Discover more from Second Income Strategies
How to Form an Anonymous LLC
Protect your privacy while earning online income
The vast majority of LLC’s are non-private.
When you form a new LLC, your name and the name of any other members will be publicly listed on the Secretary of State’s website. If you’re cool with having your name publicly associated with your business then you can form an LLC in whichever state you live in and carry on. This article isn’t for you.
But if you want to protect your privacy, here’s how to do it.
Get 20% faster load times when you switch your WordPress hosting to Kinsta. Try it risk-free for 30 days:
Forming an Anonymous LLC
Best option: Wyoming
I personally like forming anonymous LLCs in Wyoming for a few reasons:
No corporate income taxes for LLCs (even if taxed as an S Corp or C Corp)
You can hire a Registered Agent to file your documents with the state (completely private)
Great asset protection laws
Wyoming keeps the names of all members private, but when you file your annual report you have to include the name of the filer.
If you want to avoid having your name associated with the business I recommend hiring a registered agent to do it for you. This will keep your name private from the state.
There are many law firms in Wyoming that specialize in being registered agents for anonymous LLCs. I’m not going to recommend one for you, but they’re easy to find. Google “anonymous Wyoming LLC registered agent” and tons of options will pop up.
Filing for your LLC is as simple as filling out a few forms on the registered agent’s website and paying the fee. You’ll have to pay the normal filing fee that the state charges + whatever additional fee the agent charges for using their services.
Whenever I form a new LLC I usually get all of the documents within 1-2 business days (Articles of Organization, Operating Agreement, EIN document). It’s a seamless process and not difficult at all. The registered agent handles the annual filing and puts their signature on the document so your name isn’t associated with the business.
Forming an anonymous business might sound “shady”, but it’s not. It’s an established part of Wyoming law and people form them every single day. Privacy is the logical first step in asset protection. If people don’t even know what you own then how can they target you?
The strong privacy protections and the lack of a corporate tax make Wyoming a no-brainer in my book. I can highly recommend forming your anonymous LLC in Wyoming based on personal experience, but there are a few other options.
The following states also offer you the ability to form anonymous LLCs with varying benefits and disadvantages.
Here’s a brief overview.
Become a premium subscriber if you want to learn more about how to start and grow an online business:
Nevada is another state that offers anonymous LLCs, but their privacy laws aren’t as great as Wyoming.
When you form an anonymous LLC in Nevada, the government requires that you submit a list of members to the Secretary of State. The state doesn’t publicly list the information anywhere.
The fees are also higher. You have to pay $75 up front and pay $350 annually to renew your license.
Nevada is similar to Wyoming in that you don’t have to pay corporate income tax on LLCs, even if you choose to be taxed as a C or S Corp.
Despite the fact that you don’t have to pay corporate income tax, the fact that you have to list your name with the Secretary of State makes Nevada a non-starter, in my opinion. You can get better privacy protection in Wyoming with similar taxation benefits.
In Delaware you can form a completely anonymous LLC with a registered agent.
Delaware is a popular state for LLCs because they have much more favorable corporate laws compared to any other state and have a dedicated Court of Chancery to resolve disputes. This is mainly an issue for large businesses. If you’re reading this then you own a small company and won’t derive much benefit from Delaware’s legal system.
The state charges a $300 annual franchise tax on all LLCs. Delaware also imposes a corporate tax on your business if you elect to be taxed as a C or S Corp.
Since you’ll have to pay corporate taxes, there isn’t any real reason for you to start your business in Delaware, despite the strong privacy laws.
The privacy laws for anonymous LLCs in New Mexico are comparable to Wyoming and Delaware (you can go through the registered agent route to avoid listing your name with the state).
New Mexico’s initial setup fees are much lower than the previous three states listed. You don’t have to file an annual report, although there is a small annual corporate franchise tax that costs a similar amount to Wyoming’s annual reporting fee.
New Mexico imposes a corporate income tax if you elect to have your LLC taxed as a corporation (S Corp or C Corp).
Since you have to pay corporate taxes, there isn’t any real reason to form your LLC in New Mexico, despite the strong privacy laws.
To most regular people, setting up an anonymous LLC seems like a “shady” tactic. If you asked Joe Sixpack what he thinks about anonymous LLCs he would probably say “oh, those are for criminals”.
The fact is that there are tons of different reasons why someone would want to protect their privacy, even if they have nothing to hide. It’s 100% legal and there isn’t anything wrong with doing so.
Out of the above states, I personally only have experience setting up businesses in Wyoming. The combination of strong privacy laws + no corporate tax makes it a no-brainer in my book.
I have a lot of subscribers and I obviously don’t know what everyone’s situation is. I’m not a lawyer and I can’t give specific advice to anyone. There may be some unique circumstances where filing an anonymous LLC in a state other than Wyoming might benefit you and your business, but for the vast majority of you Wyoming is likely going to be your best option.