Inc Authority LLC Formation Service
As a new business owner, navigating the ins and outs of getting started isn’t always easy. You have an endless to-do list that seems to grow by the second and you probably have more questions than you can count.
It’s 18-hour days, confusing legal jargon, and number crunching. Lying awake at night trying to figure out what you forgot to do that day. Wondering if you filed your taxes correctly. It’s pulling your hair out trying to get (and keep) everything organized.
If you’re nodding your head in agreement, you’re not alone.
But being a business owner is also the freedom of working for yourself. Bringing your dreams and vision to life. Working hard every day to make an impact and illicit change in your community. And rolling out of bed excited to get to work.
Starting a new business IS scary and complex but filing and forming your LLC doesn’t have to be. There are countless LLC formation services to choose from that help make the process easy.
Inc Authority is one of those companies. With a client list of 130,000+ entities and thousands of online five-star reviews, they’re a powerhouse in their industry and know how to get the job done, but should you use them?
In this review, I cover the ups and downs of their service, pricing what I like and don’t like, and more. By the end, you’ll know whether Inc Authority LLC service is the right choice for bringing your LLC (and lifelong dream) to life.
So, let’s dive in!
- Free LLC formation
- 24-hour processing
- Free tax planning consultation
- Good customer support team (A specialist called within 10 minutes of signing up to chat about what happens next)
- Free business name check
- Free registered agent service (first year)
- Numerous upsells (with a lot of incorrect information)
- Limited customer support
- Charge for EIN
Inc Authority Review 2023
Inc Authority Pricing
Rating: 4 out of 5 starsWhile Inc Authority’s free plan offers great value and most of their upsells are fairly priced, pricing for the Starter Business Bundle and Fast Track Bundle are way too much for what is included.
Basic Plan – $0 plus state LLC filing fees
Unlike a lot of business entity formation services, Inc Authority has a free basic entity formation package. They offer the entity setup service for free in the hopes you’ll gain trust in them and use them for other services down the road.
Included in the free plan is:
- Filing the LLC paperwork with the state
- 24-hour processing
- Registered agent in the first year
- Business name check
- S corporation election form (this is the only business formation service that I know of that provides this for free)
While basic entity formation is free, they offer numerous upgrades and add-ons, which include:
- An EIN number ($49)
- An operating agreement ($89)
- Legal documents ($99)
- Minutes and resolutions ($99)
- 24 hour express processing ($0 – normally $49)
- Online business presence ($10)
- Inc Success Advisor ($197/year)
Starter Business Bundle – $399 plus state LLC filing fees
- Registered Agent Service (1yr)
- Verify Business Name Availability
- Custom State Filed Articles
- Complete Operating Agreement or Bylaws
- Deluxe Record Book
- Ownership or Stock Certificates
- Initial Meeting Minutes & Resolutions
- EIN/Tax ID Number
- Corporate Forms Package
- Annual Compliance Notifications
- Professional Tax Consultation
- Web Domain + 5 Email Addresses
Fast Track Business Bundle – $499 plus state LLC filing fees
- All Starter Plan services, plus
- INC Success Advisor Package
- Private Banking Specialist
- Personalized Business Advice
- Expedited State Filing
Which Inc Authority LLC package should I choose?
To be honest, the free LLC formation services in Basic Inc Authority package are all you really need to start a business. The premium plans are very expensive for what they offer, and many of the services you more than likely don’t really need or can do yourself at little to no cost yourself. For instance, you can get your EIN at no cost when registering directly from the IRS.
How easy is it to form an LLC with Inc Authority?
Rating: 3 out of 5 starsIt’s easy enough to form an LLC with Inc Authority, and I would have rated them higher, but wading through the multiple upsells that are full of incorrect information is upsetting.
To be honest, setting up your LLC with Inc Authority is pretty easy. You can form the LLC directly with the state as well, but some states are easier that others to complete the paperwork. The formation process is easy (though the upsells I struggle with – I’ll show why in a bit).
First, getting started is easy. On their home page, there’s a bright green button that says “Start Now for Free”. From there, they ask what type of entity you want to form and the state you want to file in.
After that, you move on to step two, where you are asked a number of questions about your business.
Your exact industry may not be listed, or you may fall under multiple choices, so choose the business type that most closely matches the main activity of your business.
If you plan to hire employees, enter yes, as this will guide Inc Authority to set up the business.
This is an upsell disguised as a legitimate business formation question. Their merchant pricing may be good, but I recommend looking at a few other providers to compare pricing before picking one.
Another service where they will make a good amount of money by referring you, and I know a lot of people will consider using their 401k to fund their business, but I recommend talking with a financial planner as this may not be your best source of business funding, not to mention a potential disaster for your retirement if the business fails.
Enter your name, email address, and phone number. If there will be any additional co-owners or partners, click on the “+” and add their information.
Next, enter the name you want to use for your LLC and briefly describe what your business will do. Every state requires that the name be unique to other LLCs in the state, but Inc Authority will double-check to verify the name is available before submitting the paperwork.
Enter the address for the business. If you don’t have a location yet, you will need a physical address, such as your home address, but a PO Box isn’t allowed by any state.
