setup a corporate structure & payment processing for your adult business everything you need to know

Setup a corporate structure & payment processing for your Adult business- Everything you need to know

Written by Roan Dollman

Starting and running an adult business comes with its unique set of challenges, especially when it comes to setting up a corporate structure and implementing secure payment processing. However, these two aspects of running a business are very important. think of it like building a sturdy ship before sailing uncharted waters. Just as a well-constructed ship ensures a smooth journey, a well-established business structure, and reliable payment system will help your adult business navigate challenges and succeed in the long run.

Before we go on, let’s quickly establish this for those who are new to the adult industry. The adult industry is often considered high-risk. As a result, running an adult business may not be as easy as running a traditional business. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the different types of corporate structures for your adult business and payment processing. Let’s go!

Types of Corporate Structure for Adult Business

Establishing the right corporate structure for your adult business is crucial for the success and sustainability of the business. The chosen corporate structure for your adult business not only impacts operational efficiency and legal compliance but also influences taxation, liability, and ownership arrangements. Here, let’s look into the different corporate structures for adult businesses and also shed light on the advantages and challenges of each. We hope this will help you make a good decision. Okay?

Sole Proprietorship

A sole proprietorship is the simplest form of business structure, where the business is owned and operated by a single individual. In the context of the adult industry, this means that an entrepreneur takes on the responsibility of the different aspects of the adult business without the need for complex organizational hierarchies. In this type of legal entity, there is no legal distinction between the business and the owner. 

Though setting up a sole proprietorship business is the easiest when compared to the other business entities, there are a handful of documents that are needed based on your jurisdiction of incorporation. Some common documents are: 

  • Personal Identification (Driver’s License, Passport, etc.)
  • Social Security Number (SSN)
  • Business License and Permits
  • Lease Agreement or Proof of Business Address
  • Tax Identification Number (TIN)
  • Social Security Number (SSN)
  • Employer Identification Number (EIN)

Advantages of Sole Proprietorship in the Adult Industry

  • Ease of Formation: One of the primary attractions of a sole proprietorship is its simplicity in formation. There are minimal legal formalities and paperwork involved. As a result, it is an attractive option for those eager to dive into the adult industry quickly. Later on, these entrepreneurs can scale up to another legal entity.
  • Confidentiality: In the adult industry, discretion is often a key consideration. Being a sole proprietor provides a level of confidentiality and control over business affairs. So, you can maintain privacy when necessary.
  • Direct Profits: All profits generated by the adult business under sole proprietorship go directly to the proprietor. This direct access to earnings often motivates entrepreneurs seeking immediate returns on their investments.

Challenges of Sole Proprietorship in the Adult Business

  • Liability Concerns: While simplicity is a strength, it’s important to note that in a sole proprietorship, there’s no legal distinction between the business and the individual. This means that personal assets may be at risk in case of business debts or legal issues.
  • Limited Resources: Sole proprietors might face limitations when it comes to raising capital. Access to funding may be restrained compared to larger corporate structures. As a result, it affects the ability to expand or invest in the business.
  • Succession Challenges: Sole proprietorships are often closely tied to the individual owner. Planning for the future, especially in terms of business succession, can be challenging without a clear framework for transition.

Limited Liability Companies (LLCs)

An LLC is a business structure that combines the liability protection of a corporation with the simplicity and flexibility of a partnership. For an adult business, that has to often navigate complex regulatory landscapes and potential legal challenges, the LLC structure provides a unique set of benefits. We will look at these benefits soon. To incorporate an LLC adult business in any jurisdiction, certain documents are required. Here are just a few of them: 

  • Articles of Organization
  • Operating Agreement
  • Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS
  • Business License
  • Doing Business As (DBA) Certificate (if operating under a different name)
  • Zoning Compliance Documentation
  • State and Local Permits
  • Records of Age Verification Procedures
  • Employee Documents (if applicable)

Advantages of an LLC for an Adult Business

  • Limited Personal Liability: One of the primary advantages of an LLC is that it offers limited personal liability to its members. This means that the personal assets of the business owners are generally protected from business debts and legal actions.
  • Pass-Through Taxation: LLCs typically enjoy pass-through taxation, meaning that business profits and losses pass through to the individual members’ tax returns. This avoids the double taxation that corporations may face.
  • Separation of Business and Personal Assets: The separation of business and personal assets is a critical feature. This ensures that the financial dealings of the adult business remain distinct from the personal finances of its owners.
  • Professional Image: The adult business is often considered high risk. However operating as an LLC can lend some level of credibility and professional image to an adult business, instilling confidence in clients, partners, and stakeholders.

