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9 Actionable Steps to Set Up an LLC in California in 2020

How to Set Up LLC in California

If you’re looking to set up an LLC in California, you’re on the right page…

Now that you’ve settled on your business idea and chosen an LLC as your business type, it’s time to make it all official.

As a business lawyer, I’ve assisted hundreds of clients just like you start their business and I can help you with yours.

Here’s how to set up an LLC California:

  1. Select a Name for Your LLC
  2. Select a Registered Agent
  3. Have a Business Lawyer Prepare Your Articles of Organization
  4. Have a Business Lawyer Draft Your LLC Operating Agreement California
  5. Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS
  6. Open a Bank Account for the LLC
  7. Prepare and File Form LLC-12 Statement of Information
  8. Pay the Annual $800 Fee to the California Franchise Tax Board
  9. Determine the Tax Status for the LLC
  10. Apply for Any Necessary Permits and Licenses

If you’re interested in setting up an LLC in California, email me at sam@mollaeilaw.com

1. Select a Name for Setting Up an LLC in California

Select a Name for Your LLC

Now that you’ve asked the question how to form an LLC California, you can think about naming your LLC as the first step for forming it.

A good idea, to begin with, is to have about three names to choose from for your LLC California just in case a name is taken already.

When you work with me to form an LLC in California, I’ll perform the necessary search to make sure the name you want is available. It’s necessary to check with both the California Secretary of State and with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. before setting up an LLC in California.

Once you know the name you’ve chosen hasn’t been taken by another business, you can choose the name as your own as you form an LLC in California.

Email me at sam@mollaeilaw.com to get started with your LLC California.

 

2. Get a Registered Agent

Get a Registered Agent

Step 2 of forming an LLC in California is to select a registered agent.

A registered agent must be an adult or a company with a physical address in California that can be available from 9 A.M. to 5 P.M. – Monday through Friday.

The registered agent receives official documents on behalf of the company, including being served if the LLC is ever sued.

It’s important to note that any member of the LLC may be the registered agent as long as he or she meets the requirements above. However, most LLCs choose a professional company.

Choosing a company to act as your registered agent prevents you from having to be available throughout the week and eliminates junk mail at your home or business address.

 

3. Have Business Lawyer Prepare & File Your Articles of Organization

The third step for how to form an LLC in California is to hire a business lawyer to draft and file your Articles of Organization.

Your articles of organization are required by law and are necessary for helping establish some of the operating policies and members’ responsibilities for the LLC.

The articles of organization must include:

  • The name of the LLC
  • The statement: “The purpose of the limited liability company is to engage in any lawful act or activity for which a limited liability company may be organized under the Beverly-Killea Limited Liability Company Act.
  • How the LLC will be managed – by members or managers.
  • The name and address of the registered agent.

Once the articles of organization are prepared, they must be filed with the California Secretary of State. The filing fee is $70.

The Secretary of State has up to 14 days to approve or reject your articles of organization. You’ll either get a copy of the document or a notice of rejection.

Email me at sam@mollaelaw.com to request the articles of organization while you are setting up an LLC in California.

You mustn’t try to just do this step yourself because it’s easy to make a mistake or forget to include something important while you form an LLC in California.

 

4. Have a Lawyer Draft Your Operating Agreement

Next, you must prepare an LLC operating agreement. California requires every LLC to have an operating agreement and it is one of the most important documents you’ll ever prepare for your LLC California.

An operating agreement that is tailored to your LLC should be prepared and filed by your business lawyer so that it is accurate and complete.

At the very least, your LLC California operating agreement should include:

  • How the LLC is managed
  • The method of choosing the managers if it’s manager managed
  • The method of choosing officers if it’s member (officer) managed
  • The terms, duties, and salaries of the managers or officers
  • How many members the LLC has and percentages of ownership
  • Rights and duties of each member
  • When and how much each member will contribute to the LLC
  • Details about the financial and tax records that should be sent to the members
  • How profits and losses are distributed
  • How meetings will be held, how long they’ll be, where they’ll be, and who’ll be included
  • Voting requirements and interests of each member
  • How a member can withdraw from the LLC
  • Grounds for termination of an LLC member
  • How new members may be added
  • Regulations regarding the transfer of membership
  • How the LLC will be dissolved
  • How the operating agreement may be amended in the future

These are just the standard items every operating agreement should have. This list doesn’t include anything for unique situations – so it’s really something a lawyer should draft for you to make sure the document is perfect for your LLC California.

