How to Legally Move Your Milspouse Photography Business

Moving Your Business

If you’re a military spouse photographer coming up on a PCS, chances are you have questions about the legal process. I know I always do! While I’m not a lawyer, I have learned a few things from moving my milspouse photography business across the country and would love to share a few tips with you.

Tip 1: Make a Plan for Moving the Business

The first thing you want to do is figure out how to move the business entity. If you’re operating your milspouse photography business as an LLC, you have two main options for this. (These aren’t the only options, but the most common ones in my experience.)

  1. Keep your LLC in your current state and register as a foreign LLC in the new state.
  2. Dissolve your LLC in the current state and register as a new LLC in the new state.

There are some pros and cons to each way, to I’ll do my best to explain some of those and you can decide which one makes more sense for your business.

Keep Original and Register as Foreign LLC

If you plan to keep your LLC in your current and register as a foreign LLC in the new state, the first pro is that there’s no lapse in coverage. You’ll be covered by your original LLC even as you apply as a foreign LLC, so you don’t have to worry about having a period of no coverage. Additionally, if your LLC is registered in your home of record state, this can serve as a “home base” for tax purposes and make things a little less complicated come tax time.

The downside of this approach is that it could potentially be more expensive. If you have a business presence in multiple states, you will be responsible for the taxes and fees in both states. Additionally, you may need to work with a lawyer to set up the foreign LLC. If you aren’t a resident of that state, the state may require a lawyer to serve as your registered agent.

Dissolve and Reform in New State

If you plan to dissolve your current LLC and register as a new LLC in the new state, your pros and cons basically flip. You may have a lapse in coverage and you won’t have a home base, but it could be cheaper.

Now, an LLC isn’t the only type of milspouse photography business you might be running, but the options for moving other types of businesses are going to be similar. If you’re moving a sole-proprietorship, S-Corp or something else, check your state’s secretary of state website for information!

Tip 2: Gather all your business details

Whether you’re registering as a foreign LLC or dissolving one, the type of information that will be asked for is similar. I recommend having these pieces of information handy:

  • Articles of Organization (Effective Date and Registered Agent’s Address)
  • Federal Employer ID Number (FEIN)
  • Principal Office Address

Opening up a legal form can be intimidating enough. Don’t make it worse by not knowing the details that you need to enter on the form!

Tip 3: Visit Your State’s Secretary of State Website

This is SO important! I know it can be easier to read a photographer’s blog about how to move your business from one place to the next, but it is vital that you’re getting information directly from your state. Be careful when you do a Google search to make sure you end up on a .gov website. You don’t want to get bad information from someone!

Why do I harp on this? Because everything you care about and everything that makes sure you’re running a legitimate business will vary from state to state. We’re talking annual fees, registered agent rules, taxes. All of these important things change over time and vary depending on the state you’re in. It is of utmost importance to ensure you’re getting your information from a reliable source.

Bonus Tip: Hire a Pro!

If you still feel overwhelmed, I highly recommend reaching out to a CPA or a small business lawyer to get you set up. Very few photographers start businesses because they’re experts in the business side of things, so take advantage of help if you can.

I hope this was helpful! Click below to watch the full video!

Are you a milspouse photographer? Be sure to check out the Location Guides for Milspouse Photographers blog series too! You can find other tips for moving your business on the blog too. Thanks for being here! 🤍


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more about me

I've been navigating military life with my family since 2008. In that time, I went from a full-time classroom teacher to an online course designer to a photographer. Actually, I still teach a little math on the side because I just love it too much!

Through it all, I've discovered how passionate I am about connecting with military families. Whether it's taking photos at a retirement ceremony, coaching a fellow milspouse photographer, or just grabbing coffee with a new squadron friend, I love this community. And as a teacher at heart, I'm excited to use this space to share what I've learned about business and life with you.


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