Considerations for Forming an LLC in the Adult Industry

  • Formation and Maintenance Costs: While less expensive than forming a corporation, there are still costs associated with creating and maintaining an LLC. This includes filing fees, annual reporting fees, and potentially higher tax preparation costs.
  • Limited Life Span: In some jurisdictions, the life span of an LLC may be limited. If a member leaves or passes away, the LLC might need to be dissolved or restructured, which can be cumbersome.
  • Personal Liability Risks in Certain Circumstances: While the limited liability feature protects personal assets in most situations, there are instances where members might be held personally liable, such as in cases of personal guarantee agreements or if the business is found to be engaged in fraudulent activities.

Corporation (Inc.) 

A Corporation, particularly in the realm of adult businesses, is a formal legal entity that stands apart from its owners, who are typically referred to as shareholders. Think of it as a distinct personality in the eyes of the law, capable of owning property, entering contracts, and being held liable for its actions separately from the individuals who own it. 

When registering a corporation, depending on the jurisdiction, there are some legal documents that you must submit. Here are some common documents needed:

  • Articles of Incorporation
  • Corporate Bylaws
  • Stock Certificates
  • Stock Ledger
  • EIN (Employer Identification Number)
  • Business License
  • Resident Agent Designation
  • Financial Statements

Advantages of a Corporation for an Adult Business

  • Limited Liability: Shareholders of a Corporation enjoy limited liability. This means that their personal assets are generally protected from business debts and legal actions. This is a crucial advantage in industries with potential legal complexities, such as the adult business sector.
  • Capital Raising Potential: Corporations have the ability to issue stock, allowing for the attraction of investors and the raising of capital. This feature can facilitate business expansion, acquisitions, and the development of new products or services.
  • Perpetual Existence: A Corporation has perpetual existence, meaning it can continue to operate even if there are changes in ownership or management. This stability can be beneficial for long-term planning and business continuity.
  • Enhanced Credibility: The “Inc.” designation often lends an air of credibility and professionalism to a business. This can be particularly advantageous in industries where reputation is crucial, such as the adult business sector.
  • Tax Advantages: Corporations may have opportunities for certain tax advantages, like deductions for employee benefits and expenses. However, tax considerations can be complex, and professional advice is recommended.

Challenges of a Corporation for an Adult Business

  • Complexity and Formality: Corporations involve a more formalized structure and greater complexity in terms of governance, reporting, and compliance. This may not be suitable for smaller adult businesses. However, it can become less challenging when you work with a company incorporation expert like FirmEU.
  • Higher Costs Formation and Maintenance: Incorporating and maintaining a corporation can be more expensive compared to simpler business structures like sole proprietorships or partnerships. Some of these costs are; Filing fees, registered agent fees, name reservation fees, etc.
  • Double Taxation: Corporations may face double taxation, where the business itself is taxed on its profits, and shareholders are taxed on dividends received. This can result in a higher overall tax burden.
  • Less Privacy: Corporations are subject to public disclosure requirements. So, certain information about the business, such as financial statements and corporate governance details, may be accessible to the public. This could potentially compromise privacy.
  • Potential for Shareholder Disputes: Disagreements among shareholders on business decisions or financial matters may lead to internal conflicts that can impact the stability and success of the adult business.
  • Resident Agent: Some jurisdictions require the appointment of a registered agent (also known as a resident agent or statutory agent) who can accept legal documents on behalf of the corporation.

Payment Processing for Your Adult Business

Payment processing for adult businesses refers to the handling of financial transactions related to the sale of goods, services, or content within the adult industry. It involves the secure transfer of funds between customers, merchants (adult businesses), and financial institutions through various payment methods and platforms.

When you hear “Adult business payment processing” there are some elements that you must come across. Here are some of those elements:

  • Merchant Accounts: Adult businesses need merchant accounts to accept payments from customers. These accounts are established with payment processors or acquiring banks. It allows businesses to process credit card transactions securely.
  • Payment Gateways: Payment gateways serve as the intermediary between the merchant’s website or point-of-sale system and the financial institutions. Payment gateways securely transmit transaction data, encrypting sensitive information to protect against fraud and unauthorized access.
  • Credit Card and Other Payment Methods Processing: Credit card processing enables adult businesses to accept payments from customers using credit and debit cards. Payment processors verify card information, authorize transactions, and facilitate the transfer of funds between banks. In addition to credit cards, adult businesses may offer alternative payment methods such as e-wallets, direct bank transfers, cryptocurrency, and prepaid cards.

