According to the Office of Advocacy of the United States Small Business Administration, current research estimate that there are 30.7 million small enterprises in the United States. More than 59.9 million people are employed by these tiny firms.
When starting a new business, the simplest way to protect your personal assets is to form an LLC. Forming an LLC separates your business activities from your personal assets. The major benefit of this separation is that if your business is sued, your personal assets (like your home and savings account) will be protected.
What about your company's assets, though? If your company is sued, the LLC will not safeguard your company's assets, thus you'll need LLC insurance. To learn more about LLC insurance, read more here.
Limited personal liability exposure, which can protect you as a person in the event of a lawsuit against your company, is one of the benefits of an LLC. This essentially means that your personal assets are safeguarded. The LLC is responsible for the debts and financial obligations, not you personally.
A sole proprietorship, on the other hand, lacks liability protection and makes you more vulnerable to a personal claim than one against your company. There are some tax advantages to forming an LLC, including those that carry over from a sole proprietorship, that can help you maximize your IRS tax returns.
But first, you must learn how to form an LLC. While forming an LLC is a significant step, it is surprisingly simple.
How to Start an LLC
To construct your LLC in little time, follow these suggestions step by step:
Step 1: Choose an LLC Name
The LLC name search can possibly be the most time-consuming aspect of your journey. Because most states forbid two firms from sharing the same name, the first thing you should do is look to see whether anyone else is using your preferred name. You should also avoid using a name that is too similar to that of another local firm.
Step 2: Hire a Registered Agent Service
Almost every state will need you to use a statutory agent or registered agent to register. This person will act as your LLC's representative, receiving legal paperwork, lawsuits, and subpoenas, among other things. They'll then pass them on to the appropriate person at your organization, which will most likely be you at first.
Please keep in mind that this individual is not a professional who can provide legal advice. Anyone over the age of 18 can become a registered agent, and they do not need to have any legal expertise or skills.
Step 3: Create an LLC Operating Agreement
An operating agreement for an LLC is a legal document that spells out how your business will run. You can include information about how responsibilities will be distributed, the management structure, financial matters, governance difficulties, inheritance, basic information, contact information, the sort of business, and any other details you want to include. If you're not the only member of the LLC, this is also where you'll put any more members.
While some states will require LLC owners to file an operating agreement, others will not. In any case, having one is a smart idea. Without one, you may have infighting or arguments as the firm expands and issues or concerns about the corporate structure arise.
Even a single-member LLC should have an operating agreement in place in case you wish to expand your operational team or if you pass away unexpectedly.
Step 4: Submit Articles of Organization to State
The articles of organization are usually filed with the Secretary of State in the state where the new LLC is formed. On the Secretary of State's website, you might be able to find government-provided forms that you can utilize.
The paperwork must be filed with a different state government office in some states, such as Florida, Arizona, and New Jersey. Additionally, certain governments may refer to the document by another name, such as "certificate of formation" or "certificate of organization."
Step 5: Receive your LLC status from the state
You chose a name, worked out the terms of the agreement, submitted with the state, and were granted LLC status. Now you may concentrate on the more enjoyable aspects of your business, such as obtaining further business permits if necessary and opening a business bank account.
It's critical to comprehend some of the complexities of incorporating an LLC. It can help if you follow the requirements, conduct yearly meetings, and maintain your paperwork up to date if you are sued or if you are audited by the IRS, for example. Simply forming the LLC isn't going to help you much until you put in place an operating agreement, hold yearly meetings, and pay attention to the finer points. It's worth noting that some banks may charge LLCs greater costs than sole owners. Consider hiring a trustworthy tax attorney or CPA to help you stay on top of LLC documentation and handle the process of forming an LLC.