Steps to Take When Forming an Entity

What are Articles of Organization?

Like Articles of Incorporation, this is the document used for bringing your LLC into existence. It’s filed with the state’s authority for, well, filing such documents. In California, this is the Secretary of State. In Delaware, it’s the Division of Corporations.

By | June 15th, 2015|0 Comments

Will a corporation or LLC protect me from liability?

That’s supposed to be the point of them, so I’m going to say . . . yes! However, you can become personally liable for your own negligence (or intentional bad acts). You may also become personally liable of the person suing you can prove that you didn’t follow corporate formalities, like holding meetings, maintaining minutes, or keeping enough working capital in the business’s accounts.

By | June 15th, 2015|0 Comments

Is the liability protection for LLCs and corporations the same?

Yes. There are some very case-specific nuances, especially when you get down to single-member LLCs, but unlikely anything that is going to effect you generally. Don’t obsess over this one unless you have plans to not pay taxes, for example.

By | June 15th, 2015|0 Comments

What/who is an incorporator?

This is the person who signs and causes the filing of the Articles of Incorporation (or, in the case of an LLC the Articles of Organization) with the designated state authority. In a small business, this is usually the owner/shareholder/member. Some folks have their attorney sign the documents to help expedite the process, and that’s ok (but not necessary).

By | June 15th, 2015|0 Comments

What’s an LLC manager?

The term "manager" has a specific meaning with respect to an LLC. The manager in an LLC is somewhat akin to the director in a corporation. The confusing part is that it can also be akin to the CEO or other officers of a corporation as well. Typically, the manager, well, manages the affairs of the LLC. The manager is authorized to bind the LLC, subject to restrictions that they may be bound to by law or in the operating agreement. The manager may or may not also be responsible for the operations of the LLC, though in larger LLCs, those roles are typically spread out between several individuals. In what are member-managed LLCs, each of the members may act as a manager, binding the LLC. So be careful about how you file your LLC, as you may not want every member eligible to sign contracts, and if you do, then the bank or the landlord will be looking for everyone's signatures.

By | August 11th, 2015|0 Comments

When I form my corporation or LLC, is that a license?

No, but thanks for asking a weird question. You’re likely getting confused with some industries, like talent management, that may require you to obtain a license from a particular state agency. The formation of the entity doesn’t trigger automatic licensure, nor does it automatically require you to get a license for your business. Licensure for your business is separate and apart from forming an entity. And, in some instances, if you are required to obtain a license, that may dictate the kind of entity your form.

By | June 15th, 2015|0 Comments

What’s a Tax ID number?

I find that this is much more critical than some people think. A tax ID number is your corporation or LLC’s separate tax identity. Whether it’s opening a bank account, setting up payroll, or filing a tax return, this number is THE number for all purposes. Here’s how you can get one (good luck to you) or here's how you can get one (answered by me). Important note: you need some kind of tax identification to get a Tax ID Number. Usually that original identification comes in the form of an individual's Social Security Number (usually the person forming the entity if it's a small business). But foreign owners have a more difficult time doing this since they don't usually have Social Security Numbers; in that case, they need to apply for an individual tax ID number, and then use that number to get the Tax ID Number for the corporation or LLC.

By | June 15th, 2015|0 Comments

How do I get a tax identification number?

You can go to the IRS’s website, and go through their multi-page question and answer pages. Make sure you're ready with your SS-4, as the IRS may ask for that over the phone if it doesn’t like one of your answers. (PS, the IRS is not in the habit of liking.)

By | June 15th, 2015|0 Comments

Do I need an attorney for this process?

YES! Of course!! Actually, no. Though "need" is a funny word. An attorney is not required to incorporate an entity. But if you learn nothing else from bouncing around this website, it’s that there may be a great deal of things to consider, traps for the unwary, and housekeeping items that may make or break your liability protection. Consider yourself warned!

By | June 15th, 2015|0 Comments

What’s an assignment?

An assignment is a document used to transfer assets from one entity or owner to another. Click here to see if you need one.

By | June 15th, 2015|0 Comments