If you have been running a business as a sole proprietor or partner, you have likely realized the problems of combining business and personal accounting. You may have also realized that your personal assets are at risk if your business fails or you are sued by a third party. Switching your company legal standing from a “Doing Business As” (DBA) sole proprietorship or partnership to a Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a relatively easy task that can be accomplished in just a few days.
Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service by completing IRS Form SS-4 (http://www.IRS.gov/pub/IRS-pdf/fss4.pdf). You can obtain an EIN via mail, fax, telephone or the IRS website. The IRS processes telephone and Internet applications immediately, so you will receive your EIN within minutes. Turnaround time on faxed applications is four business days, and mailed applications take up to four weeks.
Internal Revenue Service Attn: EIN Operation Cincinnati, OH 45999 (800) 829-4933 Fax: (859) 669-5760 IRS.gov
Choose a name for your LLC. In most cases, you will choose the same name you used for your DBA business, with one exception. The name of an LLC must end with one of the following: LLC; L.L.C.; Limited Liability Company; or Lt. Liability Co.
Choose a registered agent for your LLC. This is a person who resides in your state, and who agrees to be served with notice of any lawsuits filed against your company. Since you are converting from a DBA, you will likely name yourself as the registered agent.
Complete your company’s Articles of Organization. This is a simple document that lists the name and address of the LLC, the resident agent’s name and address, and the names and addresses of company managers and organizers. In some states, it will also include the EIN you obtained from the IRS. The form will have a signed statement that the registered agent agrees to be named for service of process.
File the Articles of Organization, along with any organizational fees, with the Secretary of State Office in your state. Processing times vary considerably among states. Once your state has accepted your Articles of Organization, the process is complete.
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