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Inc Authority Review: Is the Free Plan Actually Free? [2024]

Patricia Bailey Patricia Bailey Finance Specialist

Inc Authority provides an adequate free LLC formation plan1. The higher-tier paid plans provide all the services you need, but come with a really hefty price tag. The user-friendly experience includes access to live personal support during business hours.

Overview

Free plan?
LLC filing time on entry-level plan 1 – 4 weeks
Expedited option?
One-off fees, annual subscription-based, or both? Both
Customer support Live US-based support by phone, email and chat during business hours 6 am – 5 pm M-F (PST)

Good for the Basics, but Watch Out for Extra Costs

A screenshot of Inc Authority website depicting the free LLC entity, company contact information and how to get started in 2-3 minutes
Inc Authority’s startup process is very straightforward on its website, with a range of contact channels
1

Inc Authority is a full-service business formation company for LLCs, S-corps, C-corps, and nonprofits. The sign-up process is quick and easy with the easy-to-use, responsive online form1. You’ll be guided through the required steps to get your company started.

At first glance it offers all you need as most of the basics are free, but some key features come with additional costs, so you have to watch the price tag as you add extras.

It has a long operating history and a good reputation among reviewers, and is Better Business Bureau-accredited. There are multiple customer support avenues, including live phone support, and the live chat support answered my questions very promptly.

I evaluated the Inc Authority website thoroughly, and looked at hundreds of online reviews to determine the quality of this provider’s services. Read on to see if Inc Authority is the right choice for your specific business needs.

4.6

Features

Clearly-Described Free Plan – But With Lots of Paid Add-ons

Inc Authority offers a free LLC formation plan, with the exception of the usual mandatory state fees. All of the providers who offer a “free” plan have add-on packages or services for a fee, which is why free filing services are part of the business model.

Your LLC can be filed in any of the 50 states, and Washington D.C. Inc Authority will also file an LLC for non-US residents who want to form a business in the US.

Notably, the free LLC package includes a Registered Agent service1 for one year. Then, the “premium service bundles” include everything in the free plan alongside a wider range of additional services.

Free Plan Includes a Registered Agent

A screenshot of step 1 of Inc Authority's signup process where the business type and state are selected, with support information
The Registered Agent service and the business name check are nice freebies

Every LLC must declare a Registered Agent, a person or company that is designated to receive legal documents during business hours. Most companies charge for this service, or only offer it on premium plans, but Inc Authority includes it free for the first year with all plans. If you want to focus on your business and not on paperwork details and legalities, then a Registered Agent is a real perk.

Keep in mind that while the free Registered Agent service is a very good deal, you’ll have to pay for it every year thereafter unless you want to undertake this responsibility yourself, or hire someone to do so.

Inc Authority Will File For An EIN on Your Behalf

An Employer Identification Number is an IRS-issued tax identifier that is necessary if your business has employees, and is usually necessary if you want to open a business bank account, which business consultants usually recommend in order to keep your personal and business finances separate.

Inc Authority will apply for an EIN on your behalf1 as part of either of its paid plans – but you’ll have to pay extra if you want this with the free plan. However, you should note that Inc Authority will occasionally provide a free EIN application on a limited time offer.

Get an Operating Agreement Draft (If You Need One)

Receive an LLC Operating Agreement with Inc Authority for your LLC for an additional fee. An Operating Agreement is beneficial in business management and planning, and it defines key procedures. Certain banks and lenders require one to open a business bank account, and it is mandatory in some states.

Digital Business Services At Your Fingertips

Digital document storage and access is included in the Inc Authority free plan. Your data is kept private and will not be sold or shared with agencies.

The premium plans include a website domain name1 and five email addresses. It doesn’t include website design or hosting, however.

4.6

Ease of use

An Intuitive, User-Friendly Website – But No Prices Listed

The Inc Authority sign-up process is easy to follow, beginning with the sign-up link1. There is a step-by-step guide on the website which is tailored to each state, where you can review the specific requirements. An online dashboard is available once your business is registered with the US state of your choosing.

You can speed up Inc Authority’s filing time by paying a one-time fee, or opting for the Fast Track Business Bundle, although typical overall processing time depends on your chosen state. For example, New York will process the LLC documents in about a week, whereas Delaware will take three to four weeks. The volume of requests at the time the documents are received by the state is also a factor in the turnaround time.

The only major ease-of-use problem I found is that pricing for the premium Business Bundles is not available on the website, nor is it available via live chat, so you either have to call Inc Authority to find out prices, or start the sign-up process without that information. Obviously, if you’ve already had a phone chat with customer service, you’ll have this information when you begin.

Getting Started With Inc Authority

A screenshot of step 1 of Inc Authority's signup process where the business type and state are selected, with support information
I found the Inc Authority sign-up steps really intuitive

To begin this process, you’ll need to choose a business entity and the state in which you want to file. After choosing your state you’ll be prompted to answer a series of questions.

a screenshot of the Inc Authority sign up process with options to select when your business will open- 30 days, 90 days, 6 months, or already open
The really clear questions in the sign-up process made it easy to get through

They then directed me to a screen where I answered questions about my business type and whether I’ll have employees. Additional inquiries covered business specifics and accepted payment methods. In total, reaching the payment screen only requires a few minutes.

a screenshot of an example of a business that has signed up with Inc Authority's free plan, detailing the features, cost and payment methods
It took me less than 10 minutes to sign up!

