FAQs

What’s a K-1?

In very lay terms, a K-1 is the partnership equivalent of an employee’s W-2 or a contractor’s 1099. Because a partnership doesn’t generally pay taxes of its own, it issues a form to each of its partners, telling the partners what each of them needs to put on his/her/its own tax return. LLCs taxed as a partnership (the default for multiple-member LLCs) issue K-1s. For more on forming partnerships, here's an article. Or, if you prefer to be entertained, here's a video.

By | July 19th, 2015|0 Comments

What is an LLC “member”?

Being a member in an LLC is similar to being a shareholder in a corporation, or simply being an owner in a business. The members of an LLC are its owners, and typically if there's more than one, they will sign an Operating Agreement which is a contract governing their rights and duties with respect to each other and the LLC.

By | August 10th, 2015|0 Comments

I want to add my boyfriend to my single-member LLC. Is that complicated?

Well, if I was your mother, I’d say yes, that’s very complicated, and please just pay him for services rendered. But, as your lawyer, adding him is not that complicated. However, the result is that you’ve now turned what was essentially a sole proprietorship into a partnership, requiring tax returns, fiduciary duties, and ideally, a written partnership agreement for when you want to show your boyfriend the door.

By | July 19th, 2015|0 Comments

Can I name my corporation anything?

Nope. There are some pretty strict rules on what you get to name your corporation. Most of those rules can be found in a document regularly updated by the Secretary of State (in California) -- click here to take a look. For example, a corporation need not have "Inc." at the end of its name, but an LLC needs to have "LLC", or "limited liability company", after its name. And here's a new one, even on me: The word "Holding" or "Holdings" is considered to be a "dropped" word in a corporate name, i.e., it's ignored for purposes of figuring out if your name matches one already taken. For example, Herzog Wonderful Legal, Inc. is the same as Herzog Wonderful Legal Holding, Inc.

By | May 19th, 2016|0 Comments

Is it easy to change my company’s name once it’s established?

Hate to be a lawyer about this, but it depends. Typically there’s the name you formed your entity with, and then there’s the name you do business as, which may be two different things, and both require paperwork. In the case of the name you do business as, that may be expose you to trademark or service mark infringement.

By | July 19th, 2015|0 Comments

I want to convert my LLC into a corporation. Can I? How? Vice versa?

Depending on what state your company is located in, this could be as simple as filing a single form with that state’s governing agency. In some states, this may be more complicated, but there’s always a way. Keep in mind, by converting the entity, you will likely have to get it a new Tax ID Number, since it’s now a different entity. If there’s a partnership agreement, or certain rights with respect to voting or capital return, be careful about property transferring all of that over. Consult with tax and legal counsel.

By | July 19th, 2015|0 Comments

What is a Statement of Information (California)?

California, and many other states, require an annual or biannual report filing detailing the names and addresses of the directors and officers (or managers in the case of an LLC). It’s part of the social contract entities have with the public – liability protection in return for transparency. Not filing can lead eventually to suspension of the corporate or LLC charter, thereby exposing the entity’s owners to personal liability. In California, the first one is due within 90 days of filing the Articles of Incorporation or Articles of Organization.

By | July 19th, 2015|0 Comments

Can I be the CEO, CFO and Secretary of my corporation?

Yes. It’s not always ideal, especially if you’re looking at growing or bringing in investors, but the law allows it. And please stop calling it "my corporation". The more you do that, the more you expose yourself to personal liability. Think of it as separate and apart from you, and the rest of the world will too.

By | July 19th, 2015|0 Comments

Does my corporation have to have more than one director?

Not necessarily. In California, the default rule is one director per shareholder, and if there are more than 3 shareholders, then 3 minimum. You can always have more than you need.

By | July 19th, 2015|0 Comments

What’s the bare minimum I need to operate as a corporation?

In terms of capital (i.e., cash money), it depends on your business; one common rule of thumb is 3 months’ worth of cash to run the business. If you mean compliance, you’ll need annual minutes and, in California, an annual filing with the Secretary of State. You’ll also need to memorialize extraordinary transactions, like leases and financings, in your corporate records. Without minutes and/or consents, you could expose the shareholders personally to liability.

By | August 8th, 2015|0 Comments