As a licensed professional small business owner, I've spent many years jumping through hoops and following regulations required to operate my business in the public domain. I get it!
I've also discovered a better way: The PMA.
This option of working with members in the private domain is valid for almost any business you can think of (it won't work in real estate, sorry!) If you're a medical professional who wants freedom to treat according to your expertise and conscience? Yes, you can. If you're a parent who wants the freedom to educate your child in a private or home school? Yes, you can. If you're an electrician who wants to work without a license? Yes. If you're a cafe, grocery store, bowling alley, or hair salon owner...YES YES YES.
You can create a private membership which doesn't answer to any outside authority, and has tax protections as well. BUT IT'S CRITICAL THAT YOUR FOUNDING DOCUMENTS BE PROPERLY FORMED. One mistake on those documents and it's all for naught.
Surely, you have questions. Let's jump on a call for about 30 minutes and discuss your particular situation. It's highly possible that this opportunity is what you've been dreaming of. There's no charge for the call. I consider it my ministry to assist business owners in this way.
Here's a list of the most frequently asked questions
What is a PMA?
Private Membership Association (PMA) is an umbrella term for a variety of associations with the objective of conducting their business in private, versus public. Examples: Associations (the NRA, NAACP, and BAR Association are all PMAs!), social clubs (Boy Scouts, private golf clubs), and memberships that are secular or faith based are considered PMAs on this website for the sake of simplicity. Ministerial Associations founded on a belief in Nature or God have greater protections than PMAs, but for our purposes here we're referring to all as PMAs.
What are the benefits of a PMA?
Being able to operate your retail or service business, school, health practice or church without asking permission from ANY authority is at the top of the benefits list. A PMA is outside of local, state and federal jurisdiction. Operating under your own authority/jurisdiction means regulations and restrictions imposed on the public do not apply to you. As an unincorporated church, you're free to get involved in politics.
Is there legal precedent for PMAs in court?
Yes. In fact, many times the Supreme Court has issued their opinion in favor of PMAs. The only instances PMAs were found to be invalid is when their founding documents contained wording that made them statutorily compliant. It should be noted that the only restriction placed on PMAs in case law is that they may not present 'a clear and present danger of substantive evil.' So, as long as you're not teaching toddlers to swallow fire or asking your members to drink poisoned Koolaid, you should be good to go.
How are PMAs protected by the Constitution?
PMAs invoke the protections of the 1st, 4th, 5th, 9th, 10th and 14th Amendments of the US Constitution. The right to private contract (your Membership agreement being the contract) holds the highest jurisdiction of all. Our government does not have the right to interfere with private contract.
Who do I give notice to once my PMA is formed?
If you are dissolving a public business and re-opening as a PMA, I recommend you publish a notice in your local paper for 30 days. You may need to relinquish your LLC with the Secretary of State. Other than that, there is no filing of paperwork. Founding documents act as guidelines for your members and trustees, and evidence if you’re ever challenged with regard to the validity of your PMA. Remember, you’re not asking permission. You are making a statement of self governance, as our founding fathers did 😉
What if I want to keep my professional license?
You may choose to keep or relinquish your license. If you keep it, you’ll need to be very careful to separate your public business from your private, members only business. This may be necessary in the case of a medical doctor who wishes to keep their license in order to prescribe, but also see members in a private capacity.
How do I decide which type of PMA I need?
This depends on your circumstances and the type of association you intend to form. You may need a Private Health, Education, or Membership Association. If your activities are based on a faith in God, Creator, or Nature, you may qualify for a Faith Based Association, Ministry or Church. The latter include tax protections in addition to the benefits of operating in the private domain.
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