California LLC Frequently Asked Questions
What is the benefit of using SunDoc Filings in California?
We visit the California Secretary of State three times a day and submit all filings received by 3 p.m. PST. Our frequent visits to the state allow us to offer a 24 Hour Rush Service in California. The following guidelines are especially helpful if you are preparing your own California Articles of Organization (LLC-1).
Questions about LLC Formation Guidelines?
How many members and managers are required in California?
At least one member is required in California.
What is a Registered Agent?
A Registered Agent is an individual or business designated to receive service of process (SOP) in the event an entity is party to a lawsuit. For example, if your LLC is ever involved in a lawsuit, the plaintiff’s attorney and or the court will serve your LLC via a process server to inform you of the suit. State filing agencies require that an entity designate a Registered Agent to receive the legal document from the process server. The Registered Agent must maintain a physical address (no P.O. Boxes or PMB’s) in the states of the entities they represent. The Registered Agent is also required to be available at the physical address Monday through Friday during normal business hours to accept service of process. The name and address of the Registered Agent is a matter of public record.
Can SunDoc Filings help me obtain a Registered Agent?
Yes we can. SunDoc Filings helps companies fufill the Registered Agent requirement for a small annual fee. SunDoc Filings will appoint a Registered Agent to act on your company’s behalf and forward all service of process to you immediately. We provide this service in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
What are operating agreements and how do I obtain or prepare them?
An entity's bylaws are the company's rules and regulations. For a Limited Liability Company, they are called an operating agreement. Sample bylaws are provided when you order a corporate or LLC kit. Companies do not file the bylaws or operating agreements with the Secretary of State. Instead, bylaws or operating agreements are kept with internal company records.
Questions about Formation?
How do I form an LLC in California?
To form an LLC, a prospective company must prepare and file Articles of Organization with the state authorities. You must also pay filing fees and any applicable initial franchise taxes or other fees. The information required for Filing Articles of Organization varies by state and type of business. If you want to form your LLC through SunDoc Filings, just complete our order form online and we will prepare and file your Articles of Organization.
Do I need an attorney to form an LLC in California?
No. You can prepare and file the Articles of Organization yourself, but you should understand the requirements of your intended home state. If you are unsure if becoming a business entity will benefit your business, or what business type you should form, you should consult an attorney or accountant.
In what state is it best for me to form an LLC?
Your home state is not always the best choice. Some states offer better tax benefits than others, but keep in mind that legal matters must be settled in your state of formation. Once again, if you are not sure, contact an attorney or CPA for advice.
What are the advantages of forming a Limited Liability Company?
See our business entity comparison table.
Should I form an LLC or a Corporation in California?
Corporations and LLCs are both excellent choices for business owners looking to minimize their personal liability and build credibility. Each entity offers distinctly different tax and business advantages and choosing the right one should be determined by your specific business needs. Your industry may also dictate the type of entity that can be formed. Contact a CPA or attorney for professional advice.
Corporations offer personal liability protection, tax savings and increased opportunities for raising capital. Corporations are required to perform certain duties such as holding annual meetings and keeping detailed corporate records (minutes). Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) offer the same personal liability protection as corporations, but with fewer requirements. LLCs also offer great tax flexibility. Members can choose to be taxed as either a traditional corporation or as a "pass-through" entity.
Do I need to file a DBA (assumed name) in California?
Depending on your type of business entity, it may be required or recommended to file a DBA. A DBA (Doing Business As) or assumed name is the legal term for registering your business name. In some jurisdictions it is called a fictitious owner affidavit or fictitious business name. Its purpose is to prevent confusion and fraud in the marketplace. Because real names and addresses are required on the application, creditors and other interested parties can connect a business name to the actual owner of the business by looking up its DBA. Filing a DBA protects the public from fraudulent use of a name by preventing someone from hiding behind a business name. It also protects the registered business from others who might try to impersonate them by doing business under that name. A sole proprietorship is not always required to file for a DBA since an owner can operate under their actual name. However, this may cause difficulties when taxes are calculated because it can be hard to tell when a purchase was for the business and when it was for personal use. For accounting reasons, filing a DBA is recommended. Having a legal DBA name on file also means bank accounts and credit can be opened in that name. Simple partnerships have the same requirements as sole proprietorships and a DBA is not required if the business operates under the partners’ true names. A limited partnership does have to file for a DBA at the Secretary of State’s Office as part of the paperwork necessary to create a limited partnership. Other business structures – C Corp, S Corp, LLC – have name registration built into the formal process of the entity creation. The formal name in these cases will include Inc. or LLC or Corp. as part of the name to identify the type of business to the public. The local government authority (usually at the county level) will accept and register a DBA name. Although the requirements vary by jurisdiction, in general the owner or authorized representative personally fills out a form at the county treasurer's office. Other county departments that accept DBA applications are the County Register of Deeds or the Secretary of State.