Do I need to form an LLC to self-publish a political book out of Florida? Although, I have tried very hard not to break any laws, I am worried about frivolous or spiteful lawsuits. I am trying to do a cost benefit analysis regarding time and money. The set up fee via a website that forms LLCs is $100 to $200. Articles of Incorporation filing fee is $125. Apparently there will be a yearly $138.75 annual report filing fee. As a one person LLC, I would have to file yearly taxes on Schedule C of my personal income taxes. Is that it? Would that be all the time and money involved? I expect to make less than $500 per month with the business. I have very little free time to deal with paperwork. And filing every quarter would be a burden. In Florida can they take your house? Other assets? I am not wealthy and am not sure it is worth all the time and money to set up an LLC. But the legal protection would be nice.
migrated from answers.onstartups.com Mar 12 '12 at 19:47
From what I can see from this reference, an LLC does not protect you from lawsuits against you as the writer, such as with libel, defamation, or invasion of privacy torts. That page does mention you can get media liability insurance, but it is not cheap (it states $3-4,000 and a $5k deductible). You should check this against other information to see if this is the case.
Also, even if we were to assume an LLC could protect you, if you do not conduct your LLC completely properly (separate bank accounts, documenting your "meetings", filing all forms, sufficient capitalization, etc...), courts can find you are operating as an "alter ego" and pierce the corporate veil, affording you no personal protection anyway. Given that you state that you have little time for paperwork/filing, you might want to think twice about whether you are up for what it takes to run an LLC properly.
First off, I am not a lawyer-
You should check with your lawyer but I believe that a LLC will not offer you any protection in a libel suit. If you knowingly print something that is untrue and causes injury to another party it is on you.
As far as your house goes, I believe Florida is one of the few states where your primary house (residence) is protected in bankruptcy. That may or may not help you in a libel suit.