Should You File an LLC On Your Own?

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Should You File an LLC On Your Own?

Should You File an LLC On Your Own?

Creating an LLC is the simplest and easiest way to form a legal business, protect your assets and get ready to bring your entrepreneurial ideas to life. When it comes to forming a company, you have a couple of choices:

  • You can create and file the business yourself
  • You can use a professional company formation provider

Here at Incfile, we help thousands of entrepreneurs start new businesses every year. Although we’re a company formation specialist, we understand that some business owners will want to form an LLC themselves. In this post, we’ll discuss the benefits and drawbacks of using a business incorporation service as opposed to filing for your LLC on your own.

We’ve also got a simple, practical guide to filing your own LLC, which you might find helpful to review when reading through the rest of this article.

Benefits of Filing an LLC Yourself

There are a couple of advantages to creating an LLC yourself:

  • You save money on the cost of an LLC filing service
  • You learn the details of how to file an LLC

Incfile | $0 LLC Formation

Benefits of Using a Professional LLC Filing Service

If you use an incorporation service, you’ll take advantage of several areas:

  • You can enter all your information online in one place, saving you time and effort
  • The service will prompt you to fill in everything accurately, reducing the risk of errors or rejections
  • You can get useful supplementary services
  • You can track your order online
  • If you file through Incfile, you get a Registered Agent free for a year

Let’s dig into the various steps of filing an LLC, and show how it works if you’re filing yourself or using a professional incorporation service.

Gathering Information, Searching for a Business Name and Providing an Address

These initial steps for creating an LLC will be the same whether you form an LLC yourself or use a business formation service. Find out how and where to search for a business name.

Obtaining and Filling in Your LLC Formation Document

You will need to file an official document to create your LLC. Depending on the state you’re filing in, this document is known as your “Articles of Organization,” “Certificate of Formation” or something similar.

Filing an LLC Yourself

You will need to:

  1. Find the state agency responsible for forming an LLC
  2. Locate the correct form on their website
  3. Download the form
  4. Fill in the form (online, as a fillable PDF or by hand)

Using an LLC Filing Service

You will need to:

  1. Choose the state where you want to create your LLC
  2. Fill in your information online following their step-by-step process

Getting a Registered Agent Service

All LLCs are required to have a Registered Agent — someone who can receive official correspondence and documents on behalf of your business. Although you can serve in this role yourself, many business owners choose to use a professional service.

Filing an LLC Yourself

You will need to:

  1. Learn the requirements for a Registered Agent in your state
  2. Choose if you want to be the Registered Agent yourself
  3. If not, find and pay for a reputable Registered Agent service
  4. Enter the details in your company formation document

Using an LLC Filing Service

Incfile provides a complete Registered Agent Service free for the first year when you file through us. We’ll include all the details in your company formation document.

Filing Your LLC With the State Agency

Once you’ve filled in your information, you need to file your formal document to begin the process of creating your LLC.

Filing an LLC Yourself

You will need to:

  1. Double-check and confirm the information prior to filing
  2. Return the form to the state agency
  3. Some states allow you to file online; others require you to print out and mail or fax the form back

Using an LLC Filing Service

You will need to:

  1. Confirm the information prior to filing
  2. Choose to file the information online
  3. The formation service will get the information back to the state agency

You’ll need to wait while your LLC application is processed and filed. Once that’s completed — congratulations, your business has been officially formed!

Filing an LLC Yourself vs. Using an Incorporation Business — Supplementary Services

There are a few supplementary services you’ll find useful as a new LLC owner. Here’s how to take advantage of them yourself, or through a professional incorporation service like Incfile.

Employer Identification Number

You'll use an Employer Identification Number (EIN) to prepare, file and pay taxes with the IRS.

Assumed Business Names

You might choose to do business under a different name from your legal name.

  • If you’re filing yourself, you can locate the correct form on the state agency website, fill it in and file it by mail or online
  • We provide an Assumed Business Name service

Business Licenses and Permits

You will need official licenses and permits to operate.

  • If you’re filing yourself, you can get information from the Small Business Administration on federal permits, as well as talk to your state, city and other municipal governments about local permits
  • We provide a complete Business License Research Package

Ongoing Filing Requirements

It’s likely that you will need to file a statement or report with your state’s company formation agency on a regular basis.

Should I File an LLC for My Startup?

If you own a startup, you'll likely be asking yourself if and when you should file an LLC. While an LLC does help your company avoid the dreaded double-taxation, that doesn't mean it's always the smartest move for your company.

For startups, we often recommend they file a C Corp instead of an LLC for several reasons. If you plan to see your company grow, you will start to face issues when compensating employees in equity, as well as tax difficulties if your startup is filed as an LLC. Filing as a C Corp will help you seek out investors and issue stock as well.

 

Ultimately, the choice between filing yourself or using a professional formation service comes down to cost versus time and convenience. While it’s less expensive to file yourself, you will still need to pay state fees. Plus, it can take time and effort to download all the right forms, fill them out correctly and file them with the necessary agencies.

Although you’ll pay a little more for a professional formation service, you get the peace of mind of knowing your submissions will be filled out with complete information and are much less likely to contain errors. Depending on the formation service you choose, you could also track your order online — and with Incfile, we’ll give you a Registered Agent service free for a year.

$0 LLC Formation | Incfile
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