Why Form a Limited Liability Company (LLC)?

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Simple Steps to Start Your Delaware LLC

Known as "The First State" Delaware is a one of the best places to start your business. Although it’s the second smallest state in the union, a combination of a great location, lots of travel hubs, a business-friendly environment, zero sales tax and plenty of people make it an excellent choice. If you want to start your own business in Delaware, the easiest way to do that is by forming an LLC.

Delaware businesses are leaders in many sectors including banking, pharmaceuticals, technology, healthcare, farming, retail and more. In fact, more than half of all U.S. publicly traded companies and 63 percent of the Fortune 500 are incorporated in Delaware. The state has long been a favored place for large businesses to incorporate because the case law in Delaware strongly protects them.

Although these advantages may protect large national corporations they do not necessarily extend to small businesses and LLCs who do not operate in Delaware as in most cases they must still qualify and be able to do business in their home state to be officially recognized. Under most circumstances we recommend that small businesses that operate in a single state incorporate in that state. Of course, if you already live in Delaware, that makes it an ideal choice.

Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) are specially designed for small and medium sized businesses — they’re easy and inexpensive to create in Delaware. An LLC does give you significant benefits and protections.

In Delaware you also have the option to set up a "Series LLC" — these are specialized LLCs designed to allow you to manage multiple separate LLCs under one master, umbrella LLC.

Advantages of Forming an LLC in Delaware

Delaware LLCs have several benefits for business owners…

  • Starting a Delaware LLC is quick and easy — you can complete all the necessary forms and actions online to start your company.
  • An LLC limits your personal liability — any debts, obligations and other liabilities your business has are separate from you as the business owner or founder.
  • Delaware LLCs are easy to maintain — there’s no need for boards of directors, complex rules and regulations or formal annual meetings.
  • LLCs are very easy to manage and you can add and amend members and make other changes with just a little paperwork.
  • Taxes are simple — any income you earn through your Delaware LLC is reported on your personal tax return. This means you won’t run into “double taxation” issues common with larger corporations.

Start your Delaware LLC in Six Steps

1. Name Your Delaware LLC

  • You will need a distinctive, original name for your Delaware LLC that’s not used by another business in Delaware
  • To find out if another company is using your choice of business name, carry out a Delaware business entity name search
  • The name should not be confusable with the name of another Delaware business
  • The name of your business must end with "Limited Liability Company" or the abbreviation "LLC." "Limited" and "Company" can be abbreviated to "Ltd." and "Co."
  • For example: "First State Natural Resources LLC" or "Delaware Computer Repair, Limited Liability Company"

2. Your Delaware LLC Needs a Street Address

A Delaware LLC must have a designated address. That could be your home address (if you’re running the company from your residence), where your office is located or any physical address of your preference — even outside of Delaware. Unlike many other states you can use a PO Box as your designated address.

3. Assign a Registered Agent for Your Delaware LLC

Every Delaware LLC must have a "registered agent". That could be you, the managing director, owner or a dedicated registered agent service. The registered agent in Delaware is someone who receives official legal and tax correspondence and has responsibility for filing reports with the Delaware Secretary of State.

At Incfile, all of our packages include a "Registered Agent" service free for the first year and $119 per year thereafter. We also have a dashboard you can login to and easily view any document your registered agent has received on your behalf. Here are a few reasons you might want to appoint Incfile as their registered agent service...

  • The Registered Agent must have a physical street address in the state where you are forming the company. Some people establish companies outside of the state they live in and will need to use a Registered Agent service to provide the address.
  • You always need to have someone on hand to receive important documents for your business during business hours (typically 9 AM to 5 PM Monday to Friday). Therefore, person must always be available to sign for legal correspondence.
  • The Registered Agent’s name and address is part of the public record and available through the Delaware Secretary of State's website. If you would prefer your name and address isn’t published, this is a reason to choose a Registered Agent service.
  • If you change your Delaware business address or move out of state, you don’t need to file additional documentation with the secretary of state for the new address of your Registered Agent. You will need to setup a new registered agent service in the new state.

There are more considerations, but this should help you with your decision to use a Registered Agent service.

4. You Can Provide Names and Addresses of all Delaware LLC Members

Your Delaware LLC members are the people who run and own the business. LLC members typically take profits from the business to pay themselves. In Delaware, listing  the names and addresses of all managers or members when you register your Delaware LLC is optional. If you are the sole owner of your LLC, then you are the only member.

5. You Need to File a Certificate of Formation with the Delaware Secretary of State

Filing a Certificate of Formation creates your Delaware LLC. Here at Incfile we can file your Certificate of Formation on your behalf with the Delaware Secretary of State and create your LLC too.

6. You Can Create a Delaware LLC Operating Agreement

Your Operating Agreement covers how the business will be run, how managers and members are chosen, rights and duties of members and several other key areas. Here’s how to create your Operating Agreement. If you’re interested in having your Operating Agreement created for you, Incfile will draft a general Operating Agreement within most of our online business formation packages. It can also be selected as an add-on option in our Silver package. This Operating Agreement will be a basic template that you can make changes to anytime you see fit and covers the 20 most common business provisions. The Operating Agreement is an internal company document and does not need to be filed with any government agencies.

We also have a lot more information on how to form an LLC.

Starting Your Delaware LLC: Useful Resources

Form a Delaware LLC without Breaking the Bank

Incfile provides a cost-effective service to help you create your Delaware LLC. We guide you through the process and handle most of the administrative steps, such as filing the Articles of Organization on your behalf and providing a dashboard you can easily login to for access to all your Delaware LLC documents. Our basic package also provides a free registered agent service for the first year. If you're looking for help to start an LLC, our comprehensive services provide outstanding value.

Only $49 + State Fee To Launch Your Business

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What are the fees and requirements to form a business in Delaware?

Filing Time and Price

The state charges this amount to file a new business entity. This fee goes directly to the Secretary of State.

State Fee State Filing Time Expedited Filing Time
$90 15 Business Days 5 Business Days

Compliance Requirements

This report is mandatory and must be filed within the specified time frame in order for the entity to remain in good standing with the state. Failure to file this report can lead to the company being revoked or administratively dissolved.

Delaware Franchise Tax Report

Frequency:  Annually

Due Date:  June 1st

Filing Fee:  $300

Learn more about starting a business in Delaware

Additional resources, guides, and articles for better decision making.

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