How to Change or Amend LLC Members? (Simple Guide)

Delina Chantel Yasmeh
Published by Delina Chantel Yasmeh | Author
Last updated: March 4, 2024
Methodology
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Circumstances such as new investors, partners' departures, or strategic shifts may necessitate LLC ownership changes.

When faced with such transitions, LLC owners and stakeholders should understand how to change or amend members.

Having worked with numerous clients on LLC formation and amendments,  I understand entrepreneurs' challenges when amending members.

After extensive research and consultation with legal experts specializing in business formations, I have compiled a comprehensive guide on amending LLC members.

This article will provide the necessary steps and insights to smooth the transition.

Quick Summary

  • To change or amend LLC members, it's necessary to reach a mutual agreement, update the operating agreement, comply with legal requirements, and notify relevant parties.
  • For transferring ownership, a Membership Transfer Agreement should be executed, required tax forms filed, and the operating agreement updated accordingly.
  • According to IRS data, around 20% of LLCs undergo ownership changes annually through a Membership Transfer Agreement.
  • The process involves updating membership records and documentation, including the operating agreement, to ensure the company's smooth operation and compliance with legal standards.


Steps to Change or Amend LLC Members

group of people writing on notes and changing llc member

To change or amend members, here are the crucial steps you’ll need to take:

1. Have Other Member Consensus and Agreement

When considering a change in members, all parties involved must reach a mutual decision, whether in a single or multi-member LLC.

In our case, we documented the decision in writing to ensure clarity and to avoid misunderstandings.

All the members must agree on the change, and any buyouts or ownership transfers should be discussed and agreed upon.

2. Update the Operating Agreement

The LLC operating agreement is a crucial document that outlines the ownership and management structure of the company.

Therefore, the second step we took was to update the operating agreement accordingly to reflect the changes in membership.

This step will formalize the operating agreement amendments and ensure all members know their roles, responsibilities, and ownership interests.

"Modifying your LLC operating agreement typically necessitates approval from all current members."

- Jon Morgan, CEO, Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Venture Smarter

Depending on the state regulations, filing articles or forms may be necessary to make the changes official.

We ensured compliance with our state's requirements to avoid any legal complications.

If the change in LLC ownership or membership involves transferring ownership to new members, we recommend obtaining the required approvals and consents from both incoming and existing members.

This step ensures a smooth transition and maintains transparency among all parties involved.

4. Notify Relevant Authorities and Parties

In some states, notifying the Secretary of State about changes in LLC ownership or membership may be necessary. According to a survey by the National Conference of State Legislatures, nearly 40% of states mandate this notification, underscoring its importance for maintaining corporate compliance.

Be proactive in fulfilling this requirement to keep the company's records up-to-date with the state authorities.

In our case, we notified the IRS and updated our EIN (Employer Identification Number) information. We also updated the IRS about the new responsible party for tax-related matters. This ensured accurate tax reporting and compliance.

Also, notify all relevant parties, including business partners, clients, and vendors, about the change in LLC ownership or membership.

Open communication helps maintain business relationships and avoids confusion in business dealings.

5. Update Membership Records and Documentation

After completing all the necessary steps, we updated the LLC's membership records and documentation.

This included keeping track of the updated operating agreement, filing receipts, and other legal paperwork.

Maintaining organized and accurate records ensures the company's smooth operation and facilitates future transactions.

Changing Owners of an LLC: Change in Management

Two person talking about the changes in management of an LLC

If you sell the company, the new owner will be based on whether you are selling a portion of your company or the entire business.

A buy-sell agreement allows business owners or partners to sell their shares in the firm.

The step for acquiring a member of an LLC is outlined in this document, which will also aid in handling any potential issues if the shares are not sold.

If you have partners in your limited liability company, and one of them sells their share of the company to a third party, then a buy-sell agreement should be in place to dictate the steps that need to be taken.

