Form Your Louisiana LLC Online Today

Form Your Louisiana LLC Online Today

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If you’re thinking of starting a new business in Louisiana, you might not be sure where to begin. Thankfully, forming a Louisiana limited liability company (LLC) is relatively straightforward, especially if you get help from an expert. 

This comprehensive toolkit will show you what you need to do to form a new LLC in Louisiana. Once you’ve established your Louisiana LLC, you can focus on growing your business. This guide simplifies the Louisiana LLC formation process so that you can get your business up and running as quickly as possible.

The 5 steps to form an LLC in Louisiana:

In Louisiana, forming an LLC requires registering your new business with the Louisiana Secretary of State by filing the Articles of Organization and a Limited Liability Company Initial Report. In your Initial Report, you’ll need to select a registered agent to communicate with the state of Louisiana on your behalf.

After you file the required paperwork, you’ll still have other boxes to check to get everything in order. For example, you’ll likely want to draft an Operating Agreement and register your company with the IRS. 

There’s no need to feel overwhelmed by these requirements. Here, we’ll break everything down into five simple steps. By following this guide, you’ll have your new LLC ready to go as soon as possible.

This comprehensive toolkit will show you what you need to do to form a new LLC in Louisiana. Once you’ve established your Louisiana LLC, you can focus on growing your business. This guide simplifies the Louisiana LLC formation process so that you can get your business up and running as quickly as possible.

An infographic that explains how to form an LLC in 5 Steps

Step 1: Name Your Louisiana LLC

Choosing a name is the first step on your LLC formation checklist. When selecting your business’s name, you need to follow a few legal requirements. For example, you’ll have to distinguish your company from other Louisiana businesses and include the words “limited liability company,” the abbreviation “L.L.C.,” or the abbreviation “L.C.” at the end of your business’s name. See the Louisiana statute for a full list of LLC naming rules.

To see if the name you want is available, visit the Louisiana business entity search database. Once you select a name, consider reserving it so that nobody else takes it before you form your business. To do this, you’ll need to complete a Reservation of Name form, which will save your chosen name for 120 days. Within that window, you’ll have enough time to file your Articles of Organization. The application is $25 — you can either submit a paper copy or file online. For the latter, you’ll need to start an account with Louisiana’s geauxBIZ website.

Name reservation is optional. Submitting your Articles of Organization (discussed below) will also register your name, so if you’re ready to form your LLC immediately, you can skip the name reservation process. 

Another consideration when choosing a business name is making sure the name isn’t trademarked by someone else. You can use the US Patent and Trademark Office’s search engine to see if anyone has trademarked your desired name on the federal level. It’s also possible to have a state trademark, one that applies only within the state’s borders. See this page to learn more about state trademarks in Louisiana. 

In addition to choosing an LLC name for your business, you may decide to register a trade name, known as “Doing Business As” (DBA). A DBA is where the name the business operates under is different from the registered name.

To get started with your DBA, visit the Louisiana Secretary of State’s website and search for your new DBA name to ensure it isn’t already in use. In Louisiana, you need to use your trade name before you can register it. However, Louisiana also allows you to make a name reservation before registering it. 

To reserve a DBA for your company, visit geauxBIZ and fill out the Application for Reservation of Trade Name. There is a $25 fee to reserve a trade name, and it will be reserved for 120 days after the application is processed.

You can also fill out the forms and mail them to:

Commercial Division
P.O. Box 94125
Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9125

(Please note that in some instances, it might be easier to use the postal method, as geauxBIZ has been known to have some bugs.) 

You may also want to consider your online presence when deciding on your LLC name. A simple domain name search will show you whether your ideal domain name is available, and you can easily reserve your website domain name with ZenBusiness’s help. You may even want to see whether social media handles are available on your preferred social networks.

Step 2: Appoint a Registered Agent in Louisiana

Like other states, Louisiana requires new LLCs to designate a registered agent as part of the business formation process — you’ll list your registered agent on your Initial Report. A Louisiana registered agent’s primary purpose is to communicate with the Louisiana Secretary of State and receive legal documents on behalf of your LLC.

A registered agent can be a person or business entity, but they must have a registered office address in the state of Louisiana — P.O. boxes aren’t acceptable. 

