July 5, 2024

Selling on Amazon: Do You Need an LLC in 2024? 

Wondering if you need an LLC to sell on Amazon in 2024? Our blog covers everything you need to know, from legal requirements to the benefits of forming an LLC. Get clear, actionable insights to make informed decisions for your Amazon business.
Selling on Amazon: Do You Need an LLC in 2024? 
Selling on Amazon: Do You Need an LLC in 2024? 

Are you a beginner or seasoned entrepreneur looking to sell on Amazon? You may be thinking of the requirements needed to sell on Amazon and are wondering if you need an LLC.

Well to clear this up quickly, you do not need an LLC to sell on Amazon. You can easily start your Amazon business with your name as a sole proprietor. However, an LLC can provide numerous benefits which might interest you. 

Stick around as we go through what an LLC is and how it can impact your Amazon business. We will also look at what you should consider setting up an LLC and the steps to take in setting up an LLC. 

What is an LLC? 

An LLC (Limited Liability Company) is a popular type of business structure that offers its owners (members)  liability protection for the activities of their business. 

In other words, LLC prevents you from being responsible for any debts or lawsuits your business may experience. So, if someone sues your company, they won't be able to take your personal assets. 

LLCs allow for a wide range of ownership structures. So, members of your LLC  can include individuals, corporations, other LLCs, and even foreign entities. There is no limit to the number of members an LLC can have, making it suitable for single-owner businesses as well as larger corporations with multiple owners.

This business structure is recognized by state statutes across the United States, although the specific regulations and requirements can vary from one jurisdiction to another. 

What is a sole proprietorship? 

A sole proprietorship is the simplest and most common business structure run solely by one individual. There is no legal distinction between the business and the owner, meaning the owner is entitled to all profits but is also responsible for the business’s debts, losses, and liabilities. 

The difference between LLCs and sole proprietorships 

While a sole proprietorship offers no legal separation between the business and the owner, meaning the owner is personally liable for all business debts and obligations, LLCs provide limited liability protection, separating the business entity from the personal assets of its owners. This means that the owner's personal assets are generally protected from any business debt and lawsuit. 

Also, sole proprietors report business income and expenses on their tax returns, while LLCs offer flexible taxation options and benefits. 

Do I need an LLC to sell on Amazon? 

No, you do not need an LLC to sell on Amazon in 2024. You can simply set up your Amazon Seller account and start selling products as a sole proprietor. This means that your personal assets will not be separate from your Amazon business. 

You also do not need any business license to sell on Amazon. However, some states or local governments may require some documentation to confirm the legitimacy of your business. 

Also, if you want to sell some types of products (e.g. branded products) on Amazon, you will need to have a registered trademark and enroll under the Amazon Brand Registry

Generally, an LLC can make it easier to get a registered trademark. Overall, we recommend that you speak to an accountant or attorney to ensure you tick all the boxes. 

Benefits of an LLC for selling on Amazon

Setting up an LLC to sell on Amazon offers several significant benefits:

  • Limited liability protection: An LLC separates your personal assets from your Amazon business assets, protecting your personal belongings, such as your home, cars, etc, from being used to satisfy business debts or liabilities. This is very important especially if your business faces a lawsuit, incurs debts, or experiences financial difficulties. 

  • Taxation benefits: LLCs are considered pass-through entities. This means your Amazon business's profits and losses are reported on your personal tax return, potentially simplifying tax filing and lowering your overall tax burden.

  • Better credibility: Operating your Amazon business as an LLC can enhance your image as a professional and trustworthy seller. This can be particularly beneficial when dealing with customers, suppliers, and potential business partners. Overall, it adds a layer of legitimacy to your operations. 

  • Flexible management: LLCs offer flexibility in how you manage your business. You can either manage the LLC yourself (member-managed) or appoint dedicated individuals (managers) to oversee operations. This flexibility allows you to structure your business in a way that best suits your needs and goals. 

When should you consider an LLC for your Amazon business 

As an Amazon seller, you may need to consider an LLC in these situations: 

  1. Commitment to growth

If you're committed to expanding your Amazon business, forming an LLC is a strategic move. As you make more sales and profits, the financial and legal risks increase. You want to protect your personal assets as you grow and face new challenges. 

