Are you ready to start a new business in Connecticut? Before opening up to the public, you’ll need to satisfy a few legal requirements. One way to protect yourself from liability and add legitimacy to your business is to form a limited liability company (LLC). Luckily, forming an LLC in Connecticut isn’t too tricky.
Here, we’ll guide you through the LLC formation process in Connecticut and show you what you need to do to get your business off the ground. We’ll also show you how our services can make the process easier. Let’s get started.
To start an LLC in Connecticut, you’ll need to work with the Business and Commercial Services division of the Connecticut Secretary of State’s office. The first step is to secure a name for your LLC, followed by appointing a registered agent and filing your Certificate of Organization. We’ll also go over the importance of having an operating agreement and how to apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
To make the process of forming an LLC in the Constitution State easier, we’ve put together a step-by-step guide that details each step of the process and answers your questions.
Step 1: Name your Connecticut LLC
Your first consideration when choosing a company name for your LLC is that it should be unique in the state of Connecticut. You can determine this by using our Connecticut Business Entity Search page, which shows you how to see if your desired business name is available or has already been claimed by another business.
When you find an available business name you’re happy with, you may want to reserve it until you’re ready to file your LLC paperwork so that no one else can claim it in the interim. Connecticut allows you to reserve a business name for 120 days for a fee. If you’d rather not deal with this process yourself, we have a business name reservation service that can handle it for you. As part of the service, we also check to see if your desired name is available.
Your LLC name must end with the words “Limited Liability Company” or the abbreviations “LLC” or “L.L.C.” to comply with Connecticut law; additionally, “Limited” may be abbreviated as “Ltd.,” and “company” may be abbreviated as “Co.” According to Connecticut law, nothing in the LLC’s name can state or imply that the business’s purpose is different from the stated purpose in the LLC’s Certificate of Organization.
You may also want to check to see if your desired domain name is available. While many top-level domains exist — “.co,” “.net,” etc. — there’s nothing like getting “.com” to give some legitimacy to your business. We have a tool to help you do a preliminary domain name search, and our domain name registration service can help you secure the online name that will best serve your company.
Finally, you can check to see whether the state and/or federal trademark is available. While you don’t need a trademark to start doing business, registering your business’s trade name and logo can help prevent other people from copying you in the future.
Plus, you don’t want to go through all of the trouble of forming your business just to learn that some company outside Connecticut already has a trademark for a name similar to your business’s — this could mean you need to rename your LLC. First, you’ll want to check if the trademark is available in Connecticut. If you plan to do business outside of the state, you can also visit the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s trademark search database to see whether anyone has already registered a trademark for your desired business name.
Note, you may also want to do this if you are interested in using a DBA or “doing business as” name. A Connecticut DBA is another name to use for your business, often used when a company wants to rebrand for a new product line or store. This will also need to be registered with the town clerk in the town where the business is transacted.
Step 2: Appoint a registered agent in Connecticut
Connecticut requires every LLC to have a registered agent for service of process. Registered agents physically accept correspondence from the Connecticut Secretary of State and any court papers on the company’s behalf. Your registered agent is an individual resident of the state of Connecticut or a business entity authorized to do business in Connecticut as long as the agent has a physical street address within the state.
Many new LLC owners (called “members” in an LLC) think they should be their company’s registered agent and use their business’s primary location as the registered office address. However, this approach may have unintended consequences.
Some benefits of hiring an outside registered agent service like ours include:
- A service of process, for example, won’t be delivered to you in front of customers if you have an outside registered agent service in Connecticut.
- If you serve as your registered agent, you’re required to be available during standard business hours. If you plan to work outside the office or take business trips, this requirement could be problematic.
- If you provide your personal or business address as your registered agent address, you’ll need to update your registered agent paperwork with the state each time you move. At rapidly growing companies, it’s easy to see how this essential step could get overlooked.
Step 3: File a Connecticut Certificate of Organization
While known as Articles of Organization in many other states, a Certificate of Organization is a document that proves your company is a legal LLC in the state. Filing official government documents like this can be intimidating for many people, which is why we’re here. With our business formation plans, our professionals handle the filing for you to make sure it’s done quickly and correctly the first time. But, although we can handle this for you, we’ll show you how the process works below.
To create your LLC in the state of Connecticut, you’ll need to file a Certificate of Organization with the Connecticut Secretary of State and pay a filing fee. You can submit the paperwork by mail or online. To complete the documents, you’ll need to know the following information:
- The name and address of your LLC and the LLC’s organizer
- The name and address of the company’s registered agent. If filing online you will also need an email address for the registered agent. Connecticut requires that the person/entity being appointed consents to being the registered agent.
- The name and address of at least one manager or member
- The LLC’s email address, if available
For those who choose to mail their Certificate of Organization, send it to:
Business Service Division, Connecticut Secretary of the State
P.O. Box 150470
Hartford, CT 06115
If you have us handle filing your Certificate of Organization, once the state approves your LLC, your paperwork will be available from your ZenBusiness dashboard, where you can keep it and other important paperwork digitally organized.
Once you get your physical paperwork back from the state approving your new LLC, you’ll want to keep it in a safe location along with your other important documents, such as your operating agreement, member certificates, contracts, compliance checklists, transfer ledger, etc. We offer a customized business kit to help you keep these important documents organized and looking professional.
By now you’re realizing how often you’ll need to supply an address for your new business. That can be unsettling for some business owners, especially those running their business from home. In instances where you’re not required to give the registered agent address or official principal address for your business, a virtual business address can come in handy.
With our virtual business address service, we supply you with a physical street address where you can have your mail sent without divulging your real address to more people than necessary. Then we can send that mail to the address of your choice.
