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CostHelper > Small Business  > Setting up an LLC

Setting up an LLC Cost


How Much Does Setting up an LLC Cost?

 
low costLow: Books or Software Run $17-$400 + Fees ($50-$800+)average costMedium: Attorneys Can Charge $1,000-$3,000+ + Fees ($50-$800+)
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Commonly referred to as an LLC, a limited liability company[1] is a way of setting up legal ownership of a business to combine some of the advantages of a partnership or sole proprietorship with those of a corporation. Unless the LLC "members" (the owners) choose otherwise, an LLC is taxed like a partnership/sole proprietorship with no income taxes at the business level, and with all profits and losses passed through to the LLC members. And similar to a corporation, LLC members are usually not held personally liable for the company's debts. At the same time, an LLC is more flexible and not as formally structured as a legal corporation. Entrepreneur.com explains some of the pros and cons[2] of an LLC.

Typical costs:

  • State filing fees to set up an LLC can run anywhere from $50-$800 or more in some circumstances. Contact your Secretary of State office to find out the fees and requirements in your state. You might be required to publish the formation of your new company in a local newspaper, which typically costs $40-$100 -- although it can be more. (LegalZoom.com[3] reports that in some New York counties publication fees can run as high as $2,000.)
  • Many online services will assist you with the LCC set-up process for fees ranging from $35-$400 depending on the level of services included (the higher prices include rush processing). That's in addition to your state filing fees and publication expenses. LegalZoom.com[4] offers a basic LLC package starting at $149. Nolo Press sells books to guide you through the LCC process for $17-$45, and LLC Maker computer software for $60-$90.
  • A certified public accountant (CPA) cannot provide legal advice, but can guide you through the paperwork and decision-making process of setting up an LLC for an average cost of $400-$900 or more, depending on location and complexity. That's in addition to state fees and expenses.
  • Attorneys charge $100-$300 or more an hour to guide you through the legal niceties of setting up an LLC, for a typical total cost of $1,000-$3,000 or more depending on your location, the number of LLC members and the complexity of the arrangements. In some circumstances (multiple LLC members, varying ownership percentages, other complicated arrangements or situations) legal fees can run $3,000-$5,000 or more. Some attorneys include the required state fees and other expenses in their total cost; others do not.
Related articles: Incorporating a Business, Business Tax Preparation, Accountant

What should be included:
  • Although the specifics vary in each state, the usual steps for setting up an LLC include: deciding on a business name; researching the availability of that name; registering the LLC name; creating and signing an LLC agreement; writing your LLC's Articles of Organization; if required, publishing the formation of your LLC in a local newspaper; filing your Articles of Organization; and obtaining any required business licenses or permits. The process can be fairly easy; in many states, the Articles of Organization is just a one-page form. Nolo Press explains forming an LLC, Lawyers.com provides an overview[5] and FindLaw.com links to business formation forms and fees[6] for each state.
  • In some circumstances, it might be better to form a corporation. FindLaw.com compares corporations and LLCs.
Additional costs:
  • Annual fees to maintain an LLC range from $20-$200 and up, depending on the state. Some states charge an annual franchise tax which varies from $100 in Delaware to an $800 annual minimum in California, and can be higher depending on the volume of business.
Shopping for setting up an llc:
  • If searching for an online LLC service, be sure the company is providing accurate and up-to-date information for your state. Or if you're already working with an accountant, ask what sort of LLC assistance their firm provides.
  • If you want legal assistance with the process, ask about the attorney's training and experience with business organizations. Lawyers.com explains how to select a business lawyer[7] and lists 12 questions[8] to ask any potential attorney.
  • Referrals to business organization attorneys are available through Lawyers.com[9] and FindLaw.com[10] . Your attorney should provide you with a written fee agreement; be sure you understand all the potential costs.
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External Resources:
  1.  www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Limited-Liability-Company-...
  2.  www.entrepreneur.com/article/77966
  3.  www.legalzoom.com/llc-faq/llc-operating-costs.html
  4.  www.legalzoom.com/limited-liability-company/limited-liability-company-pricing.html
  5.  business-law.lawyers.com/business-formation/Create-a-Limited-Liability-Corporation...
  6.  smallbusiness.findlaw.com/incorporation-and-legal-structures/state-guide-forms-and...
  7.  business-law.lawyers.com/common/content/print_content.php?articleid=1001782&
  8.  research.lawyers.com/12-Questions-To-Ask-Your-Potential-Lawyer.html
  9.  www.lawyers.com/limited-liability-companies/find-law-firms-by-location/
  10.  lawyers.findlaw.com/lawyer/practice/Business-Organizations
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