/Tag:LLC

Filing an Amendment – FAQs

July marks the middle of the year and a great time to make changes within your company! This month, we answer all your thought provoking questions about filing an amendment.

Q: When do I need to file an amendment?
A: Articles of Amendment are required if any of the information included in your incorporation or foreign qualification paperwork changes. For example:

  • Changes to the company name
  • Changes to the Registered Agent Information
  • Company Business Address
  • Director or Member Information
  • Number of Authorized Shares
  • Business Activities of the Company

Q: Do I need to notify the state if the nature of my business changes?
A: If you used a general purpose clause in your incorporation/foreign qualification documents, such as “All lawful business,” then you won’t need to notify the state if you changed your business activity/purpose. Likewise, if your state didn’t require business information listed, then you won’t need to update anything. But, if you did provide a specific business purpose and this purpose changes, you will need to file an Articles of Amendment.

Q: What if my company relocates its offices?
A: Generally speaking, the address on record with the secretary of state’s office is the registered office address of the company. As such, your company may be required to file Articles of Amendment to change the address of the company if the address that is on record with the state is no longer valid.

Q: What if I would like to authorize more shares for my company?
A: Since your total authorized shares are most likely listed on your Articles of Incorporation, you will need to file an amendment to make this change.

Q: If I am foreign qualified to conduct business in another state, do I need to amend these documents too?
A: Yes, you need to file an amendment if you change information that’s included in your foreign qualification document. Typically speaking, this is a similar process to filing an amendment to your incorporation document. But, the state of qualification may require that you show a Certificate of Good Standing from your state of incorporation. We can help you obtain this document.

Q: I didn’t set up my company through CorpNet. Can you still help me file an amendment?
A: Absolutely. We can prepare and file the necessary amendment documents, whether your formed a business through us or not.

Q: What if I want to change my company’s name?
A: If you want to change your company name, you have two options. First, you can keep your official name (the name filed in your corporation/LLC paperwork) as is and then file a DBA for the new name. In this case, you’ll still use your original business name for all official activities with the state, such as filing your taxes and your annual report. But, you can use your new name for all other activities – such as marketing, opening a bank account, etc.

If you want to abandon the original name altogether, you can file Articles of Amendment (also called Certificate of Amendment) with the state to officially change your company name. Keep in mind that if your business is registered in other states as a foreign entity, you will also need to file Articles of Amendment in each one of those states.

We’ll help you create the documents needed for either option and file it with the state.

Do you need help filing an amendment or have any questions regarding the process? Call the CorpNet.com team today for a free business consultation at: 888.449.2638

By | July 17th, 2017|FAQ|0 Comments

How to Legally Structure Your Business To Secure Financing

All the pieces of your entrepreneurial dream are finally falling into place. You have a name for your business, a product or service that makes you super excited, and you’ve even started noodling designs and logos. Before you can go much further, however, you’re going to need funding. And in order to get funding, you will need to decide what type of structure is best for your business: a sole proprietorship DBA (doing business as); a C corporation or S corporation; a professional limited liability company (PLLC) or a limited liability company (LLC).

Let’s take a look at the available types of small business funding, and for which entities they are most appropriate.

SBA Loans, Microloans, Grants

The U.S. Small Business Administration provides a variety of loans to businesses that fit the government’s definition of “small.” The most common loan program, the 7(a) loan program, stipulates certain other criteria: the business must also be for-profit, operate in the United States, and have reasonable invested equity; in addition, the proprietor must have already used personal financial resources before seeking SBA assistance.

The SBA’s microloan program is another option for qualified borrowers. Microloans, which must be administered through intermediary lenders, provide loans up to $50,000, although the average microloan is closer to $13,000.

While the Small Business Administration does not provide grants, some state and local programs, as well as non-profit organizations, do offer grants to small business owners. Usually these grants require either a matching contribution or a concurrent loan; they are not necessarily “free money.”

These financing options are appropriate for all types of business structures. It doesn’t matter whether your company will be a sole proprietorship, a PLLC or LLC, or a corporation.

