How to Keep Your Corporation or LLC Compliant

Friday, December 19th, 2014

Maintaining corporate compliance is an important task that you as a small business owner can accomplish by simply staying organized and keeping current with recurring tasks such as holding annual meetings and paying your taxes. Most companies are in fact required by law to fulfill certain tasks on a regular basis and company owners can encounter costly fees, loss of personal liability protection and even company dissolution as the result of losing good standing status.

You can easily maintain your company’s good standing status by starting with the up-to-date organization of your Corporate or LLC Minute Book. Your Corporate Minute Book should hold your Articles of Incorporation, Corporate Bylaws, the corporation minutes from your first Organizational Meeting, the stock ledger that tracks who owns which percentage of the company and copies of all Annual Meeting minutes or Special Meeting minutes documenting all major company decisions.

For LLC compliance, your LLC Minute Book should hold your Articles of Organization, LLC Operating Agreement, the board meeting minutes from your Organizational Meeting, the member ledger tracking ownership of the company and copies of all Annual Meeting minutes and Special Meeting minutes documenting all major company decisions. Keep your current Corporate or LLC Minute Book handy at all times for inspection by the IRS, legal professionals and potential investors or buyers of your company.

To maintain corporate and LLC compliance you will also want to familiarize yourself with all the dates that your compliance tasks must be completed. At minimum your company will probably need to file an Annual Report or other required state filing, pay all federal, state and local taxes and schedule and keep minutes of an Annual Meeting each year.

Annual Meetings are typically required under state law and serve several purposes including providing written records of company decisions, keeping stakeholders up-to-date on company happenings to ensure the safety of their investment and preventing potential problems in the future by getting a written agreement now. Some institutions such as government entities and banks even require documented proof that an Annual Meeting was held before they will do business with a company. To that effect, all meetings should be properly documented.

Does compliance still seem complicated? Not to worry. offers ComplianceLock™ – a service designed for your total entity protection. With ComplianceLock you will get email and SMS text message alerts informing you ahead of time of important compliance due dates, you can generate meeting minutes, consents and corporate resolutions with just one click and your company will be consistently monitored throughout the year to avoid any pitfalls or setbacks.

Get instant access to ComplianceLock™ right now and put your company’s compliance on auto-pilot!

Close Your Business Before the End of the Year

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

When you no longer intend to operate your business for any reason, it’s important to file the state paperwork to permanently close your company. If that sounds like a waste of time and money, just think about this: Unless you file the paperwork to properly dissolve it, your inactive company will remain an official business entity with the state and you will still be responsible for annual report payments, filing business tax returns and keeping up with any business license or permit costs.

Of course you don’t want to spend time or money on a business you’re not actively involved in. The good news is, you don’t have to. You can properly close your company and officially end its existence by starting with these steps:

  1. Get approval from all company owners to permanently close the company. For a corporation this may require up to two-thirds of the voting shares or a vote of approval by the Board of Directors if no shares were issued. For an LLC, each state has its own dissolution requirements but generally require a majority of the members’ approval.
  2. Make sure that all taxes, fees and reports are current with the state. Some states even require that you are issued a “Tax Clearance” before a dissolution can be filed which takes some time.
  3. File your Articles of Dissolution with the state.
  4. Pay any outstanding debts to creditors and settle any claims.
  5. Cancel any permits or business licenses and notify all local, state and federal authorities that the business is closing.
  6. Distribute assets to the company owners.

As the end of the year approaches, there is no better time to file Articles of Dissolution for a defunct company. The last thing you want after going out of business is to find yourself involved in a messy tax situation from the previous year or still responsible for annual or renewal fees.

We can help you with your state dissolution paperwork and provide a checklist of post-dissolution tasks so you don’t miss a thing. Need to get working on closing your business immediately? Click here.


How to File a DBA

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

What is a DBA, exactly? Also known as “doing business as,” a “sole proprietorship” or a “fictitious name,” a DBA is a business that is not separate from its owner but has a different name than the business owner operates under. It is typically filed at the county level and might require a notarization. As an entity it’s easy to maintain but unlike the corporation or LLC, the owner is personally liable for the company and its debt.

One reason you might need to file a DBA is if you already have a corporation or LLC filed at the state level and you want to operate under a different name. Say your company name is Widgets LLC but you want to operate as Widgets & More. Then you will need to file a DBA name so that you can do business as Widgets & More.

If you’re starting your business as a sole proprietorship or partnership and you don’t want to incorporate or file an LLC, you will need a DBA so that you can “do business as” a name other than your own name. For instance, if your name is Jane Jones but you want to operate as JJ Ventures, filing a DBA will allow you to operate under the business name and also open a company bank account to accept payments for JJ Ventures.

A DBA is fairly simple to set up but one thing to remember is that every state and county have different requirements and you might be responsible for certain requirements such as a separate publishing in a newspaper that notifies the public of your intent to do business as a fictitious name.

We can help you file your DBA online today! Please note that if you’d like to file a DBA name for an existing corporation or LLC, you must have already formed your corporation or LLC (we do those too!).

Incorporate or Form an LLC: Wyoming vs. Delaware

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

If you’re thinking about incorporating or forming your LLC in Wyoming or Delaware, you might be wondering which state to choose and why. Both offer a “business-friendly” environment but each has different benefits–and drawbacks–depending on factors such as your type of entity, your industry and the size of your company. For example, many larger corporations incorporate in Delaware due to its business-oriented legal system, but a one-person corporation may be more drawn to Wyoming’s low fees and taxes.

