How to Form An LLC in New York State
Although New York has a few unique requirements for its LLCs, those requirements come with a ton of perks. Below, we’ll walk you through the five basic steps to setting up your business as an LLC in New York State.
An LLC is the ideal business structure for sole proprietors starting their first business. For one thing, LLCs are fairly flexible. They don’t have rigid restrictions, so it’s not hard to update your business’s structure as it grows. However, the biggest perk is that an LLC gives you liability protection as long as you keep your business and personal assets separate.
Five steps to setting up a New York LLC
New York State’s business website outlines five important steps in forming an LLC. Four of the five steps are standard nationwide, and we explain them in more depth in our step by step guide to starting a small business.
The fourth step is more unique to New York. But don’t be put off by the additional task: New York is friendly to new businesses, and the perks you get from the slightly longer checklist outweigh the hassle of a slightly longer process.
1. Choose a business name
To qualify for LLC status, your business’s name must meet a few requirements. First, you must include LLC in your name. Second, your business’s name cannot be too closely related to other LLC names in the state. The government should be able to quickly distinguish your company from others. If names are too similar, mistakes can happen.
Interestingly, there are a certain number of words that cannot be included in your name. These include words like “academy,” “doctor,” “history,” and so on. You can learn more about New York’s restricted words and phrases by checking out the government’s comprehensive list.
2. Define who is involved
The state wants to know who will be involved in running your company. Business partners with shady track records will reflect poorly on your application, so make sure whoever you’re working with brings important skills and experience to the table.
You’ll also need to name a registered agent to act as your go-between if your company is served with legal action. Since you’re registering your LLC in New York, your default registered agent is the New York secretary of state. If you want to designate someone else as your registered agent, you must communicate that on your LLC application.
Using a registered agent service instead of the default Secretary of State can include lower registration fees and more privacy because you can use the agent service’s address instead of your own on documents.
3. File your Articles of Organization
For New York to consider your LLC viable, you must complete a series of administrative tasks, starting with filing your Articles of Organization with the New York Department of State Division of Corporation.
On this basic legal document, you’ll note your business address, your business name), the type of business entity you’re creating (in this case, an LLC), and who you want to designate as your registered agent for service of process. (Remember, this will most likely be the New York Secretary of State.)
Filing your business’s Articles of Organization in New York costs about $200.You can apply in-person, via mail, or online.
If you are applying in person or mailing your documents, the address is as follows:
New York State Department of State, Division of Corporations, State Records and Uniform Commercial Code
One Commerce Plaza, 99 Washington Avenue
Albany, New York 12231
4. Fulfill the state publication requirement
Thisstep is fairly unique to New York, which means it’s also the most confusing step for non-New Yorkers.
The state requires you to announce your company’s creation by publishing your Articles of Organization in two state-approved newspapers for six consecutive weeks. (Your county clerk designates these newspapers for you, they are not listed online.)
You must pay these newspapers to list your company within the first 120 days of your business’s launch. Once you have met the publication requirement, the publishers of each newspaper will send you an affidavit of publication that you can present to your county.
Once you have these affidavits and certificate of publication, you must submit them to the New York Department of State. You have to pay a $50 fee to file your certificate of publication. You can make the payment and file the certificate online, via mail, or in person at the New York Department of State.
If you don’t fulfill this unique requirement, your LLC will be suspended from operating in New York until further notice. If your business is suspended, you will have to personally work with the state by contacting your county clerk to find out what your options are to lift your suspension. It is on a case by case basis so there is no set process to lift a suspension laid out on the NY government website.
The perk to this requirement is that you are literally announcing to your community that your business exists. It’s a great way to start promoting your business and networking with local companies. So although New York’s unique newspaper requirement is a bit of a paperwork hassle, it ultimately gives your business a boost that LLCs in other states don’t have.
5. Retrieve your EIN
Once you’ve paid all your fees and filed your paperwork, you’ll receive your EIN, or Employer Identification Number, from the state government. You’ll receive your EIN via email or the mail depending on your preference. This should be about seven business days after you filed your paperwork.
An EIN is basically your business’s social security number. You use it to file taxes (as do your employees), and it’s attached to every legal document associated with your business.
New York’s additional incentives and credits for LLCs New York state is a great place to launch a small business, in no small part because of its additional credits and incentives specific to LLCs.
For instance, Start-up NY is a government program that aims to incentivize entrepreneurship with tax benefits. You can qualify for those benefits by meeting requirements like housing your business in a space that is already designated as tax free.
And if you live and work in the Big Apple itself, there are a ton of incentives unique to New York City for building your small business. Most NYC incentives are industry specific and relate to different tax credits, training grants, and energy-efficiency programs. You might qualify for these incentives if your business invests in equipment, recruits and trains employees, and relocates within NYC (or moves to NYC for the first time) to improve existing property.
If you feel overwhelmed by all these incentives, connect with city representatives to get more details on qualifications and requirements. We can also help you find business funding beyond tax credits and incentives in our guide to applying for LLC business loans.
Overall, New York state’s LLC application process is fairly standard apart from its publication requirement. The state is very strict with this requirement, and while publishing your business info will help you in the long run, you might need to hire a lawyer to guide you through the initial process.
Don’t let the extra step discourage you. Between the incentives and credit, New York is a great place to start your LLC.
Want some ideas for financing your business? Check out our favorite small-business loans for startups.
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