Watching a business idea become reality is an amazing feeling. However, there are a few steps involved to set up a business in the State of Wyoming.
Aside from selecting a company name, a business owner must select a registered agent, file documents with the state, obtain an identification number from the IRS, and be prepared to file an annual report.
Some of these items on the to-do list might sound a bit daunting, like picking a registered agent. A registered agent is simply a person or company that will accept official documents on behalf of your company. These documents might include tax notices or court documents, for example.
To help entrepreneurs set up a Wyoming LLC, we’ve created this guide.
How is an LLC formed in Wyoming?
In the State of Wyoming, the LLC formation paperwork is called the Articles of Organization. It’s filed with the Wyoming Secretary of State. However, before this document can be submitted, there are several items that an entrepreneur must do.
Here are steps to follow to establish a business in the State of Wyoming:
1. Name the company
Naming a company is a big deal. For some, picking a name is simple. For others, it’s a more tedious process involving brainstorming sessions and mood boards. It’s a good idea to create a shortlist of names, as opposed to narrowing it down to just one.
The State of Wyoming won’t allow two businesses to have the same name, so if the name you like is already in use – you could be out of luck. If you have a list of 2-3 names, you stand a better chance of finding a name that’s available.
To check on a name’s availability, visit the Wyoming Secretary of State website and run a business search.
Availability is just part of the naming process. In Wyoming, as in other states, there are a few additional rules entrepreneurs should know about. The rules are:
- The company name must include “Limited Liability Company” or “LLC” in the title.
- The name can not include any government references or make people believe the company has a connection to it.
- There are names that may require additional approvals from the state. If this applies to your business, a state official will reach out to you.
While you’re naming the company, it’s also a good time to look into a company domain name too. Many business owners want the domain name and the company name to match, but again, it’s a question of availability.
2. Pick a registered agent
Before filling out the Articles of Organization, entrepreneurs should select the company’s registered agent. The registered agent accepts documents on behalf of the company.
The registered agent must be aware of this role. In other words, an owner can’t just nominate a board member or the CEO to hold this role without speaking to that person first. The registered agent must know about the responsibilities and agree to them.
There are many different people that can fill this role, including the owner or another company employee. A registered agent service can also fill this role.
3. File the Articles of Organization
It’s finally time to fill out the Articles of Organization with the Wyoming Secretary of State. In Wyoming, you can file these documents online or you can mail them.
As you might expect, the Articles of Organization asks for several details about the company. The documents ask for the company name and address and the registered agent’s name and address. Since you’ve already worked through both of these steps, the paperwork will be a breeze.
The only additional information you’ll need to provide is the company start date and a list of managing members. The LLC organizer, which is usually the business owner, signs it and submits it. The state will take several days to approve it, but once it’s given the greenlight by the state, you are officially a Wyoming small business owner.
4. Create a company operating agreement
Most states don’t require a copy of a company’s operating agreement, but that’s not a reason to skip over this step. The operating agreement serves as a great outline for how the company will run and explains who’s in charge of what, and that includes who’s in charge of managing profits and losses.
A quick Google search can provide templates that you can use to create your LLC’s operating agreement.
Although it can be tempting to skip the task of creating an operating agreement, it’s important to know that having one can help distinguish your LLC as a separate business entity. If you don’t have one and run into legal troubles, Wyoming LLC law will govern how your LLC operates.
5. Obtain an EIN
For LLCs with more than one member, you’ll need to request an Employer Identification Number or an EIN from the IRS. Even a one-member LLC will need an EIN if you’ll have employees or you choose to have your LLC taxed as a corporation instead of a sole proprietorship. The person applying must have a valid Taxpayer Identification Number, such as a Social Security Number.
There is no fee to request an EIN and business owners are given the nine-digit number after a quick session on the IRS website.
6. File an annual report
Most states require LLCs to file an annual report and pay a fee. Wyoming is no different. In Wyoming, the report is filed with the secretary of state. The fee is an annual report license tax, which is either $50 or $.0002 per million dollars based on the company’s assets in the State of Wyoming.
