Oklahoma limited liability company

If I start an additional business do I need a new company?

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Have you ever wondered why some companies that have multiple lines of business have multiple legal entities to operate them?
Why does one company have a holding company that owns 14 different Oklahoma limited limited liability companies?
The answer may be important to your Oklahoma company as you expand and grow.

The General Philosophy

My general philosophy on adding new business is if it is a business that is distinct from the existing business and/or presents new types of liability, the new line of business should be operated under a new legal entity.

Primary Purpose

The primary purpose of this legal separation is to attempt to keep the legal liabilities created by each business separate from the other business. For example, if a separate line of business such as roofing is sued due to an employee accident, if the new business is legally separate from the existing business, it much harder for the plaintiff in the lawsuit to involve the existing business in any way.

 

This is an advancement of the concept of using a legal entity (Oklahoma corporation or Oklahoma LLC) to separate your business from your yourself. A sole proprietor typically incorporates so that the business is operated legally separate from themselves. That is, the legal entity creates a wall of separation between the business activity and the owner’s individual assets. A claim against the business should not normally lead to the liability of the owner.

Key consideration

One thing to consider is whether you new business is simply a additional “line of business” or whether it is a new business with its primary tie to the existing business being common ownership.

A new line of business or new business unit may not require a new legal entity. While a new business very often requires the creation of a new legal entity.

Example from your friend in the the digital age

Cox Enterprises is an example of this type of legal separation for distinct business. Cox Entrprises is diversified media conglamorate that owns newspapers, dealertrack technologies, television stations, radio stations, Cox Communications, Manheim Auctions, Autotrader, Kelley Blue Book,Savings.com and Valpak. Many of the seperate lines of business are owned by separate entities including Cox Media Group, Inc., Cox Advanced Services Oklahoma, L.L.C. and Cox Cable Authorized Retailer, Inc.

A practical example

A business owner could create a new entity for the new business and still use the existing business for branding purposes. You could do this through a basic licensing agreement between your existing entity and the new entity and a shared services agreement. Additionally, you set up a holding company as the entity on top and then operate each business under entities owned by the holding company. You would create two new entities to carry out this plan and then set up one as Entity 1, in which you would own 100%, and then Entity 2 and Entity 3, which would each be owned 100% by Entity 1.

Questions to ask yourself

A couple of questions to ask yourself to determine whether you need a new legal entity:
  • How will new business be connected to the existing business?
  • Will new business use the same name as the existing business?
  • What other ties will the new business have to the existing business?
Posted by Shawn Roberts in Blogposts, Business Law, Oklahoma limited liability company

The Series LLC Part 2 – practical uses

In part 1 of the Series LLC I discussed what the series LLC is and how it works. This post provides information on the tax implications and practical uses for the series LLC.

III. Tax Implications

As you know, federal tax law rather than state law determines the existence of an entity for tax purposes. In many cases, the members of each series of an LLC will be identical. In such cases, it is fairly certain that the series LLC as a whole will be treated as a single tax entity for federal tax purposes. On the other hand, if the series of an LLC has the same members, or identical or similar membership rights, or similar business purposes, each series may be treated as a separate LLC for income tax purposes.

In both cases, however, there should be only one filing with a state’s secretary of state for the LLC (rather than for the individual series). Furthermore, in most cases, there should be only one state franchise (or similar) tax filing.

IV. Practical Uses of the Series LLC

The most obvious use for the series LLC is to hold multiple parcels of real property in liability-segregated cells. Owners of small commercial or residential properties may find the series LLC particularly appealing.  This is especially true in states with high minimum franchise taxes. Forming and maintaining a number of separate LLCs may cost several thousand dollars in the year of formation and several thousand dollars each subsequent year.  The use of a series LLC with each property held by a separate series may save several thousand dollars in startup costs and another several thousand dollars a year in ongoing administrative and state tax costs.

Another use for the series LLC is to facilitate an equity compensation program in a business with multiple divisions. With each division segregated into a separate series, the LLC can give the key employees of each series some sort of equity interest tied to that series only rather than equity interests in the entity as a whole. This rewards employees at productive divisions and protects them from the potential downside of other divisions.

Finally, a series LLC could be used to facilitate the combination of business operations of distinct businesses.  For example, rather than undertaking a traditional merger, two companies wishing to join forces might form a series LLC, with each company contributing its assets to a separate series, or with the owners of each company contributing their ownership interests to a separate series. The LLC agreement and series agreements could be drafted to determine exactly which rights and responsibilities are shared and which are maintained separately. The series LLC provides a unique and very flexible framework for this sort of business combination.


