IncFile LLC Formation Service
It’s Saturday evening, and you’re sitting around a campfire telling your friends about this great idea you have. You’re excited, they’re excited, even your best friend’s dog is excited!
After seeing their reactions, you want to make things official. So, you spend the next few weeks brainstorming business names until you land on the perfect one. It speaks to you, it’s quirky, and there’s nothing else quite like it.
You know you want to form an LLC, but you aren’t sure how or where to start.
Does that last part sound familiar? If so, you’re not alone! Incorporating your small business sounds complicated and scary, but it doesn’t have to be, thanks to the countless entity formation service providers out there.
But that in itself leads to a second problem. Which one do you choose? Is this business offering me free services… actually legit? In Incfile’s case, the answer is yes.
Incfile is a business entity formation service provider with an incredible free plan (plus state fees) that helps entrepreneurs like you get started quickly and painlessly.
In this Incfile formation review, I will cover the things I don’t like, several external user reviews, their reputation as a company, and walk through the LLC formation process using Incfile. Soon, you’ll know if Incfile is the right service for your next great idea!
- With the Silver plan, you only pay the state fee to form an LLC
- Lifetime phone and email customer support
- Free company name availability analysis
- Free registered agent service for one full year
- You can track your order and filing status online
- Free 1-hour tax consultation with a business tax expert
- No weekend customer support
- They charge $70 for an Employer Identification Number (EIN)
- Numerous package upgrades and add-ons through the LLC registration process
- A lot of upsells (8 to be exact)
Incfile Review 2023
Featured LLC Formation Services
Best for beginners
Pricing: $0 + State Fees
Most additional services
Pricing: $0 + State Fees
Best privacy protection
Pricing: $39 + State Fees
Incfile Pricing, Plans, and Add-ons
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 starsThe Silver Plan is free (plus state fees) is a great bargain. In addition to the LLC formation service, Incfile offers a number of upsells that are fairly priced.
Incfile uses a tiered pricing structure that allows business owners to decide which add-ons they need without paying full price for them. On the IncFile pricing page, they show you how much you save with each tier.
*Your state fees may differ from the screenshot below.
Tier 1 — Incfile Silver Package ($0 + State Fees)
Incfile’s Silver package is free (plus the state filing fee) and includes the filing of the LLC paperwork. You can also choose to have Incfile act as your registered agent service for free for one year.
While this is the most basic package, this is the one that most people actually need. There will be additional services that Incfile will make available to purchase individually that come bundled with the higher-priced services.
Tier 2 — Incfile Gold Package ($199 + State Fees)
Incfile’s Gold Package is $199 + state filing fees and includes everything you need to register with your state and other things that may be nice to have. You get everything in the Silver Package plus:
- EIN registration
- IRS Form 2553 (this is a free form from the IRS where you elect S corp tax status for the LLC) How to fill out form 2553
- Operating agreement template
- Banking resolution
- Lifetime company alerts (to let you know when important filings like the annual report are due)
For $199 over the Silver Plan, you get some extra things that are generally available at no cost. The only service of real value if you didn’t want to do it yourself is the EIN registration. For $50, Northwest will process the EIN registration, and you can save $149.
Tier 3 — Incfile Platinum Package ($299 + State Fees)
Incfile’s Platinum Package is $299 + state filing fees and includes everything in the Gold Package plus a few additional add-ons that may be nice to have for your business. With this package, you also get:
- Next day filing
- Business contract templates
- A domain name and email service ($2.99 per month after the first year)
The Platinum Package is a disappointing value, in my opinion, because rush filing isn’t much of a differentiator, and you can buy it separately for an extra $50 with the Silver Plan.
The business contract templates aren’t much value unless you can actually use those particular contracts. A better option is to get specific business contracts from Rocketlawyer.
And last, you are likely going to need a website, and most website hosts include email with their plans for free, if not a low monthly cost. In my opinion, you are better off relying on the domain and email with companies that specialize in those services and not an entity formation service (though they likely outsource those services).
