Your first consideration when choosing a name for your LLC is that it be unique from any other business in the state of Arizona. You can quickly and easily do a name check on the Arizona Corporation Commission business name database webpage to verify the business name you want is available. For a $45 filing fee online or $10 fee by mail, you can reserve an available name for 120 days. To do so, you can fill out the Application to Reserve a Limited Liability Company Name form online, submit it by mail, or deliver it in person to the Arizona Corporation Commission.
In order to comply with Arizona state law, your company’s name must contain some form of the term “Limited Liability Company.” This can appear in several different formats from the whole phrase written out to several appropriate abbreviations. “Limited Company,” “L.L.C.,” “LLC,” “L.C.,” and “LC” are all considered appropriate ways to adorn your moniker. Arizona LLC names must not contain the words “Corporation,” “Incorporated,” “Association,” or any abbreviation of them. Similarly, the words “Bank,” “Deposit,” “Credit Union,” “Trust,” or “Trust Company” separately or in combination can’t be used in the name unless the LLC actually is one of those things. Professional limited liability company names must follow the same rules outlined above, but must instead contain the words “professional limited liability company” or one of the following abbreviations: “P.L.L.C.,” “P.L.C.,” “PLLC,” or “PLC” in upper or lower case letters.
The state of Arizona requires that any LLC have a statutory agent (more commonly called a “registered agent”) for service of process. This means your LLC must have an entity that agrees to physically accept any legal papers on the company’s behalf should it be sued. This entity does not have to be an individual person. The statutory agent can be any resident of the state of Arizona or a business entity authorized to do business in Arizona so long as the agent has a physical street address within the state. Your chosen statutory agent must accept the appointment in writing by submitting the Statutory Agent Acceptance form.
You may want to consider preparing an operating agreement to outline the ownership and operating procedures for your LLC.
Though not required by the state, an operating agreement will set the guidelines for running your company. This does not need to be filed with the state, but it can go a long way toward ensuring your company’s success.
An IRS Employer Identification Number (EIN) is required for your LLC unless it is a single-member LLC with no employees. Obtaining an EIN is as easy as completing the application on the IRS website.
It’s possible your company will need to register with the Arizona Department of Revenue. Whether or not your company needs to follow this step will depend on the exact types of taxes it will be collecting and/or has been collecting from the state and if you have employees. The Arizona Joint Tax Application, Form JT-1/UC-001, can be filed online or by mail.
If your LLC sells a physical product, you’ll need to register for an Arizona Transaction Privilege Tax (TPT) License. Vendors are required to pay this tax (usually called a “sales tax” in other states) in order to do business in Arizona. You pay this tax to the Arizona Department of Revenue, and the rates will vary based on your business type and location. Additionally, if you have employees, you’ll need to register for Unemployment Insurance Tax and Employee Withholding Tax on the Arizona Department of Revenue website.
In the state of Arizona, an LLC must publish the Articles of Organization in a newspaper of general circulation in the Arizona county where it does business for three consecutive publications. (There are two exceptions; if your principal business address is in either Maricopa or Pima counties, you don’t have to publish a Notice of LLC Formation.) This must be done within 60 days of approval of your LLC formation by the Arizona Corporation Commission. A list of acceptable newspapers in each county is posted on the Arizona Corporation Commission website. The LLC may be subject to dissolution if it fails to publish.
If yours is a foreign LLC, also referred to as an out-of-state LLC, wanting to do business in the state of Arizona, you’ll need to follow all the steps above with a few differences.
The main difference is the form required to make your LLC legal to operate, referred to as the Application for Registration.
You will need to file an Application for Registration of a Foreign Limited Liability Company with the Arizona Corporations Commission as well as a Certificate of Existence from your LLC’s domestic or home state. The filing fee is $150 and there are no publication requirements.
Some industries will require you to secure federal, state, and/or local licenses to legally operate in the state of Arizona.
Since business licenses and permits are issued at all levels of government—federal, state, and local—and for such a multitude of reasons (e.g., health, building, signage, etc.), you should still do careful research to find out what licenses and permits you need. You can also hire or use a professional service to do it for you.