Importance of Good Payment Processing for Your Adult Business

There are several reasons why reliable and efficient payment processing is very key in running an adult business. Here are some of the reasons: 

  • Customer Trust: Trust is very key in any business, but it even gets more important in a high-risk business like the adult business. A secure and seamless payment process fosters trust among customers, thereby encouraging customer loyalty.
  • Legal Compliance: Adherence to industry regulations and legal standards ensures the longevity and legitimacy of an adult business.
  • Operational Efficiency: Streamlined payment processes contribute to operational efficiency, meaning that you can focus on core activities without fear.

Challenges in Payment Processing for the Adult Industry.

  • Regulatory Compliance: Setting up Payment processing for adult businesses is not as easy as setting it up for traditional or low-risk businesses. Stringent regulations often govern financial transactions in the adult industry. As a result, businesses need to navigate complex legal frameworks. Any failure in this can get you kicked out. 
  • Stigma and Reputation: Adult businesses may face challenges related to societal stigmas, impacting their ability to secure partnerships with traditional financial institutions.
  • Chargebacks: Due to the nature of adult transactions, businesses may encounter a higher risk of chargebacks. As a result, it necessitates robust fraud prevention measures.

Traditional Payment Processors vs. High-risk Payment Processors

Traditional payment processors, such as banks and mainstream payment gateways, often impose restrictions and limitations on adult businesses due to perceived risks. These may include

  • Strict Approval Processes: Adult businesses may encounter challenges in securing approval from traditional processors. This often leads to delays and potential rejections.
  • High Transaction Fees: Traditional processors may impose higher transaction fees on adult businesses to compensate for perceived risks and compliance efforts.
  • Limited Services: Some mainstream processors may restrict the types of adult products or services eligible for processing.

On the other hand, to address the specific needs of adult businesses, high-risk payment processors specialize in providing tailored solutions. These processors understand the unique challenges of the adult industry and offer:

  • Customized Solutions: High-risk payment processors design solutions that align with the risk profile and requirements of adult businesses.
  • Risk Mitigation: High-risk payment processor takes specialized fraud prevention and risk management measures to help minimize chargebacks and associated risks.
  • Industry Expertise: High-risk payment processors possess in-depth knowledge of the adult industry. So, they ensure compliance and optimal processing solutions.

Hire FirmEU to Set Up Your Corporate Structure and Payment Processing

Are you considering setting up an adult business and need assistance navigating the complexities of setting up your corporate structure and payment processing? Look no further than FirmEU, a trusted corporate service provider. We have a proven track record of helping businesses establish a strong foundation for success.

Here’s how FirmEU can support your adult business venture:

  • Choosing the Best Corporate Structure: We understand that choosing the right corporate structure for your adult business is very vital for the success and sustainability of the business. Our team of experts will assess your unique needs, preferences, and regulatory requirements to help you determine the most suitable corporate structure for your adult business. With our guidance, you can rest assured that your business will be positioned for long-term growth and compliance.
  • Navigating Regulatory Requirements: Some jurisdictions mandate that businesses have a registered agent representing the adult business. This is one very important aspect of the setting up. You need a registered corporate service provider like FirmEU to ensure that your adult business meets all regulatory obligations. Also, we will streamline communication and compliance procedures.
  • Extensive Network in the Banking and Processing Industry: With over 500 contacts in the banking and processing industry, FirmEU has established valuable relationships with leading high-risk financial institutions and payment processors. This network allows us to connect you with the most suitable banking and processing solutions tailored to the needs of your adult business.
  • Prompt Access to Processing Solutions: Time is of the essence when launching a new venture. With FirmEU, you can expect prompt and efficient service, with dozens of processing offers curated specifically for your adult business within a week. Our expedited onboarding process ensures that you can start processing payments quickly, saving you valuable time and resources.
  • Lowest Processing Fees: We understand the importance of cost-effectiveness in running a successful adult business. FirmEU is committed to providing you with the lowest processing fees available in the market, helping you maximize your profitability and financial efficiency.

In addition to these advantages, working with FirmEU offers peace of mind knowing that you have a dedicated partner committed to your success. Our team of experienced professionals will guide you through every step of the process, from incorporation to bank account opening and payment processing. We ensure that your adult business is set up for success from the start. Contact us today and let’s get started!

Share article:

How can we help?

Discover the full range of services we can offer with a free quote.