My blog is free and I lose money but New York doesn’t care. New York makes it cost prohibitive to form an LLC for a free online blog that loses money!
NYS treats all companies the same once they have formed as an LLC even if the business makes zero dollars. If you are planning to form an LLC to protect yourself from our litigious society, you might want to look to any other state in the union (except in Cali of course).
The process is –
First you choose a name and apply for your LLC at a cost of $220. Then you have to wait and make sure the name is available. Then wait for your certificate.
Within 90 days of forming, you need an operating agreement listing your services employees, their rights, powers, duties and liabilities even though you have no employees, make no money and have no plans to ever make money. NYS DOS
After you do this, make sure you get your filing receipt – more paperwork.
I thought that living in business-friendly New York would stop there but no so.
Within 120 days, an LLC owner of a free online blog must submit another form to ask the Secretary of State for a list of newspapers to advertise in announcing the formation of the new company. These ads will not be in the Pennysaver – they will be expensive papers at the rate of three per week for six weeks. That’s a good $1000 or more, probably more.
There is also a $50 NY fee for this. You must file forms after this to get your certificate of publication. Failure to do this ends in suspension.
Yes, you need to pay taxes for your free online blog and you must file for NYS employment taxes even though you have no employees. If you have the LLC for four months, you owe them a hundred or two even if you end your contract. God forbid you hire someone – don’t even look at the workman’s comp requirements.
You probably thought you could take off your losses on your taxes since your site is free but alas that is not the case. You owe them money no matter what.
Here are some of the NYS tax filing forms. Now mind you, we are talking about a free informational blog that makes no money and, in fact, only loses money.
Yes, you also need licenses or permits for some free online blogs and they all cost money.
You must file a biennial statement. It only costs $9 – they nickel and dime you to death while they are deluging you with paperwork.
Then there are the late fees and fines for any and every mistake.
Keep detailed minutes – it’s New York you know, but that is probably a good idea anyway.
There is an annual fee of $500.
All your protections as an LLC depends on your ability to keep up with it all. For example, if you don’t run the ads on time, you are suspended and your company is not protected from lawsuits. Then you have the follow up paperwork and fines to straighten it all out and lift the suspension. Anyone who has dealt with bureaucracy knows this is not fun or easy.
You need a registered designated agent for a fee from a private company (roughly $200) because if there is mail from someone -a lawsuit for instance – and you don’t get the mail or the call, you are not covered.
You are best advised to pay for a private company to do your forms, file them on time, and keep you protected.
There is no privacy – all your information is available for anyone to see whenever they want with a little googling unlike other states that do keep information private. What the heck, it’s New York! Governor Cuomo arranged to get your DNA if any law enforcement agent thinks you might have committed a misdemeanor.
Oh, and by the way, you’d better hire a lawyer because this is what you have to know for your free online blog: Laws
Oh, and the laws and fees change regularly. You can’t relax and ignore it for a few months.
Oh, did I forget the EIN? I need that too but that’s federal – that’s a whole other keg of worms.
I imagine it’s different if you are making money, but this is what they do if you want to form an LLC for your free online blog. It doesn’t feel business-friendly. Obviously, I’m not an LLC in NY.
New York ranks number 49 of business-friendly states and only Cali fares worse: Rankings