You’ve probably landed here because you’re ready to turn your dream of starting a business into a reality and are wondering what to do next to make it happen.
We understand that this process can feel overwhelming, so we’ve compiled all of the information you need in one place. Follow our helpful step-by-step guide below and find the answers to your questions about starting an LLC in New York.
To start an LLC in New York, one must file Articles of Organization through the New York Department of State website. However, there are additional steps to take before that, such as deciding on a business name and creating an operating agreement, as that is a requirement in the state of New York.
We have ZenBusiness services to help you with all of these tasks, but in this article, we’ll show you how the process works.
Although the process is relatively straightforward, this step-by-step guide will break down each step so that you don’t miss necessary paperwork, fees, or licensing that might be required to start your New York LLC officially.
As you check off each task, you’ll be one step closer to getting your New York LLC up and running.
Step 1: Name your New York LLC
The very first step in starting an LLC in the Empire State is picking a name. More than likely, you’ve probably given this some thought before you decided to file an LLC. What do you want to call your business? It’s a simple question, but it has big implications. While you can always change a business name in the future, it’s best to pick a name that will endure. Especially if you’re creating a consumer-facing business, you’ll want to pick a name that’s easy to remember and resonates with your target audience.
When you think you’ve found a name, you’ll want to ensure that it’s not already taken. To learn how to do this, you can go to our New York business entity search page.
It’s important to note that New York LLC law requires LLC names to end with one of the following designators:
- Limited Liability Company
Additionally, it must be a unique name that can’t be misinterpreted as an existing business name. Some words and phrases are prohibited or restricted depending on the type of goods or services that your LLC will offer.
Once you’ve found an available name, you might not be ready to take the next step and file your Articles of Organization right away. New York gives you the option to reserve a name by submitting an Application for Reservation of Name, which places a 60-day hold on your intended name, preventing any other entities from using it to register their businesses. We can also handle this process for you with our business name reservation process.
You will have to forward your application to:
New York Department of State, Division of Corporations
One Commerce Plaza
99 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12231
However, it’s important to note that reserving a name doesn’t mean that New York has approved your name request. It only prevents other LLC registrants from using your intended name when they submit their LLC forms.
This is also the perfect time to think about how your business name will translate to use on the internet. A domain name is your website address and can be used for your company email address, too. You’ll want your domain name to be as close to your LLC name as possible so that it easily identifies you to your customers.
You’ll need to do a domain name search to see what’s available to use. Once you’ve decided on a name, take advantage of our services to easily register your domain name. We can also take care of reserving your LLC name.
Once your LLC is registered with the state, you can do business under that name. However, if you plan to do business under a variation of that name or an entirely different name, you’ll need to file a Certificate of Assumed Name with the state. An assumed name, also known as a New York DBA name, can be filed in New York for a fee or you can let us file it for you. The state recommends that the assumed name document be completed under the guidance of an attorney.
Another thing you’ll need to think about is whether you want to register a trademark in New York and, more importantly, if your desired name is already trademarked by someone else. A trademark is a word, name, symbol, or a combination of any of these that businesses use to identify their goods or services. Trademarks are useful in advertising and marketing. They help consumers to recognize your products and set you apart from competitors.
Trademark registration can add another level of protection to your LLC’s name. The state doesn’t require you to register a trademark, but you can do so by mailing a trademark application with the requisite fee to:
New York State Department of State, State Records
One Commerce Plaza
99 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12231-0001
You can also register your trademark at the federal level for broader protection. You’ll need to research existing trademarks with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to ensure what you want to use is available. The cost to register varies depending on which filing service you choose.
Step 2: Appoint a registered agent in New York
A registered agent is a person or entity that receives tax notifications, compliance information, and service of process (lawsuits) on behalf of your LLC.
In New York, the Secretary of State acts as the registered agent for every New York LLC. This is required by state law. However, you can list an additional registered agent on your Articles of Organization, a document that you’ll learn more about in the next step.
You can appoint yourself as the company’s additional agent, but this may not be the best move. It can be time-consuming to keep up with all the legal paperwork and stay organized while trying to launch and run a new business. Hiring an outside registered agent service like ours comes with many benefits. For example, an agent acting on your behalf can:
- Ensure you meet all New York state requirements for an LLC
- Offer consistent availability to receive documents during regular business hours
- Provide discretion by receiving legal documents away from your place of business
You may also be able to save money on publishing notices to fulfill the publication requirement, as detailed in step six. The amount of savings depends on the county in which your registered agent resides since advertising costs are much cheaper in some counties.
