business owners forming an anonymous LLC

How to Form an Anonymous LLC: A Step-by-step Guide

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Your limited liability company’s (LLC) formation documents become part of the public record. It means anyone can access such information. But what if you want your LLC formation documents to remain confidential?

You need to form an anonymous LLC whose owners are out of the public record. Follow the steps below to prevent your company from being publicly identifiable.

How to form an anonymous LLC in four steps?

The easier way to conceal your LLC formation documents from the public is to form anonymous LLCs in the various states listed below:

Step 1: Know the pros and cons of each state

You can choose among four states: Delaware, Nevada, New Mexico, and Wyoming. Each state offers specific advantages related to keeping your information confidential.

Delaware

Delaware provides one of the highest levels of privacy, security, and asset protection. It offers a complete veil of anonymity because it does not require the LLC to disclose the names and personal details of its members or shareholders. However, it entails an annual tax of $300. Moreover, you have to hire a registered agent or incorporating service.

Nevada

Unlike Delaware, Nevada mandates members to submit their information to the Secretary of State. Fortunately, it will still be unavailable to the public, as the state prevents creditors from accessing the corporate records of your LLC.

The total LLC Filing Cost in Nevada is $425. The state collects a formation fee of $75 for the Articles of Organization, $200 for getting a State Business License, and $150 for the Initial List of Managers or Managing Members of the company.

New Mexico

New Mexico does not mandate members and shareholders to disclose their identities on any report. It also provides enhanced asset protection from creditors. Company owners will only need to pay a one-time fee of $50; other than that, New Mexico does not collect any annual charges to maintain your LLC.

However, companies must pay corporate income tax and hire a registered agent for anonymity.

Wyoming

Wyoming does not require the LLC to list its members and managers. Like the previous states, it also protects company assets from creditors.

However, it collects a formation fee of $100 and an annual report fee of $60. The report mandates businesses to disclose the name and signature of their owners and hire an agent to pay renewal fees.

Step 2: Designate a name for your anonymous LLC

Owners and shareholders should choose an appropriate name for your company. For instance, the Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) 86.171 provides guidelines regarding the name of LLCs in the state. 

According to the NRS, the name must contain any of the following words:

  • Limited-Liability Company
  • Limited Liability Company
  • Limited Company
  • Limited

The state allows abbreviations, such as:

  • Ltd.
  • L.L.C.
  • L.C.
  • Co.

It must also be different from all other companies formed, organized, or registered in Nevada.

Take note that states generally prohibit the use of the following words:

  • Accountancy
  • Engineering
  • Bank
  • Trust

The NRS 86.176 also allows companies to reserve their preferred name for 90 days. During the said period, no LLC can use or reserve the chosen name without the consent of the company. Owners can reserve a name by sending an application to the Secretary of State.

Step 3: Find a registered agent

The state will not require the company to list the members, directors, and shareholders of the LLC since it chose to be anonymous. However, the articles of organization still mandate the company to provide the registered agent of the LLC.

For instance, Delaware Code 18-201 states that companies must list the name and address of the registered agent before the LLC can receive a certificate of formation. The registered agent is responsible for forwarding documents and communications to the LLC since the company chose to conceal its personal information from the public. The agent is also in charge of signing papers on behalf of the company for anonymity.

Step 4: Gather requirements and submit for filing

You must compile the required paperwork and file them with the Secretary of State. For instance, Nevada requires the following documents:

  • Articles of organization
  • Annual list of managers or members
  • Business license application

You can find the required forms on the Department of State’s official site:

Visit the website, fill out the forms, print them, then mail them to the appropriate office. Some states allow online applications for convenience.

Make sure to pay the initial and annual fees to maintain your anonymous LLC.

How to form an anonymous LLC outside of the four states?

Establishing this kind of LLC outside Delaware, Nevada, New Mexico, and Wyoming entails more complicated steps.

This process involves forming two LLCs: a single-member LLC in any of the four states mentioned earlier and another in the home state of the company. The process also mandates hiring an LLC formation service or a business attorney to assist the company in drafting an operating agreement.

The LLC needs a registered agent who will use their physical address to enter the company into the register. In effect, when someone tries to find out the LLC’s owner, they will be redirected to another LLC.

What are the benefits and disadvantages of an anonymous LLC?

Most business owners choose to stay anonymous for several reasons. However, there are also downsides to remember.

Pros

  • It allows business owners to protect their privacy because the public cannot access their personal information.
  • It ensures a corporate veil of protection by shielding business assets from personal creditors.
  • It allows members to avoid litigation to a certain extent. Take note that no business type offers absolute protection from liabilities.
  • The LLC still enjoys benefits associated with a regular LLC, including tax advantages and limited liability protection.

Cons

  • The LLC may still be subject to lawsuits that may reveal the members’ information.
  • Clients, partners, and interested third parties may also be subject to litigation, even though the LLC’s members are anonymous.
  • Since the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires anonymous LLCs to file taxes, it collects members’ details that may be used for public purposes.
  • The LLC must hire a registered agent or incorporating service to handle the formation process.

Should you form an anonymous LLC?

Forming an anonymous LLC allows you to guard your personal information against the public and protect your assets from creditors. Start an anonymous LLC with the help of experts from NCH, a business startup specialist for over 30 years.

Our legal services assist in building an effective strategy for your LLC to shield your assets, enjoy a corporate veil of protection, and minimize tax liability.


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