You’ve decided to start a new business in Oklahoma. You’re excited about the new venture’s possibilities, but at the same time, you’re nervous about where to start.
Don’t fret: This guide to starting an LLC in Oklahoma will give you the basics so you can go forth with confidence, armed with the essential information you require to navigate the system and get established the right way.
To get your Oklahoma limited liability company (LLC) up and running, you must know what documents need to be filed where, if an Operating Agreement is required, and how to handle taxes and business licenses. Follow this step-by-step guide to be on your way to becoming an official owner of an Oklahoma LLC.
The 5 steps to form an LLC in Oklahoma:
To start an LLC in Oklahoma, you’ll have to file your Articles of Organization through the Oklahoma Secretary of State’s website. However, before you do so, you’ll need to decide on a name for your business and appoint a registered agent. We also advise you to draft an Operating Agreement even though it isn’t a requirement in Oklahoma. While the process is relatively straightforward, this step-by-step guide will break down each step so you don’t miss any necessary paperwork, fees, or licensing that might be required to start your Oklahoma LLC.
As you check off each task, you’ll be one step closer to getting your Oklahoma LLC running.
Step 1: Name Your Oklahoma LLC
Before you register your LLC in Oklahoma, you need to have a company name for it — ideally, one that is unique, tells people who you are and what you do or offer, and resonates with your target market. You must be sure that your name isn’t taken by another company in the state and is distinct enough to be distinguished. Slight variations in spelling, punctuation, and suffix will not suffice.
Make a list of possible names and run them through the Oklahoma Secretary of State website’s name availability search. To garner more results (and to make sure the name isn’t too close for comfort to another business), just enter the key portions of the name. The more detailed your query, the fewer results you’ll receive.
You’ll also need to choose the proper suffix for your company’s name. Registering as an LLC means you need to have some variation of “limited liability company” as the name’s suffix. You have a few possibilities: You can end your company’s name with the full “Limited Liability Company,” shorten it to “Limited Company,” or use the abbreviations “LLC, LC, L.L.C. or L.C.”
Once you’ve found an available name, you’ll need to determine if you’re ready to file right away or if reserving the name is in your best interest. If you’re not quite ready to finish up the paperwork, you can reserve your chosen name for up to 60 days for a filing fee of $10.
When it comes to your LLC name, you’ll also want to think about a DBA and trademark. A DBA or “Doing Business As” is another name you can register to use for your business. Visit the United States Patent and Trademark Office website to see whether your business name or logo is trademarked. Once you confirm it’s available, file a Trade Name Report with the Secretary of State.
Step 2: Appoint a Registered Agent in Oklahoma
Another important step in the LLC formation process is to appoint a registered agent — a person or entity acting as the point of contact for all legal matters. If your company is subpoenaed or sued, the state of Oklahoma will deliver all necessary documents to your Oklahoma registered agent. As the owner, you can act as your company’s registered agent. While that may seem like the easiest and most logical option, it’s not always in your best interest. After all, being served in front of customers can tank your company’s reputation. Instead, you may benefit from hiring an outside registered agent service — one that ensures all of the requirements (Oklahoma residency, authorization to do business in Oklahoma, and a permanent address in the state) are met and prevents any awkward encounters in the future. Some additional benefits of using a registered agent service as ZenBusiness include:
- Flexible hours: With someone available for your business during the traditional 9 to 5 schedule, you’ll be able to grow your business during the hours that make the most sense for you.
- Personal information is protected: If you are working out of your home, for instance, having a registered office that isn’t your home address will ensure your home address is not made public record.
Step 3: File Oklahoma Articles of Organization
Once you’ve decided on a name and appointed a registered agent, the next step is making your Oklahoma LLC official. To do so, you’ll need to complete your Articles of Organization and file them with the Oklahoma Secretary of State. To accurately fill out this form, you’ll need the following:
- The name of your LLC
- The address of the principal place of business (a P.O. Box is not acceptable)
- The name of your registered agent and the registered office address
- The ability to sign the document with one or more organizer signatures
- Information on how to reach the designated contact person
- How long the company will be in existence (perpetual or a specific number of years)
- Payment for the nonrefundable fee
You can fill out the document on paper and mail it in or use the online portal to submit your paperwork. Either way, you’ll be responsible for paying a nonrefundable $100 filing fee.
Step 4: Create an Operating Agreement
Every company has rules to follow, processes in place, and plans for the future. LLC Operating Agreements outline all of this and more. However, not every state requires LLCs to have one, including Oklahoma.
If you’re a single-member LLC, you may think that drafting an Operating Agreement is pointless, especially since it is not required in Oklahoma. But even as a single-member LLC, your company can benefit from having an Operating Agreement on file. This document outlines how your company is run, how finances will be handled, and how decisions will be made, but it also details what happens to your company if you leave or become unable to lead. An Operating Agreement can also protect you and your assets in the event of dissolution or bankruptcy.