Step 3: File New York Articles of Organization
Now that you’ve selected a name, you need to register your New York LLC. Filing your New York Articles of Organization certificate legally forms your LLC in New York. It provides the government with vital information about your business for the state’s records. The certificate acts as proof that your LLC was formed and exists as a business entity.
Filing official government documents like this can be intimidating and/or complicated 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.
New York allows hopeful business owners to register and file all of their initial required documents online. However, if you’re not comfortable with filing your LLC online, you can download a printable Articles of Organization, fill it out in black ink, and mail it in for filing. Send your completed Articles of Organization document and a nonrefundable filing fee to:
Department of State
Division of Corporations, State Records, and Uniform Commercial Code
One Commerce Plaza
99 Washington Ave
Albany, NY 12231
For filers who opt to file online through the New York State website, you can expect that it will take roughly seven business days for your application to be processed. Expedited services are available, including 24 hours, same day, and two hours.
To create an LLC online through the New York state website, you’ll need to create a New York Gov ID account. Once this is complete, you’ll continue through the following steps:
- Name determination: Enter your desired name, and the state’s database will confirm if it’s available or redirects you if not. Remember, it must contain “Limited Liability Company,” “LLC,” or “L.L.C.” in the name.
- Name verification and county: This portion of the New York LLC registration confirms that you have selected the correct name. It will ask you if it includes any foreign or non-English words or phrases. You will also need to confirm which county within New York your business will operate in. There are also two optional clauses you can check. Both are prefilled and require checking a box. The first affirms that you are over the age of 18. The second confirms that your LLC is not required to receive consent from a state official or governing body before beginning operations.
- Service of process/registered agent: You need to create a file of who should be contacted in the event of a lawsuit and where that suit should be sent. In New York, the Secretary of State is always the registered agent for every LLC. However, as mentioned above, you can list an additional registered agent. Important note: New York requires you to publish notification of your LLC’s formation (see step 6 below), which can be quite expensive depending on where your registered agent’s address is. Having your registered agent’s office in a less expensive county for publication could save hundreds of dollars.
- Optional statements: Here, you can choose to add optional statements that designate who is authorized to manage your LLC.
- Organizer attestation: In this section, you’ll list the details of the organizer (the person creating the filing). This includes the organizer’s name and address. If you’re using the same address that was previously provided in the name verification and county section, you can click “Use of Service of Process Address” to auto-populate these fields. You’ll also include a typed version of the organizer’s signature.
- Filer attestation: This is the final step in submitting your New York LLC Articles of Organization before you must submit payment. You will include the filer’s name and address. You’ll have the option to choose between prepopulating the address fields with either the service of process address or the organizer address if the two are different. You’ll also include an email address and re-enter it for confirmation.
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 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.
Step 4: Create an operating agreement
An operating agreement is a legally binding document that all members of an LLC agree on and sign. According to New York state law, your New York LLC operating agreement can be entered into by members before, at the time of, or within 90 days after the filing of your Articles of Organization. This agreement outlines the rules, regulations, and procedures of your business operations. A solid operating agreement may also document:
- Any member limitations
- Each member’s rights and responsibilities
- Each member’s initial investment in the company
- Distribution of profits
- Voting rules for members
- Succession plans should a member leave
- What events may cause the dissolution of the LLC
- How to handle dissolving the LLC
- How to amend the agreement
An operating agreement makes it clear to everyone from the start how your business will be run. Should there be an issue, such as a management dispute, you can turn to the agreement to help resolve it.
If you’re unsure as to how to start creating an operating agreement for your LLC in New York, we offer a customizable template to help get you started.
Step 5: Apply for an EIN
The next step in your New York LLC formation is obtaining a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN), also known as an Employer Identification Number (EIN) or tax ID number.
Every New York LLC with employees or more than one member will need this nine-digit number. An EIN is required for tax purposes and financial paperwork, including filing taxes, hiring new employees, and opening company bank accounts.
You can get your New York LLC’s EIN through the IRS website, by mail, or by fax, but if you’re unfond of dealing with that particular government agency, we can get it for you. Our EIN service is quick and eliminates the hassle.
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.
We have partnered with LendingClub to 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.
