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California Anonymous LLCs

How to Start an LLC

Modern-day technology has made it easier for people to search your business. The articles of organization, a document required when filing for an LLC, are public records. In this document, you are asked to list the owners. In some states, you don’t have to list your information and can instead avoid releasing your personal information to the public. The following information may be helpful to owners who desire more security from prying eyes.

What is an Anonymous LLC?

An Anonymous LLC is a limited liability company whose owners are not publicly identified by the state. An Anonymous LLC is created by being careful where and how an LLC is formed. Some states require managers to be listed, but a nominee manager may often be used. However even if you are in a state that allows you to withhold member information, a registered agent and Organizer are always listed. The registered agent and organizer may be provided by a 3rd party service.

Anonymous LLCs are a good option for business owners who prefer to keep their business participation private for any reason, including wanting to keep their work and personal lives separate.

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How does an Anonymous LLC Works?

The basic information requested when registering as an LLC includes the name of the officers and directors, LLC manager names, and your business address. However, some states allow you to withhold your name and instead provide a law firm, temporary owner, or nominee. Another benefit is that you don't have to update your LLC documentation if ownership of your company changes.

The states that allow anonymity for your LLC include Wyoming, Delaware, Nevada or New Mexico. Choose one of these states if you would like to file for an anonymous LLC in one state only. Alternatively, if you live in a state that does not allow the filing for an anonymous LLC, you can use a double LLC/Holding company setup. For instance, if an owner must be listed, then make the owner an anonymous company from another state. California is one state that does not allow the withholding of owner information so to make one in this state, you will need to first start by forming an anonymous LLC in a state that allows you to do so. It is recommended to have an expert navigate this with you, such as a business attorney.

As mentioned previously, with anonymous LLCs, a 3rd party lists itself as the organizer and registered agent. This is the only specific information contained within the Articles of Organization published by the State.

Why would someone create an anonymous LLC?

An Anonymous LLC provides all of the benefits of a regular LLC, with the additional benefit of not disclosing ownership information on the Internet. Do you want your home address online? Do you want friends, neighbors, and strangers to know what you own? This is a way to protect this information while still establishing an LLC.

What are the benefits of anonymous LLCs?

There are many possible benefits with opening an anonymous LLCs. This can include the following:

  1. Privacy Protection
    1. Anonymous LLCs allow you to keep your name and address away from the public eye. You can avoid association with any negative fallout from your LLC.
  2. Confidentiality
    1. You can keep your personal life and business ventures separate. This protects your financial status from prying eyes.
  3. Harassment Prevention
    1. You can avoid media and mass marketing campaigns to your emails. You can also circumvent competitors and salespeople.
  4. Safety
    1. Anonymity can prevent potentially dangerous individuals, such as stalkers and criminals, from gaining access to your information for use in a malicious way.

What are the steps to forming an Anonymous LLC?

In States that allow the formation of an anonymous LLC, including Delaware, Nevada, and New Mexico, the general steps are similar.

Step 1: Name your LLC

The rules surrounding what you can name your LLC can vary from state to state. However, some basic rules include the following.

  1. Must be completely distinguishable from other LLC names on record in the State you are applying
  2. Include terminology to indicate your business type, such as “limited liability company,” “L.L.C.”, or “LLC”
  3. The name can’t contain terms that imply a different business type
Step 2: Select a Registered Agent

A registered agent is an individual or business entity that processes your tax and legal documents on behalf of your LLC. They can also be referred to as a resident agent or a statutory agent. They make sure that you maintain compliance with legal requirements for your business.

The agent must also have a physical address. You will put your registered agent’s address down instead of your own. It’s important not to list yourself as the registered agent if you wish to remain anonymous. This is the only unique step for establishing an anonymous LLC compared to filing for a regular LLC.

Step 3: File the formation documents with your state

Most states provide many options for filing your LLC’s Articles of organization. This can include online, mail, fax, and email. Make sure to include your filing fee.

In states that allow anonymous LLC, the filing process is not too difficult. It may be slightly different than obtaining a regular LLC with the added step of finding a third party to stand in as your organizer or registered agent. This extra precaution is necessary to retain your anonymity.

Is an Anonymous LLC Right for You?

Whether an anonymous LLC is worth it depends on how much value you put on your privacy. Some forms, such as your bank and IRS, can still list your legal name. It does make it more difficult for the layperson to find out your real identity. Some common business owners that may benefit from forming an anonymous LLC, in particular, include landlords who don’t want to be bothered by angry tenants and celebrities who don’t want to be harassed by the media. Judges, law enforcement, and those initiating a start-up business are other examples.

Do I need a Lawyer:?

Although not required, a business lawyer can be useful when setting up and maintaining an anonymous LLC. They can act as your registered agent, navigate the legal system, and respond to concerns in a timely and professional way. This can streamline and make your filing process more efficient and, with the aid of experts, make errors less likely. If someone is trying to harass or solicit your business, a business lawyer can also handle this matter with less conflict. With the defense of an attorney, they may move forward with less disruption to your business. It is also helpful to have a lawyer if you desire an anonymous LLC but are located in a state that requires you to list an owner’s information, as previously mentioned.