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1Name Your Arizona LLC
Appoint a Registered Agent in Arizona
Choosing a name is the first step on your LLC formation journey. Selecting the perfect business name is more than just branding. Without a distinct name, the Arizona Corporation Commission won’t let you register your business. As a result, you’ll need to decide what to call your company before forming your LLC and submitting the necessary paperwork. Otherwise, you might have to start over.
Unfortunately, you can’t just choose the first name that pops into your mind. You’ll have to consider two official requirements when picking your LLC’s name:
Once you select a name, consider reserving it so that nobody takes it before you form your business. To do this, you’ll need to complete an Application to Reserve Corporation Name, which will save your chosen name for 120 days. Within that window, you’ll have enough time to file your Articles of Organization and form your LLC.
To file your name reservation, you can mail the form to the Arizona Corporation Commission or submit the document online. Filing by mail costs $10, with an optional $35 fee for expedited processing. The online reservation costs $45 and automatically includes expedited service.
When choosing a name, you might also want to take a few other considerations into account. For example, you may want to check to see if your desired domain name is available. For example, if “ArthursAppliances.com” is already taken, Arthur might want to come up with another name, even if “Arthur’s Appliances, LLC” is available as a business name with the Arizona Corporation Commission. While you can always go with a “.net” or “.co” option, there’s nothing like getting the “.com” top-level domain to give your business legitimacy and recognition.
You should also check to see if social media handles are available. Many businesses market on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, so snagging the appropriate social media names is crucial for effective online marketing.
Finally, business owners should check with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to see whether someone already has a federally registered trademark for their ideal business name. Even if the domain, social media handles, and business name are available in Arizona, you don’t want to go through all of the trouble of forming your business just to learn that some company in another state already has the trademark for your business’s name, preventing you from effectively marketing your new LLC. Visit the USPTO’s trademark search database to see whether anyone has already registered a trademark for your desired business name. It’s also possible for a name to be trademarked at the state level. See this page for more information on trademarks in Arizona.
Note that you should also do this if you are interested in using a DBA or “Doing Business As.” A DBA is another name to use for your business. This will also need to be registered via the Secretary of State’s website.
Consistent with other states, Arizona requires new LLCs to designate a statutory agent as part of the business formation process. Many states call this party a “registered agent.” You’ll need to list your statutory agent and their address on your Articles of Organization.
The primary purpose of a statutory agent is to communicate with the Arizona Corporation Commission and receive documents related to legal proceedings on behalf of your business. If your business is subpoenaed or sued, the state of Arizona must know how to get the paperwork to your LLC’s leadership.
A statutory agent might be a person or business entity, but they must have a registered office address in the state of Arizona. This address cannot be a P.O. box because process servers usually deliver legal documents in person — you’ll need to designate a physical address where the agent can receive essential paperwork. Additionally, your chosen statutory agent must accept the appointment in writing by completing a Statutory Agent Acceptance form, which you will submit along with the Articles of Organization.
Many business owners assume they should serve as the statutory agent for their company and use their business’s primary location as the registered office address. While this approach sounds reasonable at first, it can have serious downsides and unintended consequences.
For example, you don’t want a service of process to show up with court papers in the middle of a crucial customer presentation or an important board meeting. Plus, if you work from home or don’t have an office yet, you may not want to put your home address in the public record — you have enough junk mail already. Statutory agent acceptance of your important documents can help you focus on hiring employees, serving customers, and growing your business.
Working with a designated statutory agent like ZenBusiness also enables you to keep your primary office outside the state of Arizona. If your headquarters is in California, Nevada, or elsewhere, you’ll need to work with a third party with an in-state business address.
There’s an additional benefit if you’re an Arizona LLC owner: All but two counties in Arizona require you to meet a publication requirement when forming your LLC (more on that below). When you use ZenBusiness as your statutory agent, our Arizona office is located in one of the two counties that don’t require publication, meaning you avoid the hassle and costs of the state’s publication requirement.
Even if your offices are within Arizona state limits, working with a statutory agent prevents you from needing to constantly amend your Articles of Organization with your new address each time you move. Instead, you can keep your statutory agent’s address on file.
Accordingly, many business owners decide to hire an outside statutory agent service who can receive paperwork on their LLC’s behalf. Working with a designated agent is quite affordable and prevents future headaches while ensuring your business remains in good standing.
If you’ve already listed yourself as your business’s statutory agent and want to start working with a professional instead, you’ll need to file an LLC Statement of Change of Principal Address or Statutory Agent with the Arizona Corporation Commission. Luckily, the change request is just $5 for Arizona LLCs.
Once you choose a name and a statutory agent, you’ll have all the information necessary to file the formal business formation paperwork with the Arizona Corporation Commission. Thankfully, the paperwork is pretty painless. The official document is just two pages long.
You’ll need to file your Articles of Organization online (you’ll need to create an eCorp account first) with the Arizona Corporation Commission and pay a fee of $50. You can also submit your Articles of Organization on a paper form — the cost is also $50, but you’ll also need to include a cover sheet, the Statutory Agent Acceptance form, and one form if your LLC will be member-managed, a different form if it will be manager-managed (more on that below). For expedited processing, add another $35.
