Fact checked for accuracy by Billie Anne Grigg, a bookkeeper and Mastery Level Certified Profit First Professional.
Nebraska is a very business-friendly state that offers many tax and regulation incentives for companies. If you’re looking at creating a business in this state, creating an LLC is a great option for many. It is ideal for small to medium-sized businesses that want the benefits corporations have without as many hoops to jump through.
Becoming an LLC is a good way to protect your own personal assets from business liabilities. If you’re convinced that forming an LLC is the right thing to do for you and your business, you’ll need to properly register it.
Forming an LLC in Nebraska is a very straightforward task, and this handy step-by-step guide should have your business up and running in no time.
Step 1: Choose a Unique Business Name for Your LLC
Before anything else, you will need to choose a unique name for your LLC. If you already have a name or two in mind, the next step would be to make sure the name is available and is distinct from other business names in the state. Do a name search on the State of Nebraska’s website to ensure your name is available.
Take it a step further and make sure the domain name is available too. You don’t want to go through all the steps of forming your LLC only to find out that you can’t create a website with your chosen business name!
Your business name should also include the words “Limited Liability Corporation”, or one its abbreviations “LLC” or “L.L.C.”. There are also other general naming guidelines to follow that you’ll find with other states, such as:
- No words that may cause confusion that your business is affiliated with the government
- No similar names to federal or state agencies
Step 2: Designate a Registered Agent
In the state of Nebraska, it is required to have a registered agent. A registered agent is someone that you choose to receive all legal mail on the LLC’s behalf. Your LLC’s registered agent can be anyone – it can be you, another person, or even a third-party registered agent service. The only caveat is that your registered agent should have a physical address in Nebraska and be able to accept mail during regular business hours.
Note that if you choose to be your own registered agent, your name and address will go on public record. Consider using a registered agent service if you aren’t comfortable with that.
Step 3: File Your Nebraska Certificate of Organization
Now that you have your business name and appointed registered agent at hand, you are ready to file the Certificate of Organization and officially form your LLC. You will need to submit this form to the Nebraska Secretary of State either online or by mail.
Unlike most other states, Nebraska does not have a template or form you can download to fill out. Instead, you will need to create and draft up your own Certificate of Organization. At a minimum, you should include the following information:
- Company name and address
- Registered agent information and address
- Effective date
- Name of the organizer
The cost to file your Certificate of Organization with the state of Nebraska is $100 online or $110 in-office.
Step 4: Publish Your LLC
Nebraska has a publication requirement for LLCs. After the Certificate of Organization is filed, you will need to publish a notice in a “legal newspaper” in the county of the designated office of your LLC. The publication should run for three weeks, after which you will receive an affidavit of publication from the newspaper. When you receive the affidavit, simply submit it to the Nebraska Secretary of State.
This publication works almost like an advertisement and should include general information about your LLC, including:
- The name of the LLC
- The address
- The type of service offered
Step 5: Draft Up an Operating Agreement
Although an operating agreement is not required in the state of Nebraska, it is highly recommended. This is the manual that outlines the ownership and operation of the LLC. In particular, if there is more than one business owner, it is advisable to prepare an operating agreement to make sure everyone is on the same page and to help avoid future conflict.
The operating agreement will not be filed with the state but will instead be kept in the LLC’s private records.
Step 6: Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN)
One of the final steps in properly forming an LLC in Nebraska is to obtain an EIN from the IRS. The EIN acts as a social security number for the LLC and can come in handy if you plan to open a business bank account, hire employees, or file taxes. You can easily obtain an EIN from the IRS online and for free.
Cost to Start an LLC in Nebraska
Filing a Certificate of Organization with the Nebraska Secretary of State costs $100, plus an additional $5 per page. If you choose to reserve your chosen business name, it costs an extra $30.
