Although the number of people wanting to start their own business has grown, many still do not know how to organize themselves financially. Start by getting your Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certificate to show clients you are credible. On the other hand, if you already have the experience, you can start by advising individuals and then grow your empire to consult for larger organizations.
An attorney is typically not required when starting a business. A business filing service such as Swyft Filings can help you streamline the formation process, and save you a great deal of time, effort, and money. However, if you are unsure of which business structure may be right for you, or you have questions regarding specific tax or organizational issues, it may be advisable to speak with an attorney or accountant before starting a new business.
Businesses of all sizes are trying to find news ways to do their part for the environment by implementing greener practices. Unfortunately, many of the more eco-friendly options available today are also significantly more expensive, so business owners need someone like you who can advise them on how they can change their process without sacrificing their bottom line.
Filing a limited liability company separates your personal assets from those of your business. This prevents you from being financially responsible for debts and liabilities of your business. Even though members are still liable, that liability is limited to the extent of their investments in the business. If, for instance, your company is involved in a lawsuit, the assets of the LLC itself could be in jeopardy, while the personal assets of the members/owners would be protected.
An important part of LLC formation is the registered agent. A registered agent must be a person who is located in the state in which you are forming your LLC. This is the person you designate to receive legal service of process, as well as government forms and notices, on behalf of your LLC. He or she must have a physical street address (not a P.O. box).
An LLC that does not want to accept its default federal tax classification, or that wishes to change its classification, uses Form 8832, Entity Classification Election (PDF), to elect how it will be classified for federal tax purposes. Generally, an election specifying an LLC’s classification cannot take effect more than 75 days prior to the date the election is filed, nor can it take effect later than 12 months after the date the election is filed. An LLC may be eligible for late election relief in certain circumstances. See About Form 8832, Entity Classification Election for more information.
Self Employment Taxes Although we listed Pass Through Taxation as an LLC benefit, it can also be a disadvantage. Oftentimes the taxes that are passed through and reported as personal income of LLC members will be higher than the taxes at a corporate level. You will also still pay for federal inclusions such as Medicare and Social Security. If you're confused if this business structure will be the right tax choice for you, it's a good idea to speak to your accountant or financial advisor.
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No Ownership Restrictions The LLC does not have any residency or citizenship restrictions, which allows foreign nationals to have ownership in an LLC, if desired. In addition, other corporate entities may be LLC members which means that other corporations or LLCs (or other entities) may be a member of the LLC, or may be the sole member (although an LLC with a sole member that is a corporation or LLC is treated for tax purposes as a partnership or multi-member LLC).
Versatile Tax Status One of the most advantageous aspects of the LLC is that it has the ability to choose how it is treated as a taxable entity. According to the IRS an LLC is, by default, federally taxed as a partnership (in the case of a multi-member LLC) or as a sole proprietor (in the case of a single member LLC). The LLC, however, may elect to be taxed as a C- or S-corporation at any time the members so choose.
LLCs are typically taxed on a pass through basis, much like general partnerships. As pass through entities, the profits and losses of LLCs are passed on to the individual owners and are reflected on the owner’s personal income tax returns. Alternatively, LLCS may elect to be taxed as S corporations to potentially reduce the self-employment taxes imposed on the owners.
Your name must be unique, and not deceptively similar, to any other trademarked name or business. It is also required that your name not be used to intentionally misrepresent the products or services you offer. For LLCs, nearly all states will also require you to add a signifier of your limited liability status, such as "LLC" or "L.L.C." to the end of your company's name. You may be able to operate under a name other than your formal LLC name by applying for and using a dba.
Articles of organization are short, simple documents. In fact, you can usually prepare your own in just a few minutes by filling in the blanks and checking the boxes on a form provided by your state's filing office. Typically, you must provide only your LLC's name, its address, and sometimes the names of all of the owners -- called members. Generally, all of the LLC owners may prepare and sign the articles, or they can appoint just one person to do so.
Check to see if your chosen name is available. Before you submit the Articles of Organization, you should check to see if your chosen name is available/acceptable under state law. You can do this by conducting an online search for business names that are already registered with the Department of Financial Institutions using the database provided.