Set Up a Wyoming LLC for Your eCommerce Business
Although the purpose of this guide is primarily to help internationals set up a U.S. LLC easily, there may be reasons for people who live in the U.S. to consider setting up an LLC in Wyoming versus their home state.
First of all, anyone who has been in this business will tell you that the number of orders they receive from the state of Wyoming are few and far between. That's because Wyoming is the least populated state. Even Alaska and tiny Rhode Island have larger populations. This means that you will rarely have to charge sales tax based on a physical nexus in your company's home state (Wyoming). In fact, you can even set up your shipping options to disallow orders from Wyoming and you'll never have to worry about remitting sales tax for your home state. (It's not like you'll really miss the one out of thousand orders that come from Wyoming).
Secondly, the state of Wyoming does not have a personal income tax. This makes things much easier when it comes time to file your income taxes every April 15th because you only have to worry about your own state's income taxes (if any) and not filing in Wyoming as well. (NOTE: this is only a consideration for U.S. citizens. Non-resident foreigners almost never have to pay income tax in the United States. For more information about this, check out this article.)
Last, but certainly not least, if you file things correctly, you can remain completely anonymous as the owner of the LLC if you file for one in Wyoming. There are many reasons that you may not want people being able to see that you own a company such as, you don't want people seeing which websites you own and then piggy-backing on your success.
Assuming that you DO NOT live in Wyoming, you can definitely file for an LLC on your own in Wyoming for $100 and then pay another $25-$180 for a registered agent. Unfortunately, most people mess up the filing and because they do not know what they are doing, they are no longer anonymous. Instead, we recommend using Wyoming Registered Agent Services to form the LLC for you. It'll only cost you a total of $150 (that includes your registered agent), but your LLC will be formed correctly (and anonymously) and you'll save yourself hours of work and frustration!
Wyoming Registered Agent Services
If you do not live in Wyoming, state law requires you to have a Wyoming registered agent to accept important mail and legal documents on behalf of your company at a Wyoming registered office physically located in the state of Wyoming.
There are undoubtedly many different companies out there offering registered agent services and it's hard to decide which one to go with. We've had many students in our eCommerce training program over the years and based on their recommendations, Wyoming Registered Agent Services is not only the easiest to use, they do it much more affordably than other registered agents.
With Wyoming Registered Agent Services, you can have an LLC set up for you for as little as $150, although there are some optional services that you may wish to use that could add to that total. After that, they charge a minuscule $25 per year to continue as your registered agent. Compare that to other registered agent services, and you'll quickly see why this is such a good deal!
To begin the simple online application process with Wyoming Registered Agent Services, click here.
If you are already on their site on another page, just scroll to the bottom and click the green 'Form a Company - $150' button.
The fling information section of the form is pretty straightforward. You enter the name that you want your company to be and a second name, in case the first one is not available. If you want to know in advance that the name you want is available, you can always do a Wyoming Business Entity Search.
An LLC must have an ending that can be abbreviated: LLC or LC. You can add periods after each letter and a comma in between your name if you want and you can also write out the full words: Limited Liability Company or Limited Company. If you want to be unique, you could also have a mix and do something like 'Limited Liability Co, Ltd.', 'Liability Company', or' Ltd. Liability Co'. You cannot use corporation endings for LLCs. For example:
- ABC Enterprises Inc. (not allowed)
- ABC Enterprises LLC, Inc. (not allowed)
- ABC Enterprises (not allowed)
- ABC Enterprises LLC (allowed)
- ABC Enterprises L.L.C. (allowed)
- ABC Enterprises LC (allowed)
- ABC Enterprises L.C. (allowed)
- ABC Enterprises Limited Company (allowed)
- ABC Enterprises Limited Liability Company (allowed)
For business entity type, select "LLC".
Again, pretty straightforward information in this section. Enter your name and a phone number you can be reached at in case Wyoming Registered Agent Services needs to contact you. If you are not a U.S. resident, definitely remember to check the "International" checkbox.
In the 'Notify Your Attorney of a Lawsuit' area, select 'No' (we've never had a lawsuit against one of our websites and if we did, I can assure that we would want to speak to and notify an attorney, ourselves!).
