In this article we explain how to move a corporation or LLC and wish to a different state. There are several different options for accomplishing a corporate relocation depending on your business goals, we describe each in detail.
Option 1: Keep Your Corporation or LLC Active in the Original State and file a Foreign Registration in the New State
If you plan to continue doing business in the original state, typically the best option is keeping your corporation or LLC active in the original state and register in the new state as a foreign corporation. Most states require companies that “transact business” within the state to either form a domestic corporation in the state or register as a foreign corporation.
When is a Company Required to File As a Foreign Corporation in Illinois?
In Illinois, as in most states, your company is required to register as a foreign corporation if it “transacts business” in Illinois. Generally, your company will be considered to be transacting business in Illinois if it has a warehouse, a store, or an office in Illinois or if your company has a sales representative operating in Illinois.
The following activities do not qualify as “transacting business”:
Should My Corporation or LLC File a Foreign Registration?
I recommend consulting with an attorney to determine whether, based on your business activities in both your Company’s current home state and the new state, you will be considered to be transacting business in both states. If so, maintaining your existing company in your current state and filing a foreign registration in the new state is the best approach. If not you should consider one of the other options below.
The reason we only recommend filing a foreign registration if it is necessary due to transacting business in multiple states is that it tends to be more expensive than other options we will discuss. You will have to continue to pay annual Secretary of State fees in the original state as well as annual fees in any states you file your foreign registration.
Option 2: Dissolve Your Existing Corporation or LLC and Form a New Corporation or LLC in the New State
Dissolving your existing corporation or LLC and forming a new corporation or LLC in the new state in which you will be doing business is the best option if these three things are true:
dissolving your existing corporation or LLC.
If all of the above circumstances will not pose problems, dissolving your existing corporation or LLC and forming a new corporation will likely be the best option for relocating to a new state, because you will only have to pay annual fees to the Secretary of State in one state, as opposed to two or more.
Option 3: Form a New Corporation or LLC and Merge the Old Corporation or LLC into the New Company
If your company will not be “transacting business in both the old state and the state to which you are relocating, it may make sense to essentially relocate the existing corporation or LLC from the old state to the new state. This is the best option when business continuity (discussed above) is a concern or when there will be negative tax consequences associated with dissolving the existing corporation.
Unfortunately, the process for accomplishing this is not as straightforward as simply changing the home state of the existing corporation. The steps you will need to take are generally as follows, although you should consult with each of the Secretaries of State of the states involved because the process may vary from state to state:
I advise consulting with your attorney and accountant at every stage of this process, in order to ensure that you are selecting the best strategy for your business and that you are executing it properly.
For Further Business Law Reading:
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