Additional Incfile Services
Incfile also offers additional services beyond entity formation. They offer a full suite of startup services to help and a few of the more common ones include:
- Amendments ($99 + state fees) — This helps you change your business name, remove or add members, update your address, or change stated business activities.
- Company Name Change ($99 + state fees) — This form is required if you need to change the name of your LLC or corporation.
- Virtual Address ($29/month +) – If you want a business address, Incfile offers a virtual address in 37 states).
- Certificate of Good Standing ($49 + state fees) — This is an official document from the secretary of state confirming your entity is in good standing. You may need this to get a loan, file business taxes, or prove your company exists. Learn more about the Certificate of Good Standing.
- DBA or Fictitious business name (unlisted) — This process is required if you wish to do business using a name other than your official business name. Some states don’t allow this, but Incfile can take care of everything for you. Learn more about filing a fictitious business name (sometimes called a DBA)
- Foreign qualification ($149 + state fees) — If you’re interested in doing business out of state or expanding beyond your local area, you have to follow the foreign qualification process. Note: this does not include expanding beyond the United States.
- Change of service agent ($49 + state fees) — You have to inform your state if you change your registered agent. Incfile will do all the paperwork and communication for you.
- Business license research package ($99) — Incfile will send you a comprehensive list of all the state and federal business licenses that apply to your business. They also send you all the forms to submit, but they do not file them for you. Learn more about business licenses in each state.
- Annual reporting ($99 + state fees) — LLCs and corporations have to file an annual report outlining your company’s activities. This usually means providing updated addresses for directors and managers as well as your registered agent. Paying for this service takes one more thing off your plate, but if you file with IncFile, they will provide compliance reminders and send an email when this report is due.
- S-Corporation tax elections ($50) — This is form 2553 for the IRS. It can help reduce the amount of taxes you owe as a Limited Liability Company by reducing your taxable income. Incfile can help you file this form, though it is free from the IRS.
- Trademark registration ($199 + state fees) — You can file a trademark to protect business assets like your name, logo, and tagline. This package includes existing trademark research, legal counsel, and a registered trademark. Learn more about the differences between trademarks, copyrights, and patents.
Setting up an LLC with Incfile
Rating: 4 out of 5 starsWhile setting up an LLC with Incfile is easy to do, the numerous upsells (8 in total) slows down the process some.
To get started, you can either click on the red “incorporate now” button or select your business type and filing state from the dropdowns directly below the navigation menu. From there, you can decide which package you’d like to move forward with.
Their silver plan is free (+ state filing fees for the articles of organization) and is the one I chose. But they also offer a gold package for $199 and a platinum package for $299, plus state fees. Additionally, this page tells you how much you save by choosing a premium plan instead of choosing add-ons a la carte.
This is nice because with alternative “always free” business formation packages, you don’t have the option to bundle services and extras together to save money.
After you choose your package, you’ll start Incfile’s entity formation process. First, they ask for basic contact information, including your:
- Email address
- Phone number
- And mailing address
This can also help you decide if you want to upgrade to a different pricing plan to save money by bundling services together.
- Next, you need to provide information about the entity you’re forming. This includes:
- Your company name
- Entity designator (varies by state, but generally LLCs can choose LLC, L.L.C, and Limited Liability Company, and corporations can use Corporation, Corp, and Company
- The number of owners
- Purpose of the business
- And the company address
Because Incfile offers free business name checks, they let you know that if the name you chose isn’t available, they will contact you to request something else.
After you hit next, they offer you a premium service package for an additional $99. This upgrade includes:
- EIN/Tax ID Number – Learn how to apply for an EIN at no cost with the Internal Revenue Service
- Operating Agreement – These aren’t required in most states, but even in states where the operating agreement isn’t required, they can be important. One reason is that if the LLC is sued, the LLC may be subject to default state rules, which may not be in the best interests of the members. But perhaps the most important reason is that the roles and responsibilities would be in writing, and that can hopefully keep the members from fighting down the road.