Although Wyoming has been in the game for a long time and was in fact, the inventor of the American LLC (currently the entity of choice among our clients), you’ve probably heard more about Delaware because it’s the home of many Fortune 500 companies. Delaware has been an incorporation hub since the early 1900’s. It’s big business. Is your company growing fast with high-profile potential and plans to become publicly-traded? Delaware might be the right choice for you.

For the small business owner, starting a Wyoming company has distinct advantages. Wyoming requires a minimal filing fee and the annual report is only $50 in most cases. You won’t pay a franchise tax in Wyoming and there is no state income tax. If you have an existing corporation that was filed in your home state and you’re tired of the state raising fees and changing its business requirements, you can move your company to Wyoming with little hassle.

For a better look at what each state offers, we’ve created this side-by-side comparison of Wyoming vs. Delaware:

Compare Wyoming Delaware
No corporate income tax X
No state personal income tax X
No franchise tax X
No state tax on corporate shares X X
Low filing fees X
Low annual fees X
One-person corporation is allowed X X
No annual report required until the anniversary of the formation date X
Corporation shareholders are not listed with the state X X
LLC members are not listed with the state X X
Unlimited stock of any par value is allowed X X
No minimum capital requirements X X
Officers, directors, employees and agents are statutorily indemnified X
Can adopt a corporation formed in another state X
Meetings may be held anywhere X X

One important thing to remember in choosing is that companies are only authorized to do business in their state of formation. That means that if you incorporate in Wyoming, but your physical business is located in California, the state of California will require you to file additional paperwork to “foreign qualify” your Wyoming corporation as a California corporation before it can operate as a business at home. Yes, it can be confusing. And expensive. That’s why the majority of small business owners file their companies in their home state, unless they have a very specific reason to incorporate in Wyoming or Delaware.

For more information about which state to choose, please visit our state page.

Ready to order your new company? Click here!

MyCompanyForms™ – Your Lifetime Business Forms Solution

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

Why waste time and money when you don’t have to? has created MyCompanyForms™ to provide you with all the important documents that’ll help you run your business for the long-term. For a one-time purchase of just $35, you’ll have lifetime access to more than 200 constantly-updated business forms to assist you with starting, operating and growing your company!

MyCompanyForms™ is perfect for all business owners whether you’re in the startup phase or operational. New entrepreneurs can benefit from our handbooks and checklists to properly set up your company from the get-go. Existing business owners can save money in legal and tax fees with our annual checklists, tax guides and popular business forms. Did you file your LLC formation or incorporation paperwork with your state on your own? No problem! Our company forms can walk you through the important “after-formation” tasks to make sure you don’t miss any crucial steps in organizing your new business.

How does it work? Simply order the forms as a standalone product or when you file an LLC or Corporation with us. Then visit our My Account section for immediate lifetime access to a digital business library including:

  • Startup Checklists for DBA’s, Corporations and LLC’s
  • The New Corporation Handbook, The New LLC Handbook
  • Compliance Guides
  • IRS Tax Guides, Calendars and More
  • Corporation Forms: Bylaws, Minutes and Resolutions
  • LLC Forms: Operating Agreements, Minutes and Resolutions
  • Dozens of Categorized Business Forms

Are you starting a company today? MyCompanyForms™ is included with our Entrepreneur and Complete Incorporation and LLC Formation Packages!

Five Reasons We’re a Great LegalZoom Alternative

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

You’ve seen their commercials (featuring OJ Simpson’s attorney), but does that really mean LegalZoom is the best choice for starting your small business? Think of it this way: is the huge chain Italian restaurant franchise better than the tiny Italian bistro in your neighborhood–where every dish is prepared by real Italians–just because they advertise on television? We’ll let you decide, but we feel pretty confident that we can do better than the big guys when it comes to starting your company.

First of all, we understand that going into business for yourself can be complicated and even scary. We’re a real small business ourselves, so we’ve been there before. LegalZoom is a huge warehouse of legal services (Wills, Divorces, Bankruptcies, etc.) with only a fraction devoted to small business. Our incorporation and LLC formation service was designed specifically to meet the needs of small business owners.

Now let’s talk about cost. Our basic package starts at just $79 plus your state fee. That’s a lot easier on your wallet than their $149 basic package (as of this date of publication), and ours includes more. Do a side-by-side comparison of what you get with us versus what you get with LegalZoom. Running a business can be expensive. Starting a business doesn’t have to be.

We believe in honesty and won’t hit you with hidden fees or excessive charges, ever. For example, we charge only $45 to obtain your Federal tax ID. LegalZoom will charge you $79.

Personalized service is a benchmark of what we do. During business hours, you will always reach a live person or a quick call back (or response to your email), usually within ten minutes. Every member of our client services team can access your account and tell you the status of your order. We run a small, casual shop where everybody knows each other. LegalZoom, on the other hand, has more than six hundred employees.

Finally, just do some research: search for “Legalzoom complaints” on Google. Do the same for us and see the difference. As a LegalZoom alternative, we offer some of the lowest prices in the industry, fast turnaround and a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

Useful Post on 1099 Forms

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

Small Business Tends has a useful post up on How and When to Prepare 1099 Forms for Independent Workers.

Our page on Hiring Employees & Processing Payroll is also a great resource for small business owners.