Since Oklahoma doesn’t require an Operating Agreement, there is no form to fill out and file with the Secretary of State.
Step 5: Apply for an EIN
The last step in forming your Oklahoma LLC is obtaining a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN), also known as an EIN. Every Oklahoma LLC will need this nine-digit number unless you are a single-member LLC with no employees. To keep your business in good standing, a FEIN is required for all tax and financial paperwork, including filing taxes, hiring new employees, and opening company bank accounts. To obtain your FEIN, you must call the IRS Business and Specialty Tax Line at (800) 829-4933 or visit the IRS FEIN application page online. Immediately after submitting your application, the IRS will provide you with a FEIN — free of charge.
Once you’ve obtained your FEIN, now is a good time to check if your new Oklahoma LLC will need any licenses or permits. While Oklahoma doesn’t require a general business license to operate in the state, some businesses will be required to have certain licenses and permits. To determine if your LLC is required to obtain a license or permit, start by visiting the Oklahoma Department of Commerce’s Business Licensing and Operating Requirements page. Keep in mind that your LLC could need licenses or permits on the federal, state, and/or local level and that many licenses are industry-specific, so you’ll need to do some research to make sure you’ve covered all the bases.
How much does it cost to start an LLC in Oklahoma?
Starting an LLC in Oklahoma is relatively affordable. Filing your Articles of Organization through the mail or online will cost $100.
On top of the fee associated with filing your Articles of Organization, if you choose to reserve your desired name ($10) and partner with ZenBusiness to make an Operating Agreement ($35), forming an LLC in Oklahoma will cost $145.
However, hiring a registered agent and obtaining any required licenses, permits, and insurance policies can cause the price to rise.
What are the benefits of an LLC in Oklahoma?
LLCs aren’t the only type of business you can form in Oklahoma. However, 90% of ZenBusiness customers, along with the majority of entrepreneurs, choose to form an LLC over all other types. Compared to corporations, limited partnerships, and other forms of entities, LLCs come with enticing benefits. Forming an Oklahoma LLC means you’ll reap 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.
- Flexible management: You’re not required to have a board of directors or annual meetings.
- Less reporting: Compared to corporations, LLCs have fewer required meetings and reports.
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 an Oklahoma LLC taxed?
LLCs are typically considered “pass-through entities,” meaning they are not subject to corporate taxes. Instead, the profits and losses are passed through to the owner’s personal income, and the responsibility to pay taxes falls on the individual. This holds for all Oklahoma LLCs — unless you choose to file as a corporation, you will not be required to pay Oklahoma’s corporate income tax. However, your LLC might be subject to other taxes, including:
- State employer taxes, if you have employees
- State unemployment insurance taxes, if you have employees
- Sales and use tax, if you sell goods
- Excise tax, if you sell beverages, fuel, cigarettes, or tobacco
Oklahoma LLC FAQs
- What is the processing time to form my Oklahoma LLC?
In just two business days, your Articles of Organization will typically be processed with the Oklahoma Secretary of State if you file online. Filing by mail takes a bit longer — usually seven to 10 business days.
- Do I need to file my Operating Agreement with the state of Oklahoma?
No. The Operating Agreement is kept internally by the owner and partners or managers of the Oklahoma business. While some states legally require LLCs to have an Operating Agreement in place, Oklahoma does not.
- What tax structure should I choose for my Oklahoma LLC?
When you get an EIN, you will be informed of the available tax classification options. Most LLCs elect the default tax status, which is to be taxed as a sole proprietorship (for a single-member LLC) or a partnership (for a multi-member LLC). For either of these options, the LLC itself is not taxed, but the LLC members pay taxes on their portion of its profits on their individual tax returns.rnrnSome LLCs (particularly those with very high earnings) may choose to file taxes as corporations. This option has some distinct advantages, which you can learn more about here. In evaluating these options, it can be extremely helpful to get advice from qualified accounting professionals.
- Does Oklahoma allow a Series LLC?
Yes. A Series LLC is a group of limited liability companies operating under one “parent” entity. While each entity under the parent is considered independent, entrepreneurs are often attracted to the structure if they wish to create numerous companies to explore different avenues but not risk one’s success due to the liabilities of another. However, only a few states have adopted series of LLC laws — one of which is Oklahoma.
- Which licenses and insurance are required for an LLC in Oklahoma?
The business licenses, permits, and insurance required to run your Oklahoma LLC vary depending on your industry and location You can find more information via the Oklahoma Commerce website.rnrnIn any case, we recommend hiring a professional service like ZenBusiness, which will provide you with a comprehensive package of all the licenses and insurance required for your Oklahoma LLC to ensure your business remains in good standing.
- How do I renew my LLC in Oklahoma?
Every LLC in Oklahoma is required to file an annual certificate (also known as an annual report) with the Secretary of State. You can file online, in-person, or by mail. Whichever way you choose to file, you are required to pay a $25 filing fee.