Welcome to my guide on how to start a Nebraska LLC. In this guide you’ll learn all the right steps and the process for the Nebraska Secretary of State’s team to recognize your Limited Liability Company as a business entity that you can be proud of.
Before we get into the step by step process, I recommend you go straight to ZenBusiness to help you with your LLC formation.
You’ll get the first year of a registered agent service with them and they’re going to help you make sure you’re following the Nebraska LLC naming guidelines, filed your Nebraska LLC Certificate of Formation, and that you’re going to conduct business in the state correctly. Go check them out before you go through the steps below on your own.
I also like making you’re looking at the best business ideas based on what Nebraska is known for. The top Nebraska Limited Liability Company that I would start would fall under one of these:
- Start a Music Company or Start a Band
- Start a Prairie Touring Business
- Start a Farming Business
- Start a Deli Sandwich Shop – Specifically for the Reuben!
If you’re going to start a business in Nebraska, you’re going to need to make sure the business name is available so let’s get started on the steps it takes for you to a Limited Liability Company in Nebraska.
Name Your Nebraska LLC
The first step is to make sure you’re business name is something you can actually use. You have to get to the Nebraska website that tracks this and that’s on the Nebraska Secretary of State’s website here:
Once you’ve done that, you’re going to need to check the LLC name and whether other LLC owners have used it for their business.
Some of the business name guidelines you’ll need to use are:
- The name has to be distinguishable from other business entities
- The name can’t imply the business is something it’s not
- The name can’t be too similar to a governmental agency
You don’t want to get in trouble with the state for having an LLC that is misleading or could create some legal issues down the road.
Once you’ve setup your official business name with the state, I highly recommend going to get the digital version of it figured out too. You may or may not have a physical street address or mailing address for your business that’s used but you will most likely have a website address you’ll need.
Any business today that doesn’t have a website address is (in my mind) missing out on the biggest potential business income. Go to GoDaddy and get your domain and website builder setup today.
Once you get this done, we can move on to getting your registered agent service setup.
Choose your registered agent
A registered agent is an important part of having an LLC in Nebraska. This is the person or service that will receive any legal papers being sent to your business entity on your behalf.
They need to have a physical street address in Nebraska and be available during normal business hours (9-5 M-F) to sign for these documents. This is important because if something should ever happen and you’re served with a lawsuit, this is how the process starts.
The sheriff or process server will come to your registered agent’s address during business hours and attempt to deliver the papers. If they’re not there or not available, the court could rule that you were never served and the lawsuit can move forward without you even knowing.
For this reason, I recommend using a service like Northwest Registered Agent to be your LLC’s Nebraska registered agent. They have a $125/year plan that includes the first year free which is an incredible value. This is included in their LLC formation service for free in the first year.
Plus, if you ever need to change your registered agent in the future, they make it really easy and have a great customer service team to help you out.
The other option is that you can find a law firm in the state that acts as a registered agent on your behalf. That is an option too and if you really wanted to you could resort to being your own registered agent but for the reasons above, I really don’t recommend that at all. I’m not an attorney or try to provide any legal advice but the registered agent service exists specifically to make your life easier whether you’re setting up a Foreign LLC, Limited Liability Company or have a multiple member LLC that you want to protect.
Prepare and File Articles of Organization
The next step is to prepare and file your Articles of Organization with the state. This document is going to be pretty simple and you can find a template for it online.
You’ll need to provide some basic information about your LLC like the name, address, registered agent service information and names of the LLC members. You’ll also be asked to provide a brief description of the business activity your LLC will be engaged in.
Once you have this document prepared, you’ll need to file it with the Secretary of State’s office. The filing fee is currently $100 and can be paid online or by check. I recommend paying online because it’s faster and you’ll get a confirmation back right away.
Once your Articles of Organization have been accepted and filed, your LLC will be official in the state of Nebraska.
Create an operating agreement
Setting up operating agreements is one of my favorite parts of getting a Limited Liability Company setup. An operating agreement will protect you from yourself meaning if you put in personal assets or have been acting as a sole proprietorship and moving to a single member LLC or have a new business structure that you’d like to document – an operating agreement is great for that.
Think of an operating agreement as a legal document that can help you and your business partners when you go to hire employees, track business assets and really understand the right way to conduct business in Nebraska.