Serving as your LLC’s registered agent can lead to unintended consequences. For example, you don’t want a process server to show up with court documents in the middle of a crucial customer presentation or an important meeting. 

Accordingly, many business owners decide to hire an outside registered agent who can receive paperwork on the LLC’s behalf, eliminating the headache of interacting with the state.

Additional benefits of working with an outside registered agent service like ZenBusiness include:

  • Privacy. You won’t have to make your personal information, like a home address, public.
  • Louisiana expertise. An outside registered agent service will provide expertise on Louisiana state law and formation requirements.
  • Physical location. A fixed, third-party address allows you to avoid unwanted correspondence at your home or office and avoid filing fees if you change your office’s location.

Step 3: File Louisiana Articles of Organization

Next, you’ll need to file your Articles of Organization online with the Louisiana Secretary of State and pay $100. Alternatively, you can fax or mail your paperwork. In addition to your Articles of Organization, Louisiana requires LLCs to submit an Initial Report, which includes information about managers, members, and the business’s registered agent. If filing by mail or fax, you’ll need to have both the Initial Report and the Articles of Organization notarized

The process of forming an LLC varies from state to state, and perhaps nowhere does it vary more than Louisiana, especially when it comes to filing your Articles of Organization. As we said, Louisiana has both online filing and filing by mail. We think the mail option is actually better for most people, but we’ll try to break it down so you can decide for yourself.

To file online, you’ll have to use Louisiana’s “geauxBIZ” system. This system is faster than mail but can be so confusing that you might want to have an accountant standing by to walk you through it. 

One of the main reasons for this is that, unlike most states, geauxBIZ requires you to have an EIN before you file your Articles of Organization. This can cause problems if your Articles aren’t approved the first time.

Since the LLC name is the main reason Articles of Organization are rejected, Louisiana has tried to diminish this problem by asking you to first register your LLC name (thus eliminating the possibility of the filing being rejected for that reason) before doing an online filing. It costs $25, but it’s refunded later when you pay the filing fee for the Articles of Organization. Once the name reservation is approved (usually 24 hours), you can proceed with the online filing.

Another issue with geauxBIZ is that the system also wants you to register with the Workforce Commission (if you have employees) and the Department of Revenue at the same time you’re filing the Articles of Organization. Thus, you might be faced with a lot of questions you don’t yet know how to answer without the advice of an accountant.

Filing by mail has its own disadvantages, such as having to get the Articles of Organization and the accompanying Initial Report notarized; the registered agent must also sign the Initial Report. But, at least you don’t have to get your EIN beforehand or reserve your business name.

One more wrinkle: Not everyone gets the option of filing by mail. If you live in Ascension, Bossier, Caddo, Calcasieu, East Baton Rouge, Jefferson, Lafayette, Livingston, Orleans, Ouachita, Rapides, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, or Terrebonne parish, you must file online.

You only need to file your Articles of Organization once. However, if you end up making any changes to your LLC — such as altering the company’s ownership or management structure — you’ll need to file an applicable amendment with a $25 fee.

Step 4: Create an Operating Agreement

Like most states, Louisiana doesn’t require new LLCs to adopt an Operating Agreement as a condition of registering with the Secretary of State. However, we strongly encourage business owners to draft an Operating Agreement, even if you’re planning on forming a sole-member LLC. An Operating Agreement gives your business credibility and empowers you to interact with third parties with confidence and legitimacy.  With a well-drafted LLC Operating Agreement, you can:

  • Separate your business from your personal assets, sheltering your savings from legal liability.
  • Prevent and resolve conflicts between stakeholders by clearly indicating the powers and privileges of each member.
  • Define your LLC’s management structure and voting requirements for major and minor decisions. 

Step 5: Apply for an EIN

After filing your formation documents with the Louisiana Secretary of State, you’ll need to start thinking about compliance with state and federal regulations. One of the first steps is to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which is necessary for certain tax purposes or if you want to hire employees or apply for a business bank account.

You can apply for an EIN for free through the IRS’s website and receive it within minutes. 