Crowdsourcing and Kabbage

The rise of online funding opportunities, like Kabbage, OnDeck, or crowdfunding sites, means that entrepreneurs have more options for funding than ever before. These may be good choices for sole proprietorships DBA (doing business as), since they represent a path to funding that doesn’t involve one’s personal savings.

Kabbage and OnDeck are both considered short-term business lenders — the terms range from one to 12 months for Kabbage and three to 36 months for OnDeck — but can be easier to secure than a bank loan. If you are starting a business that simply needs a quick infusion of capital, an online lender can be a good choice, but make sure you read up on the conditions. Kabbage, in particular, comes with a fairly high interest rate.

Crowdfunding is another way to go. Sites like Indiegogo, RocketHub, peerbacker, and a whole host of other, niche-focused crowdfunding platforms make it easy to get word out about your business as you raise capital. Of course, hitting up friends and family members to help get your venture off the ground is nothing new — but the proliferation of social networks (and the sharing they make possible) helps entrepreneurs cast an even wider net.

As with SBA loans, crowdfunding and online lending can be viable options for all business structures. They are also particularly useful ways to drum up some cash for a business that is already established, but that has faced financial hardship (such as a storefront fire, a theft, or other unexpected occurrence). Without the money, the business might not be able to keep running, but once it gets back on its feet, it will be able to funnel profits into paying off the short-term debt.

Equity Financing

This type of small business funding, which entails selling shares of the business to raise capital, comes with distinct advantages and disadvantages.

With equity funding, there’s no worry about personal credit issues, and no debt to repay. Furthermore, by establishing a partnership (either limited or general) — for which equity funding is the most common and popular type of financing, you will reap intangible rewards, too. Partners who are experts in your industry, or more experienced as business people, can serve as mentors and advisors, even if they are technically considered limited or silent partners (meaning that they bear no liability).

Some entrepreneurs may have to think long and hard before diving into a partnership – particularly a general partnership, in which they will share responsibilities and decision-making. Giving up full control over one’s business can be a difficult pill to swallow, and tensions can arise if the partners differ too widely in their management style or vision for the company.

Additionally, an equity funding or partnership arrangement means that when the profits start to roll in, you’ll be sharing the rewards as well as the responsibilities. Most small business owners are comfortable with the profit-sharing aspect of equity financing. They realize that without the initial investment and business acumen provided by the partners, they might not have made a profit — or as much of one — at all.

For obvious reasons, your company can’t be a sole proprietorship and a partnership. As a corporation, however, it is certainly feasible, not to mention desireable, to attract investors.

Angel Investors & Venture Capital

Some types of funding require that your company be incorporated, as either an S or a C corp. These are angel investors and venture capital investors.

Venture capital (VC) and angel investor financing options are usually only available to corporations. These savvy investors invest in your business in exchange for stocks in the firm. As with equity funding, one advantage of both angel financing and VC is that you won’t be expected to pay any money back, as you would with a loan. Instead, you are “paying back” the investors with shares.

It can be difficult to secure this kind of funding, however. Shows like Shark Tank may be giving would-be entrepreneurs the false notion that you can easily catch the eye of an angel investor or VC firm. While angel investors offer their contributions at the seed stage, they don’t tend to do so until the business owner herself has already pitched in her own capital. At that point, the investor may feel the risk is worth taking.

Venture capital firms tend to step in later, once seed funding has been established; they don’t tend to invest in startups, either, but rather in businesses that, while still too small to raise capital in public markets, are nevertheless poised to disrupt their industry and offer profitable payouts.

Choosing your legal business structure and getting business financing are two large aspects of starting a business. When you get these ducks in a row you will be well on your way to a successful new venture!

By | July 14th, 2017|Business Finance|0 Comments

Professional LLCs – FAQs

Happy June! Summer is fast approaching and with new beginnings, we bring you a new post in our FAQ series! This month, we discuss the Professional LLC, or “PLLC” and the ins and outs of filing them.

 

Q: What is a PLLC?

A: A Professional Limited Liability Company is a special type of LLC that’s designed for licensed professionals, such as accountants, lawyers, and doctors (typically, professions that require a license). Some states do not allow licensed professionals to form an LLC since they don’t want them to escape personal responsibility for professional malpractice by “hiding behind” the personal liability protection of an LLC. Instead, they allow professionals to form an LLC. But, specific rules vary by state.

