Is this for real?
We decided to use the Limited Liability Company (LLC) as the business model for our start up farm and future CSA business. LLC is a business structure allowed by Tennessee state statute. An LLC can be expensive to organize and requires more administrative work than other legal forms of business. LLCs are popular because, similar to a corporation, owners have limited personal liability for the debts and actions of the LLC.
You should always seek the advice of a CPA or a lawyer but you do not necessarily need the help of a professional to set one up yourself. The state of Tennessee has educational information and an online application process to register a Business.
Once you decide to set up a LLC you will probably like to apply for a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN).
If you do not want to use your social security number to identify your business, you are required to obtain a FEIN from the IRS. The FEIN can be used for opening a bank account, applying for business licenses and filing a tax return by mail. It’s easy to apply for an Employer Identification Number it can be done on line and once submitted you will immediately have the number.
The process was easy and for the most part pretty straightforward.
One day while checking the mail I got an “official” looking letter in the mail and the form said I needed to send in money to obtain my “Certificate of Authorization” or “Certificate of Good Standing”. I also noted a small sentence that stated that “SSC” (name of the company) was not a government agency. [The state of Tennessee does issue a Certificate of Existence” and can be purchased for around $25 online.]
I looked the site up online and checked the tn.gov site and realized it was a scam!
The Secretary of State warning page posts: “Secretary Hargett said: “I encourage Tennessee businesses to be cautious when providing private and confidential information, including credit card information, because there are several organizations sending these misleading letters.”
Businesses can call the Secretary of State’s Business Services Division at (615) 741-2286 to help determine the source of correspondence they may receive. The Secretary of State’s website also has a user-friendly online annual report filing system for businesses.
You will be required to file an annual report and can be submitted online for around $300.
The bottom line is – be wary of any entity that asks for money and do your research first to avoid any scams. Once you register your business your information will be come public and you may be targeted by both legitimate and not so legitimate entities.