Desktop Software - Financial Solutions


Anonymous, small business owner asks 8/27/09:
Can I use QuickBooks Simple Start to start an LLC?


Answer by Herb Strassberg-Staff Review Editor, 8/29/09

If your business is new or your business is growing and you are ready to move up to the liability protection you will gain with a corporation or an LLC, Quick Books Simple Start (Simple Start for short) can help!  There are a few basic routes to accomplishing this task. First there is the simplest but most costly option of hiring a business attorney to assist you with the task.  Second, you can buy one of the many books out there on how to self-incorporate your business for $20 - $100, but you will need to generate the stock certificates and other forms, or third, you can order a corporate kit form a company specializing in the service for several hundred dollars. 

Simple Start gives you access to the third option for less than the cost of buying a book and setting up your business as a corporation or LLC (the $149 service fee is waived by using the coupon code for a limited time only) called “MyCorporation.”  Ok, there are some mandatory costs your business must pay to the state where you choose to establish your corporation or LLC, but to incorporate; the fees are generally around $100 to $300, depending on the state you choose.  My Corporation will do a name search and prepare your articles of incorporation for free too.  For an S Corp, there is an additional fee, but it is under $100.

If you choose to set-up an LLC, MyCorporation offers four levels of service (Basic, Standard, Deluxe, and Premium) ranging in cost from free to $299.  The Basic version includes a name availability search and creating Your Articles of Organization.  You probably ought to step up to at least the Standard version for $99, as it includes an LLC Customized Operating Agreement and a Member Transfer Ledger that is needed for official LLC meetings and to keep track of member (owner) interests or units that change hands for your LLC.  As with incorporation, the MyCorporation service for an LLC requires additional state filing fees, but again, they are relatively small (generally under $200). To access these features, look at the right column of the main desktop screen that comes up when you start the Simple Start program each time.  There is a column at the far right entitled “Managing Your Business and an icon toward the bottom of the column entitled “Establish Your Business.”  If you click on that icon, an internal web browser will open in Simple Start and you can easily access these features.

If you are unsure of which type of entity to choose for your business, MyCorporation provides you with some assistance with that question.  There is a “Help Me Choose” option as well as Incorporation vs. LLC Comparison Chart available for free.  The help me choose option leads you through a quick set of questions that lead you to what is recommended for you.  While it is quick and simple, it doesn’t give much detail, just a short paragraph explaining the choice you’re pointed towards.  The comparison chart is probably better for most business owners, as it gives more details and you can compare various business formation entities all at once, side-by-side.  The chart compares C-Corporations, S-Corporations, Professional Corporations, Non-Profit Corporations, and Limited Liability Companies, Sole Proprietorships, General Partnerships, and finally, Limited Partnerships (though the forms to set-up all these forms of ownership are not available from MyCorporation.

Business owners should be aware that once your business is incorporated or set-up an LLC, there is maintenance chores to be done periodically.  MYCorporation can help you out there too, with forms for things such as Corporate Amendments, S-Corporation Elections, and even dissolutions.  So whether you are just starting a business or your business is one of the lucky few that is experiencing a growth phase, we recommend you at least consider downloading QuickBooks Simple Start Free Edition 2009 for your business, if for nothing more than to gain access to the discounted MyCorporation services available to you once you become a registered user (yes, it is free to register)

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