 

Q: If I’m a licensed professional, how can I find out if my state allows me to form an LLC, PLLC, or something else?

A: The LLC and PLLC are state constructs; as such, rules vary widely by state. For example, professionals in New York cannot form an LLC, but may form a PLLC. Professionals in California cannot form an LLC or a PLLC, but can form a RLLP (Registered Limited Liability Partnership) or PC (Professional Corporation). And professionals in Arizona can choose between an LLC or PLLC. And the specific rules within a state may also depend on the type of profession as well.

The easiest way to determine your business entity options is to give us a call at 1.888.449.2638 and we’ll discuss which entities are available for your profession in your state.

 

Q: How do I form a PLLC?

A: As expected, the process to form a PLLC is more involved than forming an LLC. You’ll typically need to have your state licensing board approve your articles of organization first (again, this requirement varies by state). As a result, it takes longer to form a PLLC than an LLC. After the proper state licensing board has approved your articles of organization, then you will need to file the articles of organization and other formation paperwork with the state. Most states require a signature and license number of a licensed professional to form the LLC.

Our small business experts can help you with each stage of the process. First, we’ll ensure that your particular business needs to file a PLLC in your state. Then, we’ll help obtain the necessary approvals and file your paperwork.

 

Q: Who can be an owner/member of a PLLC?

A: While specifics vary by state, many states limit who can be an owner/member of an PLLC. In some states, only licensed professionals of the specific service can be members in a PLLC.

 

Q: How does limited liability work with a PLLC? 

A: Like an LLC, the PLLC creates a separation between the individual owners and the business. But there’s a very important distinction. You will still be personally liable for malpractice claims related to your own actions. For this reason, you’ll need to have a good malpractice insurance policy even if you form a PLLC. However, a PLLC will typically protect you from personally liability for the business debts, as well as the malpractice of other owners within the company.

 

Do you need help registering a PLLC or have a questions regarding the process? Call the CorpNet.com team today for a free business consultation at: 888.449.2638

                               

How Much Does It Cost To Incorporate Your Business?

So you’ve decided to either form an LLC or incorporate your business?

Kudos to you for thinking about the benefits of liability protection and possible tax advantages that come with formally establishing your company as a separate legal entity.

Like many small business owners, you may now be wondering in what state you should register your company?

Some entrepreneurs opt to incorporate or form an LLC within the state they live. Others look around for a state with the most cost-effective fees. For example, Delaware has become a popular place for corporations because companies formed in the state pay minimal state tax if they do not actually conduct business there.

Formation and annual report filing fees sometimes sway the decision of which state a business will register. Those fees can vary a good deal from one state to the next. I advise you not to make your choice based solely on lowest cost. While those initial costs and ongoing annual report filing fees may look attractive, that doesn’t mean you’ll save a whole heap of money by registering your business in a different state.

Realize that when a business incorporates in one state but physically maintains an office or conducts business in another state, the business may need to register in that other state, too. And yes, that means the business must pay those state filing fees, annual report fees (if applicable), and taxes.

In most cases, small businesses benefit most by incorporating or forming an LLC in the state where they’re located. But it’s helpful to have some idea of the prices in other states, as well. After all, if your business grows and expands, you could likely be doing business in more than only your home state!

For your convenience, I’ve compiled a list of the current formation and annual maintenance fees for each of the 50 United States. These rates reflect what is presently true in June 2017. Keep in mind that they are subject to change by the states:

Alabama: LLC filing fees: $165; LLC Annual Report; $0, Incorporation filing fees: $165; Corporation Annual Report: $0

Alaska: LLC filing fees: $250; LLC Initial Report: $0; LLC Annual Report: $100; Incorporation filing fees: $250; Corporation Initial Report: $0; Corporation Annual Report: $100

Arizona: LLC filing fees: $85; LLC Publication fee: $299 (required); LLC Annual Report: $0; Incorporation filing fees: $60; Corporation Publication fee: $299 (required); Corporation Annual Report: $45

Arkansas: LLC filing fees: $50; LLC Annual Report: $150; Incorporation filing fees: $50; Corporation Annual Report: $150

