If you own a small business and you are looking to protect your personal assets from liability, then it might be time for you to start considering the advantages of an LLC (limited liability company). You might ask if you can do this for free? The answer is yes. You can do this for free. How? By forming a limited liability company (LLC) you are creating a separate legal entity called a “legal entity”.
What is an LLC?
So, the LLC is the legal equivalent of an individual with his own bank account that does not have to share any personal assets or records with its members. It is a separate legal entity that is registered with the State and with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The IRS has specific standards to determine a company’s liability for income tax purposes and no expenses are deducted from earnings.
Why Should You Form One?
The primary attraction to start an LLC is the lack of personal liabilities. Your personal assets such as bank accounts, real estate, and other property cannot be attached or seized in case of any potential liability.
Now that you know what an LLC is, why would you decide to form one?
- The first reason is that you may have a need for a business entity like this that does not require any non-disclosure agreements or put the members of your LLC at risk of being sued. Simply put, if someone does sue your LLC or the business it owns, then the members are liable only for their share of any asset gain or loss that was seen in the company’s books.
- Another reason might be to protect your personal assets from any potential litigation or for the protection of children and other relatives. You can do this by transferring your business interests into your LLC, which is not considered the same as passing on an inheritance. It avoids potential lawsuits against family members which can ultimately force them to sell their homes, put a lien on their property, or even go bankrupt.
Why Do You Not Need a Lawyer?
You do not need a lawyer to create an LLC. In fact, many online companies offer free formation of your LLC. Many of these companies will help you choose the best name for your LLC and will also send you the paperwork needed for your state’s recording as well as any other paperwork that is required by law. The entire process can take anywhere from ten minutes to one week depending on the state in which you are filing.
So, yes, you can form an LLC online and have it registered for free by using one of the many template kits offered by many online companies. You can even opt to pay a small administrative fee in order to receive professional service through an experienced company such as The Corporation Service Company which offers specific services for limited liability companies.
How Do You Form an LLC Online?
The best way to form your limited liability company for free is by downloading and completing the Articles of Organization. This can be found on the web and is usually used by many online companies to form your LLC.
After you have completed the Articles of Organization, then you will send it to your Secretary of State for filing. This is where the fee comes in, depending on which state you live in. Usually, the cost of filing depends on the number of members in your LLC and on how long your LLC has been in existence. You can find out more about the article-of-formation process from an online company such as The Corporation Service Company.
If you have decided that you are going to form an LLC, then the first step that you need to take is to visit a company that offers free template kits. This will ensure that your LLC is formed correctly according to the laws of your state.
After that, you simply have to fill in the information on your LLC. You will also need to pay a filing fee with your Secretary of State, which will enable you and LLC name to be listed in their database.
Benefits of LLC Service:
- Complete guide on how to form an LLC
- 24/7 phone and email support
- Benefit from a well-established company
So there you have it. Forming an LLC is easy. You can even do it yourself or if you need the help of a service, then go ahead and utilize their services.
Limited Liability Protection
The biggest motivation for forming an LLC is the limited liability protection that it gives to its members. This means that if a member of your company or even a third party files a lawsuit, then you are not personally liable for any monetary damages.
This means that your home, bank accounts, and other personal assets will be protected should the lawsuit go against your company. This will allow you to continue with your business without any interruptions.
Many companies will also offer a layer of privacy to their members which are not offered in another business type. This means that your company’s financial records are strictly confidential.
In general, LLCs are very simple to operate. You will only need to file the paperwork with the Secretary of State of your state and pay a small filing fee in order to register your company. In fact, most states give you five days in which you can register for free.
After that, you will be able to start managing your business without any problems or policies that are not required by law. This means that when you email your secretary or collect money from a customer, then personal information will not be given out.
Ownership and Management Flexibility
In general, LLCs operate as sole proprietorships. This means that you can do everything yourself and still have a separate entity. This will let you run your business with the freedom of a sole proprietorship while also having an LLC to obtain your asset protection.
Reputation & Credibility
Having an LLC on paper will increase the morale of your customers and clients. This is especially true for startups, which are usually hesitant to deal with new companies due to fear of being ripped off. With an LLC added to your name, then customers will be able to know that you are serious about your business.
If you do not feel inclined about running the company yourself, then you can always hire a manager or a business attorney to do it for you.
Since LLCs are not considered the same as pass-through taxation, you will have to pay income tax every year. This means that your business will be facing an added expense that you may not be prepared to handle.
However, there are certain options that you can take advantage of in order to minimize this cost. You can receive funding from venture capitalists or angel investors who can help you grow your business.
How You Can Form an LLC?