- Banking Resolution – The banking resolution is an agreement by the members to open a bank account and give certain members access to the account. Most banks are going to give one for free in order to open the business bank account
- Business Contract Templates – A library of over 25 legal documents, which includes an independent contractor agreement, consulting agreement, bill of sale, etc. You can click on the link to see if there are any that are relevant to your business, or you can purchase a wide range of business contracts individually through RocketLawyer.
Next, you’ll add contact information for each member (or a company) of your LLC. You have the option of choosing the contact information entered earlier to quickly fill out these fields.
From there, you get to decide if you’d like Incfile to be your registered agent service for a year (first year free). After the first year, the registered agent is $119 per year which isn’t a bad price, considering ZenBusiness charges $199, but is higher than Harbor Compliance at $99.
It is important to note that while the free registered agent in the first year is a good deal, if you don’t plan to keep it after the first year, you may be better off not using the service because you will have to file a form and pay a fee to the state to get the agent officially changed.
The next upsell is for Incfile to obtain an EIN number. You can file an EIN directly with the IRS in about 5 minutes for free, but if this service is worth $70, you can have Incfile do it for you, or Northwest can file the EIN for only $50.
Incfile also runs a promotion where you can set up a bank account with Bank of America and earn up to a $500 bonus. While you should get a separate bank account for your business, and getting a sign-on bonus is always nice, I recommend signing up only if there is a branch convenient to you.
Next, you are asked if you prefer electronic delivery of the formation documents or by mail through FedEx for an additional $25.
The following upgrade is for a free tax consultation. Taxes can be confusing, so it’s a good idea to set this up and speak with a tax professional about staying organized and filing taxes. I still recommend working with a local CPA, but if you haven’t gotten that far yet, this can call should be very helpful in your planning.
The last service that is offered is the business license check. This is a $99 package that will search for federal, state, county, and local licenses. This is probably the most useful add-on service, and while you can do this research on your own, if you’re crunched for time, aren’t sure what you need, or just want a second set of eyes to make sure everything is legal, this might be a helpful option.
Then, you have an opportunity to review everything before submitting and entering your payment information. Double-check to make sure everything you entered is accurate. Enter your payment information, you’re DONE!
Exploring Incfile’s Industry Reputation
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 starsIncfile appears to have a positive reputation online, and when they do make a mistake, which all businesses do, they seem quick to fix mistakes and consistently work to make the process as easy as possible.
With over 500,000 customers and 17 years of service, their solid reputation in the industry is hard to ignore. They have thousands of five-star reviews across the internet, mentioning excellent customer service and overall product and pricing satisfaction.
Despite the positive customer remarks, their BBB rating & accreditation was revoked on 9/25/2020. But, they’ve all been answered or resolved and handled appropriately. You can see the full list of complaints. While there are a lot of positive customer reviews, the fact that the Better Business Bureau revoked its rating due to not keeping a positive track record and addressing disputes is concerning.
As with any business, double and triple-check your information for accuracy and completeness before paying for services or packages with Incfile to ensure you have a positive experience.
Real Incfile User Reviews from BBB
Better Business Bureau (BBB)
There are almost 1,900 Incfile customer reviews on file with the Better Business Bureau. The average review is above 4.75/5 start. You can see the full list of reviews. Take a look at what some of Incfile’s customers have to say:
It took me to the 70th review before I got to the first negative review (all the others were 5 stars).
Even though there was an issue, it looks like Incfile made the issue go away and they responded to the original comment which shows they are concerned with taking care of their customers.
Trustpilot IncFile Reviews
On Trustpilot, Incfile has almost 6,900 reviews with an overall rating of 4.7/5 stars and 93% are over 4 stars. This platform monitors and verifies real customers to ensure their reviews are accurate.
