Haven't been able to get any straight answers about creating an Anonymous LLC?
I know you feel, and I've got you covered!
Establishing an LLC (Limited Liability Company) aka Articles of Organization, can feel very intimidating. That's because attorney's typically only give you a few crumbs of info, and when you do finally do a free 30 minute consult with them, they give you so much confusing information and legal jargon, that it makes your head feel like it's going to explode. I can't say this is all attorneys, but there are attorneys who overcharge small businesses thousands of dollars just for pushing a few papers... and attorney's get all that money because of our fear of doing something wrong or getting sued. This is one of the reasons that small businesses have so many difficulties getting off the ground. But with a little confidence and common sense, you can do most of this on your own. You can do it! (In my Rob Schneider voice.)
All I can say is thank God for the advancement in modern technology and the internet, because due to a confusing 30 minute consultation, with a page full of chicken scratch notes, and 2 days/36 hours of online research later, I found the answer!!
Now, I'm no legal expert, but I do have common sense and can add 2+2, which completely gives me the credentials to bring you this information ;) (joking) But since I found this awesome discovery, I thought I'd share it with you lovely people! No matter why you want your LLC to be anonymous, I've got the goods below:
First of all, I found 2 incredibly helpful videos that break down how LLCs work, why you need one, and how to structure it anonymously, and why you'd want to make it an anonymous LLC.
Secondly, here's the scoop:
4 Main Things You Need to Register Your Anonymous LLC
- Anonymous Street Address: The Secretary of State (SOS) needs a physical street address to your business, so they can deliver mail to it. You can use your business or personal street address, but if you want to remain anonymous, you can get a street address from a mailing service. Just make sure to put it under the name of the LLC. I you're in Ohio, you can use Postal Annex, who also has mail forwarding and virtual mail service if you need it. However, you can look up a local private mailbox service in your area and get a much less expensive rate than UPS and some other services. (Side note, the Secretary of State will not accept P.O. Boxes for a business address).
- Registered Agent: A reputable place is Northwest Registered Agent who has registered agents in all 50 states and was the most reasonably priced at $125 per year. You can also go with Legalzoom for $159 per year. I'm not sure how it works with legal zoom, but with Northwest Registered Agent, you can have a Registered Agent available immediately upon signing up and they'll send you everything you need via email. There are many reasons you need an Registered Agent. One reason is because their name (instead of yours) is what will be publicly registered under your LLC at the SOS website. There are several other reasons to have a registered agent, which you can find on the LLC University website.
- Organizer: Someone other than an LLC member who has zero interest in the company which fills out and files the LLC paperwork with the Secretary of State. (This can all be done online). This can be someone you hire, a trusted and capable friend or relative, or your Registered Agent. You can have a member of the LLC file the paperwork, but that will diminish the anonymity of your LLC. Side note: your Organizer can use your anonymous business street address as their address since they are doing this on behalf of your business.
- Operating Agreement: This is an internal agreement between you and your LLC partners or members who have a vested interest in the company. You don't need to submit this in to the Secretary of State unless your state requires it. You just need to have it on file in case the "shit hits the fan". You can get a free template of an operating agreement at the LLC University Website. You can also get another variation of an operating agreement from Northwest Registered Agent.
Above and beyond the registration, a couple of other things you'll need to do for your business are:
- EIN Number: Get your EIN number from the IRS so that your LLC will be all the way legit. Just make sure to put the EIN under your LLC's name and not your personal name.
- Transfer Ownership: If you own Real Estate, you need to contact your local county auditor to transfer ownership of the property into the name of your LLC.
- Unique Name Search: Make sure you have a unique name for your LLC business. Basically, you can't use the same name as anyone else. You can do a business name search on your State's Secretary of State website.
Now, one other thing you should do is get liability insurance for your company. Just because you're an LLC doesn't mean you won't get sued. But the LLC does offer many other advantages. If you want to make sure the "Corporate Veil is not Pierced" you'll need to make sure you Maintain your business appropriately.
There are things you can do for extra protection on your business assets, which can be seen in this video. It's a lot of information, so you may have to watch this several times to get the full gist of it. I know I did.
Also, I recommend that you do your own research and cross referencing to ensure that you are doing what's best for your business. What I'm sharing with you is the knowledge I've gained from research and experience... which saves thousands of dollars, but your situation may be different. When in doubt, consult an attorney. LegalZoom has attorneys at your disposal at any time for a mere $219 for 6 months or $375 for 1 full year. Can't beat that. If you've had any experience with paying out for attorney consultations, you're aware that you can spend that much in just one visit.
I hope this helps to save you from having to go through the frustration that I had to go through to get this information. Thanks so much for stopping by! Cheers to you and your successful Limited Liability Company!