It is very possible to form an LLC without money, but you may be required to pay a small administrative fee. In most cases, you can complete these tasks for free. If not, then you can always visit an online company that offers a free business LLC formation service. Once completed, then your LLC will be completed for free and the filing fee will only apply at recordation processing times.
Many states also give you five days in which you have to register your company for free (when filed in person). After that, the state filing fees are applied.
Steps to Form an LLC
In order to form an LLC in the state where you reside, the following are some of the steps that you will have to take:
Business Name Check
Forming your company properly is important because it will need to be recorded in the state where you intend to operate. In order to do this, you will need to check with your Secretary of State or use an online search engine in order to find out when you can form your LLC.
You will also want to make sure that the name of your company is catchy and original. This means that it will be easy for potential clients to remember and use.
How to check a business name?
It is advisable to type your potential business name in a search engine. If the name is available, then you will have to file an application for a reservation of name. This will cost you $20-100 and take a couple of days to complete.
For example, if your company’s name is “ABC Corporation”, then you might want to search for “abccorporation” or “abc corp”.
Another option is to hire a professional who specializes in finding the right business names available.
Preparation & Filing
After you have determined the correct date to file, you will need to purchase a preparation kit from an online company. This will provide you with the basic forms that you will need in order to create your LLC.
Make sure that you have a pen and some paper handy in order to complete these formation documents as they may take a few hours or so to complete.
If you run into any problems along the way, then feel free to email the company that provided your formation kit for assistance.
What to prepare?
When you are filling out your forms, make sure that you have a copy of the Articles of Organization which will be filed with the Secretary of State. It is advisable to start by completing and submitting all the necessary forms. In most cases, they should be thorough and you will not have to fill them out again.
- Articles of Organization (sample)
- Certificate of Good Standing (sample)
- Membership Interest Form (sample)
After you have finished preparing your company’s paperwork, then you will need to move on to recordation. This means that you will need to register your business in the state where you intend that it operates.
Registered Agent Service
You will need to appoint someone as your registered agent if you are going to form an LLC. This person will act as a liaison between your business and the state and receive any legal documents for you.
If your company has a bank account, then the bank can usually serve as your registered agent.
How to choose a registered agent?
- The person needs to live in the state where your LLC will be located.
- You need to appoint someone who is not connected with your company in any way.
- The person cannot be a corporation.
Digital Storage & Delivery
When you receive your formation kit, then you will need to upload all of your documents and information online. This includes but is not limited to the Articles of Organization, LLC Operating Agreement, Federal Tax ID, and your registered agent appointment.
You will also need to create an account on the company website. This will allow you to communicate with the company in case any problems arise when forming your LLC.
Once uploaded, then you will be able to pay for your state fees online and print out certified copies for recordation purposes.
Tax Planning Consultation
Business owners are advised to consult a tax planning specialist or an accountant in order to get a better grasp of the way that taxes work for your business structure.
A consultation will provide you with information that you may need to know in order to run your business, including which forms to file and how much money you can expect to pay.
Once this is done, then you can plan your budget and determine what capital expenditures you may want to make.
Types of taxes
- Estimated Taxes
- Income Tax
- Property Tax
- Sales Tax
Taxes differ from state to state so it is important to find out which taxes you will need to pay in your area. You can check with your state or use an online search engine to find out more information.
How to pay taxes correctly?
If you have formed an LLC, then it means that you will be treated as a corporation. In this case, entrepreneurs will receive a K1 each year and these forms must be filed with the IRS prior to April 15th.
This means that the company may have to make estimated tax payments throughout the year in order to cover them.
Business Credit & Funding Analysis
The biggest mistake that most small business owners make is to assume that their company has the funds to keep running. In many cases, this is only true when you have enough revenue to cover your costs. If your company does not have enough cash flow, then it is possible that you will not be able to continue running your business.
An analysis of the company may reveal information that can help you figure out how much money you can use in order to stay afloat.
Small Business Checking & Credit Card
If you want to keep a checking account for your business, then the firm that you choose may require a credit check. This can be done by reviewing your credit score or using other methods in order to determine whether or not they will extend you a line of credit.
Once they have this information, then they can determine whether or not they feel comfortable doing business with you.
If you do not qualify for a checking account, then this does not mean that all is lost. There may be other options that you can take advantage of in order to keep your business running.
One option is to use prepaid credit cards. This may come with a yearly fee, but you will not have to pay any interest charges on the money that you are using if the company goes under.
You can also choose to keep all of your business money in a personal account and transfer funds at your discretion without the risk of being charged for it.
The process of forming an LLC may be complicated to some people, but it is really not that difficult. With a bit of guidance, you can be on your way to saving money and keeping your businesses running for years to come.
The keys are finding the right formation kit, following its instructions in order to form your company properly, and creating a plan for the future.