Take a look at what these customers have to say:
Two very different experiences with customer service, less than a day apart. There were a few times that there was a negative comment about customer service, but negative reviews in general are not super common for Incfile.
Incfile Customer Feedback Conclusion
Incfile is a safe and trusted business formation service with thousands of positive online reviews. They’re especially noted for having great customer service and customer satisfaction with their products and pricing.
When they do make a mistake, which all businesses do, they seem quick to fix mistakes and consistently work to make the process as easy as possible.
What I Like About Incfile
As I went through Incfile’s LLC formation process, I found numerous things I liked about their services. So, I want to walk through them with you to explain why they stood out to me and the benefits they offer.
Incfile’s Silver plan will only cost you the state filing fee, and is more than enough for most people starting their business. The other two plans seem a bit expensive for what they offer, so you may be better going with the Silver plan and choosing individual services instead of bundling.
While there are several upsells, they aren’t super time consuming. Many of the upsells are easy enough to do on your own for free if desired, but the business license research package is a pretty good price at $99 and a low price for the peace of mind of knowing that your business licensing is in place.
2. Lifetime Customer Support
Whether you placed your order yesterday or eight years ago, their support team is there to help you through the process from start to finish. They offer chat, email, and phone support during standard business hours Monday through Friday.
So, if you have general questions, in-depth questions, or need a new copy of something you filed several months ago, their team has you covered. They’re always a few clicks or a phone call away! As a new business owner, setting up an LLC can be scary and confusing. It’s totally normal to feel uncertain and question whether you’re doing things the right way. Their team understands this and at least from the test questions I threw at them, seem like they are capable of answering correctly.
3. Free Company Name Availability Analysis
There’s (almost) nothing worse than spending weeks brainstorming the perfect business name, registering your LLC, paying the state fees, and realizing afterward your name is already in use.
Incfile ensures this doesn’t happen by checking your name against other registered businesses in your state. During the signup process, they let you know they’ll contact you and work with you to resolve any conflicts or issues with your business name.
If you want to search yourself and see if your business name is available, we show you how to search on the state’s website at no cost.
They also give you the courtesy of double-checking for spelling, so you don’t accidentally make a typo and end up paying for it later. Or notice it too late.
4. They Offer to Act as Your Registered Agent
Every LLC or corporation must have a registered agent in every state they operate in. This could be you, another member of your LLC, or a third party.
A registered agent offers their address to accept legal documents and correspondence from state and federal agencies on your behalf. This includes things like paperwork, summons, a notice of legal action, or a subpoena.
Additionally, hiring a registered agent may keep your private address away from third-parties (and the public) and limits the amount of mail you get at home. Furthermore, registered agents have to:
- Be available to accept mail during normal business hours
- Accept communications and deliver them to you
- Have a permanent physical address (not a PO box)
- Provide proof of receipt for legal correspondence
As a business owner, these requirements may not be easy to meet on your own. But, Incfile takes the burden off your shoulders by offering their own address and registered agent services to new entities for free (for one full year).
After that, you can decide if you’d like to extend these services for an extra charge.
Using Incfile as a registered agent means you won’t have to worry about missing deadlines, losing documents, or going on vacation and being unavailable to accept legal communications from the government.
The Incfile registered agent service isn’t the least expensive, but isn’t a barebones offering either, and offered at a fair price at $119 per year.
Related: When is a Registered Agent Needed?
5. You Can Track Your Order and Filing Status Online
While this may seem like a no-brainer, many incorporation services don’t have a way to track your order and filing status. But, Incfile lets you track the status of all your orders in just a few clicks.
The ease of use helps remove some of the uncertainties many people have forming throughout the formation process. You can rest easy knowing exactly where you’re at and where your filing stands.
6. Free 1-Hour Business Tax Consultation with a Tax Professional
Starting a new business means you wear a lot of hats. There’s no doubt you have a million and two things running through your mind at any given moment with a to-do list several miles long.
