Can I Form an LLC Anonymously?

In most cases, you cannot form an LLC anonymously, as the names and addresses of the LLC's members or managers are typically required to be disclosed in the public records.

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If you’re looking to form an LLC while keeping your identity private, you have some options. It is possible to form an LLC anonymously, but some states make it much harder.

Why would you want to form an anonymous LLC? What are the benefits and drawbacks of anonymously forming an LLC? How can you form one in a state that doesn’t allow anonymous formations?

In this article, we’ll answer these questions and many more, as we walk you through all the details of anonymous LLCs.

Please do keep in mind that this article is not meant to be tax or legal advice in any way. We’ve simply written this guide based on our experiences dealing with forming an LLC in different states, opening business bank accounts, and hiring LLC formation services.

Intro & Disclaimer to Forming a Private LLC

After 9/11, the U.S. government and banks have gotten much more serious about knowing who owns what — especially business entities and bank accounts.

So, while you can form an LLC and keep your information off public records in your state, you will absolutely have to disclose ownership to banks and to the IRS.

It’s important to never lie, never do anything illegal, and never do anything that can be considered suspicious.

For example, the bank you open a checking account with will ask for your ‘home address.’ Do not try to give a private mailbox, fake address, or your registered agent service address. While it’s very frustrating, you’ll need to provide that info. Thankfully, this info (as far as we know) does not go in the public record.

What Is an LLC?

First off, let’s quickly outline what an LLC is. A limited liability company mixes elements of sole proprietorships, general partnerships, and corporations, essentially giving entrepreneurs the best of these worlds.

LLCs are typically taxed similarly to sole proprietorships and general partnerships, in that the owners include any company profits or losses into their personal returns — the LLC itself does not owe income taxes. An LLC may also elect to be taxed like a corporation, although this is not a very common option.

There are similarities to corporations too, especially when it comes to financial responsibilities. In an LLC, the owners or members are not usually personally accountable for the financial status of the business. This means that if someone sues your LLC, your personal assets are not at risk.

In short, LLCs are so popular because they provide a variety of legal protections for your business, while also enhancing your company’s credibility.

Why Would Anyone Want to Form an LLC Anonymously?

There are a few good reasons to want to form your LLC without divulging your identity. First and foremost, if you have a history with identity theft, or if you’ve been the target of stalkers or fraudsters, it might be a high priority for you to keep your identity a secret in as many ways as possible.

Forming an LLC anonymously prevents you from having to provide personal information that could be used against you.

Another reason is that if your business dealings would be controversial, or could bring negative fallout on you as the owner, you may want to form an anonymous LLC to protect yourself. While registering an LLC anonymously does provide a significant level of protection for your identity, it is not a guarantee that your identity will remain a secret.

For example, your bank will still require you to divulge your identity to them, and the Internal Revenue Service will make the same demand come tax time. In addition, your registered agentLLC organizer, your bank could be subpoenaed by a court to reveal your name if you run into legal issues.

How to Form an Anonymous LLC

First off, it’s important to note that there are currently only four states where you’re ‘allowed’ to anonymously register an LLC: DelawareNevadaNew Mexico, and Wyoming.

If you’re forming an anonymous LLC, you will probably either want to hire an attorney or use an online LLC formation service. If you hire a lawyer, their fees will add up very quickly, and it could end up costing you hundreds or even thousands of dollars to form your business.

That’s why we prefer hiring an LLC formation service. This drastically reduces the amount of information that you’ll have going into the public record, while still saving you a significant amount of money compared to paying a lawyer’s fees.

If you want to start an anonymous LLC in any state other than Delaware, Nevada, New Mexico, or Wyoming, there is a way to do that, but it can take a bit more effort. Some states only require a certain number of details which can be entirely inputted through your LLC formation service. Others will want more info, making privacy more difficult.

“In {State}, I am wanting to set up an anonymous LLC. If I use your LLC formation service and registered agent service, will I be able to just use your information on the formation documents and ongoing annual reporting?”

If they say yes, you’re good to go! Simply hire their service to form an LLC and they’ll take care of the rest. Otherwise, check out the steps below, which is the approach we’ve used to set up a private LLC in states like Texas that require a bit more information that make privacy difficult.

1) Form a single-member LLC in Wyoming

In this circumstance, form a single-member LLC. Your LLC formation service will be the registrar, and they will list their address as the registered agent address for your business. This Wyoming LLC will function as your “shell” LLC.

2) Acquire an EIN and open a business bank account for your Wyoming LLC

You can get an EIN for free from the Internal Revenue Service. Once you have your EIN, you can open a bank account.

3) Form the LLC in your home state

Again, you’ll want to use an LLC formation service for this step. When registering your LLC, list your Wyoming LLC as the “manager” or “officer” on file with the state. This will allow you to keep your information in your home state off the public record, while still establishing a paper trail of legitimacy that proves you’re the actual owner of both entities.

4) Open a business bank account for your home state LLC

Make sure to bring all of your formation documents into the bank for both your Wyoming LLC and your home state LLC. Your bank will probably want to verify your ownership of the new LLC.

5) Sit back, relax, and do business

At this point, everything should be lined up for you to be able to operate your LLC in compliant fashion, while still being able to maintain your personal privacy.

As of this writing, we’re still trying to make 100% certain that there isn’t anything falling through the cracks, especially when it comes to LLC maintenance requirements like annual reports and franchise tax reports. Once we have verified this aspect, we’ll update this post to reflect that we were successfully able to maintain our compliant LLCs. In the meantime, speaking with an attorney is a great route.

In Conclusion

Even if your business is located in a jurisdiction that doesn’t support the anonymous formation of LLCs, there is a process that allows you to form one.

We hope this article helped you enhance your understanding of the anonymous LLC formation process! If you have any further questions, we advise you to discuss them with a qualified business attorney who can help you figure out the specifics for your business.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.

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Written by Team ZenBusiness

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