Step 4: Create an operating agreement
Much like the bylaws required by corporations, operating agreements outline the rules and procedures for the management of the LLC. However, unlike corporations, LLCs can do more to customize their internal practices to fit the needs of the business. If you don’t draft an LLC operating agreement in Connecticut, background state law applies to your company. Typical concepts in an operating agreement include:
- Procedures for admitting or removing LLC members
- Allocation of profits and ownership
- Management structure and voting requirements
- Dissolution and winding up of the LLC
If you’re unsure as to how to begin creating an operating agreement for your LLC, we offer a customizable template to help get you started.
Step 5: Apply for an EIN
Your LLC needs an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Employer Identification Number (EIN) unless your business is a single-member LLC with no employees (and sometimes even then). Plus, you’ll typically need an EIN if you want to open a business bank account or apply for a company credit card.
You can get your LLC’s EIN through the IRS website, by mail, or by fax. However, if you’re not fond of dealing with that particular government agency, we can get it for you. Our EIN service is quick and eliminates the hassle.
If your company has employees or collects sales tax, you may need to register your LLC with the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services. To see a full list of reasons you may need to register, visit the Department of Revenue Services Registration page. The registration fee depends on which type of business you operate.
Each Connecticut LLC must file an annual report with the Connecticut Secretary of State. Your Connecticut annual report comes with a filing fee and must be filed online. You must file the annual report by the end of the month in which the LLC was formed. For example, if you formed your LLC on May 8, your annual report is due on May 31 of each subsequent year. If you don’t file your annual report in a timely manner, the Connecticut Secretary of State may dissolve your LLC.
We can help you with your annual report in a couple of ways. Our annual report service will help you file your annual report, and our Worry Free Compliance service not only helps with filing your annual report but also sends you other important compliance reminders and helps you with two amendment filings each year.
Once you’ve secured an EIN, you’ll be able to open a business bank account. Having separate accounts for your business and your personal banking is critical for sorting out your finances at tax time and helps you avoid commingling funds. Commingling funds can not only make your taxes more difficult, but it could also be used against you if someone takes you to court to challenge whether you and your LLC are truly separate entities (i.e., they want to sue you for not just your business assets, but also your personal assets).
We offer a discounted bank account for your new business. This allows for unlimited transactions, online banking, a debit card, and more. When you want to authorize others in your business to use the account, we offer a banking resolution template to simplify the process.
For further help managing your new business’s finances, try the ZenBusiness Money App. It can help you create invoices, receive payments, transfer money, and manage clients all in one place.
Connecticut LLC FAQs
How much does it cost to start an LLC in Connecticut?
The state fees for forming a Connecticut LLC can range from $120 to $180, depending on factors such as whether you choose to reserve your business name. Note that fees change over time, so check the Connecticut Secretary of State website for the most recent fee schedule.
Each year, you’ll also be required to pay a fee with your LLC annual report. Your business may need to pay additional fees for permits and licenses.
What are the benefits of an LLC in Connecticut?
The benefits of forming a Connecticut LLC include:
- Separating your personal liabilities and personal assets from your business debts and obligations.
- Quick and simple filing, management, compliance, and administration of your Connecticut LLC.
- Easy tax filing and potential tax advantages.
How is an LLC taxed in Connecticut?
LLCs are exempt from double taxation. This means you’ll only pay taxes on your LLC profits when filing your personal tax return versus paying taxes on both your corporate tax return and your personal tax return.
Of course, there are other tax requirements you’ll need to be aware of. LLCs in Connecticut are subject to an annual Business Entity Tax if they’re required to file an annual report with the Connecticut Secretary of the State.
See the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services website for more information on the taxes your LLC will be responsible for. An experienced accountant or tax specialist can also help you make the best tax decisions and keep your business tax-compliant.
Those who purchase any of our business formation plans get a free accounting consultation and tax assessment from our specialists to receive helpful resources and no-obligation recommendations around your bookkeeping, accounting, and tax needs.
What is the processing time to form my Connecticut LLC?
If you file a paper application, processing usually takes seven to 10 business days. However, if the Secretary of State is busy, it could take up to several weeks. If you file online, you’ll typically have your Certificate of Organization processed in two to three days.
You can also expedite your order for an additional fee. If you’re in a hurry to form your LLC and don’t want to jump through the hoops of the state’s expedited filing processes, we can handle it for you with our faster filing speeds service.
Do I need to file my operating agreement with the state of Connecticut?
You don’t need to file your operating agreement, but you should keep it on file for future reference. Connecticut doesn’t require LLCs to draft or adopt an operating agreement. However, some states do legally require LLCs to have an operating agreement.
What tax structure should I choose for my Connecticut LLC?
When you get an EIN, you’ll be informed of the available tax classification options. Most LLCs elect pass-through taxation, where the LLC’s members are only taxed once on their earnings.
Does Connecticut allow a Series LLC?
A Series LLC has multiple series of members, managers, or LLC interests, each having separate rights, powers, or duties from members in other series of the same LLC. Each series may also have a distinct business purpose and segregate its liability from the other series in the LLC. However, Connecticut doesn’t currently permit Series LLCs.
Which licenses and permits are required for an LLC in Connecticut?
You’ll need to make sure your LLC has all the licenses and permits it’s required to have by law. Unfortunately, because licensing varies by industry and location and can occur on the federal, state, and local levels, there’s no central place to check to see if you have all the licenses and permits you need. You’ll have to do some research.
If you don’t have the time or inclination to do all this research, or if you just want the peace of mind to know that your business has all the licenses and permits it’s legally required to have, our business license report service can do the work for you.