The actual cost to start an LLC in Nebraska will also depend on whether you choose to file yourself or not. Though filing yourself will be the cheapest option, you can also opt to hire an LLC formation service that can take care of the paperwork for you. This is a good option if you want to focus on the business itself instead of the filing, especially since there is no template for the Certificate of Organization.
What to Do After Forming Your LLC in Nebraska
Once you have officially formed your LLC, there are a few other steps to follow in order to properly set up your business.
Open a Business Bank Account
It is good practice to separate your personal and business finances. If you don’t, you risk your personal assets if your business is sued. It will also make it easier to file taxes. You should also consider getting a business credit card, which can help raise your business’s credit score.
Hire a Business Accountant
Taxes can get complicated, so it’s highly advisable to hire a business accountant to take care of your company’s finances. By hiring an accountant, you will also have less to worry about bookkeeping and you can instead spend more time focusing on growing your business.
Acquire Any Necessary Licenses and Permits
LLCs in Nebraska must obtain permits and licenses that relate to their business needs at the federal and state levels. At the state level, there isn’t a general business license you will need, but you will need licenses or permits for certain businesses. For example, a restaurant will need a food establishment permit, or if your business plans to sell alcohol, you will need liquor control commission licensing.
Check out the business licensing requirements on Nebraska’s Secretary of State’s website.
Get Business Insurance
Business insurance may also be required, depending on your business. But even if not required, it is good to have that assurance, so you don’t have too much about managing risks. Small LLCs may opt to get general liability insurance that protects the business from lawsuits. And if you have one or more employees on your payroll, you are required by law to get workers’ compensation insurance to provide coverage for your employees.
Have an Online Presence
Even if your business is not online, in this day and age, every business should have an online presence. No matter how small the company, you should first create a website. In doing so, you will legitimize the business and provide information about your business to those on the web.
Once you’ve created your website, you should also work on social media, such as Facebook or Instagram. Social media is a great tool you can use to grow your business and get more reach. It will not only bring you new clients but also help prospective clients to understand what your business is about.
How to Keep Your LLC Compliant in Nebraska
It is important to keep your business legally compliant and stay on good terms with your local government. There are a few local and federal regulations to follow in order to keep your business in the clear.
Most states require LLCs to file an annual report, but the state of Nebraska requires LLCs registered in their state to file a biennial report in every odd-numbered year. This report should include up-to-date information about the company’s name and its members. This report can be filed online or by mail.
You should also:
- Pay your biennial report fee
- Renew any applicable business licenses
- Comply with Nebraska’s business regulations
- Make sure you have all necessary licenses and permits
- Stay up to date on changes to the state’s business laws
Tax Filing Requirements for LLCs in Nebraska
Nebraska LLCs are not required to pay or file state business taxes, but the LLC will need to pay state employer taxes if the LLC has employees. Individual members of a Nebraska LLC will also need to file a 1040 or 1065 with the IRS with their annual earnings. Taxes can get complicated after forming an LLC, so it might be a good idea to hire a tax professional to assist you with the process.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take to register an LLC in Nebraska?
Nebraska has one of the fastest turnaround times for filing LLCs. It takes only 2-3 business days for the Certificate of Organization to be processed. Unfortunately, Nebraska does not have an expedited filing option online or by mail. But the state does offer free expedited filing for walk-ins. For more information on this, contact the Nebraska Secretary of State.
What tax structure should I choose for an LLC in Nebraska?
The default tax structure for an LLC in Nebraska is as a disregarded entity or partnership. Both of these tax structures are “pass-through” entities. This means that the income tax is passed to the members of the LLC and then the members report the income on their individual tax returns.
There are cases where an LLC can be taxed as a corporation, which involves filing corporate tax returns. If you are unsure of which tax structure to choose, consult a business accountant.
Should you hire an LLC formation service in Nebraska?
LLC formation services make the entire process much easier. By no means are they a requirement, but if you don’t have the time to go through all the paperwork and bureaucracy of opening the company by yourself, a formation service can come in very handy. There are plenty of options out there that can meet every budget.