After obtaining your EIN, you’ll want to research whether your business requires state permits or licenses to operate in Louisiana. The Louisiana Secretary of State has a business license checklist to determine whether you’ll need to apply for any permissions. This site’s focus is on state licensing, but be aware that you’ll also need to research if you need any federal, local, or industry-specific licenses or permits.

If your business has employees or collects taxes (such as sales tax), you’ll have to register with the Louisiana Department of Revenue. Plus, companies must report new hires to Louisiana’s Directory of New Hires.

How much does it cost to start an LLC in Louisiana?

As mentioned earlier, the cost of filing your LLC’s Articles of Organization is $100. Louisiana offers two expedited options, one for $30 and the other for $50. Therefore, the total cost to form an LLC in Louisiana is between $100 and $150. Note this doesn’t cover ongoing costs like filing an annual report. It also doesn’t include the option to enroll in the Secure Business Filings (SBF) system, which helps “discourage fraudulent business filings in Louisiana.” The one-time enrollment fee is $40. 

Plus, you’ll need to spend time and money navigating the LLC formation process, deciding on an Operating Agreement, and finding a registered agent. That’s where ZenBusiness can be especially valuable — we provide practical expertise, guiding you through the entire LLC formation process.

What are the benefits of an LLC in Louisiana?

LLCs are one of Louisiana’s most popular business structures because they provide limited liability protection, operational flexibility, and pass-through taxation. For an in-depth explanation of how the LLC structure might be the right fit for your business, check out our comprehensive article.

How is a Louisiana LLC taxed?

LLCs help business owners avoid “double taxation.” The business itself pays no income tax, passing the income straight through to the LLC’s owners. Then, each owner pays taxes on their earnings as regular income. 

The IRS administers federal taxes based on each member’s share in the LLC. So, if you own 40% of an LLC and are entitled to 40% of the profits, the IRS will tax you on 40% of your LLC’s earnings. LLC owners may also need to pay self-employment taxes to the IRS.

When it comes to income tax, Louisiana upholds pass-through taxation unless the LLC elects to be taxed as a corporation. Nevertheless, Louisiana LLCs are subject to a variety of non-income-related obligations, such as unemployment, taxes related to certain products or services, and state sales tax.

Louisiana LLC FAQs

  1. What is the processing time to form my Louisiana LLC?

    Processing time for non-rush orders may take up to seven or more business days. However, if you’re in a hurry, you can select expedited processing (24 hours) for $30 or priority expedited processing (under four hours) for $50.

  2. Do I need to file my Operating Agreement with the state of Louisiana?

    No, you do not need to file your LLC’s Operating Agreement with the state of Louisiana. However, Operating Agreements help legitimize your business, prevent future disagreements, and customize your LLC’s rules to fit your business’s needs.

  3. What tax structure should I choose for my Louisiana LLC?

    Most business owners elect pass-through taxation — LLC members pay state and federal taxes on the income they earn from the business, but the LLC itself does not pay these taxes. rnrnSome LLCs (particularly those with very high earnings) may choose to be taxed as corporations. Being taxed as a corporation may carry distinct tax advantages, which you can learn more about here. We suggest working with a professional who can explain the benefits and drawbacks of each tax option.

  4. Does Louisiana allow a Series LLC?

    Louisiana doesn’t currently permit Series LLCs, where several separate LLCs operate under one overarching “umbrella” LLC entity.

  5. Which licenses and insurance are required for an LLC in Louisiana?

    In addition to the standard LLC formation documents, businesses in Louisiana may need to apply for licenses before operating. Examples include building permits, zoning permits, and health permits. Licenses and permits can be federal, state, and local.rnrnYour business may also be subject to industry-specific requirements, such as liquor licenses, equipment rental, or book publishing. Some industries, like health care and construction, require organizations to carry insurance. To make sure you comply with local regulations, review the Louisiana Secretary of State’s business license checklist. You may also want to consult with a local attorney. rn

  6. How do I dissolve my Louisiana LLC?

    To terminate your LLC in the government’s eyes, you’ll have to file an Affidavit to Dissolve with the Louisiana Secretary of State with a $100 fee. Plus, you’ll need to pay off any business debts, sell off assets, and distribute any remaining profits or losses among the members. A well-drafted Operating Agreement should contain detailed procedures to guide you along the LLC dissolution process.

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