  1. Increasing sales

As your sales volume increases, especially if it's doing so consistently month over month, moving to an LLC becomes more beneficial. It gives you a structured framework for managing your growth and scaling your business. 

  1. High-risk products

If you sell products that carry a high risk of injury or damage, such as sporting goods, health and wellness items, and supplements, forming an LLC is crucial. It shields you from personal liability in case of product-related lawsuits or claims. 

  1. Business partners

If you plan to involve business partners, forming an LLC is essential. It defines the rights and responsibilities of each partner, providing a clear legal structure. 

  1. Separating personal and business assets

If you just want to avoid the legal risks that can come as you sell an Amazon, an LLC can help you separate your personal assets from your business assets and offer protection in case of business-related legal issues or financial difficulties. 

  1. Building credibility and trust

If you want to enhance your business's credibility among customers, suppliers, and potential investors, setting up an LLC is a great move. 

  1. Legal and financial protection

The main benefit of an LLC is the legal protection it offers. You can shield your personal assets from being used to pay off business debts or liabilities. This is particularly important in the volatile environment of online marketplaces like Amazon, where product liability lawsuits are quite common. 

How to set up an LLC for your Amazon business

If you've decided that you need an LLC to sell on Amazon, here is a simple guide to help you set up an LLC: 

Step 1: Choose a unique business name

First, you will need to select a name for your LLC that is unique within your state and reflects your brand. You want to check your Secretary of State's website to make sure the name is not already in use by another company in your jurisdiction. 

Step 2: Appoint a registered agent 

You want to appoint a registered agent to receive legal documents on behalf of your business. This can be an individual or a professional service. A registered agent is required in most states to maintain compliance with state laws. 

Step 3: File formation documents 

Next, fill out the forms on the site and submit the necessary formation documents to your state's Secretary of State. These documents typically include the Articles of Organization and may require payment of a filing fee that typically ranges from $50 to $500. Once done, wait for confirmation of LLC approval. 

Step 4: Obtain an EIN

Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS. This is crucial for opening a business bank account and for tax purposes. 

To apply for an EIN: 

  • Visit the IRS website and go to the section where you can apply for an EIN online. 
  • Fill in all the required information including your LLC’s legal business name, mailing address, and so on.
  • Once you've completed your application, submit it and you will receive your EIN immediately. 
  • You can decide to apply by mail or fax. Simply download the Form SS-4, fill it and mail or fax it to the IRS. You may need to wait up to four weeks if you applied by mail and up to four business days if you applied via fax. 

Step 5: Obtain any required licenses and permits 

You want to ensure that you obtain licenses and permits that are required in your industry, local government, or state. These could be a sales tax permit or any professional license related to your industry on Amazon. 

Step 6: Create an Operating Agreement

Next, you will need to draft an operating agreement, which outlines the ownership and management structure of your LLC. The document should define the roles and responsibilities among members, profit distribution, voting rights, and so on. 

Step 7: Open a business bank account

Use your EIN to create your business bank account. This account will help you keep your personal and business finances separate. It will also help you manage your finances effectively and comply with tax regulations. 

Costs for setting up an LLC for your Amazon business 

Setting up an LLC comes with numerous benefits but not without costs. It involves some upfront costs as well as some ongoing fees. Here is a breakdown of some fees you need to keep in mind before setting up an LLC for your Amazon business:

  1. State filing fees: The cost to file the Articles of Organization for your LLC varies significantly by state and ranges from around $50 to $500.
  2. Registered agent service: If you decide to work with a professional registered agent service, you will need to pay an annual fee. This can vary widely, ranging from $50 to $300 annually. 
  3. Annual report fee: Most states require LLCs to file an annual report, which comes with a fee. This fee can range from $10 to $100 per year, depending on the state. 
  4. Franchise tax: Some states impose a franchise tax on LLCs, which is essentially a minimum tax that doesn't depend on the income of the business. This fee can range from $20 to several hundred dollars annually. 
  5. Business licenses and permits: If your industry requires that you get a license or permit, you will need to factor in the fees for these licenses and permits.  

Final thoughts 

An LLC for your Amazon business can be a wise move if you're serious about growth, dealing with high-risk products, planning to involve business partners, or aiming to separate your personal and business assets. It comes with legal and financial protections, and better credibility and is a valuable structure for if you're looking to safeguard and grow your Amazon business.

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