I just moved to Seattle to start my own business day trading stocks. I'm looking for a firm to handle incorporation (including advice on which entities to use) and taxes for the new business, along with my own personal taxes.
I'm already very actively trading, making hundreds of trades each day. I know that there are a lot of special tax rules for traders and trading entities, and I definitely want to find a firm with expertise in this area. However, I've been having a lot of trouble finding such a firm locally. Does anyone know of such a firm? Or, does everyone just go with one of the big names, like Green or Mann?
Never heard of Green or Mann. I'm not a lawyer so my suggestions shouldn't be construed as legal advice, but here's a few tips that you'd find useful:
1. Your decision will depend greatly on whether you plan to be a fiduciary/take outside capital, and whether you plan on hiring people. If you're running your own capital, the operating agreement is going to come up to 2 pages long with anywhere from 10-15 bullet points, so I'd recommend you pick one of the cheaper ones you can find. In fact, you could even write it yourself if you're confident. If you plan on hiring people, my experience is that the paperwork is 1 order of magnitude more than working alone, but 1 order of magnitude less than running outside capital.
2. Branding of the law firm is completely unimportant compared to the exact person that you'll be dealing with.
3. Location of the law firm is completely unimportant so long as they are attentive to your phone calls and emails. I've worked with guys based in SF, Chicago, Washington DC, NYC simultaneously.
4. There's little advantage of having your own trading entity for this purpose because a single member LLC is a disregarded entity for tax purposes and liability protection is little to none, since it is easy to pierce the corporate veil.
5. It sounds to me that you need a good CPA/tax consulting firm to prepare and plan your taxes each year more so than a good law firm. Of the ones that have offices in Seattle, I've worked with Grant Thornton and McGladrey, and both are great firms. I've also worked with Deloitte and KPMG, but I think they are overkill for what you're trying to achieve.
Just a thought for you to consider ... if you incorporate, make sure you consider the consequences of having to pay self-employment tax. It can be a hefty tax amount!
As far as incorporating, it's very easy to do yourself, here in Virginia. It could end-up saving you $400-$600, or more. I would imagine the process is very similar in Washington State.
First, select a name for the business, and call your State Corporation Commission to see if the name is available. Determine the type of corporation you want to be by getting your accountant's advice (LLC, S-Corp, etc.). Go online to your State Corporation Commission's website, and download the appropriate application. Complete, and mail with the fee, and that should be it!