In the United States, there are a few options for how you can form your business. Limited liability companies (LLCs) are one option that is similar to a corporation in that they offer a separation from personal and business operations. They are also similar in ways to a sole-proprietorship or partnership because they benefit from pass-through taxation.
Anonymous LLCs are limited liability companies with owners that are not publicly identified by the state. They can only be formed in four states, with New Mexico being one of them. Some states require the managers to be listed, but you can use a nominee manager to maintain the anonymity of the owners.
How an Anonymous LLC Works
Anonymous LLCs are formed by listing the registered agent as the organizer. By using a third-party service as your LLCs registered agent, you are able to maintain the anonymity of the owners.
There are only four states in which you are allowed to form an LLC anonymously. These four states are Wyoming, Delaware, Nevada, and New Mexico.
Another way you can form an anonymous LLC is by using a holding company. This way the owner is not listed in the state that they live in, but as a company from another state. This other company will then be the registered agent.
Why Create an Anonymous LLC?
Forming an LLC provides many benefits to its owner, and an Anonymous LLC provides all of the same benefits, with the added benefit of anonymity.
Benefits of Anonymous LLCs
Forming an anonymous LLC means that all of your personal information is hidden from the public eye.
If you prefer to conduct business deals or negotiations in private, an anonymous LLC provides that. It can also keep your business affairs away from the prying eyes of family and friends.
For businesses in a controversial industry, or of a specific subject matter, owners may want to keep their business deals private. An anonymous LLC provides the privacy needed to prevent harassment.
Although corporations can also be formed anonymously, an LLC allows you more flexibility. You can choose to bring in new partners at any time, and ownership for assets can be changed based on a vote.
How to Form an Anonymous LLC
Forming an Anonymous LLC follows the same general steps of a standard LLC. There is one extra step needed to make it anonymous.
Choose State to Form in
There are only four states in which you can legally form anonymous LLCs, Delaware, Nevada, New Mexico, or Wyoming.
Choose Registered Agent
As you form your single-member LLC, you will need to use a registered agent service or an individual who is not tied to you. Although you can be your own registered agent, the best way to obtain the privacy and anonymity of an anonymous LLC is to use a third party.
Your registered agent must live in New Mexico, and have a physical presence in the state. The LLC will be considered the “shell” LLC.
Obtaining an EIN is similar to a social security number for your business. An EIN is free and available from the IRS.
Open a Business Bank Account
Using your EIN, you can legally open a business bank account. This will allow you to apply for loans.
Formation in Your Home State
If you do not live in, and are not planning to operate out of, New Mexico, then you will need to form another LLC in your home state. This can be done by listing the New Mexico LLC as the “manager” or “officer”. This will be on file with your home state as the owner. This is how you maintain anonymity while establishing a paper trail.
Do Business Anonymously
After forming multiple LLCs and setting up your anonymous network, you can begin operating your LLC anonymously and in compliance.
Is Anonymous LLC Right for You?
Although forming an anonymous LLC does require more work than a standard LLC, it can be a good idea for some people. For example, if you work in a controversial line of business and want to avoid harassment, it can be a good idea to form anonymously. Another reason you might want to form an LLC anonymously is if you believe creditors may try to come after your assets. By having no public ties to the company, you can protect yourself even further.
Contact a Lawyer
Hiring a business lawyer is a good option if you wish to form your LLC anonymously. Specifically, because they can ensure you are in compliance, and that all processes have been done correctly. It can also help to take the legal burden off of you while you form your business.