What paperwork you need to start a new LLC will vary depending on the state in which you register your limited liability company. Fortunately, although limited liability companies exist purely in state law, there are some uniform laws among the states that result in similar LLC registration practices no matter where you live.
The most important LLC form is the Articles of Organization. These Articles are necessary to register an LLC business in any state. Though you may create a custom Articles of Organization, all states provide a fill-in form to set up your LLC. This form is typically available through the Secretary of State’s office or website, but sometimes subsidiary agencies may handle the filings. For instance, the Corporation Division handles LLC filings in Oregon.
Forming an LLC requires only that you submit a completed Articles of Organization to the appropriate state department. If you intend to solicit or do business in multiple states, you may also have to register the LLC in those states. LLC registration is similar to LLC formation in that you need only submit a single form with your company’s information. A small filing fee — typically under $50 — may be collected.
The LLC set-up process may also require you to obtain an EIN, or Employer Identification Number. This may be necessary even if your LLC does not have any employees. For instance, though single-member LLCs do not need an EIN, LLCs made of a partnership with two or more people do. Setting up an LLC’s EIN requires IRS Form SS-4, though the process may be done more quickly and easily on the IRS’s website.
Some states require an Operating Agreement — sometimes also colloquially called an LLC Agreement — before starting an LLC. The Operating Agreement never has to be submitted, but some states require that all LLCs draft and keep one.
Setting up an LLC does not require much paperwork, and so it is an ideal business structure for small business owners who do not wish to spend a lot of time forming their company. The only LLC forms that may be necessary are the Articles of Organization, Form SS-4 for the EIN, and the Operating or LLC Agreement. Once the Secretary of State accepts your Articles of Organization, you have successfully formed a new LLC and may begin doing business under the LLC’s name.