How to Change From Sole Proprietor to LLC Business

By Joe Stone

Changing your business from a sole proprietorship to a limited liability company, or LLC, is accomplished by complying with the LLC laws in your state. Every state designates an agency -- usually the secretary of state’s office -- to oversee business activity, and provides forms and information to assist in business formation. Although state laws vary regarding the steps to create an LLC, all states require filing a document, usually called articles of organization, to bring an LLC into existence.

Changing your business from a sole proprietorship to a limited liability company, or LLC, is accomplished by complying with the LLC laws in your state. Every state designates an agency -- usually the secretary of state’s office -- to oversee business activity, and provides forms and information to assist in business formation. Although state laws vary regarding the steps to create an LLC, all states require filing a document, usually called articles of organization, to bring an LLC into existence.

Step 1

Locate the website for the agency in your state that oversees the creation of business entities such as LLCs. The federal government's website Business.gov provides a Web page with links to all 50 states' business filing offices that you can use to facilitate finding the appropriate agency in your state (see Resources).

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Step 2

Locate the forms and information provided by your state agency regarding creation of an LLC. Most states provide forms and information in a format available for downloading; in some instances, the forms can be completed online and printed for filing. For example, the Illinois Secretary of State provides an 18-page guide on forming an LLC, and the Florida Department of Corporation provides a form of articles of organization with filing instructions and a form cover letter to facilitate filing.

Step 3

Complete the form provided by your state for forming an LLC. The minimum information needed will be your LLC's name, the address of its principal place of business, and the name and address of its registered agent responsible for receiving legal documents for the LLC. You may be able to act as your own registered agent, or retain the services of another person or company for this responsibility. Some state forms also require your name and address be included as the member of the LLC. Sign and date the form as the LLC's organizer or authorized representative.

Step 4

File the completed form at the appropriate address provided in your state's instructions accompanying the form. You'll typically have the choice of mailing the form or filing in person. A check for the required filing fee must accompany the form. These fees differ significantly from state to state; for example, as of 2010, $125 in Florida and $500 in Illinois.

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How to Set Up an LLC in Illinois

References

Resources

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How to Set Up an LLC in Montana

A limited liability company (LLC) is formed under the laws of a particular state. In Montana, the state Limited Liability Company Act governs the formation of new LLCs and grants authority to the secretary of state's office to accept articles of organization and to maintain the record of businesses that have authority to operate within the state. The secretary of state maintains a business services website that contains all of the information needed to quickly and efficiently form an LLC that complies with the state statute.

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You must change your limited liability company's business address if your main office is moving or otherwise unavailable. Official state paperwork and legal notices are sent to your LLC's registered address and if the address is wrong, you may not get important papers on time. Missing required state filing deadlines can result in penalties and the loss of your business license, and a delay in responding to legal notices may harm your company.

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