Series LLC: An Innovative Business Structure

Looking for a flexible and innovative business structure that provides enhanced asset protection and operational efficiency? Series LLC is the answer.

Series LLC allows companies to create separate “series” or divisions within a single LLC, each with its own assets, liabilities, and members. This concept offers numerous benefits to business owners and investors — making it increasingly popular for companies looking to streamline operations and protect their assets.

Let’s delve into the details of this innovative corporate structure and explore its benefits.

What is a Series LLC?

A Series LLC is a special type of LLC (Limited Liability Company) that enables the creation of multiple independent businesses or series within one legal structure. Each segment functions independently, possessing its own members, assets, and liabilities, and allowing for versatile management and risk mitigation. 

The Series LLC’s unique structure safeguards each series’ assets from the liabilities of others, providing an added layer of protection. This setup also promotes cost-efficiency and administrative ease by uniting multiple entities under one umbrella. 

It is highly advised to seek legal counsel before forming a Series SSC, given the variation in recognition and legal handling across different states.

States Permitting Series LLC

Several states within the United States have enacted legislation that permits the formation of Series LLCs. First named the “Delaware Series LLC” as Delaware was the first to enact this legislation in 1996. 

Here’s a list of some of the most popular state choices to start a series LLC:

  1. Delaware
  2. Illinois
  3. Iowa
  4. Nevada
  5. Oklahoma
  6. Tennessee
  7. Texas
  8. Utah

Please note that the laws regarding Series LLCs may have evolved over the years, and it’s important to consult with an attorney or business advisor to confirm the current status and specific requirements of Series LLC formation in any given state.

Series LLC vs. Traditional LLC

While both types of LLCs offer liability protection, in a Series LLC, this safeguard extends to each series, insulating the assets of one series from the debts of another. Plus, a Series LLC can consolidate multiple entities, offering cost efficiency and simpler management and accounting. 

In contrast, a traditional LLC might face higher expenses and administrative challenges due to the need for separate entities for different ventures. However, traditional LLCs enjoy broad recognition across jurisdictions, while the legal standing of Series LLCs can vary by state. 

How to Form a Series LLC?

Exploring the field of business structures can be complex, but taking the leap to form a Series LLC can be a game-changer for your venture. 

Let’s delve into the key steps involved in establishing a Series LLC — paving the way for enhanced flexibility and protection for your business operations.

1. Determine Series LLC Name

To determine the name for your Series LLC, you need to ensure compliance with the naming requirements of the state where you plan to form the entity. Typically, the name must include a distinguishing term, such as “Series,” “Cell,” or “SLLC,” to indicate that it is a Series LLC. 

Additionally, the business name should not infringe on existing trademarks or confuse consumers. Conduct a thorough search of the state’s business entity database and trademark records to check for name availability. 

2. Get a Registered Agent

For any LLC, a registered agent is a necessary component when building your business. This individual acts as correspondence on behalf of any legal document allocations from the IRS. 

You can also register yourself, an employee, or an attorney; however, this can lead to legal complications if all regulations are not followed.

In addition, a registered agent must be physically present in the state in which you build your Series LLC, as they need to receive direct mail from the IRS and any relevant government agencies. 

For more information on how to be your own registered agent, read here.

3. Filing Your Series LLC Paperwork

The third step to forming your Series LLC is to file any necessary documents. Here’s what you need to file your series LLC paperwork:

  • Obtain Formation Documents: Contact the relevant state agency responsible for business entity registration and request the necessary formation documents for a Series LLC, such as the Articles of Organization or Certificate of Formation (Form 205).
  • Complete the Formation Documents: Fill out the formation documents accurately and provide all required information. This includes the Series LLC’s name, principal address, registered agent’s details, and the names of the series within the LLC.
  • Pay Filing Fees: The fees vary by state and may depend on factors like the number of series being formed.
  • Submit the Documents: Send the completed formation documents, along with the filing fees, to the designated state agency. This can usually be done online, by mail, or in person, depending on the state’s procedures.
  • Await Approval: Once submitted, the state agency will review your paperwork. If everything is in order, they will approve the formation of your Series LLC.
  • Obtain Documents and Certificates: After approval, you will receive your filed formation documents and any necessary certificates from the state. These documents serve as evidence of your Series LLC’s existence.
  • Maintain Compliance: Ensure ongoing compliance with state requirements, such as filing annual reports, paying taxes, and updating any changes in the Series LLC’s information or structure.