Email me at sam@mollaeilaw.com to skip the hassle of figuring this out on your own and get a complete, custom operating agreement when setting up an LLC in California.

 

5. Get an EIN from the IRS

Get an EIN from the IRS

Step 5 to form an LLC in California is to apply for your LLC’s Federal taxpayer identification number, called the EIN.

You must complete IRS Form SS-4 to request your EIN. If you are a US citizen with a social security number, obtaining an EIN may be easy for you.

If you don’t have a social security number, you can still obtain an EIN, but the process is one that should be done by a business lawyer.

I’ve helped hundreds of individuals obtain their EIN, with or without a social security number, so just email me at sam@mollaeilaw.com for help.

Read more here about how to get an EIN without SSN.

6. Open a Bank Account for the LLC in California

The next step in knowing how to create an LLC is to open a bank account in the LLC’s name to handle all business transactions.

7. File Statement of Information

File Statement of Information

The Statement of Information, or Form LLC 12, must be prepared and filed next.

The statement of information is also called Form LLC 12.

California law requires LLCs to keep their public record updated by filing a Statement of Information with the California Secretary of State.

The statement of information is filed with the Secretary of State California LLC within 90 days of filing the articles of organization.

The statement of information for LLCs must be submitted on paper.

Further, an annual $800 LLC tax is due by the 15th day of the fourth month after LLC formation and every year thereafter. If the LLC’s income exceeds $250,000, it will owe an additional LLC tax based on the income amount.

The $800 minimum tax prepayment is due by the 15th day of the 4th month after LLC formation. The next tax year, the $800 minimum tax is due on April 15. So if you form an LLC in California on December 1, and you file taxes on a calendar year basis, the $800 minimum tax is due by March 15. Another $800 payment would be due again on April 15.

The fee to file is $20.

The statement of information should include:

  • The name of the LLC
  • The LLC identification number
  • The LLC’s state
  • The address of the principal place of business and mailing address
  • The CEO’s name and address if there is one
  • The names and addresses of the managers
  • The registered agent’s name and address
  • The company’s nature of business

 

8. Pay the Annual $800 Fee to the California Franchise Tax Board

Every LLC in California must pay an $800 franchise tax fee every year it exists to the California Franchise Tax Board.

This fee is due by the 15th day of the fourth month of your LLC’s taxable year and is the LLC California fee.

Additionally, there is an LLC California tax schedule you may want to be aware of so you can estimate your tax burden.

The fee schedule for taxes for your LLC in California is as follows:

  • Fee Amount: $0 for Total Income of $0 – 249,999
  • Fee Amount: $900 for Total Income of $250,000 – $499,999
  • Fee Amount: $2,500 for Total Income of $500,000 – $999,999
  • Fee Amount: $6,000 for Total Income of $1,000,000 – $4,999,999
  • Fee Amount: $11,790 for Total Income of$5,000,000 or more

 

9. Determine the Tax Status for the LLC

Determine the Tax Status for the LLC

In most cases, your LLC can be classified as a sole proprietorship, a partnership, a C Corporation, or an S Corporation for tax purposes.

Determining the tax status for your California LLC is the next step in the process of setting up an LLC in California.

If you need help with creating LLC California, please email me at sam@mollaeilaw.com and I can advise you based on my experience.

 

10. Apply for Any Necessary Permits and Licenses

Depending on your city and county in California, you may need a business license to do business. The state of California may also require you to be licensed if you’re going to perform certain services.

If you’re unsure about the requirements for your state, as a business lawyer, I can help you.

 

Conclusion

Setting up an LLC in California is a multi-step process that can be complicated to figure out on your own.

There are also multiple LLC California fees you should be aware of.

If you need help with any step mentioned above, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.

I’ve been helping individuals form LLCs and other types of businesses for years now and I can help you too.

Email me at sam@mollaeilaw.com to get started with your LLC in California.

Sam Mollaei, Esq.

As a Business Lawyer for Entrepreneurs, I help entrepreneurs start their U.S. business without dealing with complicated government forms. I’ve assisted more than 2,246 entrepreneurs successfully start their business and I'm backed by more than 702 5-Star Google Reviews. If you're interested in starting your business, take the first step by requesting your Free Strategy Session on this page.

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