How to Start an LLC: When it comes to starting your business, everyone seeks a less hassle and simple structure business. A limited liability company (LLC) is one such less complicated business structure. Startups, small & medium businesses, and even large companies can easily start an LLC in any state. Forming an LLC requires a mere 6 broad steps that include naming your LLC, hiring a registered agent, and filing Articles of Organization.
LLCs are a combination of a partnership and a corporation. Hence, this structure carries features of both. LLCs are less complicated, cheaper, and involve fewer documents to form. If you are looking for how to start an LLC then here are 6 easy steps to set up your LLC.
On this page, you’ll learn about the following:
How to Start an LLC
The answer to the question of how to start an LLC is easy. Setting up a Limited Liability Company or LLC is relatively straightforward. You can save a significant amount of time with these simple – but essential – steps. It requires less paperwork and minimal registration fees. With the advantage of pass-through tax, LLCs are more desirable for small businesses.
But before I answer the question ‘how to start an LLC’ one needs to understand a few things. First, you have to decide on the state you want to form your LLC. Different state has different rules for LLCs, hence, when you want to start an LLC, you must know the state-wise rules. Here is a step-by-step guide to starting an LLC (Limited Liability Company).
STEP 1: Select a State
The very first step to starting your LLC is to choose the state you want to start your business in. Ideally, your LLC is better located in the state where you live or where you plan to do business. However, if your business plans to operate in different states, you will have to register a foreign LLC in the other states where you plan to do business.
States like Wyoming, South Dakota, and Nevada have a 0% corporate tax rate for businesses. So, if you form your LLC in these states, then you don’t have to pay a lumpsum amount of corporate tax. Read more on Sales Tax for small businesses.
States like Hawaii, Michigan, and Iowa have the lowest amount of state filing fees ($50). You can start your LLC in these states as these are the cheapest states to start an LLC. Read more on Cost of LLC.
Wyoming is one of the states that have minimum or no business tax. Wyoming does not have any individual or corporate income tax for LLCs. Read more on Wyoming’s classification of LLC tax.
STEP 2: Name Your LLC
The very first thing while forming an LLC is to name it. However, before you name your business/LLC, you must know whether the name is available for use or not. Check out the LLC name search and availability before you start your LLC. One has to visit the Secretary of State’s website to search and register the name of your LLC. Meanwhile, here are the general LLC naming guidelines,
- The company name should include “Limited Liability Company” or abbreviations like LLC or L.L.C.
- The company name should not include words that might confuse your company name with any government agency (i.e., FBI, State Department, Treasury, etc.).
- Words like Bank, Attorney, University, and some others are restricted. They may require additional paperwork on top of a licensed individual like a doctor or lawyer as part of the company.
These are some of the most important points to be noted while naming your LLC. It is recommended to go through the complete LLC name guidelines before you name your LLC.
After you decide and reserve your LLC name, you can get your business domain from Bluehost. It offers a bunch of services that include a free domain at a much cheaper price. Bluehost is ranked the #1 web hosting provider, recommended by most of the reviewers.
If your desirable name is not available in the state or taken by some other entity, then think of another name according to the LLC naming guidelines. You can check if your desirable or ‘fictitious name’ is available or not from the SOS website.
Trademarks are considered intellectual property. Hence, it can be sold or bought easily. You can buy from someone else or can sell yours to someone else. Read more on LLC name search.
Yes, you can change your LLC name in the future. However, the process is a bit complicated and LLCs have to pay a state fee to change the name. You can file a DBA under both the original names to ease the business.
STEP 3: Choose a Registered Agent
A registered agent is a person or an organization who processes legal documents on your company’s behalf. The official documents would include official correspondences like state filing notices and legal summons. We reviewed the best LLC services for you and made a list for you. You can compare the agent services and prices below.
Note that availing of the services of professional registered agents would be your best option since you are guaranteed that whoever is handling your legal affairs knows their stuff well. You will enjoy peace of mind and focus only on running your business, as the ‘professionals’ take care of all legal matters.
All states generally require businesses to nominate a registered agent when forming an LLC. Remember that your registered agent should be a state resident operating your business or a corporation authorized to do business in your selected state.
