Even if you have an online business and you sell all over the country or even the world, your business still needs a physical address. Without the registration of an accurate and up-to-date address, your state could cancel your ability to do business in your state.
This should be your principal place of business, your main office or store, even if it’s your home. If you have a registered agent other than you, the agent’s address can be your registered address.
If you’re moving your business, you must notify all relevant parties of the change. If you have a mailing address other than your business address, both need to be reported in your business filing.
How to Change Your Business Address
The first step is to notify your state and make the changes on your LLC documents, including the Articles of Organization and your operating agreement. Check with your secretary of state to find out how to file your change of address. A fee may be involved, but it should be nominal.
Requirements to change your address vary by state, and some may require an amendment to your LLC filing. You also need to make notifications to the following parties:
- The IRS. You need to file form 8822-b, and you can do so online.
- Your state tax agency. You need to be able to receive correspondence from the state regarding deadlines and other information to avoid penalties and fees.
- Vendors and suppliers. Any vendors and suppliers need to be updated about your new address for shipping and billing purposes.
- Banks and lenders. Even if you’ve gone paperless, they still need your legal business address.
- Insurance agents. Sometimes, your location can affect your rates. But even if it does not, they need your current business address to ensure your business is protected.
- Licensing agencies. You’ll need to notify any offices through which you have business licenses or permits. If you moved to a different municipality, county, or state, you need to obtain the required licenses for that location.
- All states where you do business. If you do business in more than one state and have foreign LLCs in those states, you need to notify them and complete any required documentation.
- The post office. Change the address with the post office so that any mail can be forwarded.
- Your website. You need to have the correct contact information on your website.
- Your customers. You can inform customers by email or snail mail to let them know about the change so that you don’t miss business opportunities. This is especially critical if you are moving a brick-and-mortar store.
If You Are Moving Your Business to a New State
Whether you are moving your business headquarters to a new state but still doing business in your home state or moving the business entirely, you have some options. Though you do still need to notify all the parties mentioned above.
Register a Foreign LLC
If you plan to do business in your new state and continue doing business in your home state, registering a foreign LLC may be the best option for you. A foreign LLC is simply an LLC doing business in a state other than the one in which it was registered. For example, if your LLC is registered in Alabama but you’re also doing business in Georgia, you need to register a foreign LLC in Georgia.
When you register a foreign LLC, you must comply with the laws of all states in which you register. For example, if states have different annual filing requirements and fees, you must follow all of them. This can get expensive and complicated, particularly if you are doing business in multiple states, but it is the only way for an LLC to do business in multiple states.
If you will no longer be doing business in your home state, you have other options to transfer your LLC to another state.
Dissolve the Existing LLC
If you are transferring everything to the new state and completely terminating business in your previous state of residence, it might be best to dissolve your existing LLC and form a new LLC in your new state. Processes to dissolve LLCs vary by state. If you are a single member LLC with no debts, it will be fairly simple. Either your Articles of Organization or your operating agreement should contain rules for how your LLC can be dissolved.
Generally, dissolution requires a vote of the members. If you are the only member, it’s not a problem. But with multiple members you may need the approval of all of them. Whether yours is a single-member or multi-member LLC, you’ll need to wrap up all the business of the LLC to dissolve it, which means paying off all debts and distributing all assets.
If the value of cash or securities distributed to members is greater than their original contribution, the gains will be taxable. Appreciation on real estate or personal property assets are not taxable.
Once the LLC is dissolved according to the laws of your state, you can form a new LLC in your new state.
Domestication of the LLC
Another option is to domesticate your LLC. Domestication is the process by which an LLC changes the state in which it is registered. Once domestication is complete, the laws of the original state no longer apply, and the new state laws apply instead. This provides several benefits:
- Dissolution is not necessary
- There is no interruption in business
- You can continue to use the same bank accounts
- You can continue to use the same EIN
Each state has its own domestication process, and the laws of both states must be followed. In general, domestication occurs as follows:
- Draft a plan of conversion. This should be done by the LLCs attorney, and basically outlines the steps of domestication.
- Approve the plan of conversion. Members of the LLC must approve the plan.
- Complete documents required by each state.
- File the conversion forms and pay required fees.
- Complete any documents required by the new state to fully form the new domesticated LLC.
Domestication can be complicated because the laws between states may conflict. There also may be tax considerations at the state level such as unpaid franchise taxes that become due.
If you are moving your business, you probably have a lot to do other than changing your LLC address, but it’s something you cannot afford to forget, as it could result in the shuttering of your business. Many parties have an interest in your business, and they need to know where you are, particularly government entities. Make yourself a checklist of all the notifications you need to make and get them done so that you don’t miss important correspondence or violate any regulations.