure and that you have a plan in place to comply with local, state, federal and international rules about gathering, storing and using data. By far the fastest-changing and most complex areas of the law over the past few years have been data privacy and cybersecurity.

We look forward to another year serving as your legal advisors and working hard to add value to your business. Please contact any one of our lawyers if you ever need assistance. We at FMJ wish you all the best in 2020!

If you’re interested in learning more about the New Year Business Checklist, Tyler Brimmer can be reached at tyler.brimmer@fmjlaw.com and Kevin Johnson can be reached at kevin.johnson@fmjlaw.com or by calling 952-995-9500.