Step 6: Meet the New York LLC publication requirement
Once you’ve successfully filed your Articles of Organization, New York LLCs are required to publish a copy of their Articles of Organization or a notice about the LLC’s formation within 120 days of its effective date. The notices must be published once each week for six successive weeks in two separate newspapers. The first newspaper must be a weekly publication, while the second has to be a daily newspaper. Newspaper designations are determined by the county clerk. By law, the notice must include:
- The name of the LLC
- The purpose of your business
- The filing date of the Articles of Organization with the state
- The county in which the business office of the LLC is located
- The street address of the principal business location, if any
- A statement that the Secretary of State has been designated as the registered agent
- An address where the Secretary of State can receive service of process
- The name and address of an additional registered agent, if any, who can receive service of process for the LLC instead of the Secretary of State
- A specific date of dissolution, if any
The publisher of each newspaper will provide an Affidavit of Publication once the notice has been published. You’ll send the affidavits to the New York Division of Corporations with a completed New York Certificate of Publication form and a check to pay for the filing fee.
Publication costs in New York can be quite expensive depending on where your registered agent’s address is. Counties such as New York, Bronx, and Queens can have publication costs over $1000. This is one way a registered agent service can save you money. For example, our registered agent service is located in Albany County, which is the least expensive New York county to publish in. Check out our New York Publication Service for more information.
New York LLC FAQs
How much does it cost to start an LLC in New York?
Considering the cost of the filing fee and the publication requirements, forming your LLC in New York could range from $200 to $2,220, and that’s before paying for any required licenses, permits, and insurance policies. Plus, there are more fees associated with trademark, domain name, and assumed name registrations.
Note that fees change over time, so check the New York Department of State website for the most recent fee schedule.
What are the benefits of an LLC in New York?
LLCs aren’t the only type of business you can form in New York. However, 90% of our customers choose to form an LLC over all other types. Compared to corporations, limited partnerships, and other forms of entities, LLCs come with enticing benefits for small businesses.
Forming a New York LLC means you’ll enjoy the following benefits:
- Personal asset protection: Your personal liability will be separate from your business liability and debts.
- Avoid double taxation: You’ll only pay personal taxes rather than both personal and corporate taxes, as opposed to most corporations.
- Flexible management: You’re not required to have a board of directors or annual meetings, unlike corporations.
- Less reporting: Compared to corporations, LLCs have fewer required meetings and reports.
There are many more advantages to forming an LLC in New York because small businesses make a big impact in the Empire State. Small businesses make up 98% of the state’s businesses and employ more than 50% of the state’s private-sector workforce.
New York wants new startups to succeed and grow, so they can strengthen the state’s economy and improve residents’ lives. The state provides support by offering funding programs, tax incentives, and more. Here’s a closer look at additional business benefits specific to New York:
- Incentives: New York eases economic burdens for businesses by offering tax incentives, business incentives, and tax credits. Financial incentives are available to companies that locate in strategic areas, invest in their employees, partner with universities, and improve their business facilities.
- Operational support: The state offers a wide range of business training, assistance programs, and resources for entrepreneurs that can benefit your LLC. For example, employers can receive tax credits through the Employee Training Incentive Program. This program encourages business owners to offer internship programs in the fields of advanced technology, software development, life sciences, and clean energy. It also encourages skills training for current employees that improve knowledge and productivity.
- Growth support: New York provides financial support to many businesses to encourage growth. These incentives include a variety of loans, grants, investment funds, and other financial assistance programs.
- Innovation development support: The state supports new businesses by offering innovative technology resources. Programs are designed to help businesses produce new products and leverage the state’s technological strengths. Universities are often a source of research and innovation. New York encourages collaboration between universities and businesses through financial incentives.
For a more in-depth look at why an LLC might be a better option for you, see our breakdown of what an LLC is and how it compares to a corporation.
How is a New York LLC taxed?
LLCs are typically considered “pass-through entities,” meaning they are not subject to corporate taxes. Instead, the profits are passed through to the owner’s personal income, and the responsibility to pay federal income taxes falls only on the individual; in a typical corporation, profits are taxed at both the business level and the individual owners’ level.
However, New York LLCs are required to pay an annual filing fee. Single-member LLCs assume the default tax status of a disregarded entity, while multi-member LLCs assume the partnership’s default tax status. Filing fees will differ for each entity, as it is based on your LLC’s gross income from the previous tax year.
