In an earlier post, In Delaware, No Par Value Can Cost a Bundle, I discussed the two methods by which Delaware’s franchise tax for a corporation may be calculated. This post discusses the history of those two methods.
To some extent, this post is educated guesswork. It is based on a Quora question that I answered. Please see What is the rationale/reason (not math) behind the two methods of calculation for Delaware’s domestic franchise tax fee?
This post about California’s $800 franchise tax is based on my recent answer to a Quora question.
A.: One can cancel a California limited liability company before the 15th day of the fourth month. However, such cancellation will not eliminate the obligation to pay the $800 annual franchise tax. (more…)
This post discusses whether one should form separate legal entities (corporations or limited liability companies) for different lines of business.
I am writing this post because I have seen this type of question online many times. The most recent occurrence was on Avvo. See Should I set up a subdivision or have a LLC or corporation own another LLC? (more…)
This post addresses a question that arises frequently from founders of California limited liability companies that have been suspended: Can I walk away from my suspended LLC?
A suspended LLC is the result of a founder who has neglected to file Statements of Information with the Secretary of State, or file returns with or pay amounts due to the Franchise Tax Board, or both of the foregoing. Please see Why was My Corporation / LLC Suspended or Forfeited? (more…)
This post addresses how one may move an existing corporation to another state. It is based on a question that I answered on Quora (What state is best to incorporate an S-corp if you plan on moving away?).
I find that for most entrepreneurs, it makes sense to incorporate in the state where the entrepreneur resides. As I wrote in In which State should My Startup Incorporate?
Incorporate in the state in which you are doing business, unless there is a good reason to do otherwise [in which case the other state chosen probably will be Delaware]. (more…)
An Employer Identification Number, issued by the Internal Revenue Service, is the most important identifying number for US businesses, especially for tax purposes. This post addresses how you can find a lost EIN.
Find the Lost EIN Yourself
The IRS Lost or Misplaced Your EIN? page starts by recommending searches for existing records that should include the lost EIN:
- The IRS confirmation notice that was provided when the EIN was issued.
- Bank accounts that were opened, or governmental licenses that were issued, based on the EIN.
- Tax return that were filed.
I recently have received several inquiries about whether a foreign company or its owners need an ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number) when they bring their business to the US. The answer is, “No.” The rest of this post explains why that is the case.
When a company wants to do business in the US, it needs an EIN (Employer Identification Number).
For a foreign or foreign-owned company, obtaining an EIN can be intimidating. This is especially true if the principal officer lacks a US social security number. (The EIN cannot be obtained quickly and easily online.)
The California $800 per year minimum franchise tax applies to both corporations and limited liability companies. Many people do not realize, however, that the tax can be avoided – at least, for a short time.
As explained in Franchise Tax Board Publications 1060 (for corporations) and 3556 (for LLCs), there is a “15-day rule” or “15-day exception” stating that the minimum franchise tax need not be paid for an initial tax year if:
- The corporation or LLC was formed (Articles filed with the Secretary of State) during the last 15 days of the entity’s tax year, and
- The entity conducted no business during that period.
So, if an entity has a tax year ending December 31 (as most do), then it can be formed on December 17 or later, and it will not have to pay the California $800 minimum franchise tax until the following year.
Dana H. Shultz, Attorney at Law +1 510-547-0545 dana [at] danashultz [dot] com
This blog does not provide legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you need legal advice, please contact a lawyer directly.
Almost two years ago, I wrote about how Delaware corporations with no-par-value stock can find themselves obligated to pay extraordinarily high franchise taxes (In Delaware, No-Par-Value Can Cost a Bundle). Yesterday, a reader of this blog pointed out that IncNow, an online incorporation service, virtually lures naive customers into this tax trap.
Here is what the reader reported to me:
- IncNow’s default assumption is that no-par stock will be issued.
- IncNow does not invite the user to specify a par value (in contrast to LegalZoom, for example, which does).
- IncNow’s representative said that the reader “could assign a par value to shares, under special requests at the bottom of the checkout form” [emphasis added].
This post is based on a question that I answered on LawPivot: Q. I have a web business that has been adversely affected by the termination of Amazon’s affiliate program in California, where I currently run the business, resulting from the state’s new sales tax law. Does each state have its own requirements as to what constitutes “doing business” in that state, and is there any way I could maintain CA as my primary place of residence, were I to incorporate in a different state?
Significant responsibilities or liabilities can depend on whether one is “doing business” in a state. As this post explains (principally referring to California law for examples), “doing business” can mean three different things in three different contexts.
Doing Business as a Foreign Entity
First, an out-of-state entity will need to register with a state as a “foreign” entity if it is doing business in the state. As explained in “Doing Business in CA? Be Sure to Register”, the term used in the California Corporations Code is to “transact intrastate business”, which is defined as “entering into repeated and successive transactions of its business in this state, other than interstate or foreign commerce” (emphasis added). (more…)
Although failure of a company is no fun, this morning I received an e-mail on this topic that made me smile. Sent with the subject line “Sell Those Dogs!”, the e-mail discusses how ET Brutus* buys the securities of dead or dying companies so owners can recognize losses for tax purposes.
The following excerpts from the ET Brutus website summarize the company’s value proposition: (more…)
In “How Many Shares Should My Corporation Authorize and Issue?“, I warned that “If you are forming a Delaware corporation with a large number of shares, be sure to specify a low par value, such as $0.0001 per share, to avoid having to pay excessive annual fees to the state.” This post gives more details about this issue.
I recently met two individuals who formed a business partnership. They were pretty informal about the process: They had no written partnership agreement. More surprisingly, they had not obtained an employer identification number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service.
Some companies are formed as S corporations to avoid “double taxation”: The corporation does not pay federal income tax. Instead, income flows through to the shareholders, who pay income taxes (as in a partnership).
This potential tax benefit is available, however, only if stringent requirements are met. Most notably:
- There must not be more than 100 shareholders.
- Permissible shareholders are limited to individuals (other than non-resident aliens), estates, tax-exempt organizations, and certain qualified trusts.
- Only one class of stock is permitted.
Failure to meet a requirement, even if inadvertent, results in loss of S corporation status.
Entrepreneurs should think carefully about whether S corporation status is appropriate for the long term. Here’s why.