Nebraska is a well-known destination for outdoor adventures.
But that’s not all. Nebraska also boasts leading global billionaires, including Warren Buffett (aka the ‘Oracle of Omaha’) and Henry Davis, owner of the Omaha Steak meat delivery company.
The state also provides good infrastructure, favorable business laws, and active support for new businesses. The Cornhusker State offers a unique blend of opportunity, affordability, and a below-national-average cost of doing business.
Over 180,988 small businesses operate in the state alongside big corporations like Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, Union Pacific, and Kiewit.
If you want to add your venture to that list, this guide explains how to start a limited liability company (LLC) in Nebraska.
Steps to open an LLC in Nebraska
- Step 1: Choose a business name for your Nebraska LLC
- Step 2: Designate a registered agent
- Step 3: File the Nebraska LLC Articles of Organization
- Step 4: Obtain an Employer Identification Number from the IRS
- Step 5: Register with the Nebraska Department of Revenue and Labor
- Step 6: Prepare an LLC operating agreement
- Step 7: Open a Nebraska business bank account
Step 1: Choose a business name for your Nebraska LLC
Naming is a big decision for new businesses. Your company name must be brandable and reflect what you do.
Legally, your Nebraska LLC name must also be distinguishable from other registered business entities.
To comply with Nebraska naming requirements, your business name must end with the phrase limited liability company or one of its abbreviations — L.L.C, LLC, or LC.
Use Nebraska’s Online Corporate & Business Search tool to do a name search and verify that the selected name is available and distinguishable.
If you’re not ready to file company formation documents just yet, the state allows you to reserve a business name for 120 days.
To place a reservation, complete the Application for Reservation of LLC Name online and pay the $30 filing fee.
Also, consider getting a domain name. It’s best to buy one before incorporation to prevent domain squatters from snagging it.
To register a trade name in Nebraska, file an application form with the Secretary of State online and pay the $100 filing fee. In-person applications cost $110.
You’ll also need to place a notice in a local newspaper that you’ll be using the trade name. And you’ll need to do this quickly because you only have 45 days to let the Secretary of State (SOS) know that you have completed the required publication.
Step 2: Designate a registered agent
Nebraska requires every LLC to designate a registered agent to accept legal notices, service of process, and other official correspondence.
You can appoint an individual or a legal entity as your registered agent in Nebraska. The critical requirements are that appointee has:
- At least 18 years of age
- A physical address in the state (not a P.O. box)
They also must be present and available during regular business hours year-round to accept service of process.
You can be your company’s registered agent, common with single-member LLCs. But if you go this route, you’ll need to meet all the requirements for Nebraska registered agents. Your name and registered office address also become the public record.
Nonetheless, having lawsuits or subpoenas served at your office can negatively impact your business. You won’t be able to travel either. It may breach your privacy.
Because of the above, many business owners hire a commercial registered agent service.
Advantages of using a professional service:
- Receive paperwork on your behalf discreetly instead of being served in front of your customers.
- Available during regular business hours, you have the freedom to conduct your business meetings and run errands.
- Professional assistance with ongoing LLC compliance and administrative matters.
Nebraska registered agent services charge $50-$300 per year. But the advantages significantly outweigh these costs.
Step 3: File the Nebraska LLC Articles of Organization
To form an LLC in Nebraska, you must file your Articles of Organization (also known as the Certificate of Organization) with the local Secretary of State.
The state has a convenient eDelivery service for online filings.
To complete LLC formation, you’ll need to provide the following information:
- Your LLC name and mailing address
- Registered agent’s name and address
- The preferred effective date for your LLC
You’ll need to create and upload your Articles of Organization as a PDF file. Nebraska doesn’t have a standard Articles of Organization form.
Your Articles of Organization should comply with Nebraska statutes and outline the nature of your business and company management structure.
The state filing fee is $100 online and $110 by mail.
Notice of publication
Nebraska law requires a Notice of Publication for all new businesses, including LLCs. The notice must run for three straight weeks in a generally circulated newspaper in the county where you’ve registered.
The Notice of Publication must include your LLC’s name, address, date of establishment, and a short note on the nature of your business.
Publication prices vary depending on the location of the newspaper. Most legal Nebraska newspapers charge per line with costs ranging from $40 to $250.
After publishing the notice, a local newspaper must provide an affidavit or proof of publication.