What is a Wyoming registered agent?
Every LLC in every state must have a registered agent. This person or entity must have a physical street address in Wyoming. A P.O. box is not allowed. Their role is to accept official documents, like taxes notices or legal documents on behalf of your limited liability company.
Do I really need a registered agent in Wyoming?
Yes. Every LLC must maintain up-to-date contact with the state of Wyoming. This rule exists in every state except New York, where the Secretary of State’s office serves as the registered agent for every LLC.
Can I be my own registered agent in Wyoming?
In Wyoming, an owner can elect to be the company’s registered agent. Entrepreneurs often serve as their own registered agent, but there are some requirements you need to know about.
Who can be a registered agent in Wyoming?
For those wondering what the criteria are for a person or company to serve as a registered agent, the state has some guidelines. A registered agent must:
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Have a physical street address, not a P.O. box
- Be available during regular business hours
Why would a company choose to work with a registered agent service?
With a business just getting off the ground, money is certainly a concern. Before you decide that a registered agent service is too expensive, it’s important to at least understand the benefits of such a service. Business owners say these are the reasons a registered agent service is advantageous:
- Experience. A registered agent service has a lot of experience in the business world. Aside from accepting paperwork on your behalf, they’re also proficient in filing reports with the state and other compliance matters, which usually requires paperwork to be filed.
- Privacy. The documents that are delivered to a registered agent are often confidential, but sometimes their delivery can create a spectacle. If your company is being sued, for example, the sight of someone showing up, handing you papers, and saying, “You’ve been served,” is a little embarrassing. For this reason, business owners say having a registered agent that’s offsite is ideal.
- Availability. Entrepreneurs are busy people, so asking them to stay in one place in case documents arrive is just not possible. Between running errands, attending meetings, or traveling, being available in one location during regular business hours is next to impossible. As a result, a registered agent service is the solution.
- Time savings. Registered agents will make the time to fill out your forms. Even if you have the knowledge and experience to fill out confusing or lengthy forms, using a professional service can save you time.
List of Wyoming registered agent services
There are many registered agent services in the State of Wyoming. The secretary of state may have a list of possibilities if you want to request it. However, for people who’d like to look into a company’s services and costs, here are a few options to browse through:
- Incfile.com: Incfile.com can help entrepreneurs file their LLC formation paperwork and serve as the company’s registered agent. The online company offers a host of beneficial business services that includes filing reports and other necessary documents with the state. The first year is free. After that, it’s $119 a year.
- Northwest Registered Agent: For $125 a year, Northwest Registered Agent offers an online portal, real-time updates when mail is received, and pricing that remains the same each year. The company offers its services in several states and has years of experience in the field. Additional business services are also offered.
- Swyft Filings: Swyft Filings offers registered agent services that start at $149 a year. Users get an online dashboard, report and filing reminders, and secure document storage for this fee. In addition, the company has a buffet of other business services available when you have a need.
How much does a registered agent service cost in Wyoming?
The annual cost for a registered agent service will vary. Most registered agent services in Wyoming charge between $49 and $100, but there are companies that charge more. Usually, a higher price comes with more services.
How does an owner select a registered agent in Wyoming?
The registered agent is selected on the LLC formation paperwork, which in Wyoming is called Articles of Organization. The registered agent’s name and address are listed on this document. Once filed, the name must be updated with the state regularly.
Can a company change its registered agent?
You can easily change your Wyoming registered agent by filling out the Statement of Change of Registered Agent and/or Registered Office Address and submiting it online. There is no fee to make this change or file it with the state.
What’s a statutory agent?
You may see the term “statutory agent” used interchangeably with “registered agent.”
What’s a commercial registered agent?
You may be asked if your registered agent is commercial or non-commercial. If you pay a registered agent service, your company has a commercial registered agent. Any other set up is a non-commercial agent.