How to move your LLC to another state?

By Michael Banner - Oct 10, 2013     

Does anyone really like moving?  There are the moving costs to consider, the pain of boxing up your belongings, selling your home and buying a new one, saying goodbye to friends, and so much more. 

When you consider moving your LLC to another state, there are a whole new set of issues to contemplate.

I will explore, the main considerations of moving your LLC's charter to another state or if you have other registration options.  Besides giving you your options, I will also describe the states that offer (and those that don't) a formal process for this, along with your alternatives if they don't, and detailed instructions on how to complete your LLC's move so that you don't forget anything. 

Are you ready?

We get asked by customers each week about moving their LLC from one state to another.  Sometimes, it is because they mistakenly filed in the wrong state.  Sometimes it is because they didn’t research their formation state enough before filing and didn’t realize the costs necessary to maintain an LLC there.  More often it because their business is expanding operations in another state.  But, most often it is because the member(s) of an LLC have moved to another state and needs to move their business operations with them.

With each reason, there are different considerations which determines your next step.  I’m going to address the two most common reasons.
 

Moving or presence?

The first consideration you must examine is whether your LLC is actually moving to another state or just needing a physical presence in another state?  In other words, if your LLC is going to be starting operations in another state, but will still also have operations in its formation state, then you are most likely wanting to file for foreign authority to another state instead of moving the charter there.
 

Definitely moving!?

If your LLC will no longer be operating and/or have business operations in its formation state and it will be moving to another state; then you will want to move your charter to that new state.
 

Is there a formal process?

Hopefully, the state to which you are moving your LLC to has a formal process for this type registration.  If the new state does, it will be a simple matter of filing articles of domestication or articles of conversion (the name used depends on the state) with the new state's corresponding filing agency and paying a filing fee.  This fee is usually similar to, but sometimes slightly more than a new filing.

We've researched many of the states and listed below those that do have a formal process and those that do not.

 

State's that do

Here is a partial list of those states that do have a formal domestication process:
CA, CO, FL, DE, GA, NV, TX, VA, WY

NOTE:  We will add to this list as we have found others.  For more information on a particular state's process and how to order, click on the state link above (if we have provided one)
 

States that don't

These states do not have a formal domestication process, meaning you must follow one of the "alternatives” below:
AK, AL, AZ, CT, IL, IA, KS, LA, MA, MD, SC



The most common alternative

Assuming your new state does not have a formal process for domesticating your existing LLC and recognizing the existing state; you will have to form a new LLC in the new state and then cancel the charter in the old state. 

PLEASE NOTE:  Even though your new LLC will be considered “new” in the new state, you will still be operating the LLC like an existing LLC; this is simply the process you must take to move the LLC's charter to the new state.
 

The merger alternative

Some people prefer to not simply form a new entity and cancel/dissolve the old one.  Instead, again assuming the new formation state does not have a formal process, you could form a new LLC in the new state and rather than simply cancelling the old charter, merge it into the new charter.  This process is most certainly more complicated and more expensive; and again may not be simply possible in the new formation state (there may not be a formal process covering this as well).  Additionally, in the original formation state, you would want to file a merge-out document, if this were available.  Otherwise, a cancellation is filed.
 

Don’t forget original formation state!

Whether your new state might formally recognize your LLC, through a formal process for domestication, or if you must follow an alternative; your old formation state must still be dealt with.

If you do not, you will essentially have two LLC’s and the original LLC will still be incurring annual fees and maybe taxes.  So, after you have formed the LLC in the new formation state, you will want to cancel the charter in the original state, usually by filing a certificate of cancellation.

Once you have completed the process (registering in the new state and cancelling/merging-out), although you may have completed the state filing process, but you're not completely done.

 

Who else to notify?

When you've completed the state's filing process, you must notify others about the change in your formation state.  Here are the most common:
 

Post office

Just like a personal move, your LLC should notify the post office with the same change of address notification. 
 

IRS

The IRS’ records need to be updated for your LLC.  For more information on how to update your IRS record see: smallbiz.com/Howto/notify-IRS-of-changes-to-EIN.
 

Customers

This one may seem obvious, but it is sometimes missed by companies.  Even if the day-to-day operations are online, it might be nice to communicate your change, including reasons for the change and how it will not affect them (or how it will if there is a big positive to it).  Better to hear it from you rather than some other source you don't control.
 

Vendors & Partners

Remember that your full LLC name (let’s say it’s ABC, LLC) includes the state in which it was formed.  For instance, if were formed in Florida, then the ‘full’ name would be, “ABC, LLC, a Florida Limited Liability Company”.  Naturally, if you move the charter to another state, your ‘full’ name would have changed as well.  If your LLC signed vendor and partner contracts using its old full name, it will need to make changes reflecting the new state.  
 

Relevant Articles

In What state should you consider filing?

What is Foreign Authority?

How do you dissolve or cancel an LLC?

 

About Michael Banner
  CEO & Founder of SmallBiZ.com, created over seventeen years ago to help small business owners simplify the process of starting & managing their small businesses. SmallBiZ.com now serves over 10,000 businesses per year with various filing and subscription services; in addition to the 1000's of daily visitors to www.smallbiz.com, accessing free services, help pages, & educational videos & webinars.


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