If you want to mail your Articles of Organization to the Arizona Corporation Commission, send your filled-out form and a check to the following address:
Arizona Corporation Commission
Corporate Filings Section
1300 W. Washington St.
Phoenix, AZ 85007
To complete the form, have the following information handy:
You only need to file your Articles of Organization once. However, if you end up making any changes down the road — such as replacing your statutory agent or switching from a member-managed to a manager-managed LLC — you’ll need to file Articles of Amendment with the Arizona Corporation Commission along with a $25 fee.
If all of this sounds complex, you don’t have to worry. ZenBusiness can help you create an Operating Agreement at an affordable cost, using existing templates to speed up the process. Plus, unlike the Articles of Organization, you don’t need to file your Operating Agreement with the Arizona Corporation Commission or pay fees. Having a professional Operating Agreement is a simple and prudent investment in your business’s future.
After officially forming your new LLC with the Arizona Corporation Commission, you’ll need to register with the federal government and get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). An EIN is like a Social Security number for your business, allowing your business to hire employees, apply for a business bank account, and pay taxes.
If you operate your LLC alone and have no employees, you might not technically need to get an EIN. However, if your LLC has any employees or multiple members, you need to obtain an EIN. Moreover, even if an EIN isn’t technically required for your LLC, it may help in meaningful ways, enabling you to open a business bank account or obtain debt financing.
Thankfully, you can apply for an EIN through the IRS’s website and have it issued immediately. Plus, the application process is free.
You can also submit your EIN request by mail, but the turnaround time is at least four weeks. As a result, you may want to apply online to save some time and start doing business as quickly as possible.
Unlike many other states, Arizona has a publication requirement, notifying the state that you’ve formed an LLC. New LLCs must publish a notice of LLC formation in one of Arizona’s approved newspapers in three consecutive publications, starting within 60 days of receiving notice from the Arizona Corporation Commission.
The notice must include the following information:
After the three consecutive publications, the newspaper will send you and the Arizona Corporation Commission an Affidavit of Publication, proving that your LLC has met the publication requirement. At this point, you’re all finished. Just make sure to keep the affidavit for your records.
If you’re forming an LLC in either Maricopa County or Pima County, things are easier: You don’t need to meet the publication requirement if you live in either of those counties. Instead, the Arizona Corporation Commission posts notice of your LLC’s formation on the Arizona Corporation Commission’s Public Notice Database. This is free, so you also save money on publication costs. If you choose to use ZenBusiness as your statutory agent, our Arizona office is located in Pima County, meaning you avoid the publication requirement and the associated fees altogether.
Our business formation services start as low as $49 per year. For that price, we’ll complete and submit your business filing paperwork, serve as your statutory agent, and provide an Operating Agreement template for your new Arizona LLC. Our more comprehensive plans also handle essentials like getting an EIN and complying with Arizona state regulations. We offer quality services and peace of mind at an unbeatable price.
LLCs are one of the most popular business structures in Arizona because they provide limited liability protection, operational flexibility, and favorable taxation.
Arizona LLCs empower business owners to:
For an in-depth explanation of the benefits of the LLC business structure, check out our comprehensive article.
LLCs provide the benefit of avoiding “double taxation.” The business pays no income tax, instead passing the income straight through to the LLC’s owners. Then, each owner pays taxes on the earnings as regular income.
The LLC tax structure can save business owners a significant amount of money compared to traditional C corporations. However, LLCs can elect to be taxed as a corporation if they wish, subjecting owners to double taxation. You can make the election when you register with the IRS and obtain an EIN.
The IRS administers federal taxes based on each member’s share in the LLC. So, if you own 75% of an LLC and are entitled to 75% of the profits, the IRS will tax you on 75% of your LLC’s earnings. Any losses will be allocated similarly.
Importantly, LLC owners might be required to pay self-employment tax to the IRS to make up for the fact that they don’t pay taxes like those related to Medicare or Social Security.
When it comes to income tax, Arizona upholds pass-through taxation unless the LLC elects to be taxed as a corporation. Nevertheless, Arizona LLCs are subject to a variety of non-income-related taxes.
Arizona business taxes may include:
For example, LLCs in Arizona are required to pay the transaction privilege tax (TPT). While the TPT resembles a sales tax, it’s actually a tax for the privilege of running an LLC within Arizona. Not every LLC is subject to the TPT, but many are. Examples of businesses that may need to pay TPT include retail stores, restaurants and bars, hotels and motels, advertising, property rentals, construction contractors, land developers, transportation companies, printers and publishers, communications companies, transportation companies, and more.
If your business engages in activities subject to Arizona’s TPT, you’ll need to get a license from the Arizona Department of Revenue. Plus, you might need to pay additional taxes based on your city — however, the Department of Revenue will collect city tax on the city’s behalf. To understand your state tax burden, consider visiting the Arizona Department of Revenue to get more information.
We hope this guide has helped shed light on the LLC formation process. Use these steps as you navigate through forming your LLC, and be sure to reach out to ZenBusiness with any questions along the way.
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