The typical things you’d put on an operating agreement are:
– The names of the business members and what role they play
– The amount of money each member has invested in the business
– How new members can join the LLC
– What happens if a member wants to leave the LLC
– What would happen if the LLC was ever dissolved
There are other items you can put on an operating agreement but those are the basics. It’s not required by law to have an operating agreement in Nebraska but I always recommend getting one setup as soon as you can.
You can find a great template for an LLC operating agreement on the internet or you can hire an attorney to help you get it done.
Get an EIN
The next step is to get your Employer Identification Number or EIN for your Nebraska LLC. This is a number that’s issued by the IRS and it identifies your business entity with the IRS.
You’ll need this number when you go to open a business bank account and it’s required if you plan on having any employees. You can apply for your EIN online through the IRS website or by fax or mail.
I always make sure I recommend this step because it’s not only required to have a Federal Tax Identification Number or EIN but it will help you when need to collect sales tax, federal taxes, track business finances, business debts and as stated above – help you get a business bank account setup.
You can apply and get your EIN from the IRS website here:
Open A Business Bank Account
Go get a bank account with Lili.co. It’s the easiest and fastest way to make sure you’ve got the right business tools and they will help you figure out a business credit card too.
If you’re going to hire employees and follow Nebraska law, you’ll need a bank account to help you keep track of everything that you need.
The other reasons for having a bank account for your business are:
– To keep your personal finances separate from business finances. This is a requirement by the IRS and can help you during an audit if everything is kept separate.
– Help you track inventory levels, receivables and payables.
– Keeps things organized and can help with business taxes at the end of the year.
Lili is a great option for small businesses and startup companies because they offer:
– A checking account with no monthly fees, international wires, unlimited transactions and a 1% cashback rewards program.
– A credit card with 0% APR for the first 12 months, no foreign transaction fees and a $200 cash back bonus.
– A mobile app to help you track your spending, budget better and see your account balances in real-time.
Get Small Business Insurance
I recommend going to commercialinsurance.net to get some quotes for your business and determine the best route to protect what risks you have when you transact business.
There are different types of insurance you’re going to need ranging from:
- Personal Liability Insurance
- Product Liability Insurance
- Property Damage Insurance
The Nebraska Secretary of State’s office isn’t going to need this necessarily but if you’re operating an individual or business entity – it will be important for you to track.
If you’re running a professional services business, retail shop or something that’s going to have high risk based on the type of business – you should go make sure you have the right insurance for what you’re doing.
Get a Business License or Permit
Depending on the business you’re running, you might need to get a local business licenses or permit from your city or county.
The Nebraska Secretary of State does not issue these however some businesses will require them. If you plan on having a retail shop for example, most likely your city is going to require you to have a business license.
You can find out more about what types of businesses require a local business license by going to your city’s website or contacting them directly.
Get A Nebraska Business License
If you want to do business in the state of Nebraska, you will need to get a business license from the Department of Revenue.
File an Annual Report
You will need to file an annual report with the Nebraska Secretary of State’s office in order to keep your business active and in good standing.
The annual report is due on the anniversary date of when you originally filed your business entity paperwork with the state.
Pay Annual Taxes
You will need to pay your annual taxes to the state of Nebraska in order to keep your business license active.
The amount of taxes you need to pay will depend on the type and size of your business.
How do I get an Employer Identification Number (EIN)?
You can apply for an EIN online through the IRS website.
Do I need a business bank account?
It is recommended that you open a business bank account in order to keep your personal and business finances separate. This can help you during an audit if everything is kept separate.
Do I need insurance for my small business?
It depends on the type of business you’re running. If you’re running a professional services business, retail shop or something that’s going to have high risk based on the type of business – you should go make sure you have the right insurance for what you’re doing.
What are the annual report and tax requirements for Nebraska businesses?
You will need to file an annual report with the Nebraska Secretary of State’s office in order to keep your business active and in good standing. The annual report is due on the anniversary date of when you originally filed your business entity paperwork with the state.
You will also need to pay your annual taxes to the state of Nebraska in order to keep your business license active. The amount of taxes you need to pay will depend on the type and size of your business.
Start an LLC Today
ZenBusiness is the easiest way to setup your business today.