Legal issues for individual iphone app

Discussion in 'iOS Programming' started by grimreaper1377, May 30, 2009.

  1. grimreaper1377 macrumors regular

    Oct 20, 2007

    Just wondering – what are the legal issues I have to worry about when releasing an iPhone app under my parents' name? (i'm 16, so I can't release it under my name, right?) It seems like most of them (i.e. tax filing, hiring a lawyer, etc.) are only a problem if you release it under a company name.

    Any insight would be appreciated – thanks!
  2. firewood macrumors 604

    Jul 29, 2003
    Silicon Valley
    The above misconceptions suggest that you (and/or your parents) may need to consult with an attorney. At least start by going to the library and reading up on the business law requirements for even the smallest sole proprietor small businesses, including those specific to your locale, as well as tax issues for income to minors above a certain amount.

    but ianal.
  3. grimreaper1377 thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 20, 2007
    Sorry if this wasn't clear. I'm not releasing it under a company name. Does that change the answer, or are there still lots of legal issues to worry about?
  4. xsmasher macrumors regular


    Jul 18, 2008
    You do not have to hire a lawyer. Your parents will have to declare the income on their taxes, and if it's a lot of income, they'll have to make quarterly tax payments.

    If your app makes over a few thousand dollars, your first stop should be an accountant.

    There *can* be other legal issues, like copyright infringement of sounds and graphics, or trademark infringement, or libel and warranty - but you can get a good understanding of those without a lawyer.
  5. firewood macrumors 604

    Jul 29, 2003
    Silicon Valley
    The answer stays the same. Some jurisdictions may require business licenses and tax form submissions even if you do business under your own name. Many business laws may apply, whether you use your own name or not. You need to find out, either from the library, or a lawyer. And, as the previous poster alluded, seeing an accountant is recommended if you end up making a large enough amount of App store sales and you do not have sufficient knowledge of the tax laws and record keeping requirements involved.

    but ianal & ianacpa.
  6. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    Most of the LLC filings should be cheap in your state, though they will likely require a publication notice to announce a new LLC and the officers.

    Once you get that set up, a simple call to the IRS should give you your tax ID, and the 2nd most expensive thing beyond the filings will likely be the business account and the checkbook.

    1. check your state filing requirements.

    2. publish the notice if required.

    3. call the IRS for an EIN.

    4. once the above is done you can open a business account, though the minimum balance and the cost of business checks like might be the most expensive item.


    As a minor you can still hold the stock, and probably get full distributions. But if you earn enough, it'll cause tax problems for the parents.

    A lawyer might charge $1-2k for #1 while the state asks $75-250 to file the papers you fill out, #2 might be 50-100, and 4 will likely sack you again.

    Just need to put together...

    * Business Tax ID #
    * Articles of Organization
    * Corporate Resolution identifying authorized signers if officer names are not listed on Articles of Organization or Certificate of Formation
  7. CocoaPuffs macrumors 68010

    Aug 23, 2008
    In Washington State, the whole setup with LLC and master license runs altogether about $250-$300. On top of the $99 membership cost and perhaps other small miscellaneous cost, you are easily spending around $500.

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