LLC Next Steps
Now that you have formed your Limited Liability Company (LLC), you probably have some questions about what to do next. Some important steps to take after forming your LLC are (not listed in order of importance):
Obtain an EIN number. An EIN number (also called a Federal Tax ID Number) is assigned by the IRS and used to identify your business. Most banks will require you to have an EIN number in order to open a business bank account. For more information about EIN numbers, see How to Get an EIN.
Open a business bank account. At a minimum, most banks and credit unions require you to present your EIN number and your approved Articles of Organization in order to open a business bank account. For detailed information on the process of opening a business bank account see How to Open a Business Bank Account.
Publish your LLC, if applicable. Three states have publication requirements: Arizona, Nebraska, and New York. In Arizona, if your LLC needs to be published, the state will send publication instructions and a Notice of Publication with your Articles of Organization after your LLC is approved by the state. In Nebraska, once your LLC is formed, a "Notice of Organization" must be published in a legal newspaper of general circulation, in the same county (or near as possible) as the business address of the LLC for three consecutive weeks. The newspaper will then issue proof the publication, which is then filed with the Nebraska Secretary of State's office. In New York, once the LLC is approved, a Notice of Formation must be published in two newspapers (one daily newspaper, and one weekly newspaper designated by the county clerk in the county where the LLC was formed), once a week for six consecutive weeks. The newspaper will then issue a Certificate of Publication, affidavits from the newspaper, and copies of the published notices, which all must be filed with the New York Department of State.
Find out if you need a business license. Whether or not you will need a business license will depend on the type of business you are operating. Start by calling your city or county's business licensing department and they should be able to give you information on obtaining a license application. See How Do I Know if I Need a Business License For My LLC?
Obtain a Seller's Permit, if applicable. Depending on what state you live in, the name of this permit may vary: Reseller License Permit, state tax ID number (different from a federal EIN number), Resale ID number/Permit, Reseller Permit/Number, Resell Permit/Number. Most states require this permit if your LLC sells merchandise, property, or vehicles. In some states, the Seller's Permit allows your LLC to purchase items at wholesale prices and resell them at retail prices. You can find out more information by contacting your state's revenue department or equalization board.
Know your state tax requirements. Each state has different tax laws pertaining to income tax, employment taxes, and sales tax. You can find most requirements online at your state tax department's (sometimes referred to as the Department of Revenue, Department of Taxation, or Department of Treasury) website.
Keep your LLC in active status with the state. Most states require LLCs to file annual reports and/or franchise tax reports in order to keep the LLC active and in good status with the state.
Annual Reports typically ask for updated information about the LLC (current business address, name(s) and address(es) of the owner(s) and require a fee to be paid to the state. Not all states require an Annual Report, some have biennial reports that are due every other year.
Franchise tax reports are required in some states and each state varies regarding the method of calculating the tax and the due date.
Not filing your annual documents with the state in the correct time frame may subject your business to fines and the state may administratively dissolve your business. Reinstating your business with the state can be costly and time consuming.
Make sure you always have a Registered Agent for your LLC. No matter what state you live in, your business must always have a Registered Agent who has a physical address located in the state you formed your business in. The Registered Agent serves as the "mailbox" for your business, and is the person or entity 1) the state corporation division will send all correspondence to, 2) the state taxation department will send all correspondence to, and 3) the person that will be served with legal papers if the business is involved in a legal action. If your Registered Agent can no longer serve in that capacity, it is important to know that it is imperative that you file a "Change of Registered Agent" form with your state so that they always have current information regarding your Registered Agent. Should the state find out your business does not have a current Registered Agent, you may be fined and your business will no longer be in active status with the state. Reinstating your business to active status with the state can be costly and time consuming.