In the United States, a limited liability company is a business entity type that combines the pass-through taxation of a partnership or sole proprietorship with the limited liability of a corporation, creating the best of both worlds for business owners. LLCs have rapidly become one of the most popular business structures for new and small businesses, largely because they are considered to be simpler and more flexible than a corporation.
An LLC that does not want to accept its default federal tax classification, or that wishes to change its classification, uses Form 8832, Entity Classification Election (PDF), to elect how it will be classified for federal tax purposes. Generally, an election specifying an LLC’s classification cannot take effect more than 75 days prior to the date the election is filed, nor can it take effect later than 12 months after the date the election is filed. An LLC may be eligible for late election relief in certain circumstances. See About Form 8832, Entity Classification Election for more information.
An important part of LLC formation is the registered agent. A registered agent must be a person who is located in the state in which you are forming your LLC. This is the person you designate to receive legal service of process, as well as government forms and notices, on behalf of your LLC. He or she must have a physical street address (not a P.O. box).
If you received a Notice to File a Business Property Statement from the Assessor and your business is no longer in operation, you are still required to file the Business Property Statement. You should also include a note on the Business Property Statement indicating that the business has closed, so the Assessor does not continue to assess the property.
Minimal Compliance Requirements LLCs are subject to limited state mandated annual filing requirements and ongoing formalities. While corporations are typically required to have at least an annual meeting of directors and shareholders (and initial meeting of the same), adopt bylaws, and keep minutes of all meetings and all formal corporate resolutions, an LLC is not required to do any of those things (see the explanation of an operating agreement, above). The LLC members may have whatever meetings they wish and may document any such things as they wish, however they are not required to do so.
Articles of organization are short, simple documents. In fact, you can usually prepare your own in just a few minutes by filling in the blanks and checking the boxes on a form provided by your state's filing office. Typically, you must provide only your LLC's name, its address, and sometimes the names of all of the owners -- called members. Generally, all of the LLC owners may prepare and sign the articles, or they can appoint just one person to do so.
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After settling on a name, you must prepare and file "articles of organization" with your state's LLC filing office. While most states use the term "articles of organization" to refer to the basic document required to create an LLC, some states call it a "certificate of formation" or "certificate of organization." To learn about the specific requirements of forming an LLC in your state, choose your state from the list below:
General liability insurance is not typically a legal requirement, but it is very strongly recommended. This policy protects your business assets from lawsuits-without it, a legal claim could force your company out of business entirely. A general liability insurance policy covers injuries, property damage, personal liabilities, advertising liabilities, and legal defense and judgment.
Get an Employer Identification Number from the IRS. If your LLC has more than one member, you will need this number so your LLC can pay federal and state taxes properly, hire employees, and open a company bank account. You can apply for this number: (1) online; (2) by contacting the IRS at (800) 829-4933; or (3) by completing and mailing in Form SS-4 to the address listed on the form.
No Ownership Restrictions The LLC does not have any residency or citizenship restrictions, which allows foreign nationals to have ownership in an LLC, if desired. In addition, other corporate entities may be LLC members which means that other corporations or LLCs (or other entities) may be a member of the LLC, or may be the sole member (although an LLC with a sole member that is a corporation or LLC is treated for tax purposes as a partnership or multi-member LLC).
Some businesses are prevented from forming an LLC, however. Typically financial companies such as banks, financial trust companies and insurance agencies can't file as an LLC. LLCs are sometimes limited for industries in certain states, too. For example, if you live in California, you can't form an LLC if you're an architect, accountant or licensed health care provider. Check out our LLC information by state for more details on your state.
You must report personal property holdings in detail and as requested or mandated. If nothing has changed from the prior year (no equipment was purchased or sold), then you may refer to your prior year's Business Property Statement filing in order to be consistent in completing the current Business Property Statement. If you failed to keep a copy of the prior year's filing, you may request a copy of it from the Assessor's Office.