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DBA/Fictitious Name Form & LLCs

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I’m trying to keep a low profile on running my home based LLC business and want to distance my name and home from the business, and am domestically filing an LLC in Pennsylvania.

Does anyone know if:

1) Is it legal to put a CMRA down as a “principal place of business” even though no records are kept there? I called the PA Dept. of State and all they said was “it can’t be a PO Box” but the gentleman on the phone said he didn’t see why a CMRA would be a problem as long as there was a street address. I researched the PA statute and it does use the term “principal place of business” which in other places of the PA code talks about records being held there. So this may be something that is technically true, but the state looks the other way regarding. How about using a storage unit facility as the principal place of business? The problem is that most of them don’t allow mail delivery. I called a “virtual office” provider (REGUS) but they don’t offer “lockers” where you can store anything.

2) There are a lot of fictitious name filings I found on the Pennsylvania web site that are “owned” by LLCs WITHOUT any individuals listed. Even the public notice ads don’t always list the INDIVIDUALS, only the LLC! Again, this seems to defy the actual form which requires “individuals interested in the business” to be listed as well as entities, but the Dept. of State seems to file them anyway. Is there a big risk just putting the entity name down on the form and not the individual’s name?

Where can I get a straight answer to these questions? The last attorney I went to charged me $150 for an initial consultation and wants another $1000 to form a “legal opinion” regarding it!

JJ Luna Responds:

Well, Jim, it so happens that I just spoke to John, my attorney, three hours ago about a small-business idea I am checking out.

As far as I know, ALL states requires records to be kept at the "principal place of business" including the operating agreement, tax returns etc. My plan is to rent an office in the Canary Islands where such records could be kept in a locked filing cabinet.

Mail could also be received there, if necessary, perhaps even telephone calls.

With the principal office overseas, no one could serve a subpoena there, demanding to see the records. Further, I'd use some village on Lanzarote island because Google Street View does not cover that island--only Gran Canaria and Tenerife.

Is this legal? John will check it out when he has time, perhaps in a week or so.

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