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Operating a Business Without a License: What Can Happen?

Anyone who has ever started a small business knows there's always another piece of paperwork that needs to be filled out. Leases. Licenses. Supplier agreements. Receipts and contracts with customers and clients.

And that isn't even touching on costs: Federal taxes. State taxes. City taxes. Sales taxes. After a while, you may begin to feel like you're paying all of your profits off to the tax man.

But don't overlook one easy-to-miss requirement of starting a business: the paperwork and fee for your local business license.

If you're starting a new business, there are probably any number of things that require your immediate attention. But among your foremost priorities should be educating yourself on the local laws that may affect your business.

Putting off potential legal issues until after your business is already open may end up costing you big in the long run.

What local laws do you need to know before you start your business? Here are three to get you started:

Following the success of Google, Facebook, Snapchat and other high-tech companies originally started by college entrepreneurs, college campuses continue to churn out innovative and lucrative new businesses.

College entrepreneurs are certainly full of game-changing ideas and industry-disrupting business models. However, they may not be quite up to speed on how to legally protect their newfound business interests. This can come back to bite budding businesses big-time in the form of future litigation, such as the lawsuit filed against Snapchat by an ousted co-founder, settled last week for an undisclosed (but likely substantial) sum.

What legal tips should college entrepreneurs bear in mind? Here are five to consider:

A study released last month found that women are outperforming men in the increasingly lucrative world of online crowdfunding.

This is especially interesting, reports The Wall Street Journal, because women are typically only able to raise half as much startup capital as men, hampering the growth of their businesses. However, on crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo, women are out-fundraising men even in traditionally male-dominated fields like gaming and technology, according to the study.

What does the study say is behind this surprising result?

Small businesses may be very successful raising funds through Kickstarter, but those who receive those funds shouldn't forget the potential tax implications of crowdfunding.

For its part, Kickstarter (with the caveat that they are not tax attorneys) claims that in general, "funds raised on Kickstarter are considered income." However, the crowdfunding platform also claims that Kickstarters may be able to classify certain funds as "nontaxable gifts" instead.

So which is it? Should businesses treat Kickstarter or crowdfunding money as taxable income?

So you're starting your own brewery. You have a vision, you have the passion, and your beer is going to blow people's freakin' minds! But you need to get your legal ducks in a row or your beer dreams might amount to nothing more than suds.

Don't let your brewery plans go flat, check out these five steps for keeping your lagers (or ales, pilsners, etc.) legal:

Food trucks are all the rage these days, allowing both entrepreneurs and established restaurant owners to take their culinary shows on the road.

But with the rewards come unique risks. As shown by Tuesday's explosion of a Philadelphia food truck, even a truck-sized food business can present potential legal liabilities.

If you're thinking about getting behind the wheel of a food truck, what should you be aware of? Here are three potential legal issues to keep in mind:

Crowdsourcing your invention sounds like a good idea to many entrepreneurs, but there are some worrisome legal tripping points.

In February, the White House announced it would even consider "crowdsourcing" the review of patents, in an attempt to deal with the increasing issue of patent trolls.

So before you decide to let your invention enter the fray, here are three legal tips to consider when crowdsourcing your invention:

Twitter is reaching out to entrepreneurs with a new interactive guide on how to make Twitter work -- and pay off -- for small businesses. This somewhat bubbly graphical walkthrough takes business owners with any level of Twitter-savvy and attempts to teach them a thing or two.

What Twitter leaves out of its helpful guide, however, are a couple of helpful legal tips.

That's where we come in. Here are three legal tips that all small business owners on Twitter should keep in mind:

Square, the mobile payment company used by many small businesses to process credit card transactions, is looking to help out small businesses in an entirely new way.

The San Francisco company has launched Square Capital, which will advance cash to small businesses who need it.

There's a catch, however.