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If you’re thinking of starting a new business in Louisiana, you might not be sure where to begin. A good place to start is by forming your own Louisiana limited liability company (LLC), and we’re here to help!
This comprehensive guide will detail how to form an LLC in Louisiana. As well as, how our services can help you form and keep your business compliant with the state. Once you’ve established your LLC in the Pelican State, you can focus on growing your business. Let’s get started on how to start an LLC in Louisiana.
To start an LLC In Louisiana, you’ll need to register your new business with the Louisiana Secretary of State. State law requires new LLCs to file Articles of Organization and a Limited Liability Company Initial Report. After this is complete, there are still other boxes to check, such as creating an operating agreement and registering your company with the IRS.
There’s no need to feel overwhelmed by these requirements. We are going to show you how to create an LLC in Louisiana, right here. We break everything down into five steps, and let you know what tools and services will help you get your new business up and running.
Choosing a name is the first step on your Louisiana LLC formation checklist. When selecting your business’s name, you need to follow the state’s naming requirements. For example, you’ll have to distinguish your company from other Louisiana businesses. This also includes using the words “limited liability company,” the abbreviation “L.L.C.,” or the abbreviation “L.C.” at the end of your business’s name.
In addition to these limits, your LLC name must be unique and not in use by another Louisiana entity. The state has a business entity search database to check name availability. You can also use our easy-to-follow guide to make sure your name isn’t taken.
If you select a name but aren’t quite ready to officially form your Louisiana LLC, consider reserving it so that nobody else takes it before you form your business. If you’d rather not deal with this yourself, we have a business name reservation service that handles it for you. As part of the service, we can also check to see if your desired LLC name is available.
When you’re coming up with a business name, it’s wise to consider whether you can secure a matching domain name. That way your online presence is already established. We have a tool to help you do a preliminary domain name search. Our domain name registration service can also help you secure the online name that will best serve your company’s needs.
In addition to choosing an LLC name, you may decide to register a trade name, known as “Doing Business As” (DBA). A DBA is used when the name the business operates under is different from the registered name. Check out our page on Louisiana DBAs for more specific information.
Louisiana requires LLCs to designate a registered agent as part of the business formation process. (You’ll list your registered agent on your Initial Report.) Your Louisiana registered agent’s primary purpose is to receive service of process and other important legal documents on behalf of the business.
In Louisiana, a registered agent can be a person or business entity. However, they must have a registered office address in the state of Louisiana — P.O. boxes aren’t acceptable.
You can serve as your LLC’s registered agent, but it 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. You also don’t want to be tied to your desk during all normal business hours, which is what being a registered agent requires. Accordingly, many business owners decide to use a registered agent service that can receive paperwork on the LLC’s behalf, freeing up their time for other important tasks.
We can take care of registered agent services for you. At ZenBusiness, we can connect you with one of our Louisiana registered agent partners and take one more thing off of your plate.
Next, you need to file Articles of Organization online with the Louisiana Secretary of State. The state accepts most submissions online, via fax, or mail. In addition to your Articles of Organization, Louisiana requires LLCs to submit an Initial Report. This 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.
Although all states have their own process for forming LLCs, Louisiana does things very differently. Depending on the filing method, you might have to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or register with the Workforce Commission and Department of Revenue before the state will accept your Articles of Organization. There’s also 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.
Confused? That’s okay. Our team can help you through the whole process with our LLC formation services. If you have us handle filing your Articles of Organization, once the state approves your LLC, your paperwork will be available from your ZenBusiness dashboard, where you can keep your Articles of Organization and other important paperwork digitally organized.
Once you get the physical paperwork confirmation from the state approving your LLC, you’ll want to keep it in a safe location along with your other important documents. This includes documents such as an operating agreement, member certificates, contracts, compliance checklists, transfer ledger, etc. We offer a customized business kit to help you keep your LLC’s formation documents organized and looking professional.
Like most states, Louisiana doesn’t require new LLCs to adopt an operating agreement as a condition of registering with the Louisiana Secretary of State. However, all LLC owners are strongly encouraged to draft one, even if you’re planning on forming a sole-member LLC. An operating agreement gives your business structure credibility and empowers you to interact with third parties with confidence and legitimacy.
With a well-drafted Louisiana operating agreement, you can:
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.
After your formation documents are accepted by 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.
Let us secure a Tax ID Number for you through our EIN service, and that’s one less thing you’ll need to worry about.
After obtaining your EIN, you’ll want to check whether your business requires other state permits or licenses. 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.
Once you’ve secured a Federal Tax Identification Number, you’ll also 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 mixing personal assets with business funds. Combining the two can not only make your taxes more difficult but could also be used against you in a lawsuit should you run into legal troubles.
To avoid these problems, we offer a discounted bank account for new businesses. The service allows 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 more help managing your 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.
The cost of filing your LLC’s Articles of Organization will vary based on your situation. There is the standard filing fee, but Louisiana also offers two expedited options Therefore, the total cost to form an LLC in Louisiana will depend on the circumstances and can range from around $100 to a few hundred dollars.
LLCs are one of Louisiana’s most popular business structures because they provide limited liability protection, operational flexibility, and pass-through taxation. They can help business owners avoid double taxation. This means that the business itself pays no federal income tax, passing the income straight through to the LLC’s members. Then, each member pays taxes on their earnings as regular income.
When it comes to state 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.
If you’re looking for some help, we can assist. All new ZenBusiness formations include a free, no-obligation accounting assessment to determine their bookkeeping, accounting, and tax needs during their first year of business. Read our small business tax guide for more information.
Louisiana has two options for expediting a filing 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 speed service.
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.
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. This is unlike most corporations, in which profits are taxed twice, first at the business level and again at the individual shareholder level.
Some LLCs (particularly those with very high earnings) may choose to be taxed as corporations. Being taxed as a corporation may carry distinct tax advantages in certain situations. We suggest working with a professional who can explain the benefits and drawbacks of each tax option.
Louisiana doesn’t currently permit Series LLCs, where several separate LLCs operate under one overarching “umbrella” LLC entity.
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. Business licenses and permits can be federal, state, and local. Your 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 the law by having all the required business licenses and permits, you can use our business license report service to do the research for you.
Your annual report’s due date is the same calendar date that the state officially approved your entity.
For example, if you formed your company on November 12, 2020, your annual report is due every subsequent year by November 12.
You can file your Louisiana annual report anytime in the 30 days leading up to the deadline.
State agencies do not provide consistent reminders when annual reports are due. As a result, you may be tracking your company’s annual report due dates on your own.
We can help you with your annual report in a couple of ways. Our annual report service will help you file your report, and our Worry-Free Compliance service not only helps with filing the report, but also sends you other important compliance reminders and helps you with two amendment filings each year.
Before starting the dissolution process, the members of an LLC should vote to dissolve it. For the subsequent steps please refer to our Louisiana business dissolution guide.