Next, you will register for an Inc Authority account.
This leads us to the registered agent service. Free is an appealing offer, but if you don’t plan to use the service after the first year, I wouldn’t recommend signing up as you have to file a form and often pay a state filing fee to change the registered agent.
The website shows the registered agent as being a $179 value, but the cost to renew is only $99, which is a very good price.
Next, we are asked about signing up for an Employer Identification Number and this is where things start going very wrong.
Inc Authority incorrectly states that an EIN is required for an LLC.
An EIN is only required if your LLC is owned by multiple people or elects corporate tax status. Otherwise, the LLC can use the owner’s social security number. The social security number can be used for an LLC to open a bank account and file a tax return. Also, the LLC is what provides liability protection, not the EIN.
What’s sad is that their price of $49 is a great price compared to many other formation companies (though I show how to apply for an EIN yourself at no cost), this scare tactic makes me wonder about the integrity of Inc Authority.
Continuing to go downhill, the next upsell is for an operating agreement.
Not all banks will require an LLC operating agreement.
An operating agreement is an internal document that outlines the framework of how the entity will operate. This document is required by a few states for LLCs, however a good idea to prepare one, especially for LLCs with multiple owners or investors. I don’t usually recommend a generic operating agreement template, especially if there are investors or multiple owners, and to instead work with an attorney to develop a custom operating agreement.
Providing new business owners with incorrect information who are already uncertain of all the requirements is irresponsible.
Going to the next screen, you are again pressured into another upsell.
This upsell is for a legal documents package that claims lawsuit protection. Yes, you should have your legal documents in one place, but it’s a stretch to say that having custom ownership certificates is going to protect your business, especially for a single-member LLC.
You can create your own organization system using office supplies you probably already have on hand or if you want the organization, you can also find one on Amazon with the binder, operating agreement, and membership certificates for only $50.
Yet another upsell, yet another stretch of the truth.
While minutes are required for corporations, there is no legal requirement for an LLC to have meetings or take minutes. One of the benefits of having an LLC is that it provides liability protection without the requirements of a corporation.
A resolution is a written record of an important decision made and approved by the members of an LLC. A common resolution is for the LLC to authorize a member to have access to the company bank account, and most banks give you one at no cost to fill out.
At last, we get to a screen where there is value. Inc Authority submits the LLC paperwork to the state within 24 hours. Unlike other entity formation companies like ZenBusiness, which holds the paperwork and tries to sell expedited services, this is a good offer.
If you are counting, we have reached upsell number 7, where we are asked about establishing an online presence. Inc Authority offers their website creator, brand protection, and domain registration for the limited time price of $10. I can’t find details on what the renewal price is, but $10 isn’t a bad deal.
The next upsell is for Inc Success Advisor, where for $197 you have unlimited phone and email support. I can’t find any information regarding the qualifications of the Success Advisor or whether they can actually provide legal advice. The bullet point regarding support for business banking, credit cards, and funding sounds like another upsell opportunity.
If you are looking for one-on-one advice, I would recommend using the no-cost services of the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) or SCORE, which are programs funded through the Small Business Administration. These advisors are free to talk with and are actually qualified to do so.
And then, finally, the last upsell is the Bank of America business checking account. You can get money by signing up for an account, but if you don’t have a local branch, I would probably consider skipping this upsell, but the incentive will likely offset your state fees.
What I Like About Inc Authority
Aside from their wicked-easy process, several things stood out about my experience. So, I want to walk through them and explain the benefits of using Inc Authority to set up your LLC.
1. Free Business Formation
It’s no secret there are a lot of unexpected expenses when it comes to starting a new business. And, as a new business owner, money is tight. Odds are, you don’t have extra cash to spend on things you could otherwise get done for free.
Inc Authority is one company that offers free LLC formation (plus state fees of course).
2. 24-hour processing
Inc Authority files the formation paperwork within 24 hours. Some other formation companies hold the paperwork unless you pay for a higher-priced plan. This does not mean the LLC will be formed in 24 hours, as the processing time in each state will vary.
3. Tax Planning Consultation
Included at no cost with Inc Authority is meeting with a tax planner. Taxes are always an important subject when starting a business, and it is nice to get another point of view about any tax questions you have, especially with which tax election to go with.
4. Customer Support
During the signup process, they remind you they have a customer support team to help if you need it. Although their operating hours are from 6 am – 5 pm (PST) Monday through Friday, a representative called me around 6pm CST as I was going through the process. The rep seemed somewhat knowledgeable and was able to answer some basic questions.
Some people are going to find this phone call useful, and others will find it annoying. It’s important to note that while they weren’t pushy, the real reason for the call was to sell me additional services. Since there is often a lot of uncertainty when starting a business, it is an easy way to sell additional services.
5. Free Business Name Check
You spent countless hours (if not days) deciding on the perfect name for your business. Imagine the devastation of filing your Limited Liability Company only to realize someone else is already using the name. Or realize after the fact that you made a typo amidst all your excitement!
To prevent this, Inc Authority runs a name check for other entities in your state and checks for common misspellings. So, you can rest easy knowing everything is spelled correctly and no one else is already using it BEFORE you pay to have it filed.
