So you want to finally start your business! This is a great step to delivering a great product or service to your community. This is the first step to building your empire!
There are a number of different structures for your business. We recommend the Limited Liability Company or LLC.
Regardless of the type of business you want to create, an LLC is a great option. But what are the legal documents needed to set up your LLC?
We’ve prepared this detailed guide to help you out.
Legal Documents For Establishing Your LLC
Before you start your LLC, you need to first take some preliminary actions. Find a name for your company and make sure that it isn’t trademarked. You also need to find a business address for your company.
Once this is established, you need to choose the jurisdiction where you want your company is registered. You will also have to choose a registered agent for the company.
When this is complete, here’s what you need to know about the legal documents:
Name Reservation Application
After you’ve chosen the name for your business and checked that it’s not trademarked, you need to reserve it before someone else does!
Through the jurisdiction’s corporation bureau, you can check that the name hasn’t been taken. You should have a shortlist of potential names in case yours is taken.
From the Secretary of State’s website, you can download and file the Name Reservation Application while you fill out the other legal documents for your LLC.
IRS Form SS-4
Fill out this form to receive your Employment Identification Number (EIN). This number is necessary to identify your business through legal documents and when paying taxes.
Once you receive your EIN, make sure you keep the official documents safe. We also recommend scanning and saving this to your computer and on a cloud storage server.
Articles of Organization
From the Secretary of State’s website, you can also download the form for Articles of Organization. This should be submitted promptly — right after you have reserved your business name and received your EIN.
This form will record your business name, business address, registered agent information, and your EIN. Additionally, in this form you will be including the following information:
- Purpose: Here you will give the information on the type of business you will run. You might be able to be broad (such as ‘Marketing’ or ‘Consulting’ or ‘Retail’) or you might need to be as detailed as possible in describing your purpose
- Duration: If you have a specified date where you wish to close your LLC you must provide this on the form. You can also state that your business is perpetual if you don’t have a date
- Ownership/Management: You have to specify who the owners of the business are and who the management will be – if different
When you submit your form, make sure to submit the required number of copies. In most cases, you’ll need to submit at least two copies. Keep one copy for yourself and back it up digitally.
The operating agreement outlines the rules for everyone involved in the LLC. It will detail what everyone’s rights are as well as their responsibilities. It also outlines how the profits will be divided among the individuals involved.
This agreement will also give information on who owns and runs the business — just as in the Articles of Organization. This agreement has to be signed by all members who are part of the ownership/management of your company.
It’s best to seek the help of an attorney to draft the operating agreement.
There will likely be a few tax forms to file during your LLC registration. These can include business entity taxes, sales taxes, use taxes, employer taxes, payroll taxes, etc.
You will have to check the rules of the jurisdiction to see what preliminary tax forms you’ll have to file while registering your LLC. We recommend using legal counsel to help you with these tax forms.
Depending on the type of business you run, you might need to obtain a few licenses. If so, make sure that you register for these licenses as soon as possible.
Some of the licenses that you might need for your business are home occupancy permits, permits for your premises (such as for alarms, elevators, etc.), licenses for serving food and liquor, professional licenses, and much more.
This is one of the most strenuous aspects of forming your LLC. We suggest seeking legal counsel to figure out which license forms you need. Your attorney can also help you with filing these license forms.
Expanding To Other States
If you wish to expand your LLC to other states, you might need to register the LLC in those states as well.
You will have to find a registered agent in those states as well. If your business structure will require LLCs to be registered in several states, we suggest hiring legal counsel to guide you through the process.
Once you have your LLC registered and you start running your business, you should be aware of the additional obligations you’ll have. There are additional legal documents you’ll be required to provide once your business is running.
These might include annual reports. These are reports that outline the revenue and profits that your LLC earns each year. You will also need to file tax returns for your LLC. For this, you should consult a business tax expert to help you file the taxes properly and to receive as many applicable tax benefits as you can.
There will always be additional legal documents that you need to continue to file for maintaining your LLC. Make sure you are always on top of these obligations.
Open For Business
Now that you know the legal documents needed for your LLC, you are ready to start your business. Make sure you properly comply with these requirements so that you never have your LLC shut down or run into legal complications.
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