What Forms Are Needed to Start an LLC?

By Michele Vrouvas

Starting an LLC (limited liability company) in any state requires the owners, who are known as members, to submit forms with the state's business regulatory agency. The forms provide basic information about the company's purpose, members and management structure. Knowing which form suits the kind of LLC you will operate can help avoid a rejection from the state and unnecessary delays to your business start-up plan.

Articles of Organization

The articles of organization, which in some states is called a certificate of organization or certificate of formation, is the first document a start-up LLC must file. This usually short form is often prepared and signed by the LLC's organizer -- either an owner of the LLC or an individual permitted to act on behalf of the initial members. The articles state the company's name, type of business services, founding members and the registered agent -- an individual or company chosen to receive legal paperwork addressed to the company. The LLC cannot begin transacting business until the form is approved by the state.

Series LLC

Some states allow creation of a series LLC, a company comprising separate divisions, each with its own members, liabilities and interests. The separate form needed for this type of entity requires the organizer to affirm that the operating agreement, a written management plan among the owners, permits formation of separate series. By signing this form, the organizer agrees that members of one series are not liable for debts and obligations of another series.

Ready to start your LLC? Start an LLC Online Now

Foreign Entities

Many states require different forms for foreign, or out of state, companies that want to transact business in their borders. Usually short and easy to prepare, these applications ask for the name of the company and its members. The applicant must also affirm that it remains in good standing in the home state and explain why it is pursuing business in a new state. Foreign entities that attempt to run LLCs in different jurisdictions without submitting these forms can face civil penalties and fines.

Professional Service Entities

When an LLC performs services that are considered "professional" by some states, it must file a separate application designed only for professional service LLCs. The services of healthcare providers, lawyers, accountants and members of the clergy are included in this category. By completing this form, the founding members are promising they will not engage in services not specifically identified on the application. They also agree to add the words, "a professional limited liability company" to the business name.

Ready to start your LLC? Start an LLC Online Now
What Is an LLC License?



Related articles

How to Open an LLC Bank Account

An advantage of forming a limited liability company is the protection the business structure provides to its members against its creditors. Members aren’t personally liable for the debt and liabilities of an LLC. However, if an LLC is sued and members can't demonstrate separateness between business and personal finances and expenses, members may become just as liable for the debts and liabilities of the business as is the LLC. Setting up an LLC bank account, separate from members' accounts, helps prevent the appearance of commingling of funds and adds a layer of protection for members of the LLC.

Can Accountants Form an LLC?

Because business entity formation is governed by state law, whether or not accountants can form a limited liability company depends on where you will be practicing. The issue accountants run into is professional liability. A limited liability company, or LLC, is designed to remove personal liability for business owners, but many states do not allow professionals to escape personal responsibility for professional malpractice.

General Partnership Vs. LLC

Choosing a proper business structure is one of the crucial steps encountered by owners in the initial stages of operating a company. One option is to structure the business as a limited liability company; another route is formation as a general partnership. Differences in tax liability, as well as personal liability for members regarding debts and other legal obligations, are the defining characteristics of what separate these designations.

LLCs, Corporations, Patents, Attorney Help LLCs

Related articles

California LLC Set Up Requirements

A limited liability company is a special business entity that has similar advantages to corporations, sole ...

The Forms Required for an LLC in Michigan

The state of Michigan provides ready-made forms for most requirements of LLC formation. Entrepreneurs starting an LLC ...

Different Kinds of LLCs

An LLC is a business entity created by statute and governed by state law. Each state has its own legislation regarding ...

How do I Register an LLC for Multiple Members?

A limited liability company, or LLC, is a “hybrid” business organization that combines the limited liability benefits ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED