How To Register a Limited Liability Company (LLC) in USA


How To Register a Limited Liability Company (LLC) in USA

Limited Liability Company

A limited liability company (LLC) is a hybrid type of legal structure that provides the limited liability features of a corporation and the tax efficiencies and operational flexibility of a partnership.

The "owners" of an LLC are referred to as "members." Depending on the state, the members can consist of a single individual (one owner), two or more individuals, corporations or other LLCs.

Unlike shareholders in a corporation, LLCs are not taxed as a separate business entity. Instead, all profits and losses are "passed through" the business to each member of the LLC. LLC members report profits and losses on their personal federal tax returns, just like the owners of a partnership would.

    Advantages of an LLC

    ·  Limited Liability. Members are protected from personal liability for business decisions or actions of the LLC. This means that if the LLC incurs debt or is sued, members' personal assets are usually exempt. This is like the liability protections afforded to shareholders of a corporation. Keep in mind that limited liability means "limited" liability - members are not necessarily shielded from wrongful acts, including those of their employees.
    ·    Less Recordkeeping. An LLC's operational ease is one of its greatest advantages. Compared to an S-Corporation, there is less registration paperwork and their start-up costs are lower.
    ·     Sharing of Profits. There are fewer restrictions on profit sharing within an LLC, as members distribute profits as they see fit. Members might contribute different proportions of capital and sweat equity. Consequently, it's up to the members themselves to decide who has earned what percentage of the profits or losses.

    Disadvantages of an LLC

    ·      Limited Life. In many states, when a member leaves an LLC, the business is dissolved and the members must fulfill all remaining legal and business obligations to close the business. The remaining members can decide if they want to start a new LLC or part ways. However, you can include provisions in your operating agreement to prolong the life of the LLC if a member decides to leave the business.
    ·     Self-Employment Taxes. Members of an LLC are considered self-employed and must pay the self-employment tax contributions towards Medicare and Social Security. The entire net income of the LLC is subject to this tax.

    Procedure to Register/Form a Limited Liability Company (LLC)

    Limited Liability Companies ("LLCs") are popular business structures for partnerships and individuals, due to the attractive tax and legal benefits, and personal liability protection that they afford. LLCs are easy to set up, and while many lawyers, accountants, and a plethora of service companies will set one up for you, many of these service providers only complete the first part of the process, leaving the rest up to you. You can save money and frustration by simply forming the company yourself. To do this, follow the steps below.

    1.      Locate your state’s LLC laws. To do this, follow these steps:
    ·    Visit the Limited Liability Company Center. The Center provides a citation to each state’s laws governing LLCs. A citation is the title, chapter, and section of a law, used to locate the specific law within the larger state or federal code.
    ·     Choose your state from the list of links and look for the citation to your states LLC laws.
    ·      Copy the citation and then run a search for it at your favorite search engine. For the best search results, enclose the citation in quotation marks, for example, “Ala. Code Ann. Tit. 10, ch. 12, §§ 1-6.” instead of Ala. Code Ann. Tit. 10, ch. 12, §§ 1-6.
    2. Decide in what state you will form your LLC. Many business owners will need to form their LLC in their home state, however, some may be able to form an LLC in any state of their choosing. Follow these guidelines when deciding where to form your LLC:

    ·      Forming your LLC in your home state. If you live in the United States (“U.S.”), and will be transacting business in your home state, experts recommend you file for incorporation there, as many state laws require LLCs who transact business within the state to register the LLC in that state. Transacting business generally means owning or leasing office space and having employees within the state. You can check your home state’s LLC statutes to determine how it defines transacting business, and if you will need to form your LLC there.
    ·       Forming your LLC in a state other than your home state. If your LLC will be internet based, and you do not have a physical location in any state, you may want to consider the tax benefits of incorporating in a state other than your home state.

    3. Review your state’s LLC laws for requirements and restrictions on LLC names. The laws regarding naming of the Limited Liability Companies vary from state to state and requirements or restrictions may include:

    ·   That the name end with the designation “Limited Liability Company”, “Limited Company” or an abbreviation of one of the two, such as “LLC”, “L.L.C.”, or “Ltd. Liability Co”.
    ·    That the name cannot be the same as another Limited Liability Company registered within the state.
    ·     That the name cannot include certain prohibited words, such as “bank”, “trust”, or “insurance”.

    4. Choose a name for your LLC. Choose a name for your LLC that complies with your state’s laws governing the naming of Limited Liability Companies. Nolo Law recommends that your name:

    ·         Be distinctive
    ·         Be memorable
    ·         Be easily spelled and pronounced
    ·         Suggest the products or services you offer
    ·         Distinguish you from your competitors

    5. Check to see that your LLC name is available. If you plan to form a LLC in one state and do business in another, you should check that your name is available in both states, as state law may require you to register your LLC in any state in which you do business. The Limited Liability Company Center offers a link to each state’s search form, where you can check to see if your name is available.

    6. Choose a registered agent. A registered agent, or process agent, is a person chosen to accept legal service, should your company become involved in a lawsuit. The process agent must be an adult resident of the state in which you will form your LLC. You may name yourself as the registered agent, your attorney (be sure to ask him or her first), or hire a service agent. To find national and local process agents, use your favorite search engine to search “process agent”. You may also want to check with your Secretary of State’s Office, as it may maintain a list of companies that serve as process agents. You can locate your state’s Secretary of State website by following the appropriate link on the Law Office of Travis Bowen, PC’s website.

    7. File your Articles of Formation or Organization. Many states allow businesses to file Articles of Formation or Organization online. Follow the instructions for forming a new business on you state’s Secretary of State’s website. 

    8. Prepare and execute an operating agreement. An operating agreement is a contract between the members (owners) of the LLC and covers topics such as the initial members and their respective interest in the company, distribution of profits and losses among members, voting powers, procedures for admitting new members and resignation of current members, and rules for holding meetings. 

    9. Obtain an Employer Identification Number (“EIN”). Unless your LLC is has only one member and you intend to file taxes as a disregarded entity (you will include your business income and expenses on your personal income taxes), you will need to obtain an EIN. To obtain your EIN online, visit the IRS website here. You will receive your EIN immediately after submitting the online application. For complete information about EINs see the IRS publication Understanding your EIN.

    10. File Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) Form 8832, if required. LLC’s are state entities, which are not recognized by the IRS for income tax purposes. Therefore, all LLC’s must choose whether to be classified as a partnership, an association taxable as a corporation, or to be disregarded as a separate entity. LLC’s with more than one member cannot choose to be disregarded as a separate entity. If you fail to file Form 8832, your LLC will be classified as a partnership, if it has more than one member, and if it has only one member, as a disregarded entity. You can find IRS Form 8832 on the IRS website.

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