California: LLC filing fees: $75; LLC Initial Report $20; LLC Annual Report: $20; Incorporation filing fees: $105; Corporation Initial Report: $25; Corporation Annual Report: $25

Colorado: LLC filing fees: $50; LLC Annual Report: $10; Incorporation filing fees: $50; Corporation Annual Report: $10

Connecticut: LLC filing fees: $175; LLC Annual Report: $20; Incorporation filing fees: $455; Corporation Annual Report: $100

District of Columbia: LLC filing fees: $220; LLC Annual Report: $300; Incorporation filing fees: $220; Corporation Annual Report: $300

Delaware: LLC filing fees: $140; LLC Annual Report: $300; Incorporation filing fees: $140; Corporation Annual Report: $225 (based on min number of authorized shares)

Florida: LLC filing fees: $155; LLC Annual Report: $138.75; Incorporation filing fees: $78.75; Corporation Annual Report: $150

Georgia: LLC filing fees: $100; LLC Annual Report: $50; Incorporation filing fees: $100 Corporation Publication fees: $150 (required for Corps); Corporation Initial Report: $50; Corporation Annual Report: $50

Hawaii: LLC filing fees: $50; LLC Annual Report: $15; Incorporation filing fees: $50; Corporation Annual Report: $15

Idaho: LLC filing fees: $100; LLC Annual Report: $0; Incorporation filing fees: $101; Corporation Annual Report: $0

Illinois: LLC filing fees: $500; LLC Annual Report: $305; Incorporation filing fees: $175; Corporation Annual Report: $155

Indiana: LLC filing fees: $90; LLC Annual Report: $30; Incorporation filing fees: $90; Corporation Annual Report: $30

Iowa: LLC filing fees: $50; LLC Annual Report: $45; Incorporation filing fees: $50; Corporation Annual Report: $45

Kansas: LLC filing fees: $160; LLC Annual Report: $55; Incorporation filing fees: $90; Corporation Annual Report: $55

Kentucky: LLC filing fees: $55; LLC Annual Report: $15; Incorporation filing fees: $55; Corporation Annual Report: $15

Louisiana: LLC filing fees: $100; LLC Annual Report: $30; Incorporation filing fees: $100; Corporation Annual Report: $30

Maine: LLC filing fees: $175; LLC Annual Report: $85; Incorporation filing fees: $145; Corporation Annual Report: $85

Maryland: LLC filing fees: $155; LLC Annual Report: depends on revenue (min fee $300); Incorporation filing fees: $155; Corporation Annual Report: depends on revenue (min fee $300)

Massachusetts: LLC filing fees: $520; LLC Annual Report: $520; Incorporation filing fees: $295; Corporation Annual Report: $135

Michigan: LLC filing fees: $50; LLC Annual Report: $25; Incorporation filing fees: $60; Corporation Annual Report: $25

Minnesota: LLC filing fees: $160; LLC Annual Report: $0; Incorporation filing fees: $160; Corporation Annual Report: $0

Mississippi: LLC filing fees: $50; LLC Annual Report: $25; Incorporation filing fees: $50; Corporation Annual Report: $25

Missouri: LLC filing fees: $50; LLC Annual Report: $0; Incorporation filing fees: $58; Corporation Initial Report: $45; Corporation Annual Report: $45

Montana: LLC filing fees: $70; LLC Annual Report: $15; Incorporation filing fees: $70; Corporation Annual Report: $15

Nebraska: LLC filing fees: $120; LLC Publication fees: $150; LLC Annual Report: $26; Incorporation filing fees: $65; Corporation Publication fees: $150; Corporation Annual Report: $26

Nevada: LLC filing fees: $75; LLC Initial Report: $325; LLC Annual Report: $325; Incorporation filing fees: $75; Corporation Initial Report: $325; Corporation Annual Report: $325

New Hampshire: LLC filing fees: $100; LLC Annual Report: $100; Incorporation filing fees: $100; Corporation Annual Report: $100

New Jersey: LLC filing fees: $125; LLC Annual Report: $50; Incorporation filing fees: $125; Corporation Annual Report: $50

