If you’re thinking about starting a limited liability company (LLC), there’s going to be some paperwork! You’ll need to file LLC forms and have other documents in place to make sure you meet all the necessary rules and regulations. Here are some of the most common types of forms that you’ll need when you’re running your LLC.
Articles of Organization
The Articles of Organization form legally creates your LLC with the Secretary of State. Until you file this form, you cannot do business as an LLC, so it’s a prerequisite to everything else. You’ll need to gather details to file your Articles of Organization. Here’s what you’ll typically need:
An Operating Agreement doesn't always need to be officially filed with a state or federal agency, but it’s still an important document. An Operating Agreement defines important information about your LLC like:
California, New York, Missouri, Maine and Delaware do require you to have an official Operating Agreement. Find more information about Operating Agreements in our helpfulguide.
Most states require an LLC to file a report with the Secretary of State every year, although some might ask for one every two years, and a handful don’t need reports at all. It is important that you file your report, as not doing so can cause your LLC to be dissolved.
“Doing Business As” or “Assumed Name” Form
You will need to search for a business name and include it in your Articles of Organization. However, you might decide to sell goods and services under a different name than your legal business name. For example, if your business is called “Integrated Widget Manufacturing LLC” and you primarily sell plumbing supplies, you might file for an Assumed Name like “H2-Whoa!”
To do so, you’ll need to file the right form with your Secretary of State. These forms are variously known as “Assumed Name,” “Trade Name,” “Fictitious Name” or “Doing Business As” forms. Incfile can file an assumed business name form on your behalf.
Change of Registered Agent Form
A Registered Agent is an individual or business that accepts official documents and letters on behalf of your LLC. This is a necessary position, and all LLCs are required to have a Registered Agent. It’s possible you might want to use a different Registered Agent, and if you want to do that, you’ll need to file a form to let the state know.
Many states, counties and cities will require your LLC to charge sales tax on the goods or services you sell. Sales tax regulations and amounts do vary, but you will need to file information about your total sales and tax collected and to make payment of your sales tax. You will normally register and file sales taxes with your state’s Department of Revenue.
Business Licenses and Permits
Almost all businesses, including LLCs, will require certain licenses and permits to operate. These licenses do vary widely, depending on your location, occupation, the type of business you run and what you sell. Here are a few examples of what business permits and licenses may be needed for:
Some of the most important tax forms you will file will be with the IRS and your state’s Department of Revenue. Depending on the legal nature of your LLC, various forms will be required. You should get assistance from an accountant or tax preparer to ensure you fill in and file the forms correctly.
Form 2553: Election by a Small Business Corporation
In some circumstances, it might make sense for you to file a tax return as an S Corporation. This can save you money on your self-employment or payroll tax. This will affect the types of tax forms you need to file, but can definitely work in your favor. We’ve got a guide to form 2553 and when it might make sense to file one.
Form 1120-S: U.S. Income Tax Return for an S Corporation
If you are treated as an S Corporation, you will need to file form 1120-S with the IRS and the equivalent form with your state’s Department of Revenue.
Form 1065: U.S. Return of Partnership Income
If you decide not to file form 2553, and your LLC is run by more than one person, it’s likely you will need to file form 1065, which is a partnership return. You will also need to file the equivalent form with your state’s Department of Revenue.
Form 1040: Individual Tax Return
Regardless of whether your LLC is treated as a Sole Proprietor, Partnership or S Corporation, you will need to file an individual tax return, form 1040. You will attach various schedules to this form to show earnings from your business.
Employers are required to submit certain reports to the IRS and their local Department of Revenue on a regular basis. These can include monthly and quarterly returns, and annual returns like a W-2 or W-3. You will also need to provide pay stubs to your employees.
You will need to pay estimated taxes four times a year. You will pay estimated taxes separately to the state and the IRS. Your state estimated taxes will include any state tax on your earnings. The federal estimated taxes will include payments towards your self-employment tax and federal tax liabilities. Not paying estimated taxes can result in penalties and interest on the tax you owe.