Setting up an LLC in CA

6 Replies

Hello,

I’m buying my first rental property in OH.

I set up an LLC in California but now I hear it's best if I set up the LLC in the state I'm buying my property.

Has anyone bought a property in another state being from CA, if so please share your experience.

Thank You

If you live in CA, then simply set up LLC in CA and purchase out of state property using the LLC(s). For many non CA residents, it is better to set up Ohio LLC only.

CA tax code is different. Even if you use Ohio LLC, but given you live in CA (operate Ohio LLC from CA), you will be taxed CA Franchise tax on the Ohio LLC (plus whatever you pay for Ohio LLC). You can not avoid the CA franchise tax as long as you live in CA. For non CA residents, they only pay Ohio LLC money, nothing at their home state, thus better to set up LLC at property state.

@Luis Torrico

California is a sort of beastly state when it comes to taxes and filings. Even if you create a non-CA LLC, if you are managing the business from California, you will likely be deemed to be "doing business" in California and therefore likely subject to CA taxes. California charges a minimum tax of $800 a year per LLC, and more if you have gross receipts in excess of $250k. So, if you create an LLC in another state, you will likely need to register it as a foreign LLC in California. Though, this process will be the same for the other state (if you created a CA LLC you may need to register it as a foreign LLC in the state in which you are doing business/holding property). This means that you will need to pay registration and filing fees in at least 2 states if you don't buy CA property.

This article goes into a lot of the considerations about whether to form an LLC or not: https://www.mmpph.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/May-2019-newsletter.pdf

Be sure to tell your accountant that you may now need to file non-resident income tax returns in each state where you own property as well. Most likely the state where the property is located is where lawsuits would be brought if they are something for personal injury like a trip and fall or something of that nature because the “cause of action” arose in that state. So even if you pick a state with stronger protections like WY or NV, the cause of action arose in the state where the tenant fell, so likely that the court where the accident happened would have jurisdiction.

California tends to have more laws on the books and requirements and restrictions that it can be a good idea to form a CA LLC for out of state property so that you as a CA resident are covered, and to try to have your contracts fall under the purview of CA courts. It also is helpful to have a California LLC in case you ever sell that property and move into another state so that you do not need to form a new LLC altogether with new operating agreement, just re-register in the new state as a new foreign LLC. Also, the state of formation is likely where internal disputes would be brought among LLC members, so if you and a partner live in CA, you probably want to arbitrate in CA if the two of you had a disagreement. But, that is not always the right answer and you should speak with someone familiar with your personal situation to get advice specific to you.

*This post is informational only and is not to be relied upon. Readers are advised to seek professional advice. This post does not create an attorney-client or CPA-client relationship.


Originally posted by @Luis Torrico :

Hello,

I’m buying my first rental property in OH.

I set up an LLC in California but now I hear it's best if I set up the LLC in the state I'm buying my property.

Has anyone bought a property in another state being from CA, if so please share your experience.

Thank You

 Which part of Ohio?

Most CA based investors that I speak with are better off not using an LLC, whether the LLC is formed in California, or formed in another state where the properties are located. Check with a California based CPA that has background in RE investment, but my understanding is that California assesses an annual tax on LLCs that has a minimum tax of $800.00. I further understand that this tax is applied to LLCs formed in other states, even if the LLC has no other ties to CA except for being owned by a CA resident. If this applies to your particular set of circumstances, you're probably better off not using the LLC but instead carrying stronger insurance coverage to provide you with liability and asset protection.

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