New Mexico: LLC filing fees: $50; LLC Annual Report: $0; Incorporation filing fees: $100; Corporation Initial Report: $25; Corporation Annual Report: $25

New York: LLC filing fees: $210; LLC Annual Report: $9; LLC Publication fees: Starting from $425-$1200; Incorporation filing fees: $145; Corporation Annual Report: $9

North Carolina: LLC filing fees: $125; LLC Annual Report: $202; Incorporation filing fees: $125; Corporation Annual Report: $20

North Dakota: LLC filing fees: $135; LLC Annual Report: $50; Incorporation filing fees: $100; Corporation Annual Report: $25

Ohio: LLC filing fees: $125; LLC Annual Report: $0; Incorporation filing fees: $125; Corporation Annual Report: $0

Oklahoma: LLC filing fees: $104; LLC Annual Report: $25; Incorporation filing fees: $52; Corporation Annual Report: $0

Oregon: LLC filing fees: $100; LLC Annual Report: $100; Incorporation filing fees: $100; Corporation Annual Report: $100

Pennsylvania: LLC filing fees: $125; LLC Annual Report: $0; Incorporation filing fees: $125; Corporation Annual Report: $0 Incorporation Publication fees: $299

Rhode Island: LLC filing fees: $150; LLC Annual Report: $50; Incorporation filing fees: $230; Corporation Annual Report: $50

South Carolina: LLC filing fees: $110; LLC Annual Report: $0; Incorporation filing fees: $135; Corporation Annual Report: $0; Incorporation Attorney Signature fees: $100

South Dakota: LLC filing fees: $150; LLC Annual Report: $50; Incorporation filing fees: $150; Corporation Annual Report: $50

Tennessee: LLC filing fees: $325; LLC Annual Report: $310; Incorporation filing fees: $125; Corporation Annual Report: $20

Texas: LLC filing fees: $310; LLC Annual Report: (depends on gross annual revenue); Incorporation filing fees: $310; Corporation Annual Report: (depends on gross annual revenue)

Utah: LLC filing fees: $72; LLC Annual Report: $15; Incorporation filing fees: $72; Corporation Annual Report: $15

Vermont: LLC filing fees: $125; LLC Annual Report: $25; Incorporation filing fees: $125; Corporation Annual Report: $35

Virginia: LLC filing fees: $104; LLC Annual Report: $50; Incorporation filing fees: $79; Corporation Annual Report: $100

Washington: LLC filing fees: $200; LLC Initial Report: $10; LLC Annual Report: $73; Incorporation filing fees: $200; Corporation Initial Report: $10; Corporation Annual Report: $73

West Virginia: LLC filing fees: $132; LLC Annual Report: $25; Incorporation filing fees: $82; Corporation Annual Report: $25

Wisconsin: LLC filing fees: $130; LLC Annual Report: $25; Incorporation filing fees: $100; Corporation Annual Report: $40

Wyoming: LLC filing fees: $103; LLC Annual Report: $52; Incorporation filing fees: $103; Corporation Annual Report: $52

Whether you form your LLC or incorporate in your home state, in a different state, or in multiple states, remember CorpNet can save you time and alleviate hassle by handling the registration and ongoing compliance filings for you. Get the peace of mind that your paperwork is done accurately and on time; contact us today to get started!

Start & Run Your Business Right: Join Our Facebook Group and Partner Program

The process of starting a business is both thrilling and intimidating. There’s the exhilaration that comes from working through the details and making the dream a reality. And then, there are the business formation options and ongoing compliance requirements that often raise questions and sometimes cause confusion.

That’s why I’m hosting the “Business Formations & Compliance” Facebook group.

The group is a place where business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs can get insight on anything related to forming a business and complying with the rules to keep it in good standing. You can join for free, so there’s no reason not to take advantage of the expertise you’ll find there!

What Can You Expect?

We’ll cover a breadth of topics related to starting and maintaining a business that complies with federal and state requirements.

A few examples include:

  • Filing a DBA
  • Forming an LLC with an S Corp election
  • Incorporating as a C Corporation
  • Annual report obligations
  • Corporate minutes
  • Business name searches
  • Trademark filings

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. No matter what filing requirements you need more information about, I’ll be there to answer the questions you and other group members post.

