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Ready to launch that great business idea you’ve been pondering? Sure, it can be intimidating to think about making the shift from concept to implementation. But with some guidance, you’ll find that launching a company in Nebraska isn’t actually that complicated.

Just like in other states, you’ll need to file some paperwork to get your Nebraska venture off the ground and ensure it’s legal—whether you’re forming a limited liability company (LLC), corporation, or partnership.

By following the necessary steps, your business will be off and running in no time. As you read through these guidelines, just remember that every great business has to follow the same steps to launch. From selecting a registered agent (the person or entity who accepts paperwork on your LLC’s behalf) and obtaining an employer identification number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service, these simple processes will keep your business legit while helping you take the leap as an entrepreneur in the Cornhusker State.

How is an LLC formed in Nebraska?

It’s time to legally structure your Nebraska limited liability company. Simply follow these steps to get started: 

1. Name the company

First things first. You need to make sure that the great name you thought of for your business isn’t taken! Yes, unfortunately, there’s a chance another business in Nebraska already has that name. So how do you avoid duplicating a name that’s already being used? Consider these tips:

  • Nebraska law requires that your LLC include one of the following in the name: “LLC,” “L.L.C.” or “Limited Liability Company.  
  • The name of your limited liability company needs to have a name that can be easily distinguished from those of other businesses that have a name on file with the Nebraska Secretary of States. It’s simple enough to check; just look at the availability in the state’s business name database. Once you find a name that’s available, simply file the name, along with the $15 fee. Your name reservation is good for 120 days.
  • Would you prefer something less formal for daily use? You can create an assumed name, also called a “doing business as” (DBA). This fictious business name can be used on signs, business cards, menus, etc. You’ll need to register this trade name with the Nebraska Secretary of State. Just fill out the Application for Registration of Trade Name online or via mail, along with the $100 filing fee.

2. Pick a registered agent

Every limited liability company in Nebraska must have a registered agent. Sometimes called an “agent for service of process,” this person or business entity is charged with receiving your legal paperwork on behalf of your business.

3. File a Certificate of Organization with the State of Nebraska

States will either require you to fill out the Articles of Organization or a Certificate of Organization. In Nebraska, you’ll need to file the certificate. The fee to file this LLC formation document is $100, plus $5 per page for the recording fee. You’ll need to log into your account on the Nebraska Secretary of State website to file it.

4. Create a company operating agreement

Nebraska, like other states, doesn’t require you to file an operating agreement, but creating one is highly recommended. That’s because an operating agreement can be an incredibly useful management tool and also help demonstrate that your limited liability company is indeed a totally separate business entity. Considered primarily to be an internal document, your operating agreement lays out the rights and responsibilities of your company’s managers and members. 

If you’re not sure what to include in your operating agreement, just search the internet for some templates or examples.

5. Publish a notice of organization

All limited liability companies that are formed in Nebraska are required to publish a notice of organization in a general-circulation newspaper for three weeks in a row. The newspaper must be in the county where your principal business is located. Don’t have a business location in Nebraska yet? You can publish it in the county where your registered agent is located. 

You’ll be required to file an affidavit of publication by mail or online with the Nebraska Secretary of State. There is a filing fee of $12 (online) or $10 (by mail), plus an additional charge of $5 per page. Here are some examples.

6. Obtain an EIN

Will your LLC have more than one member? If so—even if you have no employees—you’ll need to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS. In addition, one-member LLCs have to get an EIN if they elect to have the business taxed as a corporation (vs. a sole proprietorship)

To obtain your EIN, just fill out the free EIN application on the IRS’s website.

7. File a biennial report

While some states require LLCs to file annual reports, Nebraska only requires it every two years. To keep things simple, you’ll be filing only in odd-numbered years. The deadline is April 1. It’s your choice as to whether you file by mail or online, but the fee is $15 (plus a minimum $3 portal fee) regardless. (There’s an extra $15 charge if you’re engaged in the practice of law.)

