The first step in forming an LLC is to file your company’s Articles of Incorporation with the state in which you are looking to establish your business. Once this has been completed, it is recommended that you take the time to develop a formal set of documents that will explicitly outline the ownership and management structure of the business, as well as establish your initial bank accounts.
All business filings were manually maintained prior to 1973. The office then began entering new filings into a computerized system. Data for businesses that were formed prior to 1973 was entered into the computerized system if they were still active at that time. The data for businesses that were not active in 1973 and have not reinstated, has been partially entered into the system. Images of approved filings were maintained on microfilm prior to 1997 when office began converting the film for all active businesses to a computerized format. Newly submitted filings since that time have been created and maintained in this computerized format.
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Your name must be unique, and not deceptively similar, to any other trademarked name or business. It is also required that your name not be used to intentionally misrepresent the products or services you offer. For LLCs, nearly all states will also require you to add a signifier of your limited liability status, such as "LLC" or "L.L.C." to the end of your company's name. You may be able to operate under a name other than your formal LLC name by applying for and using a dba.
Unlike in many other Western countries, Canadian businesses generally only have one form of incorporation available. Unlimited liability corporations can be formed in Alberta "AULC", British Columbia "BCULC" and Nova Scotia "NSULC". The aforementioned unlimited liability corporations are generally not used as operating business structures, but are instead used to create favorable tax positions for either Americans investing in Canada or vice versa. For U.S. tax purposes the ULC is classified as a disregarded entity.
Since limited liability companies can be a pass-through entity, owners are taxed on their personal income. S-Corp shareholders are taxed personally. The S-Corp, however, is not. C-Corp income is taxed at the corporate level first, then again at the personal level. This is called "double taxation." Non-Profits are only taxed once and can write off most of their expenses. Sole Proprietors are taxed only on their personal tax return.
An attorney is typically not required when starting a business. A business filing service such as Swyft Filings can help you streamline the formation process, and save you a great deal of time, effort, and money. However, if you are unsure of which business structure may be right for you, or you have questions regarding specific tax or organizational issues, it may be advisable to speak with an attorney or accountant before starting a new business.
Outside of the normal statement filing season, you may fill out a Statement of Change form with the date you went out of business, the status and disposition of any equipment owned or used by you at the time the business closed. If any of the property was sold to another person or business, please indicate the buyer's name and address. Make sure to identify any property that reverted to your own personal use as household personal property.