A Series LLC is probably the simplest way to have multiple EINs / Tax IDs while functioning much like a parent and subsidiary corporations in a consolidated corporate group. These Series LLC allow business owners to create new LLCs without any subsequent filings with their secretary of state, effectively allowing them to create cells on-his/her-own which look a lot like separate entities.
Where Can I Establish a Series LLC?
As far as establishing a Series LLC online, Incnow.com offers a Deleware Series LLC online for $598. They are big proponents of the Series LLC and also own the seriesllc.com domain as well.
According to Wikipedia, these are the US states and territories that currently recognize the Series LLC:
- District of Columbia
- North Dakota
- Puerto Rico
Series LLC are new and novel, so make sure you work with an accountant that has experience in that area.
For example, you can start a Delaware Series LLC where each series can have its own Tax Id number. This would mean that each would be its own separate entity that keeps separate accounting and files its own tax returns. If you wanted the LLCs to be anonymous, then each series could be owned by a controlling trust where that trust remained anonymous.
Does Having a Series LLC Mean Having Separate Tax IDs?
If you only want to file one tax return for your entire Series LLC, then the cells of the series LLC could be treated as disregarded entities without their own separate Tax ID/ EIN and file their taxes all in one return. This is a great way to perform personal asset protection (like separating your property from your investments), but for more involved asset protection, you should consider adding separate EINs and accounting for each cell of your Series LLC.
Most of the time, though, you’ll want to keep the cells separate, with separate EINs, separate accounting and separate tax returns. This is probably the best way to have asset protection and separation between your assets, whether they are real estate or business assets. You could have one Series LLC cell for your business loft, another for your online businesses, another one that owns your warehouse, etc. For example, NYC taxicab companies only group a certain number of taxis per LLC for asset protection.
Please note that you will need a corporation or trust to oversee the Series LLC. Another LLC cannot be the master company.
What about W9s?
Some people want a Series LLC so that they can have multiple accounts with various companies (you could imagine someone wanting multiple affiliate accounts with Amazon, for example). Another instance is freelancing in very different capacities (a web designer / musician might want to keep both parts of their lives separate). When you earn more than $500 in any one capacity, you’ll be asked to submit a W9 form to the company that is paying you money. Keep in mind that these companies want these forms mostly for their accounting and your EIN numbers. The IRS rules state that the W9 is to be filled out by the entity that is using the DBA name along with the DBA EIN. The W9 form does not require a printed name to go with your signature. You can scribble your signature on there in really bad handwriting and hand an organization 2 separate W9s: they just want the EINs to be different without really caring if it’s the same person who’s signing the W9s.