What Are The Best States To Form an LLC in 2023?

What Are The Best States To Form an LLC in 2023?

A huge part of starting an LLC is determining the best state to form your business.

While various LLC services can help you start an LLC in any state, it pays to know which states offer the best conditions for LLC formation.

In this article, I discuss the top states to consider when forming an LLC, the benefits they offer, and other considerations to keep in mind.

Foreign LLCs Vs. Domestic LLCs

Let’s start with a couple of definitions.

You form a domestic LLC when your business operates in the state you live in.

On the other hand, you form a foreign LLC when this business operates outside of your home state.

Both types of LLCs have advantages and disadvantages that one should consider before making a decision.

Taxation rules are among the most important factors when deciding between a foreign or domestic LLC.

If you form a foreign LLC, not only must you pay taxes on income earned within the state where you set it up, but you may also need to file additional taxes for income earned in other states.

In contrast, forming a domestic LLC may result in less paperwork and fewer tax returns to complete.

Another factor to remember when comparing these two types of LLCs is protection from personal liability.

With both foreign and domestic entities, members enjoy this type of protection.

However, this protection is often only valid within the registration state regarding foreign entities.

This lack of recognition could mean creditors could go after members personally in certain instances.

On the other hand, with domestically created entities, members generally enjoy more comprehensive legal protections and federally-recognized limited liability protection for any actions the company takes.

The cost of forming an LLC also varies depending on whether it’s a foreign or domestic entity.

Domestic companies usually require fewer fees than their foreign counterparts due to the legal complexities of managing assets across multiple jurisdictions.

Additionally, many states charge additional fees for registering as a foreign entity which can quickly add up.

These costs also depend on individual circumstances, such as the number of members involved or the type of business operations planned ahead of time.

When It Makes Total Sense To File For A Foreign LLC

Suppose you are operating a business from one state but only selling products from another.

In that case, it’s best to create your Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) in the state where you are actively generating revenue.

Similarly, for real estate investments, a foreign LLC might make more sense.

If you manage assets in different states but are living in one state, it’s generally wise to form your LLC in the same jurisdiction as your investment property.

What about non-U.S. residents?

Generally, they should choose from one of the states mentioned below when forming an LLC.

It’s best for non-U.S. residents to consult a tax professional before forming an LLC since they may incur nonresident taxes.

Best States To Start An LLC

Let’s now get to helping you choose a business-friendly state for your LLC.

Here are the best states to consider.

Your Home State

It bears repeating that when starting a Limited Liability Company (LLC), it is typically more advantageous to establish it in your home state.

Other states view LLCs from outside their jurisdiction as “foreign” entities, requiring additional fees and requirements for registration.

While specific tax incentives can be significantly beneficial if you create an LLC in a “no-tax” state like Nevada, this generally applies if all revenue generated by the company remains within that same no-tax state.

Delaware

A Delaware LLC is one of the best companies to set up.

The filing fees and taxes are lower than in other states; the Chancery Court is exclusively for business cases so that authorities can resolve them quickly, and you don’t have to be a resident of Delaware to be a shareholder, director, or officer.

Nevada

Nevada is one of the most attractive states for its lack of income taxes and minimal paperwork requirements.

Businesses generally don’t have to worry about information-sharing agreements with the IRS.

Business owners only need to pay an annual license fee and filing fee.

Additionally, a Nevada LLC is relatively easy to form, as the state requires no lengthy annual meetings or detailed agreements.

Wyoming

Wyoming requires no corporate, personal income, or franchise taxes.

The state also boasts low sales tax rates so startups and entrepreneurs can look forward to a much lower cost of doing business in the Equality State when compared with other states.

Companies have fewer paperwork requirements here, making their operations more straightforward and efficient than elsewhere.

Despite the advantages Wyoming offers LLCs, there are drawbacks to consider.

It can be expensive to administer a Wyoming LLC from outside its borders, and assets away may enjoy different legal protection than those within it.

Alaska

Starting an LLC in Alaska is excellent if you’re an entrepreneur looking to save money.

Not only do you not have to pay state income or sales taxes, but many cities also charge meager sales tax rates, and there could even be certain tax credits for your type of business if it operates within the state.

Aside from regular taxation, Alaska also offers numerous loan programs to assist businesses that want to shop in the local area.

New Mexico

For individuals looking to form a Limited Liability Company (LLC), New Mexico has emerged as another state to consider.

This Southwestern location offers some of the lowest LLC filing fees anywhere and does not require any annual reporting requirements, which is perfect for those with limited time.

A bonus is the enhanced privacy protections which allow new business owners to conduct their company in relative privacy.

The Benefits Of A Foreign LLC

A business-friendly legal environment, low state filing fees, and not being required to report out-of-state income can make a foreign LLC an attractive option for many business owners.

As business income increases, it can be wise to incorporate it in a foreign jurisdiction with lower tax rates or even no taxes.

At the same time, it is essential to research the foreign jurisdiction you plan to incorporate and make sure it meets your individual business needs.

It’s also important to remember that additional filing fees are associated with establishing a foreign LLC, and it’s critical to stay compliant with local laws and regulations.

States Charge Penalties

Another aspect to consider are the penalties involved for any wrongdoings.

Different states have different rules regarding LLCs, and if an LLC fails to register as a foreign LLC when conducting business in another state, they risk facing severe consequences.

Fines, penalties, interest, court costs, and even having their ability to transact business wholly put on hold are all possible enforcement measures.

It is up to each state government to impose punishment on a non-compliant LLC.

The State Tax Audit Question Exercise

Another way of considering which state to form your LLC in, consider what a state tax audit would look like and what questions auditors might ask you.