6. Free Registered Agent Service (For One Year)
All registered business entities have to provide a physical address for receiving legal documents and communications by mail. But, if you run your business online, you may not have a permanent business address to give.
Many business owners don’t like the idea of listing their name and home address to be on public record. And I don’t blame you. This is where a registered agent service comes in and saves the day, and your privacy, in a lot of cases. This protection varies as many states also require the member’s name and address to be listed.
This service is free for new entities for one year with the option to pay and extend these services after they expire. The current renewal price is $99 per year, which is very competitive.
Related: What is a Registered Agent and When do I Need One?
What I Don’t Like About Inc Authority
As with every business out there, the bad comes with the good. During my experience with Inc Authority, I found several things I didn’t like. In light of full transparency, I want to share these with you and talk about why they matter.
1. Numerous Upsells Throughout the Registration Process
Because they operate using an “always free” model, Inc Authority makes money by offering extra services and upgrades throughout the registration process. While this isn’t inherently a bad thing, many of the upgrades aren’t a good idea or can be done elsewhere for free.
What bothers me the most is that, in my opinion, the upsells are misleading, and many new business owners may not realize this. So, they may be “tricked” into paying extra for things they don’t actually need. Additionally, many of the upgrades they offer are blanket templates that won’t cover every type of business and could end up being a waste of money.
If you decline the upsells, at the end of the registration process, Inc Authority will offer a bundle of the EIN, online business presence, and operating agreement for $77.
2. Limited Customer Support Availability
Inc Authority’s customer service hours are limited to 6 am – 5 pm (PST) Monday through Friday. But, many business owners (myself included) don’t work normal hours. You may have a question at 7 o’clock in the evening, but you’ll have to wait until the morning for an answer.
While this may not be an issue for many people, it can be frustrating to experience a problem outside of their business hours and have to wait for support.
This is especially true if you pay for consultation services or 1-1 support.
3. They Charge $49 for an EIN/Tax Identification Number
As a new business owner, you may not realize you can get an EIN number for free through the IRS. Yet, Inc Authority offers this service as an upgrade for $49. This offer may be tempting for someone who doesn’t know they can easily get it for free.
Pro-tip: Instead of paying Inc Authority, learn how to apply for an EIN for free from the IRS.
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Inc Authority Customer Feedback
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 starsDespite the shady upsells, Inc Authority seems to have a lot of good reviews and happy customers.
Better Business Bureau (BBB)
There isn’t a lot to go off of through the Better Business Bureau. You may notice that this business is not BBB accredited, and while that sounds bad, it means Inc Authority hasn’t paid to be a member. What I look for is customer reviews, but in this case, there are only 3, with a 1.33/5 review.
Inc Authority has four reviews on the Better Business Bureau and none of them are positive. The most recent one says:
Inc Authority has 1,553 Google reviews with an average of 4.5 stars. Overall, the responses are positive, and many mention the in-depth care and helpful guidance they received from their case manager.
The first positive Google review mentions Ty Robertson, who is mentioned in several reviews as being helpful.
Then a negative review says:
Then there are thousands of five-star Inc Authority reviews, with around 97% being average or better.
The first positive review mentions that even though the LLC name they wanted wasn’t available, the Inc Authority customer support helped get a name that was available.
The first negative Trustpilot review complains about being charged for a subscription they didn’t want.
I have reviewed Inc Authority in the past, and in the last review, I thought they were a good option.
That was then.
But now, even though Inc Authority has a lot of positives compared to other formation companies, such as a super high customer satisfaction rating, 24 hour processing, and free and well-priced services, I do not recommend using them because I have a big problem with how they word their upsells with statements that aren’t true. After doing several reviews and using multiple services, this comes across to me as a way to scare new business owners to sign up for items they may not need.
They lost my trust in what I feel is them trying to make a quick buck. There are several other free LLC formation services that, in my opinion, operate with more integrity and do a great job, most specifically, Incfile and ZenBusiness. For a little more ($39 plus state fee), you could go with Northwest for additional privacy protection and one super short page for upsells.
If Inc Authority still seems like a company you want to use to establish your LLC though, you can click here to get started.
Common Questions About Inc Authority
How does Inc Authority compare to other formation services?
Despite the great online reputation of customers who used Inc Authority, in my opinion, you are better off filing directly with your state or Incfile and ZenBusiness (who also offer free LLC formation services). I feel the upsells at Inc Authority as written in a way to scare new business owners into signing up for services that they may not need.
How legit is Inc Authority?
Inc Authority is a legit entity formation company that started in 1989 and has high marks from customer reviews, such as over 20,000 reviews on Trustpilot with over 93% with a 5-star rating.
How long does it take Inc Authority to process your LLC formation order?
Inc Authority is running a no-cost upgrade where they will send the LLC paperwork to the state within 24 hours. The actual time for the LLC to be active is dependent on the state.
How much do registered agent services cost from Inc Authority?
A registered agent is provided free of charge when forming your LLC through Inc Authority, and only $99 each year after that, which is a good price compared to the other entity formation companies and registered agent services.