Operating agreements are one of the most vital, and overlooked, tools in running a limited liability company. We’ve actually covered operating agreements as part of our ‘ABCs of MyCorp’ series, but we never delved into what an operating agreement should actually say. As a quick refresher, an operating agreement is essentially a document that defines how the LLC will be run, and the SBA recommends that every LLC draft one. The trouble is that only a couple of states, like Missouri and New York, legally require new LLCs to have an operating agreement. But without the rules, structure, and regulations an operating agreement provides, your LLC could be in serious trouble if partners disagree, a member wants to leave, or if the state starts questioning the validity of your LLC. Operating agreements are also pretty easy to draft and only need to cover a few key areas.
This week we are looking at Texas – the Lone Star State. As the saying goes, everything is bigger in Texas. The state has successfully accommodated changes in the economy and US consumption – though it was originally a cattle state, oil rich land and a strong infrastructure has turned the cowboy state into one of the economically diverse states in the USA. In their Best States for Business survey, Forbes ranked Texas at #7 with the state’s economic climate in first place and most analysts also expect Texas to see some serious growth in the next few years. If you’ve ever wanted to start a business, Texas is a great place to do it. But how hard is it to start a business, form an LLC, or incorporate in Texas?
What do you need to start a business in Texas?
Surprisingly little! Some states require sole proprietorships, which are the simplest type of business entity, to register before they do business. All Texas requires is that the sole-proprietorship’s owner file an ‘Assumed Name Certificate,’ also known as a ‘Doing Business As’ name, with the County Clerk. Depending on where you plan on doing business, and what sort of business you run, you may also need to file for a business license – the Small Business Administration has a handy tool to help new business owners figure out exactly what they need on that front!
The term ‘Foreign Corporation‘ sometimes confuses people. Though it can also refer to a corporation from a different country, when business advisers refer to a Foreign Corporation or LLC, they are usually talking about a domestic company with permission to operate in a state other than the one the company was formed in. This permission is often called a ‘foreign qualification,’ and it effectively registers your company with the new state so the state can collect taxes. With it, you can open up another branch of your company, or move your base of operations, without changing states. But why would a business want to do that?
Why would you want a foreign qualification?
There are a few reasons why a business chooses to qualify as a foreign entity in other states. One of the main ones being that the company simply wants to expand its operations – sales could be strong in their home state, and they figure they’ll take a crack at opening another store or office in a neighboring state. Since you need permission to do business in another state, they pursue a foreign qualification. However, some business owners also believe that they may save money on taxes by forming a business in a state like Nevada or Delaware, and then qualifying in the state they actually do business in. There are pros and cons to incorporating in another state, so be sure to weigh your options carefully.
This week on 50 States of Incorporation, we take a look at ‘The Palmetto State,’ South Carolina! Also know as ‘The Rice State’ and ‘The Swamp State,’ South Carolina’s official nickname comes from the state tree, the Sabal Palmetto, which distinguished itself during the revolutionary war. It was a fort made of Palmetto logs that repulsed the British fleet from Sullivan’s Island back in 1776! But South Carolina has a lot more to offer than strategically useful flora. Though it was hit hard by the recession, its strong agricultural heritage, and the state’s friendly attitude towards business, has really boosted its recovery. So what should South Carolinian entrepreneurs know about their state? And what does it take to open up a business and incorporate in South Carolina?
Are there any benefits to running a business in South Carolina?
Plenty! South Carolina is actually one of the most business-friendly states in the USA. Thumbtack gave the state an A- in overall friendliness, and South Carolina has the tenth lowest tax burden of all states. It also makes sense to incorporate in South Carolina as the state boasts a low, 5% flat corporate income tax rate. Of course, South Carolina does all it can to help small businesses within the state. The South Carolinian Secretary of State’s office maintains a Small Business One-Stop Site to help new entrepreneurs find and file for everything they need to get their business up and running, and the Department of Commerce is proud to offer multiple growth incentives to businesses with the state.
For years, MyCorporation has been honored to help thousands of new entrepreneurs to get their new small business started on the right foot by incorporating or forming an LLC. But business maintenance doesn’t end when the articles of incorporation are filed! There are actually a few more steps to ensuring your new entity is compliant and ready for business. In order to help educate new business owners, and answer one of our most commonly asked questions, we are happy to reveal our new video, “What happens after you incorporate or form an LLC?”
Step 1. Apply for an Employer Identification Number. An EIN is going to be needed if you want to open a business bank account, or if you want to hire employees.
Step 3. Look into what business licenses you have to apply for. Licensing varies depending on locality, entity, and industry, so it is a good idea to consult with a professional who can help you figure out exactly what you need.
Step 4. Remember to stay on top of annual maintenance. Most states will require business entities to file an annual report, which will have some basic information on your business like its name, address, registered agent, and industry. You also have to document any changes to the corporation or LLC. If you bring on new owners, or new investors, make sure to make note of it. You should also update your operating agreement or bylaws as new owners and investors will probably want a say in how the company is run.
Step 5. Thinking about expanding outside of your home state? Well, remember that you have to apply for permission to do business in any new state. If you don’t, you could be looking at hefty fines and dissolution of your business in that state. So don’t forget to file to qualify as a foreign entity in any state you plan to expand into.
Have any questions about corporate or LLC maintenance? Need help figuring out what you need to file? Just give MyCorporation a call at 1-877-692-6772 and we will be happy to help you out!
Oregon is one of the most ecologically diverse states in America, with rolling forests, wind-swept coasts, and beautiful mountains. This natural beauty is one of the main drivers of tourism, one of the state’s largest industries. Oregon is also home to growing businesses in the tech, forestry, and manufacturing industries, and, according to Forbes, the state is poised to see some serious growth. Today we’re answering the question of how to start a business in the Beaver State, and how to form an LLC or incorporate in Oregon.
