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, and how our team can help you form and keep your business state compliant. Once you’ve established your Louisiana LLC, you can focus on growing your business! Let’s get started.
In Louisiana, forming an LLC requires registering 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. Here, we’ll break everything down into five simple steps, and let you know which of our tools and services can help you get your new business up and running.
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 the state’s naming 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.
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, and you can 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 LLC, consider reserving it so that nobody else takes it before you form your business. If you’re still confused or 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 can also check to see if your desired 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 so that your future online presence is already established. 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’s needs.
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. ZenBusiness can also take care of this for you, so check out our page on Louisiana DBAs for more specific information.
Step 2: Appoint a Registered Agent in Louisiana
Like other states, 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, but 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 or be tied to your desk. Accordingly, many business owners decide to hire an outside registered agent who can receive paperwork on the LLC’s behalf, freeing up their time for other important tasks.
Or, let us take care of it 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.
Step 3: File Louisiana Articles of Organization
The next step is to file Articles of Organization online with the Louisiana Secretary of State. The state accepts most submissions online, by fax, or via mail. 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.
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 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. The ZenBusiness 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 these important documents organized and looking professional.
One important aspect of setting up your LLC is finding the right 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.
Our virtual business address service supplies you with a physical street address where you can have your mail sent without divulging your home address to more people than necessary. This is another way we can help keep your business and personal worlds separate and avoid future issues.
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, all business owners are strongly encouraged to draft one, 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.
- Detail procedures for sale or dissolution of the LLC should you ever need them.
Step 5: Apply for an EIN and other permits
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.
How much does it cost to start an LLC in Louisiana?
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.
How is a Louisiana LLC taxed?
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 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 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 help. 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.
Louisiana LLC FAQs
What is the processing time to form my Louisiana LLC?
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.
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.
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. 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, which you can learn more about here. We suggest working with a professional who can explain the benefits and drawbacks of each tax option.
Does Louisiana allow a Series LLC?
Louisiana doesn’t currently permit Series LLCs, where several separate LLCs operate under one overarching “umbrella” LLC entity.
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. 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, you can use our business license report service to do the work for you.
When do I file my Louisiana LLC annual report?
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.