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. We’ll also show you how our services can help you cut through the red tape.
To get your limited liability company (LLC) up and running in the Sooner State, you must know what documents need to be filed where, how to appoint a registered agent, 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.
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 then follow the instructions for searching for business names on our Oklahoma Business Entity Search page. 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 designator 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, Oklahoma allows you to reserve a business name for 60 days for a small fee. If you’d 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 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 website can be easily found online. 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.
When it comes to your LLC name, you may want to think about a DBA name. A DBA or “Doing Business As” name in Oklahoma is another name you can register to use for your business. We have a DBA service that can handle this for you.
Finally, to make sure you’re entirely in the clear with your desired business name, visit the United States Patent and Trademark Office website to make sure your business name or logo isn’t already federally trademarked. Trademarks can also happen at the state level, so you’ll also want to make sure that no state trademarks exist on your planned LLC name. To find out more and/or apply for a state trademark, go to the Oklahoma Secretary of State website page for trademarks.
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 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 registered agent 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. Additional benefits of using a registered agent service like ours include:
- If you serve as your registered agent, you’re required to be available during standard business hours. If you plan to work outside the office or take business trips, this requirement could be problematic.
- If you provide your personal or business address as your registered agent address, you’ll need to update your registered agent paperwork with the state each time you move. At rapidly growing companies, it’s easy to see how this essential step could get overlooked.
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. 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. But, although we can handle this for you, we’ll show you how the process works below.
To accurately fill out the Articles of Organization 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 filing fee.
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. Then we can send that mail to the address of your choice.
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. 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 help 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.
If you’re not sure how to begin creating an operating agreement for your LLC, we offer a customizable template to help get you started.
Step 5: Apply for an EIN
The next step in forming your Oklahoma LLC is obtaining a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN), also known as an Employer Identification Number (EIN). Every Oklahoma LLC will need this nine-digit number unless you are a single-member LLC with no employees (and sometimes even then). A FEIN is required for tax and financial paperwork, including filing taxes, hiring new employees, and opening company bank accounts.
While you can get your LLC’s EIN through the IRS website, by mail, or by fax, you may not enjoy dealing with that particular government agency more than you have to. Well, this is another thing we can handle for you. Our EIN service is quick and eliminates the hassle.
Once you’ve obtained your FEIN, it’s 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.
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.
Another thing you can do after securing an EIN is 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 (i.e., they want to sue you for not just your business assets, but also your personal assets).
We 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.
Oklahoma LLC FAQs
How much does it cost to start an LLC in Oklahoma?
The state fees for forming an Oklahoma LLC can range from $100 to $135, depending on factors such as whether you choose to get a DBA or reserve your business name. Note that fees change over time, so be sure to check the Oklahoma Secretary of State website for the most recent fee schedule.
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 our customers choose to form an LLC over other types. Compared to corporations, limited partnerships, and other forms of entities, LLCs come with worthwhile benefits. Forming an Oklahoma LLC means you’ll have 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.
How is an Oklahoma LLC taxed?
LLCs are typically considered “pass-through entities,” meaning they are not subject to federal corporate income taxes. Instead, the profits are passed through to the owner’s personal income, and the responsibility to pay taxes falls on the individual. This is unlike most corporations, in which profits are taxed twice, first at the business level and again at the individual shareholder level.
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
Those who purchase any of our plans get a free accounting consultation and tax assessment from our specialists to receive helpful resources and no-obligation recommendations around your bookkeeping, accounting, and tax needs.
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 agreementt is kept internally by the members (owners) of the Oklahoma LLC. 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 on income, but the LLC members pay taxes on their portion of its profits on their individual tax returns.
Some LLCs (particularly those with very high earnings) may choose to file taxes as corporations. This option has some distinct advantages for certain LLCs. 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 permits are required for an LLC in Oklahoma?
The business licenses and permits required to run your Oklahoma LLC vary depending on your industry and location You can find more information via the Oklahoma Commerce website. As mentioned above, our business license report can help you with determining what licensing you need.
How do I renew my LLC in Oklahoma?
Every LLC in Oklahoma is required to file an Oklahoma 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 filing fee.
We can help you with your annual certificate in a couple of ways. Our annual report service will help you file your annual certificate, and our Worry Free Compliance service not only helps with filing your annual certificate, but also sends you other important compliance reminders and helps you with two amendment filings each year.