If your LLC has not made any income and does not have any gains, losses, or deductions from New York, you will not be required to pay a fee. For all others, the fee can range from as little as $25 to $4,500. For more detailed information, visit the Department of Taxation and Finance (DTF) website.
Your New York LLC may also be subject to various other taxes, including:
- New York state expects you to pay annual franchise taxes that are due by the calendar year or fiscal year. For calendar year filings, these taxes are due by April 15, and for fiscal years, they are due within three and a half months after the end of a reporting period. Most New York LLCs will be required to e-file their franchise taxes.
- If you are selling items and plan to collect sales tax — even if online — you’ll need to request a sales tax license from the state of New York. In New York, sales tax is paid monthly, quarterly, and annually, depending on the total amount of your taxable receipts in the previous filing period.
- For LLCs with employees, you also need to manage withholding taxes. New York requires all withholding taxes to be filed online. While you’re required to report wages and withholdings every quarter, you must remit the payment if you’ve withheld $700 or more during one calendar quarter. And that payment is due within three to five business days after the payroll period that triggered this amount has closed.
Calculating business taxes can be headache-inducing in any state, but especially New York. It’s highly advisable to seek out a qualified tax professional for help.
What is the processing time to form my New York LLC?
If you file by mail, your Articles of Organization will be processed with the New York Department of State in five to seven business days (not including transit time). If you file online, your paperwork should be processed immediately after approval.
New York also has options for expediting your filing for an additional fee. If you’re in a hurry to form your LLC and don’t want to deal with the state’s expedited filing processes, ZenBusiness can handle it for you with our faster filing speeds service.
Do I need to file my operating agreement with the state of New York?
No. The operating agreement is kept internally by the LLC members. However, New York legally requires LLCs to have an operating agreement.
What tax structure should I choose for my New York LLC?
By default, your LLC will be taxed by the IRS as a sole proprietorship (“disregarded entity”) if it has only one member or a partnership if it has multiple members. You also have the option of being taxed as a corporation. You’ll choose the tax structure for your New York LLC when you apply for an EIN. The tax structure is also known as entity classification. Examine the different tax classification options and consult an accountant so you can confidently choose which structure is right for your LLC.
Does New York allow a Series LLC?
No, New York doesn’t allow a Series LLC. A Series LLC is a type of LLC that consists of one main LLC under which multiple LLCs, or “series,” are formed. The main LLC controls all the LLCs organized beneath it, even though these LLCs are each treated as separate entities with their own assets and members. The debt and obligations from one LLC won’t pass to another in a Series LLC.
Which licenses and permits are required for an LLC in New York?
New York doesn’t have a statewide business license requirement, but local governments might require a general business license when operating in their jurisdiction. However, there are specific business operations that will need additional licenses to operate legally.
Licenses and permits can be required on a federal, state, or local level, so you’ll need to do some research to discover which ones your business requires, or have a professional service conduct the search for you.
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.
What happens if I ignore the New York LLC publication requirement?
If you choose to ignore the New York LLC publication requirement, your company’s authority to do business in the state can be suspended.
How do I dissolve my LLC in New York?
If you decide that the time has come to dissolve your LLC, New York requires that you fill out an Articles of Dissolution form within 90 days of when you decide to close your business formally or wind down services in preparation for closing. To do so, you will need to submit this form via mail and pay a filing fee.
Can a New York LLC own out-of-state property?
Your New York LLC can own property in another state; however, you will likely need to register as a foreign LLC in that state. This will require additional paperwork, depending on the state you choose.
How do I add a member to an LLC in New York?
Adding a member to an LLC is relatively straightforward. You’ll first need to review your operating agreement, as this document should outline how your business handles the addition of new LLC members. If your LLC is member-managed, you may need consent from specific members before adding a member. Similarly, if your LLC is manager-managed, you may need approval from the manager.
Once the new member has been voted in or approved, you will need to amend your operating agreement or draft a new agreement to document the changes. When making these changes, ensure that you include the new member’s roles, duties, responsibilities, distributions, allocations, and voting rights.
When do I file my New York LLC biennial statement?
You’re required to file your New York LLC biennial statement or biennial report every two years with the New York Department of State. It is due every two years during the month in which the business was formed. For example, if you formed your LLC in January of 2020, your first biennial report would be due by the end of January 2022.