Limited Liability Company
If you have an existing business, then its assets and contracts should get transferred to your corporation. This can look like an assignment, or a bill of sale. There are tax considerations regarding contribution of the assets of your existing business. You may also need to notify third parties, such as vendors and landlords. A stitch in time, as they say. Paperwork is king.
The answer in most situations is going to be yes. One of the virtues of an LLC is its simplicity. Once you choose to form your business as a corporation (and then an S Corporation), or to have your LLC elect to be taxed as an S Corporation, costs for tax returns, payroll, corporate state compliance paperwork, and other accounting items get triggered. You'll need to balance the benefits of an S Corporation against the ease of use that comes with an LLC.
That would be nice, but this is the beginning of you needing to think about why you formed the corporation to begin with: to make it separate from the sins of the past. So, no, new bank account, with a new tax ID number. Sorry.
Whether for a corporation or in any business or political setting, bylaws are the rules that govern the procedures of the particular entity. In a corporation, the bylaws is the set of rules which address, for example, when meetings will be held, and what the duties of the officers are. Though it’s a standard document for a corporation, some LLCs will also choose to have bylaws separate from their operating agreement. Some bylaws are considered “off the shelf”, but your business, like any other, is unique, and therefore it’s a document that should be reviewed and drafted carefully to suit your particular needs.
Novices to LLCs tend to think that this is the document governing the actual operations of the company. Not so. The operating agreement, also sometimes known as the LLC Agreement (or some variation), is the governing document for the LLC itself. It may be very short, defining merely who the members are and what their respective ownership percentages are. Added to that, there may be restrictions on the transfer of the ownership interest, as well as guidelines for meetings, consent rights, call rights, and so on. These are contracts that can become quite complex.
Need? No. And if I were a litigation attorney who made money off of people’s mistakes, I’d say don’t have one and let the chips fall where they may -- better yet, let state law govern your rights and duties. But I’m in the business of preventative law. So, yes, you should have an operating agreement. Just by way of example, without one, and your partner dies, you’ll become partner’s with your dead partner’s surviving spouse -- think about that one for a minute. No way out of that without a written operating agreement providing for a buy-out.
Capitalization can mean a couple of things. At first it usually refers to the contributions of money or property that the owners (shareholders or members) have contributed to the business, their “capital contributions”. Later on, or as a result, or in anticipation of such contributions, it may refer to a capitalization chart or table, which will set out each owner and their percentage interest in the entity.
A CEO is the Chief Executive Officer. This is the person responsible for over-seeing all of the day-to-day activities of the corporation. Sometimes LLCs have CEOs. The CEO is the face of the company, and so larger businesses tend to hire a CEO that has appeal to the public to encourage investment in the business, or to attract new customers. The CEO, when it comes to extraordinary decisions, seeks and takes direction from the board of directors. The CEO can be, but need not be, a shareholder.
Corporate secretaries are the unsung heroes in the officer world. They are responsible for the grunt work of the corporation or LLC, making sure i’s are dotted, t’s crossed, taking corporate minutes, and frequently interacting with the business’s lawyer to make sure paperwork and corporate housekeeping are all in order. In a very small business, the corporate secretary is frequently the same person as the CFO and the CEO. In larger businesses, you’ll want to try to make the CEO and corporate secretary two different people, since there may be occasion when refinancing or issuing shares to a corporate investor will require that the secretary attest to the identity of the CEO, which gets awkward when it’s the same person. The position of Secretary is required under California law.
The position of Chief Operating Officer is not required under state law, but businesses that are growing, or intend to grow, will almost always have one. The COO is responsible for the day-to-day of the business, and usually reports to the CEO. And so I know I said that that’s the CEO’s job; in larger businesses, those responsibilities are handed over to the COO, so that the CEO has more time to develop new strategies to grow the business.