To this extent, here are some questions you can ask to make a choice even clearer:

  • Will you have employees living and working in one major state?
  • What type of taxes do you need to pay in each state?
  • Do you have a registered agent in a particular state?
  • Are there any business license requirements that apply in certain states?

What To Expect When You File For An LLC

When forming an LLC, it’s essential to understand the process of filing.

Depending on the state where you will establish your business, filing requirements, forms, and fees are associated with registering an LLC.

Generally speaking, filing for an LLC involves submitting paperwork to the local Secretary of State or other designated agency.

This paperwork must contain specific information about the company—such as its name, address, purpose, and members—and may require payment of a registration fee.

Once the required documents are submitted, the LLC is officially formed and recognized in that state.

In addition to filing for an LLC with a local government office, businesses may also need to apply for specific licenses or permits depending on their state’s regulations.

Additionally, business owners may need to register with their state’s taxation department or open a business bank account.

LLC Taxation Structure

As a business entity, LLC business formation requires careful consideration of many factors.

Not only does a business owner need to consider the state in which they are forming an LLC, but also how the system will treat their LLC from a tax standpoint.

LLCs offer significant tax advantages and flexibility, depending on the state where you register your business.

In most states, LLC members can choose from one of the five common taxation structures that differ in taxes paid by the LLC and its members.

The five common taxation structures for LLCs are single-member LLC, partnership tax, C corporation tax, S corporation tax, and multiple-member LLC.

LLC members must select one of these structures to pay income taxes, depending on their circumstances and the best tax strategy for their business.

Pros And Cons Of Forming An LLC

Here are the pros and cons of forming an LLC.

Pros:

  • Asset Protection – An LLC offers owners personal liability protection, meaning the legal system protects their personal assets from liabilities incurred by the business.
  • Tax Benefits – LLCs may be treated as a corporation or partnership for tax purposes, allowing owners to take advantage of certain deductions and tax benefits that may not be available to other business structures.
  • Remain Anonymous – LLCs allow owners to remain anonymous, as their personal and financial information is not readily accessible to the public.
  • Online Business – An LLC can efficiently conduct business online, allowing owners to reach a wider audience without establishing brick-and-mortar locations.

Cons:

  • Annual Fees and Filing – Forming an LLC requires filing paperwork with the state, which generally comes with a fee. Additionally, some states require that LLCs file annual reports or pay annual fees to stay in good standing.
  • Maintenance Fees– Once established, an LLC needs ongoing maintenance, such as keeping up with business laws and ensuring all business documents are in order.
  • Business Tax– LLCs may be subject to double taxation depending on the state they are registered in, meaning owners may have to pay corporate and individual income tax on their business profits.

Best States To Form An LLC – FAQ

What States Allow Small Business Owners To Form A Limited Liability Company?

All states all businesses to form an LLC.

The states of California, Texas, Indiana, Nevada, New York, and Florida are some of the most common ones business owners choose.

Some states may have particular requirements based on the type of business or industry it operates.

It is always best to consult a qualified professional before making any decisions regarding forming an LLC.

What Is The Court Of Chancery And Why Is It Important?

The Court of Chancery is a historic court in the United States that deals with corporate law matters.

From paying corporate income tax to the interpretation of shareholders’ agreements, this court is responsible for resolving legal disputes between shareholders and directors of a company.

The Court of Chancery provides an invaluable service to businesses and is something anyone considering forming an LLC will come across.

What Are The Annual Reporting Fees Associated With LLC Formation?

The annual reporting fees associated with LLC formation can vary from state to state.

Generally, most states require LLCs to submit an annual report and maintain minimum capital requirements for the business.

Some states may also require an annual fee to remain in good standing.

What’s The Difference Between State Income Tax And Franchise Tax?

State income taxes refer to taxes imposed on individuals and businesses based on their net income from the previous year.

When owners form LLCs, they are typically required to file paperwork with the state government, which generally comes with a fee.

Franchise taxes revolve around how much capital an LLC has invested in a particular state and often vary from state to state.

This fee is a franchise tax separate from the income taxes imposed on the LLCs profits.

Does The Annual Filing Requirement For LLCs Vary From State To State?

Yes, LLCs’ annual public filings requirements vary from state to state.

As LLC owners are often required to file paperwork with the state government each year, different states may have additional requirements for filing.

Should A Fortune 500 Company Form An LLC?

It depends.

There may be better options than forming an LLC for a large corporation such as a Fortune 500 company.

For smaller business owners, however, forming an LLC can provide legal protection and tax benefits which are not available with another business structure.

Are Corporate Income Taxes Lower With LLCs?

When business owners come to pay corporate income taxes, they generally pay taxes based on their profits.

In some cases, forming an LLC may result in lower corporate income tax rates due to the business’s legal structure.

On the other hand, personal income taxes may still be applicable to the owner’s personal earnings from the LLC.

Wrap Up.

Your home state is generally the best place to form an LLC.

However, it’s not always as black and white as that.

Depending on your business type and your home state’s regulations, you may form an out-of-state LLC.

Before making the decision, it’s essential to research the requirements in both your home state and any potential out-of-state LLC states.

Additionally, seek advice from a qualified professional about your specific situation.

With the proper research and planning, any business can enjoy the many benefits of creating an LLC.

Further reading on AdamEnfroy.com: The difference between a sole proprietorship and an LLC can help small business owners determine the best option.

You can also check out this article on business checking accounts.

These accounts are essential for LLCs, as they provide a secure and efficient way to manage finances.

Disclosure: I may receive affiliate compensation for some of the links below at no cost to you if you decide to purchase a paid plan. You can read our affiliate disclosure in our privacy policy. This site is not intending to provide financial advice. This is for entertainment only.