What is a Nebraska registered agent?

You’ll be required to list an agent for service of process—also known as a registered agent—in the state of Nebraska. The role of this person or business entity is to accept important paperwork on behalf of your company.

Do I really need a registered agent in Nebraska?

Yes, Nebraska requires all LLCs to list a registered agent on important forms. 

Can I be my own registered agent in Nebraska?

Yes. In fact, it’s common for business owners to be their own registered agent in Nebraska.

Who can be a registered agent in Nebraska? 

The criteria to be a registered agent in Nebraska are similar to other states. They include: 

  • The registered agent must be at least 18 years old.
  • The registered agent must have a street address in the state of Nebraska. A P.O. box isn’t allowed.
  • The registered agent is required to be available during standard business hours to accept important documents.

Why would a company choose to work with a registered agent service? 

For most start-ups, money is tight. And while it might be enticing to save some cash and represent yourself instead of paying someone to be your registered agent, there are some advantages to outsourcing the work:

  • Local optionsDo you have a house, office or business in Nebraska yet? If not, you can’t fulfill the requirements to be your own registered agent. Fortunately, Nebraska has plenty of affordable options in the way of registered agents.
  • AvailabilityEntrepreneurs are busy folks. You’ll probably be very tied up attending meetings, running errands around town and possibly, traveling to meet vendors, contractors or investors. Are you sure you can commit to staying in one location all day Monday through Friday just to accept a document delivery?
  • PrivacyYou may not be aware that sometimes law enforcement is used to deliver legal paperwork. Regardless of whether or not your documents are a lawsuit (vs. something totally innocent), your employees, customers, and neighbors may witness uniformed officers knocking on your door. Using a registered agent will ensure privacy.
  • ExperienceDo you have a good understanding of federal and state compliance regulations and deadlines? Most registered agents will.
  • Time savingsAssuming you DO have the knowledge to fill out confusing paperwork, are you prepared to commit a significant amount of time to the task?

List of Nebraska registered agent services

There are plenty of registered agents in Nebraska that you can find with a quick Google search, but to give you an idea of what’s out there, here are three to get you started:  

  • Northwest Registered Agent: Northwest is one of the most recognized names in the registered agent business. The company has decades of experience and local offices scattered across the U.S. to serve small businesses like yours. The cost for a registered agent service is comparable to others. Business owners can also take advantage of additional services like report filing.
  • ZenBusiness: ZenBusiness is fairly new to the market, but they’ve grown a strong following. Business owners love the affordable rates for a registered agent service, which are as low as $99 per year. The company offers worry-free compliance too, to help business owners file the necessary reports on time.
  • Incfile: Incfile is another trusted name for business services, including its registered agent services. Business owners can get a registered agent free for a year. That’s right, free. After the first year, the price kicks in at $119. An online dashboard, automatic mail forwarding, and tailored notifications also come with the service.

How much does a registered agent service cost in Nebraska?

In Nebraska, most registered agent services charge between $49 and $99 per year. The cost is dependent on the type of services and features you want from a registered agent service. 

How does an owner select a registered agent in Nebraska?

The owner simply lists the name and address of the registered agent on the LLC formation document.

If you’re looking for a registered agnet service, a Google search will give you a decent number of options. Your best bet is to choose a few and them compare rates and services. 

Can a company change its registered agent?

Yes, you can change your registered agent. Just download a Statement of Change form with the Nebraska Secretary of State and file it along with your $15 fee. 

What’s a resident agent?

Registered agents are sometimes called commercial registered agents in Nebraska. The title varies by state. While registered agent is most commonly used, other names include statutory agent and service of a process agent. 

What’s a commercial registered agent?

Not sure whether your registered agent is commercial or non-commercial? As a general rule, if you’re representing yourself, choose non-commercial. If you’re paying a person or business to serve as your company’s registered agent, choose commercial.