LLC, DBA or Incorporation: Manage Your Business
Once you have completed your LLC, DBA or Incorporation business filing, you have an obligation to keep it current and compliant. While this process varies by state and by entity type, it is in your best interest to understand the process for your entity type and state.
These types of filings are due by specific deadlines, which also vary by state and corporate structure. Examples include Initial Reports, Annual Reports, Amendments, Foreign Qualifications, Reinstatements and Dissolutions.
Failing to keep your entity compliant with these rules can lead to state imposed late fees and penalties, plus your LLC or Corporation could be suspended or even dissolved. Some of these documents, like Initial Reports, may be due in your state upon the filing of your entity.
EZ Online Filing.com will be glad to assist you with information about your state and handling any necessary business filings.
An expert in business filing practices created our simple process. It was designed to be so easy that anyone could do it.
Here’s how it works:
- Speak with our specialist:
We will ask you simple questions related to your business filing to ensure a smooth completion. This often takes as little as 10 minutes and will keep you from guessing whether you’ve done everything that’s needed.
- We file your paperwork with the state:
Once we have Step 1 completed, we will create the business filing documents that the state needs for the formation. We give them a quality check to make certain your answers are accurately reflected and the actual filing with the state takes place.
- Final steps:
Once we receive your business filing documents back from the state, we will forward them to you along with any other related papers or directions.
Truly as easy as 1, 2, 3! All of the confusing processes that happen in-between these three steps are handled by us. That’s the real magic of what we do!
Business filing and formations can be very complicated if you haven’t done them before. As a result, our customers often come to us with many questions. Here are some of the more common questions and the related answers.
Q: How many types of entity types are there to choose from for my business filing?
A: For an incorporation, there are four basic business filing types: C-Corporation, S-Corporation, Professional Corporation, or Non-Profit Corporation. There are also Limited Liability Companies (LLC) and DBA’s (Doing business as). You can read more about these entity types in our Learning Center under Help Me Decide.
Q: Do I need to file a DBA?
A: This type of business filing is necessary if you are conducting business in a name other than your personal name or the legal name of your business. Also, it is customary for banks to require a DBA business filing to open a bank account. It is an extremely common filing and is used by both sole proprietors and corporations on a regular basis.
Q: To open a business bank account, do I need a DBA?
A: Generally, you do. Most banks require a DBA business filing to open a business bank account and in many states, they require that you provide them with a certified copy of the DBA.
Q: Can you give me an example of what a DBA business filing might be?
A: For this first example, Mark Thomas runs a landscaping and lawn care business, which he advertises as QuickCuts. His customers make checks out to QuickCuts and Mark needs to deposit them into his bank account or cash them. Usually, advertising the name alone would require a DBA business filing, but add in the checks and Mark will almost certainly be required to file a DBA.
Q: Are there names that a DBA cannot be?
A: Yes. DBA’s are not allowed to imply that they are a corporation. So, you would not be allowed to add “Inc” to the end of the name. From the above example, Mark would not be able to file his DBA as QuickCuts, Inc. However, almost any other name would likely be fine for the business filing.
Q: Am I required to file a DBA and, if so, how soon must I do so?
A: Some states require the business filing happen within a short amount of time from when you begin to use the name, usually within 30-60 days. However, it is best to file your DBA prior to ever using it.
Q: What happens if I don’t designate a Registered Agent in my initial business filing?
A: Failure to maintain a Registered Agent may cause you to fall out of good standing with the state. This could result in your company no longer being allowed to conduct business in that state as well as financial penalties imposed by the state. Falling out of good standing could result in your company being subject to civil and criminal sanctions, as well as financial losses. There are also additional fees a reinstatement business filing that would be needed to correct this.
Q: What is an Initial Report?
A: Many states require businesses to file what is known as an Initial Report at the time of the business formation. This is one of the occasions when the state will collect information about your business activities and locations, as well as current contact information for the business owners and managers. If required by your state, this is a very important business filing that gets your business off to the right start with the state.
Q: What is an Annual Report?
A: Most states require a yearly update of your vital business information. This is called an Annual Report, or sometimes, a Statement of Information.
The Annual Report is very similar to the Initial Report filed when your business is started, but is an ongoing requirement of the state and must be filed each year. This is a requirement whether you are currently conducting business or not and if not filed on time this could result in penalties and fees being imposed by the state.
Q: What is an Amendment?
A: Just about anytime you need to make a change to your LLC or Corporation, you can count on the state requiring some paperwork to make it official. Maybe you have changed your address or a member or director left the business. The official name for the required business filing is Article of Amendment and there are actually a number of reasons you might need our help on this one.
Here are some examples:
- Change of principle office address
- Change in Registered Agent
- Change of names or addresses of members or directors
- Change in number of shares
Q: What is a Foreign Qualification?
A: A Foreign Qualification is the process you go through to transact business in a state other than the state in which your company was formed. Basically, your Corporation or LLC is considered to be a domestic entity only in the state where it was formed. Think of this as your home state. In all other states, your company will be regarded as a foreign Corporation' or LLC. This business filing is very similar to the paperwork completed when you first starting your LLC or Corporation.
Q: What is a Reinstatement?
A: A Reinstatement is a process, by which, your entity can be returned to good standing with the state in instances where the entity has fallen out of good standing or even been dissolved. For more information on Dissolutions, read “What is a Dissolution” below.
Q: What is a Dissolution?
A: Dissolutions are formal processes that end a businesses activities and “close the doors” of the business. This can be a voluntary step taken when the owner of a business decides that he or she no longer intends to conduct business or may be involuntary. In an involuntary case, the state dissolves the business due to failing to meet the states requirements of the business.
Q: What is involved in selecting a Corporate Officer?
A: When we begin your filing, we will allow you to select as many as four officers for your corporation. There are, however, only three positions, which are considered mandatory:
Most states will allow one person to serve in all three positions. In such a case, the person’s responsibilities and authority will be different in each position.
This position has responsibility for the overall management of the company and carries out the orders of the board of directors.
This is the chief financial officer and he or she will manage the bank accounts and finances of the business.
This position is responsible for maintaining all corporate records for the company.
Q: What forms of payment do you take?
A: To keep processing times short, we accept all major credit cards. This allows us to begin processing your requests immediately.
Q: What does it mean when someone talks about “piercing the corporate veil”?
A: This is the legal term used to describe an action to have the corporation set aside for purposes of the litigation, such that personal liability attaches, and personal assets can be reached. One of the biggest advantages to incorporating a business is that the principals of a corporation or LLC enjoy broad protection from being held personally responsible for the debts and liabilities of the corporation. That is, creditors can reach the corporation's assets, but once those assets are exhausted they cannot ordinarily also reach the personal assets of the owners or shareholders of the corporation. Those to whom a corporation is liable may try to “pierce the corporate veil”. For this reason, it is vital that the owners and members make every attempt to follow all corporate formalities required by the state and never use a corporation for personal use.
Q: What does it mean for a business to fall into “bad standing”?
A: This is the common terminology used to describe a business entity that has not properly maintained its obligations with one or more states where it conducts business. Companies that are in bad standing long enough risk administrative dissolution or revocation by the state. This should be avoided because when a state administratively dissolves a corporation or LLC or its corporate or LLC status is revoked, the benefits of being a corporation or LLC are lost to the business.
Q: What is “pass-through” taxation?
A: This means that the business entity, itself, is not directly taxed, and the tax burden is instead passed on to the owners and/or members. Thus, the business entity passes its profits and/or losses to the owners as income, wages and profit payments, and each owner or member pays the taxes on their individual share of those profits.