What Information Will Your Lawyer Need to Create Your LLC or Corporation?
You can improve the efficiency and speed of your lawyer's creation of your Virginia LLC or corporation by being prepared to provide the following information during your initial phone or in-person consultation:
Business Name - Provide a few possibilities that are different from any other Virginia business's name. If you want to keep your identity confidential, don't use your name or initials. Consider providing a first, second, and third choice.
Office Address - Provide a street address for your business. Post office box addresses aren't allowed except in rare circumstances. If you want to keep your identity confidential or otherwise don't want people knowing where you live, consider setting up a virtual office or joining a co-working space and using that address.
Owner(s) Identity - Provide full names and addresses of the initial owner(s).
Ownership Percentage(s) - Indicate the percentage of ownership of each initial owner.
Capital Contribution(s) - Indicate what each initial owner will pay in cash, assets, and/or services in exchange for his/her ownership in the company.
Social Security Number(s) - Provide the SSN of the individual who will be the company's contact with the IRS. That SSN will be used to get the Employer Identification Number from the IRS for your new LLC or corporation. If you are electing S corporation tax status for the company, provide the SSNs of all owners. Those SSNs will be used to file the IRS form to make the S corporation election. For security reasons, do not email SSNs to the lawyer. Instead, call the lawyer to provide those numbers.
LLC Management Structure - Will the LLC be managed like a partnership (all owners participate in decisions) or like a corporation (with corporate-like officers)? If the latter, who will those officers be?
Corporation Management Structure - Who will be on the Board of Directors of the corporation? Who will be the officers of the corporation (e.g., president, vice president, secretary, treasurer)?
Special Status - Will your LLC or corporation have a special status, such as woman-, minority, veteran-, or service-disabled veteran-owned?
Tax Status - How would you like your business to be taxed? Most small business owners choose for their business to be taxed as a "pass through entity" (e.g., in the same manner as a sole proprietorship, partnership, or S corporation). Consider consulting with your tax advisor when making this decision.
Employee Information - This information is needed to obtain the EIN from the IRS. How many employees do you anticipate having in the first 12 months of the business (do not count the owners of an LLC)? On what approximate date do you estimate the company will start paying wages?
Accounting Year - Most small businesses use a calendar year for their accounting year. If your business wants to use a different fiscal or accounting year, indicate when it will start and end and your reasons for needing that accounting year.
Don't worry if you don't have all these answers before your initial consultation, however. Part of the purpose of the initial consultation is to give you the opportunity to ask questions and get legal advice about starting your LLC or corporation.