Public Information and Privacy

Discussing what is publicly available information when forming an LLC S Corp

Updated over a week ago

In general, the degree of privacy protection you can achieve will depend on your specific state's laws and your willingness to invest in privacy-enhancing measures. When forming an LLC (Limited Liability Company), there are several items of concern to consider. Let's walk through some of the privacy concerns below.

Public Record: LLC formation documents, such as the Articles of Organization or Certificate of Formation, are typically public records. This means that information about your LLC, including its name, registered agent's name and address, and sometimes the names of members or managers, can be accessed by the public. For this reason, individuals may choose to form their LLC in a state with more robust privacy protections.

Registered Agent: The registered agent's name and address are publicly available, which may lead to unwanted solicitations or privacy concerns if the agent is an individual, especially if they use their home address. Some LLC’s choose to use third-party registered agent services.

Member or Manager Information: In some states, LLCs are required to disclose member or manager information. If privacy is a concern, this can be a drawback, as it may reveal your identity as an owner or manager of the LLC.

Business Addresses: Providing the business address on public records can be problematic if it's a home address, as it compromises personal privacy.

Public Filings: Annual reports, amendment filings and other documents may contain sensitive information. While not always as easily accessible as formation documents, they can still be obtained through public records requests.

Unwanted Solicitations: Publicly available information can make your LLC a target for marketing, junk mail, or even scams.

Corporate Transparency Act: After January 1, 2024, the concept of LLC privacy in the US will change. The newly enacted Corporate Transparency Act (CTA) requires all legal entities operating in a state to disclose owner, officer, and controlling person information to FinCEN. These reports are not public and not subject to Freedom of Information Act requests. Access to this information is granted to federal agencies involved in national security, intelligence, law enforcement, the Department of the Treasury for official duties and tax administration, and state and local law enforcement for investigations. FinCEN may also share information with financial institutions for anti-money laundering compliance.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this document is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as financial or tax advice. It is not intended to be a substitute for obtaining accounting or other financial advice from an appropriate financial adviser or for the purpose of avoiding U.S. Federal, state or local tax payments and penalties.

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