Posted by Shawn Roberts in Blogposts, Business Law, Oklahoma limited liability company

The Series LLC – Part 1: one LLC with the protection of 50 LLCs

 

 

The Oklahoma series LLC is a relatively new way for the more efficient and effective management of assets.  You can create one limited liability company and get the benefit of having multiple limited liability companies.  Below is a post 1 of 2 explaining the Oklahoma serial LLC and how you might be able to use it.

I. The Legal Reason

Segregating “dangerous” assets and businesses into separate entities away from other assets, especially “safe” assets, is always a good idea from an asset protection point of view. For example, an individual who owns a gas station and a rental home should not own both within the same entity.

In the best case scenario, every distinct business or major business asset should be segregated into a different limited liability entity.  Ideally, someone with 25 rental properties would have 25 separate LLCs, one for each property. However, this is not always practical because of administrative costs and government fees that must be paid for each LLC. What can a business owner in this situation do to protect their assets from liabilities unrelated to those assets in a cost-effective way?

II. The Oklahoma Series LLC

A. The Act
The series LLC may provide an answer. The Oklahoma LLC Act (the “Act”) provides for the creation of separate protected “cells” (‘series’) within one limited liability “container” (the series LLC) without the need to create separate entities, thus avoiding the inefficiencies associated with multiple related entities.

The Act provides that the liabilities of a particular series are enforceable only against the assets of that series. The Act also provides that classes or groups of members can be established, having whatever rights the LLC agreement says they have.  The combination of these two provisions allows a series to function in many ways as a separate entity for practical purposes. The series LLC concept is similar in function to segregated portfolio companies and protected cell companies designed for the mutual fund and captive insurance industries in a number of offshore and onshore jurisdictions.

The Act allows an LLC agreement to designate series of members, managers or LLC interests that have separate rights and duties with respect to specific LLC property or obligations. So, each series can be tied to specific assets and can also have different members and managers.

Most importantly, the Act provides that debts, liabilities and obligations incurred, contracted for or otherwise existing with respect to a particular series are enforceable against that series only, and not against the assets of the LLC generally or any other series of the LLC.

B. Obtaining Protection
In order to obtain inter-series liability protection, each series must be treated separately and the public must be put on notice of the liability limitation by the inclusion of the series limitations in the LLC’s Articles of Organization filed with the Oklahoma Secretary of State. Records must be kept for each series and the assets of each series must be held and accounted for separately. The separate holding and accounting required may be in the LLC’s records, so long as separate and distinct records are maintained for each series.

 

Check out Part 2 of this series on “series” right here.

Posted by Shawn Roberts in Blogposts, Business Law, Oklahoma limited liability company

The different ways to do business in Oklahoma

Have you ever wondered what the different ways you could do business are outside of just doing it yourself?

You need to wonder no longer, below is an entity chart which lists each form of business and a brief description of what it is.

Entity Diagram

Posted by Shawn Roberts in Blogposts, Business Law, Oklahoma limited liability company

How to wind up an Oklahoma limited liability company

In my previous post, I talked about the different ways an Oklahoma limited liability company can end.  Once it has ended, there are several things you need to do to “wind up” up the company.

1. Pay Creditors. Payment, or adequate provision for payment, shall be made to creditors, including to the extent permitted by law, members who are creditors, in satisfaction of liabilities of the limited liability company;

2. Distribution to Members. After creditors are paid, the company can distribute what is left to the members. The first distribution in this category is to members or former members in satisfaction of liabilities for distributions under the Oklahoma Limited Liability Company Act; and then to members and former members first for the return of their contributions and second respecting their membership interests, in proportions in which the members share in distributions.

3. File Articles of Dissolution. Once you have completed the preliminary steps required for winding up the company, you file a document called “Articles of Dissolution” with the Oklahoma Secretary of State.

Posted by Shawn Roberts in Blogposts, Oklahoma limited liability company

When is an Oklahoma limited liability company dissolved?

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Have you ever wondered how an Oklahoma limited liability company dies?

Do you think your company might have already experienced one of those circumstances that would mean death for it?

To dissolve or have a dissolution is simply the legal term for the end of the limited liability company.

The dissolution of an Oklahoma limited liability company happens naturally under Oklahoma law when any of these things happens:

1. A natural death. The LLC reaches the age when its Articles of Organization says that it ends (e.g, the Articles provide for a 50-year life and the LLC reaches 50);

2. A prearranged death. An event happens that the LLC operating agreement says means that the company should dissolve;

3. Everyone agrees it should die. All LLC members agree in writing the company should be dissolved.

4. Death from the Court. An Oklahoma court enters an order that says the company is dissolved.

After an LLC is Dissovled, it is then “wound up”. Winding up an LLC is simply another legal term that means taking the actions necessary to close down the company.

Check back here on Friday for a post explaining how to wind up an Oklahoma limited liability company.

Posted by Shawn Roberts in Blogposts, Business Law, Oklahoma limited liability company