Real estate developers and resort communities may undertake a business to sell vacation time shares, an arrangement in which consumers buy vacation homes, usually in a resort area, for a specific length of time each year. The property typically consists of condominiums, apartments, lodges, cabins or hotel rooms or may be a campground where members must provide their own campers or recreational vehicles.
Under state law, time shares are defined as merchandise and fall within the guidelines of Missouri’s Merchandising Practices Act, Chapter 407, Missouri Revised Statutes. See:
Major provisions of a state law protecting buyers are:
- A five-day right of recision. If a consumer signs a contract to buy a timeshare and then changes his mind, he has five days to cancel. The cancellation must be in writing, and cancellation is effective when the letter is postmarked. According to state law, the seller must give the buyer an 18-point, boldface printed notice of the right to cancel at the time of purchase.
- Follow through on promotional offers. The name of the business entity and all time share operations involved in the promotion must be included in promotional literature. This material also must contain the deadline by which all prizes are to be awarded, the odds of winning each prize and the manufacturer’s suggested retail price for each prize.
- Delivery of promised gifts. When the seller uses free offers or other promotions when soliciting, the seller must deliver any promised gifts or an acceptable substitute gift or cash in an amount equal to the retail value of the gift offered within 10 days of when promised. The seller also must make available to the public a list of names and addresses of all winners. If the seller fails to provide the buyer with a promised gift, the buyer can sue.
- Explanation of times hare exchange plans. Exchange plans usually involve trading a vacation at one timeshare facility for a vacation in another location. Limitations, restrictions or priorities regarding exchange programs must be outlined for the buyer. For example, the time share operator must tell a buyer if a Lake of the Ozarks vacation can be exchanged for an Alaska vacation only during December.
Use of any deception, fraud, false pretense, false promise, misrepresentation, unfair practice or concealment of fact by a person in connection with the sale of timeshares is subject to civil and criminal penalties that may be brought by the Attorney General.
For more information on the specific rules and regulations regarding the sale of timeshares within the state of Missouri can be obtained by contacting:
Missouri Attorney General’s Office
Supreme Court Building
207 W. High St.
PO Box 899
Jefferson City MO 65102
Anyone conducting business in the State of Missouri under a name other than their own legal name (e.g., John Doe), must register the business name with the Missouri Secretary of State. Missouri law allows businesses to operate under four forms or organization:
- Sole proprietorship
- Partnership – general and limited
- Corporation – C-Corp; S-Corp; Professional, Not-for-Profit; Foreign Corporation
- Limited Liability Company – LLC
Each structure has its own advantages and disadvantages and there are many modifications and variations within these forms. The key to selection revolves around the concept of liability and taxation. You must decide which of these structures best suits your business. In choosing your business structure, consult with a qualified accountant and/or attorney who are familiar with your resources and objectives.
A description of the forms of organization and some of the advantages and disadvantages are discussed in Legal structures and Starting a New Business in Missouri. Choosing a particular structure does not necessarily determine how the business will be taxed.
The Licenses and registration checklist is a guide to help you with the licensing and registration requirements for starting your new business.
You can download forms on the Web at s1.sos.mo.gov/business%5Ccorporations%5Cforms.asp or contact the Secretary of State’s Office at 573-751-4936.
Understanding the taxes that apply to your business and how to meet the legal requirements of those taxes is critical. Consultation with an accountant or attorney is advisable.
Tax considerations are essential during the formation of a new business and during its entire life. When a business is just starting out, it may have little or no income or assets and the choice of structure may not seriously affect its tax liability. However, as the business grows, the tax implications become more significant.
Doing Business in Missouri: Legal Formation identifies the state and federal forms that must be filed for different business structures and compares the tax liabilities for the most common business structures.
For more information on taxes and access to printable copies of the required forms visit: Doing Business in Missouri: Taxes.
Obtain a copy of Employer’s Tax Guide (PDF) from irs.gov or call 800-829-3676. This guide (“Circular E”) explains federal tax withholding and Social Security tax requirements for employers as well as containing current withholding tables for you to use to determine how much federal income tax and Social Security tax is to be withheld from each employee’s paycheck.
For a complete discussion on hiring employees, your responsibilities, and access to the required forms, refer to: Doing Business in Missouri: Hiring Employees.
Business resources and guides
You may also find the following information helpful as you begin your business:
- Starting a New Business in Missouri is an excellent publication on the process of starting and operating a business in Missouri.
- Evaluating Your Business Idea is a simple questionnaire-formatted document that helps you think through the elemental considerations in starting a business.
- Guide to Writing a Business Plan provides a short, but thorough introduction to the process of writing a business plan and provides a simple outline of the contents of a standard plan.
- MissouriBusiness.net is a network of key business resource providers in Missouri. The website contains a vast array of helpful documents, links and information on starting and operating your small business as well as a calendar of upcoming training and educational events throughout Missouri. Find a business counselor near you.
- Contact your local (county, city, township) government offices early in the planning stages of your business. The requirement for local licenses and permits vary by county and city. Most cities, and some counties, require businesses to be licensed. Check with the city business/merchant license office and/or the county collector’s office for the requirements in your area. Be sure to check with the local city and/or county planning/zoning department to make sure that the site you have selected for your business is zoned to accommodate the activities of your business. These offices can be found in your local phone directory.
- Missouri Lawyer Referral Service (mobar.org/LawyerSearch.aspx)
- Missouri Society of Accountants 800-959-4276 or missouri-accountants.com
- The Missouri Society of CPAs 800-264-7966 or mocpa.org