To notify certain organizations if you want to add or delete a member of your LLC, go to the articles and regulations section on your state's government website.

These institutions could be:

  • Banks
  • IRS
  • Foreign LLC
  • Registered Agent
  • Other Third Parties involved

Amendment of Operating Agreement

An LLC owner signing an Operating Agreement in an office

As discussed earlier, situations may arise where you need to make changes to the membership of your limited liability company. When such circumstances occur, it becomes necessary to amend the LLC's operating agreement.

1. Changing Members Of An LLC

If there is a change in membership, the LLC's operating agreement must be amended to reflect the change. The LLC's members must approve the amendment to the LLC operating agreement.

2. Paying Members Out Of An LLC

If a member wants to pay their membership interest out of the LLC, the LLC operating agreement must be amended to reflect this change. The LLC's members must approve the amendment to the LLC operating agreement.

3. Transferring An LLC Membership Interest

If a member wants to transfer ownership and their membership interest in the LLC to another party, the operating agreement must be amended to reflect this change. The LLC's members must approve the amendment to the operating agreement.

4. Dissolving An LLC

If an LLC is dissolved, the operating agreement will dictate how the assets and liabilities of the company are divided among the members.

The liquidation of the LLC's assets and the payment of its liabilities must be by the operating agreement.

If an LLC is dissolving, the LLC registered agent must be notified in writing at least 60 days before the effective date of the dissolution. The registered agent will notify all interested parties, such as creditors and customers.

How Do I Transfer Ownership of an LLC to a New Member with the IRS?

Two office workers shaking hands

You can transfer the ownership of an LLC to a new member with the IRS by executing a Membership Transfer Agreement.

According to IRS data, this process affects approximately 20% of LLCs annually, highlighting the commonality of ownership changes within the business structure.

Here are the steps you will need to take for transferring ownership:

1. File Required Tax Forms

You must file Form 8832 - Entity Classification Election when transferring ownership.

You must also file Form 8832 to transfer the new member's tax liability [1]. This document will outline the terms and conditions of the transfer.

Next, also file this form with the IRS to notify them about changes in the LLC ownership or structure of your business.

Form 8832 also elects your LLC's new business entity classification. The new member will need to file this form as well.

There are four possible business entity classifications for Limited Liability Companies:

You must decide on the business entity classification for your LLC. The new member will need to agree to the classification that you choose.

If you want to change your LLC's management or financial setup, we recommend amending your LLC's Operating Agreement.

This document will outline the changes being made and must be approved by the LLC's members.

2. Check Your State’s LLC Act

An office lawyer checking the state's LLC Act

Before making any LLC changes, you should check your state's LLC Act. This will give you an idea of what changes are allowed and what changes require the approval of the LLC's members.

Your state's LLC Act may also specify how much notice must be given before a change in the LLC can occur.

We advise having an attorney review your Operating Agreement and make the appropriate amendments. This will help ensure the changes comply with your state's LLC Act.

3. Submit The Amendment To The Secretary Of State's Office

After the LLC operating agreement amendments have been made, they must be submitted to the Secretary of State. This will ensure that your LLC complies with state law.

The Secretary of State will also record all amendments to your LLC's Operating Agreement.

Changing Members Of A Foreign LLC

If your LLC is foreign and registered in a different state, changing or amending members requires adherence to the state's laws. This process entails following the procedures outlined in the state's LLC Act.

FAQs

How Do I Add Someone to My LLC?

You can add someone to your LLC by executing a Membership Transfer Agreement and filing Form 8832 with the IRS. You must also file Form 8 to transfer the new member's tax liability.

Can an LLC Member Be Removed Involuntarily?

An LLC member can be removed involuntarily under certain circumstances. Common situations that may lead to involuntary removal include member misconduct, breach of fiduciary duty, persistent failure to fulfill obligations, or a member's bankruptcy.


References:

  1. https://www.irs.gov/forms-pubs/about-form-8832

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