You can also meet up with me on Facebook Live Fridays when I’m available in real time to offer tips and insight.

Also New: The CorpNet Partner Program

CorpNet has launched a Partner Program for accountants, bookkeepers, attorneys, business advisors, and other service professionals that wish to give their clients additional value. As our Partner, you can offer formation and compliance services to your customers—with all fulfillment and liability handled by CorpNet. Sign up for free today! Besides strengthening your client relationships, you’ll also get 50 percent of the profits from any formation and compliance services that you sell.*

Seize The Possibilities!

Join the Business Formations & Compliance Facebook group and check out our CorpNet Partner Program. Bringing insight, education, and the potential for additional income, these platforms offer opportunities for empowerment and growth.

*50% commission is based on our gross revenue – minus costs. The 50% profit sharing for partners is a limited offering for early birds. Please sign up now to be grandfathered and start earning right away.

How To Choose And Legally Use Your Business Name

The name you choose for your business will be one of your most powerful and valuable assets. As one of the primary ways customers distinguish you from your competitors, your business name wields a lot of power. The right name can help propel you to success; the wrong name can put you at a disadvantage.

Besides choosing a business name that:

  • Projects how you want people to view your business (e.g., edgy, professional, high-tech, academic, approachable, etc.)
  • Makes it easy for customers to identify what you do.
  • Is simple enough to be memorable.

I encourage you to have all your legal i’s dotted and t’s crossed when selecting a name.

How To Choose A Business Name That’s Yours To Use

Start on the right path immediately by making sure another company doesn’t already have dibs on the business name you’d like to use. If someone else has already claimed it, you could end up in legal trouble if you start using it online and printing it on business cards, checks, marketing materials, etc.

How can you know your preferred business name isn’t spoken for already?

Use a business name search tool or contact your state filing office to see if the name you want to use is currently claimed within your state. Also, I encourage you to use a trademark search application tool to see if the name is available in all of the United States. That will allow you to identify if anyone else has registered for, been granted, or abandoned a trademark for your name.

How To Make The Name Officially Yours

So, you say your name is available? Great!

Now it’s time to make it legally yours within the state you’ll operate your business. As I mentioned earlier, your name represents your brand. If another company offering similar products and services were to use the same (or a very similar) name, it could confuse customers and damage your professional reputation.

If you’re a sole proprietor or partnership, filing a DBA (“Doing Business As”)—also known as a fictitious name—to protect your name in the state doesn’t cost a lot of time or money. If you plan to use your own personal first and last name in your business name, you will not need a DBA. For example, Celia Washington wouldn’t have to register “Celia Washington’s Bookkeeping Services ” as a DBA.

By registering your business as a formal legal entity (Limited Liability Company or Corporation) in your state, your business name will automatically become protected in that state. Realize, however, that another business in another state could use your name there. Also, it’s legal for a sole proprietorship or partnership to use your name as a DBA in your state.

If simply registering in your state doesn’t put you at ease about your rights to your business name, I recommend you consider filing for a federal trademark. If the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) grants your trademark request, it will be illegal for others to use your business name in any of the 50 states.

Don’t Hesitate To Seek Expert Assistance

To avoid lost time and money when choosing a name and taking legal steps to protect it, I encourage you to consult with professionals who can guide and assist you. Consider seeking the input and feedback of branding experts with experience in zeroing in on a business name that will serve your company for the long term. Other helpful resources include attorneys who can advise you in making sound decisions and step you through the legal process of securing and registering your business name. And when you need to prepare the necessary documents to register your business with your state or file for a federal trademark, you might save a heap of time and money by using a reputable online business document filing service.

As you can see, choosing a business name demands more than just slapping words together. You need to devote some thought and time to it. But I assure you, it will be time and energy well spent. Remember, your business name has influence that could make or break your brand.

By | May 22nd, 2017|Naming Your Business|0 Comments

Registered Agents – FAQs

Happy May! This month, we will be going over the requirements for being or maintaining a registered agent and what the registered agent does for your business.

 

Q: What is the purpose of the registered agent?

