Learn how to start a business state-by-state with the help of our comprehensive tutorials. The below guides have covered all bases, providing you with all the information needed on forming/registering a limited liability company (LLC), a corporation, or a partnership. Whether you are forming an in-state, domestic entity, or you’re applying for authority to transact business as a foreign business, we have you covered at no additional cost. Select your state below to gain a full understanding of what’s in store.

Step 1 – Select Your State

Step 2 – Choose Your Entity Type

Corporation

  • Pros – Shareholders are not liable for company debts, various tax advantages, lower fees in some states, fringe benefits for C corporations
  • Cons – Restrictions on who can and cannot be a shareholder, board of directors must hold regular meetings and take part in a variety of corporate formalities, C corporations may be subject to “double taxation” if income is distributed via dividends

Limited Liability Company (LLC)

  • Pros – No requirement for regular meetings or corporate formalities, no shareholder restrictions, LLC owners needn’t pay unemployment insurance on their salaries, owners are not personally responsible for company debts, fewer annual requirements
  • Cons – Both employee salaries and profits are subject to self employment tax, higher fees in some states, fringe benefits must be treated as taxable income, ownership cannot be sold in the form of stock

Partnership (LP, LLP, LLLP)

  • Pros – Simple formation procedures, low registration fees, all partners have equal rights and authority, higher borrowing capacity, tax advantages, any individual may become a partner resulting in a wider range of expertise
  • Cons – Partners may be liable for company debts, shared profits, greater opportunity for conflict between owners, the actions of one partner directly effects the other(s), a partnership may dissolve upon the disengagement or a partner

Step 3 – Select a Name

Perform a search of your name. Use your State’s Business Database below and if the search is returned with zero (0) results, the name is most likely available for use.

Step 4 – Completing the Articles

Depending on the State and type of entity you decide on creating, you will have to fill-in a document asking specifics in reference to:

  • Business Address – The principal office address and mailing address (may be the same)
  • Registered Agent / Service of Process – Individual or organization nominated by the company to receive service of process (legal action against the company) and other State filings
  • Management – Management structure of the company, whether it is member managed or member managed (if applicable) and provide the name(s) of the manager(s)
  • Member(s) / Shareholder(s) Names – Name(s) of the owner(s) and their address(es)
  • # of Shares – (Only if a corporation) Specify the class of shares and the corresponding par value
  • Business Purpose – State the general reason for the company’s existence

Step 5 – Filing Fee

There is a filing fee for every type of entity in all 50 States. The fee depends on the filing type and whether you intend on having it expedited (usually for a fee of an extra $50 or $100).

The fees can be found by clicking on the entity type below (for Domestic only) and scrolling to your State.

Step 6 – Additional Documents

It is highly recommended that no matter the type of entity you create to have a document that proves your business purpose as well as having an agreement with other members or shareholders (if more than 1 individual).

Corporate Bylaws – This is set by the shareholders and updated on a yearly basis with the annual meeting. The purpose of this form is to set the business parameters and roles of each individual.

LLC Operating Agreement – Use to coordinate the management of the Company as well as establish business purpose and identify how much each Member owns in the Company (no stocks like a Corporation, rather ownership is listed as a percentage and ONLY recorded in the operating agreement.

Partnership Agreement – Use to make a business agreement with other individuals apart of the entity and establish ownership/payment structure.

Step 7 – Employer Identification Number (EIN)

Also known as a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) and is like a Social Security Number for businesses. Without this number, an entity is not able to conduct business transactions such as opening a bank account. After the entity has been formed this number should be retrieved from the IRS (Online or with Form SS-4).

COMPLETE!

Now your business is legally up and running and just make sure to renew with the State on an annual basis.