And just when you thought you had everything under control, you realize you know nothing about filing taxes as a business. Hiring an accountant or trying to fumble through everything yourself can lead to costly payments or mistakes.
Image via Accion
With Incfile, you get a free 1-hour tax consultation with a tax expert (if you want one). During this time, you can ask questions, receive guidance on what to do and how to stay organized, and put your worries to rest.
A similar consultation could cost you hundreds of dollars with someone else, so this is a serious value-added service. Incfile’s tax team is available to walk you through your tax commitments and answer any questions.
Waiting until tax season to get your ducks in a row is never a good idea. So, I highly recommend either taking advantage of this free service or talk with a local accountant. Prepare your questions beforehand and take notes so you don’t miss anything!
What I Don’t Like About Incfile
I have to say, most of my experience with Incfile was great. But, I did find a few things I didn’t like about their process. As with every great business, they’re far from perfect, and Incfile is no different.
So, I want to walk through them and explain why the things I don’t like… aren’t so great.
1. $70 for an EIN is Expensive (Hint: You Can Get One for Free)
If you go with Incfile’s Silver Plan, they offer to get an Employer Identification Number for $70. While this does take the hassle off your hands and opens you up for other tasks, it’s EASY to do on your own for free.
You can apply for an EIN number online for FREE through the IRS. It takes less than ten minutes to do, and once you’re approved, you can save everything to your computer and print it for your records.
New business owners may not know this and may be tempted to opt for the $70 upgrade despite being able to easily do it for free, while others have no desire to fill out paperwork with the IRS.
2. They Have Limited Customer Support Hours
If you’re anything like me, the idea of working whenever you want is one of the most attractive benefits of starting your own business. You’re not limited to working standard business hours, but Incfile’s support IS limited to those hours (9 am – 6 pm CST).
While it’s not a huge problem, you can imagine the frustration of experiencing problems or having questions at 8 pm on Friday night. You have to wait until Monday for their team to start investigating your issue and get back with you.
As I mentioned, it’s not a deal-breaker by any means, especailly since they have good customer support, but it is something to note if you work odd hours outside of a normal business day.
3. Numerous Upgrades and Add-Ons During Registration
Because Incfile’s Silver package is free, they make money by offering upsells and add-ons throughout the registration process. But even with the paid pricing plans (Gold and Platinum), they offer additional paid upgrades.
Overall, this isn’t a bad thing, but some of the offers aren’t necessary or won’t work for every type of business. New small business owners may not know this and could end up spending more money than they needed to for services and extras that won’t do them any good.
With that being said, every business is unique, and your decisions should reflect that. These add-ons may make sense in your situation, so do your research and understand what they are before making any choices
Final Words on IncFile’s LLC Services
Whether you want to form an LLC, non-profit, or S-Corporation, Incfile has you covered with an easy-to-use platform that helps answer your questions as you go. Their three-tier pricing model lets you bundle services to get what you need at a discounted price. Or you can choose from their list of add-ons to pay for what you need. Most people will do just fine with the free filing!
Incfile is a great resource and friend to have whether you’re a new business owner or incorporating your 537th business. They offer fair, accurate, and transparent prices with a top-notch support team ready to help.
If this Incfile review sounds good, check them out.
Common Questions About Incfile
Does Incfile help with ongoing compliance requirements?
Incfile provides a few services to help with ongoing compliance for corporations and LLCs. These include the registered agent and annual report filing.
How does Incfile compare to other formation services?
IncFile is one of the top-rated LLC formation service companies. They offer a free plan (plus state filing fees), a free registered agent in the first year, an easy-to-use website, and solid customer service.
How quickly does Incfile process LLC formations?
Incfile advertises that they try to have every order prepared and sent to the state within one business day. Depending on the plan and expedited filing (for an additional fee), the largest factor in processing time is how long it takes the state to process the paperwork.
How much is IncFile’s registered agent renewal cost?
After the first free year, the registered agent is only $119 per year.
What is the Incfile customer support phone number and email?