You can be your own registered agent if you are a resident of the state you are forming your LLC. If you have a physical street address in the state, then you can be your own registered agent. However, it is recommended to get a professional agent to handle your LLC’s paperwork. Also, being your own registered agent means you might have to share your home address and make it public.
A person who is aged above 18 and has a physical address in the state you are forming an LLC can be a registered agent. An agent can be a person or an entity appointed to accept service of process and official mails on behalf of your LLC.
STEP 4: File LLC Formation Documents
LLC formation documents are the most vital while forming an LLC. These documents are commonly called Certificate of Formation. Depending on the states, there are different names such as Articles of Organization, Certificate of Organization, and so on.
You need to fill in the form (online or PDF) and send it to the Secretary of State after making the formation state fee. The average filing fee is around $100. The cost of LLC includes other costs as well. You can file the Certificate of Formation via mail, online, via fax, via email, or by phone, depending on the state rules.
There are different methods of filing your LLC formation documents. One can file their LLC documents via postal mail, in-person visit to the Secretary of State’s office, online submission, email, and fax. Depending on the state rule, you can file your LLC documents via any of these methods.
In some states, it takes 2 business days to file your formation documents if you file online. In some states, it takes 7-10 business days to file your documents.
The cost of filing LLC formation documents depends on which state you are forming your LLC in. The state filing fee can start from $40 and go up to $500. It depends on the state.
STEP 5: Create an LLC Operating Agreement
The LLC operating agreement is not mandatory, but it is encouraged. This legal document outlines the organizational structure and roles of members of your LLC. Take note that you should have already decided if your LLC is member-managed or manager-managed.
Here are the six main sections of an operating agreement:
- Capital Contributions
- Management and Voting
- Membership Changes
It is not always necessary to file an operating agreement. In some states, there is no mandatory rule to file an operating agreement. However, it is recommended to file an operating agreement as it is a legal document that records all the important information of your LLC.
To draft your operating agreement you need to mention some important details about your LLC. Such as the ownership, management, dissolution, voting, and some more details, You can read more about the Operating Agreement from our advisers.
STEP 6: Get an EIN
The Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a 9-digit number issued by the Internal Revenue Services (IRS). This number is required to identify the type of business structure for general tax purposes. It’s like a Social Security number (SSN) for your LLC. The EIN is vital when you plan to hire employees or open a business bank account. Some would call it Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) or Federal Tax Identification Number (FTIN).
To obtain the EIN one has to fill up the form (online or by mail) and send it to IRS. For the online filing, you need the EIN Assistant. If you do not have an SSN still you can get EIN by filling up the form and submit to IRS. Before you proceed to apply for the EIN check if you need an EIN.
- Mail to: Internal Revenue Service, Attn: EIN Operation, Cincinnati, OH 45999
- Fax: (855) 641-6935 | Fee: Free
You can get your EIN by applying through the IRS official website. This is the fastest way to get your EIN. There is no fee charged to get EIN through IRS.
Yes, EIN and the Tax ID (federal) are the same things. LLCs need to obtain EIN or the Federal Tax ID to pay their annual taxes, get business licenses, open business bank accounts, and hire employees.
EIN is mandatory for businesses to pay their taxes. Every LLC needs to obtain EIN for paying taxes, opening a business bank account, hiring employees, and so on. Read the need for EIN to know why EIN is important!
Other Things to Do After Starting an LLC
Apart from these helpful steps, there is more to forming an LLC for a business owner. You’ll have to deal with your assets and taxes depending on the management structure. Here are other important things to address when starting an LLC.
Set Up Business Accounting
It is vital to have a business accountant who will help you take advantage of tax benefits. It will save you and your business tons of money in taxes annually.
Get Licenses and Permits
You need to check if your business will require any business licenses or permits so that you can stay compliant. Licensing requirements would vary per state and county or city laws.
Separate Personal Assets From Business
Your LLC offers limited liability protection. It is vital to use dedicated business banking and credit accounts to avoid mixing them with your personal accounts. Otherwise, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) would be at risk if your LLC gets sued.
