The application required for incorporating as a Limited Liability Company (LLC) is called the Articles of Incorporation (also referred to as a Certificate of Incorporation). This document contains basic information about the company, its owners, and its directors. Depending on your state of incorporation, there may also be state-level fees or taxes that must be paid.
Another important component when you are determining how to form an LLC is the creation of an LLC operating agreement. While operating agreements are not required under state law when forming an LLC and do not have to be filed with the state, they are very important documents to create because they help you and any other members of the LLC organize your business, plan for the future, and put all pertinent facts in writing.
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The first step in forming an LLC is to file your company’s Articles of Incorporation with the state in which you are looking to establish your business. Once this has been completed, it is recommended that you take the time to develop a formal set of documents that will explicitly outline the ownership and management structure of the business, as well as establish your initial bank accounts.
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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.
In a few states, you must take an additional step to make your company official: You must publish a simple notice in a local newspaper, stating that you intend to form an LLC. You are required to publish the notice several times over a period of weeks and then submit an "affidavit of publication" to the LLC filing office. Your local newspaper should be able to help you with this filing.
LLCs have fewer ongoing requirements compared to their corporation counterparts. For example, an LLC is not required to keep minutes or hold annual meetings. An LLC also does not have a board of directors, and isn't is held to the same record keeping standards of a corporation. Keep in mind that the state of incorporation in will have its own set of annual requirements. That includes filing the required business licenses and permits, which vary from state to state. Be sure to check in with your Secretary of State to ensure you don't accidentally miss any required filings.
If you don't plan on raising investment money for your business, think you might need asset protection and need flexible business management and taxes, then an LLC is likely the best choice for your business. Whether you are a sole proprietor, have a partner, or a multi-member corporation, the LLC is a great choice for small business owners, as it can provide the same limited liability protection as a corporation, without many of the complexities and formalities associated with them. At Incfile we see all sizes and verticals of businesses forming an LLC — from LLCs for real estate agents or financial advisors to solopreneurs such as personal trainers or even marijuana businesses. A number of entrepreneurs decide that an LLC is the business structure that fits their needs.
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.