User-Friendly Account Dashboard

Once you have signed up and your documents are processed by the state, you’ll then be able to access the account dashboard. The Inc Authority dashboard is clearly laid out and straightforward to use.

4.3

Pricing

Free Plan Is Very Basic, and Premium Plans Are Pricey

Inc Authority offers a free plan with optional one-off fees, and a couple of subscription-based service bundles. You can stick to the free plan and add important features like an EIN, or choose one of the paid plans. The plan pricing is not transparent – I had to contact support in order to get price quotes.

Inc Authority’s free plan is a good deal1 primarily due to the aforementioned Registered Agent service. Other useful features in the free plan are the business name check to ensure your chosen name is available, and support from real living people during business hours.

Inc Authority will try to upsell you on important services like obtaining an EIN and drafting an Operating Agreement. These are often included by other vendors in paid plans that tend to be more affordable. While it’s easy to decline any add-on costs during sign-up, you may want or need these services.

The premium Starter Business Bundle includes a number of useful additional services you won’t get with the free plan. It features near-essentials like an Operating Agreement draft and EIN application alongside useful items like ownership certificates. The plan includes access to a personal consultation with tax experts. My issue with this intermediate-level plan is that it costs a fair bit more than that of many other companies, yet you still have to pay extra for expedited filing.

In addition to all the features of the Starter package, the Fast Track Business Bundle also comes with access to a banking specialist and personalized business advice. Expedited filing is included in the cost of this plan. The cost of this plan is quite a bit higher than the competition’s offerings.

The big problem with all plans is that you’ll have to pay $179 per year after the first year if you want to keep the previously free Registered Agent service – and this fee is charged even if you’re on one of the premium Business Bundles. That being said, if you’re planning to be your own Registered Agent after the first year, then this won’t matter to you.

4.4

Support

Attentive Customer Support With Detailed Responses

Inc Authority has a number of different ways for customers to get assistance, including phone, chat, and email. Phone support is available during business hours, 6 am to 5 pm Monday to Friday (PST).

I waited about three minutes to get connected by phone, and under three minutes to get transferred to an expert. The agent answered all of my questions.

2 screenshots of a live chat support dialogue where the agent answered questions in the positive about the availability of a free LLC for non-US residents, and the guaranteed accuracy of filed documents.
I found the live chat support really helpful

The agent answered my questions thoroughly. I asked about features I could not find information about on the website, including whether a mobile app was available (the answer was no).

Live chat is available during regular business hours only. While chat support offered useful assistance, the email support from Inc Authority did not. I did not receive a response to my request at all.

Inc Authority also has a blog where answers to common questions are posted. It covers a wide range of useful subjects from the specifics of business compliance to developing alternatives to holding meetings, with step-by-step instructions for necessary tasks.

Comparison

How does Inc Authority match up to the competition?

1ZenBusinessCompareOur Score4.9Compare
1Tailor Brands LLCCompareOur Score4.8Compare
1Inc AuthorityCompareOur Score4.5Compare
1InCorpCompareOur Score3.0Compare

Inc Authority REVIEW: BOTTOM LINE

If you want to launch a bare-bones LLC for the lowest possible price, Inc Authority is a decent choice. Customer support by live chat is responsive, and the website is user-friendly. Enticing services are included for free, such as the Registered Agent option (though only for the first year) and a business name search. However, other features that are required for many LLCs – such as an EIN and an Operating Agreement draft – incur extra fees.

Check out the pros and cons of Inc Authority’s LLC formation services:
Pros Cons
  • Free LLC filing option
  • Intuitive sign-up process
  • Free Registered Agent service for one year
  • Prompt customer support during business hours
  • Non-transparent plan pricing
  • Expensive paid plans, and Registered Agent service still incurs a fee after the first year

FAQ

Is the Inc Authority free LLC plan truly free?

All states in the USA charge filing fees, so you will have to pay those regardless of your LLC formation provider. Otherwise, Inc Authority’s free plan is indeed truly free but add-ons will be suggested during the sign-up process, and you may decide you need some of them – EIN registration in particular.

Do I really need to set up an LLC for my business?

It depends. If you want to separate your personal and business finances, and don’t want to be personally liable if your business fails, then you should set up an LLC. You can of course do all of the filing on your own, but if you’re new to the process, it might be helpful to have a company like Inc Authority help you with the basics.

I need to form an LLC fast, can Inc Authority do that?

Not really. While Inc Authority can file your documentation in all 50 US states and Washington D.C. within 24 hours of receipt of your request, the turnaround time will depend on the chosen state and the volume of requests at the time of submission.

Is Inc Authority the best LLC formation service?

The best LLC formation company is the one that meets all of your business’ particular needs – and your budget. For example, the services needed by an online business can be vastly different from a locally-based partnership delivering physical products. You should have a look at our list of the top LLC formation services to find the one that suits you best.
Patricia Bailey Patricia Bailey
Patricia is an expert freelance writer who is interested in everything relating to humans. She writes on a variety of topics, from science and technology to health. She is always intent on providing reliable, easy to understand information. In her free time she plays with her three cats, dances wildly, and loves to cook healthy, delicious food. 
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Complete LLC filling starting at $0 + state fees