A: The registered agent is the person named to receive important legal and tax documents on behalf of a business in a given state. This includes important mail sent by the state (annual reports or statements), state tax documents, as well as any Notices of Litigation. Virtually all states require corporations, LLCs, LLPs, LPs and nonprofits to appoint a registered agent in the state where the company is formed. And, if a company registers to transact business in another state (via a foreign qualification), it will typically need a registered agent in that state too.

 

Q: What are the requirements for a registered agent?

A: The registered agent can either be an individual or a company approved by the state to be a registered agent. The registered agent must be located at a street address – P.O. boxes are not acceptable. In most cases, the registered agent also needs to be located in the state where the company is incorporated or qualified to conduct business. Keep in mind that a P.O. box is usually allowed as the mailing address for the business.

 

Q: Can I serve as my company’s registered agent?

A: Yes, absolutely! However, states require that the registered agent must be available at all times during normal business hours to receive and sign for any important documents. That’s because the state needs to make sure a summons, lawsuit, or other official state documents are actually received by the company and not “lost in the mail.” If you’re confident that you’ll always be on hand during normal business hours at the designated address, you can be your registered agent. But most small business owners prefer to have a third party serve as the registered agent for the state.

 

Q: Will my business fall out of good standing without a registered agent?

A: Here’s one scenario of what can happen. Let’s say you fail to maintain a registered agent service, or you choose to serve as your own registered agent and either move or aren’t around to receive an official communication. If an official document from the state can’t be delivered to/accepted by your registered agent, then the state may put your business in bad standing until you update the state records with an active registered agent.

 

Q: What is Service of Process?

A: This refers to the delivery of legal documents such as a lawsuit, summons, subpoena for records, wage garnishment or any other official correspondence from the state. Your business is required to have a registered agent in the state who can receive service of process during normal business hours.

 

Do you have a questions regarding a Registered Agent? Call the CorpNet.com team today for a free business consultation at: 888.449.2638

 

                               

National Small Business Week: What It Means For You And How To Make The Most Of It

Sunday, April 30, 2017, marked the start of National Small Business Week. From that day through Saturday, May 6, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has organized a variety of events to celebrate small businesses and the impact they have on our national and local economies.

According to the SBA National Small Business Week website, “More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and they create about two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year.”

I say that’s reason to celebrate! Don’t you agree?

We’re celebrating at CorpNet.com by offering  10 percent off of the cost of any complete business formation package this week only! Visit the CorpNet website’s home page and click the “Get Started” button to view the formation packages for your state. At checkout, use code CNSBW to apply your discount.

Other highlights of the week will include: small business award ceremonies; a live chat over social media with SBA Administrator Linda McMahon and Facebook’s VP and Chief Privacy Officer for Policy Erin Egan about how to start and grow a business; a road tour that kicks off in the Indycar town of Indianapolis and continues with stops in Arlington, Texas and ends in Fresno, California; and free webinars.

What Does This Mean For You?

In a word: Plenty!

As the SBA is promoting National Small Business Week, you can piggyback off the momentum and remind your customers about why supporting small businesses is the way to go.

  • Local small businesses typically hire local people from within their communities.
  • Local small businesses often seek to source raw materials from local suppliers, thus further stimulating the local economy.
  • Local small businesses tend to be vested in and give back to their communities in time, talent, and dollars to improve the lives of those around them.
  • Local small businesses build personal relationships with their customers and nurture a sense of community.

How Can You Get Involved?

For starters, check out the SBA National Small Business Week website for what’s happening each day from April 30 to May 6. Also, generate some buzz by posting about National Small Business Week on social media (hashtag #smallbusinessweek). And consider offering some special deals to draw people to your local small business. Even better, partner with other local small businesses in your area to cross-promote each other’s products, services, and special offers. That’s a powerful way to show your solidarity as small business owners.

A Time To Shine

SBA’s National Small Business Week is a perfect time to reflect on your business success and move onward to an even brighter future. And if you’re an aspiring entrepreneur who wants to move past kicking the tires and start your own business, what better time to take your first steps?

