For over 40 years Nolo has been publishing affordable, plain English books, forms and software on a wide range of legal and business issues, including estate planning, small business, personal finance, housing, divorce and intellectual property. Everything we publish is regularly revised and improved by our staff of lawyer-editors, to make sure that it's the best it can be. We pay close attention to changes in the law and we'll make sure your online legal documents stay legally up to date.
Depending on how your business is structured, the amount of revenue your business earns, and several other factors, forming an LLC can provide potential tax benefits for business owners. LLCs are allowed to choose how they want to be taxed, either as an S corporation or C corporation. These options are not available when you are operating as a sole proprietorship. LLCs don't pay their own taxes directly, the income of the business its passed on to the members of the LLC through "pass through taxation." This means that a member is subject to self-employment taxes, but at higher levels of income, the LLC can often pay a lower base tax rate than a C Corporation. The best way to determine your potential tax benefits is to consult an accountant.
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Doing Business As: denotes a business name used by a person or entity that is different from the person's or entity's true name. DBAs are not separate entities and do not shield the person or entity who uses the DBA as a business name from liability for debts or lawsuits. Filing requirements vary and are not permitted for some types of businesses or professional practices. See also Delaware corporation, Delaware statutory trust, Nevada corporation, and Massachusetts business trust.
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Although the number of people wanting to start their own business has grown, many still do not know how to organize themselves financially. Start by getting your Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certificate to show clients you are credible. On the other hand, if you already have the experience, you can start by advising individuals and then grow your empire to consult for larger organizations.
Have you ever thought about what happens to all the old CDs and DVDs we used to use to listen to music and watch films? Well, the answer is, often nothing. For those who have only just started using the internet to download, purchase, and listen to music, their CDs are wasted. If you know how to transfer this media to a computer, you could be doing the tech-phobic and those with little time on their hands a serious favor. Offer your services on forums, social media or flyers. You may even end up with customers with more general tech needs on a long-term basis.
All formal business entities, including LLCs, are required to have a Registered Agent on file with the state at all times. The agent may be an individual or company with a physical address located in the state of incorporation. Agents must be available at all times during standard business hours (9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday – Friday). The role of a Registered Agent is to receive any and all of communications from the government to the business. The agent’s name and address must be disclosed as part of the company’s public record.
Corp., Inc., Corporation, Incorporated: used to denote corporations (public or otherwise). These are the only terms universally accepted by all 51 corporation chartering jurisdictions in the United States. However, in some states other suffixes may be used to identify a corporation, such as Ltd., Co./Company, or the Italian term S.p.A. (in Connecticut; see under Italy). Some states that allow the use of "Company" prohibit the use of "and Company", "and Co.", "& Company" or "& Co.". In most states sole proprietorships and partnerships may register a fictitious "doing business as" name with the word "Company" in it. For a full list of allowed designations by state, see the table below.
File with the appropriate federal, state, and local governmental agencies. Depending on the business purpose of your LLC and the jurisdiction in which you organize, you may have to file additional forms relating to LLCs with certain governmental agencies. Each industry is regulated differently—as is each local jurisdiction—and so it is best to ask an attorney or accountant for assistance in this matter.
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.
Please do not place your social security number on filing or other documents you submit to the Secretary of State. Although we attempt to prevent disclosure of social security numbers, due to the large number of documents filed, we cannot guarantee that a social security number placed on a document will not be disclosed. It is the responsibility of the filer to ensure that a social security number is not contained on the filing.