It’s critical to consult the specific requirements and procedures of the state where you are forming your Series LLC, considering they may have additional or varying steps. 

How to Use a Series LLC?

Diving into the versatile world of a Series LLC, one can find an array of applications tailored to their unique business requirements. Here’s how you can maximize the potential of a Series LLC:

  1. Asset Protection: With each series holding distinct assets, the liability of one doesn’t impact others, ensuring an added layer of protection.
  2. Diversified Businesses: Do you own multiple business ventures? Organize them into separate series for efficient revenue and expense tracking.
  3. Real Estate Investments: Real estate portfolios benefit from reduced cross-liability risk when each property is held in a separate series.
  4. Franchising: Streamline administration and manage finances individually by placing each franchise location in a different series.
  5. Joint Ventures/Partnerships: Simplify governance and financial aspects by giving each participant their own series.

Keep in mind that these are a few broad applications. Your business and legal counsel will best guide you on how to fully utilize a Series LLC.

Advantages of a Series LLC

Curious about what you can get out of a series LLC? Here are five key benefits:

  1. Enhanced Asset Protection: Each Series LLC operates independently with its own assets and liabilities. This segregation provides a shield, protecting each series from the liabilities of others.
  2. Cost Efficiency: Registering a Series LLC often costs less than setting up multiple separate LLCs. This structure also reduces ongoing administrative and maintenance costs.
  3. Operational Flexibility: Series LLCs offer the flexibility to run different business lines or ventures under one roof. Each series can have distinct members, managers, and business operations, providing a clear separation of business activities.
  4. Simplified Administration: Despite the segregation of assets and operations, the overarching structure of a Series LLC simplifies administrative tasks. E.g. you typically only need to file one annual report for the entire Series LLC and not for each series.
  5. Privacy: Depending on the state’s laws, some Series LLCs may not require each series to be publicly registered, offering a degree of privacy for the owners.

Risks of a Series LLC

While a Series LLC brings a host of advantages, it’s essential to be aware of the potential risks and complexities. Here are five key areas to consider:

  1. Limited Legal Precedent: As a relatively new type of business entity, there’s limited legal precedent regarding Series LLCs. This lack of legal clarity can lead to uncertainty in dispute resolution or bankruptcy situations.
  2. Varied State Recognition: Not all states recognize Series LLCs, which can complicate interstate business operations. It’s unclear how jurisdictions that don’t recognize this structure will treat individual series.
  3. Complex Management: Managing a Series LLC can be complex due to the need for separate records, bank accounts, and financial statements for each series.
  4. Potential for Piercing the Corporate Veil: If you fail to maintain a strict separation between each series or between the Series LLC and your personal affairs, a court may pierce the corporate veil, holding you personally liable for business debts.
  5. Uncertain Tax Treatment: The IRS treats each series as a separate entity for tax purposes, but state tax treatment can vary. This inconsistency can create complexity and potential risks in tax planning and compliance.

Optimize Your Series LLCs

The Series LLC structure offers a unique blend of asset protection and operational versatility. But, in order to leverage these benefits fully, one must stay on top of their finances and legal obligations, which is a cumbersome responsibility for many. 

To take this burden off your shoulders, consider joining forces with doola! Our expertise lies in catering to the unique accounting and bookkeeping requirements of Series LLCs. 

From managing distinct financial records for each series to ensuring compliance and delivering valuable financial insights — we make navigating the intricacies of a Series LLC a breeze — letting you concentrate on propelling your business forward.

Contact us today for a free consultation with one of our bookkeeping experts. 


How much does it cost to form a series LLC?

The cost of forming a Series LLC can range from $70 to $850 depending on the state in which you choose to start your LLC. 

How long does it take to set up a series LLC?

The time it takes to set up a Series LLC also varies depending on the state and the complexity of the formation process, but it typically takes a few weeks to complete all the necessary steps.

What is a series LP?

A series LP, or a series limited partnership, is a concept similar to Series LLC but is structured as a limited partnership. 

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