I am a college student who does web development mainly as a hobby. I was recruited to be a developer for a struggling small virtual pet website (think Neopets) last year in May. Before I joined, the website was not earning any money except for some pocket change in advertisements, which went to the owner. Originally, I was paid several hundred dollars per month out of the owner's pocket. The owner also paid for the web hosting out of their pocket.
After a few months of being a part of the site, I implemented a shopping area where players could purchase virtual goods for real money. Nowadays, the virtual good sales not only pay for the web hosting expenses, but also monthly pay for myself, with a sum leftover for the owner as well. This is currently my only source of income, and I have not included "self-employment" income like this on my tax returns before.
The owner and I have agreed to be partners in this website, although they have not taken any steps to form any legal entities out of the business we are conducting. Now that the website is earning several thousand per month, I wonder where to start to form a business. Both the owner and I live in the US, but in different states (Michigan and North Carolina).
- If I file to form the LLC in Michigan, are there any extra steps I need to take since my partner lives in North Carolina?
- Will earnings prior to forming the LLC have to be claimed as self-employment income? If so, would it be easier to wait until the next calendar year to form the LLC?
Any additional tips are greatly appreciated!