What is needed to start a business in Oregon?
Oregon requires that all businesses within the state register with the Secretary of State’s Office. Now, if all you want to do is run a sole-proprietorship, you may only need to file for a DBA, or ‘Doing Business As’ name. This registration is meant to prevent fraud, and allows you to do business under a name other than your own. If you want to form a limited liability company or incorporate in Oregon, you’ll have to do a bit more paperwork.
Forming an LLC or incorporating both turn your business into its own, separate legal entity. That is good news for you because it means your company can effectively carry, and is responsible for, it’s own debts, so creditors cannot seize your personal assets to pay for the business’s debts. To form an LLC, you file your Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State and pay a $100 fee. This form will ask you for the business’s name, which must contain the words ‘Limited Liability Company,’ or the abbreviations ‘L.L.C.’ or ‘LLC.’ Along with your company’s name, you have to list its address, organizers, and the name and address of its registered agent.
If you’d like to incorporate in Oregon, you fill out your Articles of Incorporation, file them with the state, and pay a fee. Your corporation’s name has to include a designator like ‘incorporated’ or ‘corporation,’ and you will have to list the names and addresses of the incorporators, as well as the name and address of your registered agent. Corporations, however, are a bit more complicated to run, and you are required to name a board of directors, who will then help lead the business. You should also prepare corporate bylaws to guide the business’s development, and prepare minutes for any meeting at which a major business decision was made.
Does the state offer any support to small businesses in Oregon?
Yes! Oregon actually has a very handy online tool called Business Xpress meant to help out new small business owners. Using it, you can track down forms, find networking and training opportunities, and even start a business plan! The tool also has links to programs meant to support women and minority business owners in Oregon, so be sure to look around and see if there are any opportunities or grants you can use to boost your business.
Are you ready to start a business in Oregon? Have any questions about how to form an LLC or incorporate in Oregon? Give us a call at 1 (877) 692-6772 or leave a comment below!
Traditionally, Limited Liability Companies are treated like partnerships. Two or more people get together, found a company, form an LLC, and then start running the business. But there’s more than one way to run an LLC. Member-Managed and Manager-Managed Limited Liability Companies are run very similarly, but there are also some key differences that anyone looking to form an LLC should know.
Member-Managed LLCs are, by far, the more common choice. Each member of the limited liability company is treated as equal to every other member, and everyone shares responsibility for the day-to-day operation of the LLC. Continue reading
Limited Liability Companies were, originally, meant to be a replacement for the standard partnership. In 1977, the IRS ruled that it would treat the very first LLC, a Wyoming-based oil company, as a partnership for tax purposes. That meant any money earned by the company would flow through it, directly to the members of the LLC. It wasn’t until 1988, however, that the IRS chose to recognize all LLCs as partnerships, rather than corporations. LLCs are thus, at the federal level, treated as partnerships, which complicates matters for Single Member LLCs. Single Member Limited Liability Companies thus face challenges unique to its business structure – challenges that anyone considering forming a SMLLC should know about and expect.
What are the differences between a Limited Liability Company and a Single Member LLC?
The main difference is right in the name. A single member LLC only has one member, or owner. Limited Liability Companies were primarily created to protect the interests of everyone involved in running the company. The assets and debts of the company were its own, and the assets and debts of each member was their own. If one member misbehaved and owed creditors money, the creditor could not seize control of the LLC – they could only collect on the proportional share being paid to that owner. Likewise, if the company went bankrupt, the personal assets of the members were safe. Single Member LLCs, on the other hand, are not partnerships and it has been up to the state courts to decide how much protection a single-member LLC should really provide.
A Limited Liability Partnership is a very interesting type of business structure. Limited Liability Companies already combine the ease of running a partnership with the protection of a corporation, and the IRS originally ruled that LLCs would be taxed as partnerships. So what is the difference between a Limited Liability Partnership and a Limited Liability Company? And which one would be the best structure for your company?
What is a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)?
We’ll answer the easiest question first. An LLP is very similar to an LLC – both protect the company’s owners from lawsuits and debtors, and both have a pass-through tax structure, meaning anything the company earns passes through it, directly to the owners, without being subject to any corporate income tax. However, a Limited Liability Partnership offers an extra bit of liability protection to each partner. So, just like in a Professional Corporation, the other partners in an LLP will not necessarily be liable for the consequences stemming from another partner’s actions.
Do all states recognize LLPs?
Yes, though the laws recognizing LLPs vary from state to state. The majority of the states have adopted the Revised Uniform Partnership Act, which includes a provision for LLPs stating ‘An obligation of a partnership incurred while the partnership is a limited liability partnership, whether arising in contract, tort, or otherwise, is solely the obligation of the partnership.’ In layman’s terms, that essentially means that the company, and not the individual partners, is responsible for any obligations stemming from contracts or torts. The states that haven’t adopted the RUPA instead opted for their own laws to recognize LLPs, but all follow the same basic pattern.
Corporate seals are a remnant of the middle ages, back when official documents were legitimized by a hot wax imprint of a seal or crest. The practice of ‘sealing’ documents kept on throughout the centuries, though the hot-wax method eventually gave way to rubber stamps and paper seals. Today, corporate law still allows for the use of corporate seals, though they are no longer as important as they once were. This week in business basics we answer a few of the most commonly questions we receive about corporate seals, and let you know if you should get one for your own corporation.
What is a corporate seal?
A corporate seal is essentially a signature for your business. When you incorporate, you turn your business into its own, legal entity. Since a corporation cannot sign anything, a corporate seal is used to mark legal and official documentation. These days, most corporate seals are either rubber stamps or steel embossers, and are normally designed to fall apart if tampered with to help avoid fraud.
Do I need a corporate seal?