*Image from the National Small Business Week website*

How to Start an Accounting Firm

If you’re a CPA or an accountant, the transition from working for someone else to being your own boss has probably crossed your mind. Self-employment offers an opportunity to have more control over your own schedule, allowing you to better balance your professional endeavors and personal life. It also enables you to manage your firm the way you want to manage it.

Here’s seven steps to start your own accounting practice:

1. Select a business name

Think about whether you want to market your business using your own name (e.g., “Jane Smith, Accountant”) or create a business name (e.g., “Accounting You Can Count On”). As a solopreneur accountant, you might opt to use your own name because you and your brand are one in the same. On the other hand, choosing a business name might help you be perceived as well-established and experienced.

If you go with a business name, make sure it is available to use before you start printing it on business cards and other marketing materials. Check to see if the name is available in the state where you’re planning to operate your business by checking with your state’s secretary of state office. We have a free business name search tool here at CorpNet that can help, as well.

Also check to see if the domain name for your business is available (e.g., accountingyoucancounton.com). Sites like GoDaddy.com will let you instantly find out if there’s a suitable domain, and they will offer suggestions for alternate names if the one you want is already taken.

No one in your state is using the name you want? Excellent! Next, you’ll want to search the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to see if anyone has a pending request for or has successfully registered a trademark for the name. Don’t skip this step because you’ll land in legal hot water if you infringe on another company’s trademark.

2. Choose a legal structure and register your business.

The business structure you choose will affect your business from both legal and tax standpoints. Solo accountants and small firms often choose to register as an LLC (Limited Liability Company),  PLLC (Professional Limited Liability Company), or PC (Professional Corporation). As state constructs, these business entities are subject to different rules in different states. You can find the specific rules for accountants in your state via the CorpNet website or you can call the Secretary of State’s office in your state to get the details you need.

3. Obtain the licenses and permits you’ll need.

Regardless of which state you’re operating your business in, you’ll need some form of licensing to provide public accounting services. You will need to hold a CPA license and your firm may need a public accountancy license. To determine the requirements in your state, check with your State Board of Accountancy.

Besides CPA accreditation you may also need other state and local municipality permits, as well. They might include a general business operation license, a signage permit, and possibly a home occupation permit (if you’re operating your business from home. CorpNet can help you determine the license and permit requirements applicable to you, or you can check with your local government office.

4. Apply for a Tax ID Number

Also called a Federal EIN (Employer Identification Number), this allows the IRS to track your business’s transactions. LLCs and corporations are required to have an EIN and many banks will require that you have one before they’ll allow you to open a business bank account.

5. Open a bank account exclusively for your business.

It’s important to keep your personal and business finances separate—for both legal and tax purposes. In fact, that separation is mandatory for LLCs and corporations. After you’ve registered your business with the state and have your Tax ID number, you will have the information you need to open a business bank account.

6. Get insurance to protect your business.

Even though officially forming an LLC or incorporating your business will help to lower your personal liability related to business debt and lawsuits against associates, it will not protect your personal assets if action is brought against you due to your own actions. That’s why it’s a good idea to consider getting an insurance policy for peace of mind. Talk with a knowledgeable and trustworthy insurance agent who understands the needs of accountants and other businesses in the financial services industry. A reliable agent can guide you to the type of coverage that will best protect you, such as a Business Owner’s Policy (BOP), Professional Liability, Insurance, Data Breach Coverage, or others.

7. Know your business compliance responsibilities.

Registering your business is just the beginning. LLCs and corporations have ongoing requirements to keep their businesses in good standing. For example, most states require LLCs and PLLCs to file an annual report each year and show proof of a valid certification. Corporations have more corporate compliance responsibilities. Besides annual reports, they must conduct annual meetings, prepare meeting minutes, and meet other compliance requirements.

I know it can be tough to keep up with everything that’s required and when it’s due, so I recommend using the CorpNet B.I.Z. (Business Information Zone) compliance tool. It’s a free monitoring tool that can help you stay on top of your state filings and fees due throughout the year.

The steps to starting an accounting business aren’t overly complex. To make sure you launch your business on solid legal ground, you’ll want to make sure you do it right. Consider talking with a legal professional who can guide you and look to CorpNet to ensure your business forms and filings are done accurately and on time.