Pretty straightforward stuff here, too. Enter your actual mailing address. This IS NOT the mailing address you will be using for your business. It is one that Wyoming Registered Agent Services may use to mail information to you.
Not much needs to be said here, either. Provide an email address and set up a password to login to their business portal.
Mail Forwarding Options
There are several options to choose from in this section. No matter which option you choose, you are provided with a mailing address for your business. If you go with any option other than the Virtual Office, you are given the same address as many, many other businesses. The Virtual Office option gives you an address unique to only your business.
In the Mail Forwarding Options area, you can elect from 4 options:
Free Limited Use Package - This is selected by default. Daily, they open and scan mail that comes to your Wyoming address and put a copy of that scan in your online account. This only includes 5 free scans of mail per year. After that, they charge $15 per scanned item.
$50/year Open & Scan Plan - This is the same as the free service except it includes 10 scans per year and additional scans are $5 each.
$50/year Traditional Mail Forwarding - Mail is not opened or scanned. Instead, it is forwarded to your actual mailing address (which could take quite some time if you are in a foreign country). This includes 10 forwarded mail pieces per year and any additional forwarded mail costs $5 per letter.
$30/month Virtual Office - If you expect to receive a whole lot of mail, this might be the best option. It includes an actual leased office suite number, unlimited scans and a Wyoming phone number that forwards to your actual phone number. You can read more about their virtual office service here.
IMPORTANT NOTE: No matter which plan you choose, junk mail (mail solicitations) will be shredded upon receipt, unless you tell them not to get rid of it. Junk mail does NOT count towards your mail forwarding item count. For more information on all of the mail forwarding options, click here.
There are two additional service options in this section that you may wish to consider:
Wyoming Phone Number ($10/month) - This optional service provides you with an area code 307 Wyoming phone number that will forward to your actual phone number. You can also set up a Wyoming phone number for free with Google Voice and they even show you how to do that if you'd rather go the free route.
- Annual Report Compliance - The state of Wyoming requires you to file an annual report every year and if you don't, they will dissolve your LLC. It costs $52/year to file your annual report if you want to do it yourself. The problem is, if you DO decide to do it yourself, you are no longer anonymous with the state. It will cost you an extra $50 ($102/year total) to have Wyoming Registered Agent Service file the mandatory Annual Report for you, but when they do it, you remain anonymous as the business owner.
Tax ID / EIN Options
Whenever you form a new business entity, that business entity also needs a unique EIN (Employer Identification Number). You can definitely file that, yourself, for free on the IRS website. If you are a U.S. citizen, everything can be accomplished online. If you are not a legal U.S. resident. all filings have to be done by mail and it takes considerably longer (4-8 weeks).
If you are a U.S. resident with a social security number and don't feel like dealing with doing it yourself, you can decide to let Wyoming Registered Agent Service file for an EIN for you. They charge $75 for that service.
If you are a foreigner (i.e. you do not have a social security number) things get a whole lot more complicated. Frankly, we do not think the hassles and hoops you have to jump through are worth it but you can attempt to do it on your own if you want to save some money and have a high tolerance for confusion and frustration. Otherwise, we highly recommend letting Wyoming Registered Agent Service get the EIN for you. It'll cost $250 and will still take 4-8 weeks to get your EIN but it's a one-time thing and your sanity is probably worth at least that much!
IMPORTANT NOTE: An EIN is simply your federal tax ID number. Whether you are a U.S. citizen or a foreign entity, you still need to apply for and obtain a Wyoming Sales & Use Tax License. Wyoming Registered Agent Service will not do this for you. There is a one-time $60 application fee for your Sales Tax Certificate.
The total price of the LLC service and any additional upgrades you selected in the above steps will be outlined here with your total charge. There's not really anything to say here. I'm sure you have filled out your credit card information dozens of times before online.
After filling in your credit card information, click the checkbox next to 'I accept the registered agent agreement' and click the 'Submit Order" button.
What Happens Next?
After clicking the Submit button, you will immediately be taken to your business login page. You'll need to supply the same email address and password that you entered on your application form in order to view your account information.
Once logged in, there will usually be several notifications about additional information that they need to complete your LLC formation. After supplying that, it usually takes a 1-2 days until you can view your officially formed online LLC documents.
|What next? Return to Module 2 and prepare to set up accounts with wholesale drop-ship suppliers.|