An LLC, or Limited Liability Company, is similar to a corporation in that owners or members of the LLC are not liable for company losses. Unlike a corporation though, an LLC does not require a board of directors or annual reports on operations and an LLC is not taxed at a corporate level. Instead, the LLC’s taxes are passed down to company members. While the steps and paperwork that must be completed to form an LLC vary somewhat by state, much of the process is the same.
Select a name for your LLC. Check the database of business names for your state to make sure the name has not already been taken by another LLC in your state. The business name database for most states can be found on the Secretary of State page of the official state government website. “LLC” must be included at the end of your company’s name.
Fill out the “Articles of Organization” or “Certificate of Formation” form for your state. The form can be found and printed from the Secretary of State page on most states' websites. Some states, such as Georgia and Oregon, have online filing for LLCs.
Include the filing fee with your LLC paperwork. This fee ranges from approximately $100 to $800, depending on the state where you are filing. When filing online, this fee is paid by credit card.
Publish a notice regarding the formation of your LLC in your local newspaper if this is a requirement in your state. When printing your paperwork or filing your LLC paperwork on the Secretary of State’s page, the publication requirements for your state will be listed along with the other requirements.
Wait at least a month before contacting the state’s business office if you do not receive your LLC formation documents in the mail. The filing process can take up to four to six weeks in some states, depending on the time of year and the backlog.
Just forming an LLC does not make it legal for you to do business in your state. Any business license or permit that is required to run the type of company you are forming in your state still must be obtained through your state’s business office.