File with the appropriate federal, state, and local governmental agencies. Depending on the business purpose of your LLC and the jurisdiction in which you organize, you may have to file additional forms relating to LLCs with certain governmental agencies. Each industry is regulated differently—as is each local jurisdiction—and so it is best to ask an attorney or accountant for assistance in this matter.
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.
Some businesses are prevented from forming an LLC, however. Typically financial companies such as banks, financial trust companies and insurance agencies can't file as an LLC. LLCs are sometimes limited for industries in certain states, too. For example, if you live in California, you can't form an LLC if you're an architect, accountant or licensed health care provider. Check out our LLC information by state for more details on your state.
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To keep your business legally viable after you incorporate, there are a number of steps you may need to follow. You may need to file an Article of Amendment to indicate changes in your company. You also may need to file an Initial or Annual Report, which is a requirement in most states. Our business filing experts can help you process necessary changes to your business.
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.
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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.
Depending on how your business is structured, the amount of revenue your business earns, and several other factors, forming an LLC can provide potential tax benefits for business owners. LLCs are allowed to choose how they want to be taxed, either as an S corporation or C corporation. These options are not available when you are operating as a sole proprietorship. LLCs don't pay their own taxes directly, the income of the business its passed on to the members of the LLC through "pass through taxation." This means that a member is subject to self-employment taxes, but at higher levels of income, the LLC can often pay a lower base tax rate than a C Corporation. The best way to determine your potential tax benefits is to consult an accountant.
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.
A series LLC is a form of limited liability company that provides liability protection to multiple "series". Essentially, it's a master LLC with separate divisions, each protected and operating independently. As an entity, the series LLC is geared towards businesses where investors own multiple companies, with each series being protected from the debts and obligations of the other series. Currently, only several states support this option, including Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Nevada, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah.
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.
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Indicate your LLC's initial registered agent and registered office. State law requires your LLC to have a registered agent and a registered office in Wisconsin on whom legal process can be served and to whom official documents can be sent. Your registered agent must be located at the registered office, which must be in Wisconsin and represent the physical business address of your registered agent.