Forming an LLC in Virginia is the first step in protecting your personal assets as a business owner. If anyone ever sues you for anything business related, you know you are personally protected from the lawsuit. Limited Liability Companies work like a sole proprietorship in its simplicity, but with the added protection of a corporation without actually becoming incorporated. It’s a smart business move, and it’s one that’s not too difficult to begin. The process is not difficult, but there are a few challenges along the way. You might be surprised just where your challenges can be found. All of the forms you need to become an LLC online in Virginia are found on the Virginia State of Corporations Commission website.
Naming an LLC
This is probably the most challenging aspect of the entire process. Naming your LLC means checking with the Virginia State of Corporations Commission, Office of the Clerk for the name’s availability. If someone else has already registered a business by the same name, you’re not able to use the name. This is when you have to come up with a new name and reserve it for the duration of the application process. The forms are found online, but cannot be filed online. This is a form you have to mail, along with a check in the amount of $10 made out to the state to hold your name for 120 days.
Articles of Organization
Once you choose a name and reserve it, you have to choose a registered agent. This is the person or company responsible for your legal issues. This person must have an association with your business. An attorney or law office is the best choice for this, but you’re not limited to either one as long as your registered agent meets the following requirements:
- He she is a Virginia resident
- Can be a member or manager of the LLC
- A member of the state bar
- Corporation authorized to do business in Virginia
- Must have a physical address in the state
Once you have a registered agent, it’s time to file your articles of organization. This is a simple process. The form is found online, and all you need to add is the name and address of your company, the name and address of your new registered agent, and nothing more. You can file online or through the mail as long as you pay the $100 fee.
If your company collects sales tax from the sale of goods, you have to register with the Virginia Department of Taxation. You can do this online or through the mail using Form R-1. You have to have an Employer Identification Number issued by the Internal Revenue Service if you have more than one member, and you have to have all the appropriate business licenses in your municipality. These depend on the type of business you have, and what you do for a living.
Your LLC is also responsible for paying annual fees. In Virginia, annual fees are due every year in the amount of $50. It’s due on the last day of your LLC’s registration anniversary month. If your company was officially registered in June, you have to pay your annual fee no later than June 30 every year. Paying your annual fee late results in a $25 penalty due with the fee. Fees can be paid online or through the mail. This is a fee that’s paid through the SCC efile page located on the Corporations Commission website where you find all your other forms.
Filing paperwork to become an LLC in Virginia makes a difference. It’s inexpensive, it’s easy to do, and the biggest challenge associated with this is choosing an appropriate name and waiting on all the paperwork to be processed by the state. Once it’s processed and approved, you will receive notification from the state. If you are missing any information or paperwork, you’ll receive notification. The missing information won’t cause your application to be denied, but it does slow down the approval process. The challenges are minimal, but the entire process is worthwhile.