Understand Your LLC’s Federal Tax Options
LLCs get taxed as pass-through entities. It means all of the business’s profit goes through the LLC member’s tax returns. The member pays self-employment taxes and income tax on their share of business income after tax.
Meanwhile, LLCs can also be taxed as S corporations (S corps) or C corporations (C corps). The former allows LLC members to be taxed as employees. It reduces the tax burden in certain circumstances.
Register Your LLC for State Taxes
There are several taxes that you might need depending on the nature and location of your business.
- If you are selling a physical product, you’ll register your company for sales & use tax.
- If you have employees, then you need unemployment insurance tax and employee withholding tax.
- You may also be required to file an annual report or biennial report.
Get Business Insurance
Generally, businesses with employees must get workers’ compensation insurance. Meanwhile, general liability insurance is not a legal requirement, but it is highly recommended to protect your business assets from lawsuits.
How to Start an LLC in 2022
Time needed: 5 minutes.
To recap the step-by-step tool, here is how you form an LLC. Click on the steps in this list to read the full detail.
- Choose a state
The first thing you should do is choose the state where you will operate your LLC because requirements vary per state.
- Name your LLC
Next, you must choose a company name, including the phrase “limited liability company” or one of its abbreviations (LLC or L.L.C.).
- Choose a registered agent.
In most states, it is mandatory to select a registered agent for your LLC. You can check out our list of our 5 Best LLC Services in the United States.
- File formation documents
Filing a formation certificate is necessary when forming an LLC. Depending on the state, it could be called any of the following: Certificate of Formation, Articles of Organization, or Certificate of Organization.
- Create operating agreement
An operating agreement is not a strict requirement but something encouraged when you start an LLC.
- Get an EIN
The Employer Identification Number (EIN), also called Federal Tax Identification Number, identifies a business entity like a social security number but for a company.
When and Why You Should Form an LLC
You may be wondering When and Why You Should Form an LLC. If you are starting a business, forming a legal entity is a great idea. It will protect your personal assets and you’ll have tax benefits if you set up your company as an LLC. You can even file paperwork before the New Year. There are several advantages to forming an LLC, so read on to learn more. This article will outline some of the most important benefits of forming an LLC.
Having your own LLC protects you from personal and business creditors. The same applies to a general partnership. It is a practical way to separate your personal and business finances. Without an LLC, you’re personally liable for the debts and liabilities of your business. You’ll want to protect yourself from such a scenario. In addition, having an LLC protects you from being sued for any business-related debt.
Another benefit to forming an LLC is that you’ll avoid double taxation. As an LLC, you won’t owe taxes on the profits of your business as you would a C corporation. LLC profits are taxed at the individual level, rather than the corporate level. Thus, you won’t have to pay double taxation. Furthermore, a limited liability company is less complex to tax than a corporation, so it is more cost-effective for the average person.
You can form an LLC for free. To start an LLC you need to follow 6 simple steps. First, select the state you want to set up your LLC, get an LLC name, find a registered agent, file your certificate of formation, and finally get your EIN to start your LLC for free. Other than the state filing fees, you don’t have to bear any costs to form an LLC. With Inc Authority LLC services, you can start your LLC at no cost.
If you are a resident of the state you are willing to start your LLC, then you can file your own LLC. However, it is always worth having a professional than doing it by yourself to manage legal complexities, and paperwork.
The cost of an LLC depends on the state. On average, the registration fee ranges from $50 to $500 along with annual report fees.
An LLC or limited liability company protects your personal assets and increases your business’s credibility. These are the most affordable legal business entities in terms of formation and maintenance. However, LLCs aren’t ideal when attracting investors.
To renew your LLC, you need to file an Annual Report every year by paying a stipulated fee. If your LLC is expired then submit a renewal form to activate LLC operation.
A limited liability company (LLC) takes a week to form. If the business entity is filing it online then it may take less than a week. These above-mentioned simple steps will help you in business filings with the state. You will get multiple filing options like by mail, online, email, or/and fax. Choose any available mode of filing, comply with regulatory requirements, and registration requirements to form your LLC in the selected state. For more information, leave a message below.