Scan the affidavit of publication, save it as a PDF document, and upload it to the Nebraska SOS Corporate Document eDelivery site to file online.
If you can’t scan the affidavit, mail it to the SOS with a money order or check. The state filing fee is $25 online and $30 by mail.
Step 4: Obtain an EIN (Employer Identification Number) from the IRS
You LLC may need a federal Employer Identification Number (EIN).
This nine-digit number acts like a Social Security Number and helps the IRS get you set up to pay federal taxes and hire employees.
EIN registration is mandatory for multi-member LLCs. But it’s optional for single-member LLCs without employees.
Use the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website to apply for an EIN online. It’s the quickest way.
- Enter information about your LLC
- Select how you’d like to receive your EIN confirmation letter
- Review and submit your application
You’ll get a message confirming that an EIN has been assigned to your LLC, and you can save or print a PDF copy of the confirmation letter.
EIN registration is free.
Step 5: Register with the Nebraska Department of Revenue and Department of Labor
Under Nebraska law, you’re required to register with two tax authorities if you sell goods and collect sales tax or you have employees.
- Nebraska Department of Revenue. You need to register with them to get a state tax ID for paying sales tax, employee tax withholding, and other state business taxes.
- Department of Labor. LLCs with employees need to register for unemployment insurance tax.
Both registrations are quick and can be done online.
Step 6: Prepare an LLC operating agreement
Next, you’ll want to create an LLC operating agreement.
While an operating agreement is not a legally required document for Nebraska LLCs, it helps you:
- Define operating procedures for all members to follow
- Outline a clear succession plan in case the owner or a member leaves the company
- Build a reputational advantage for your new company
- Resolve legal disputes without invoking Nebraska law
- Secure funding from lenders and investors
You can create your operating agreement for your business, work with a corporate attorney to draft one for you, or buy a customizable online agreement template.
Step 7: Open a Nebraska business bank account
A business bank account is necessary to start receiving money from your customers.
A separate business bank account prevents commingling funds and helps you maintain your personal liability protection.
Several Nebraska banks offer business checking accounts for LLCs. When comparing options, consider factors like minimum opening balances, fees, or bank location preferences. Also, look for extra final tools to support your business growth.
Popular Nebraska banks:
- Great Western Bank: Free checking account, no monthly service fee, $50 minimum deposit.
- Arbor Bank: Free checking account, no balance requirement, 300 free debits, and deposited items per month.
- Wells Fargo: minimum balance $25, checking fees $10.
Nebraska LLC taxes, costs, and fees
Now that you’ve formed your Nebraska LLC, you’ll need to remain compliant and in good standing with the state.
It involves submitting a biennial report due by April 1 of odd-numbered years.
On the federal level, LLCs enjoy pass-through taxation, meaning the profits pass through to the members and are claimed as personal income on their individual tax returns. Most LLCs won’t pay corporate income taxes at the federal or state level.
But you must pay state taxes if your LLC sells taxable goods or services, has employees, or is liable for other types of local taxes.
Nebraska business permits and licenses
You’ll need to make sure your business has all the legal licenses and permits required by the state.
On a state level, there isn’t a general business license. But some occupations and business activities require specific licenses or permits.
For example, Nebraska wholesalers in the cigarette and tobacco industry pay $500 for a license plus a $10,000 surety bond.
Professional licenses also vary in cost depending on the industry. For instance, a nursing license costs $123, while an architect pays $150.
Nebraska Secretary of State provides exhaustive information on all business licensing requirements and application procedures.
Pros and cons of forming an LLC in Nebraska
Starting an LLC in Nebraska comes with some cool perks, but there are drawbacks too.
Here’s a quick summary.
Nebraska LLC pros
- Online company incorporation process
- Annual reports due every two years
- No minimal annual franchise tax
- Affordable LLC formation costs
Nebraska LLC cons
- Notice of publication requirement
- High trade name registration cost
- Relatively high sales tax rate
- The cost to start a Nebraska limited liability company is $100 online and $110 by mail.
- It typically takes 2-3 business days to receive approval for online filings and up to 10 days by mail.
- Nebraska LLCs must publish a Notice of Publication for three consecutive weeks in a generally circulated newspaper in the county where the company operates.
- A biennial report is required by April 1 of every odd-numbered year.
Nebraska LLC FAQs
Here are some of the frequently asked questions (FAQs) about forming a Nebraska LLC.