Tennessee Filing Fees

What are the Business Filing Fees in Tennessee?

Starting a business in Tennessee means paying a variety of government filing fees. We’ve compiled the most common ones here so that you’ll know what to expect.


Starting a business in Tennessee may seem complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. You first have to decide what form of business you want. If your business is going to be a sole proprietorship, you don’t need to file formation documents with the state. For statutory business entities, such as limited liability companies (LLCs) or corporations, Tennessee requires that you file company formation documents with the Tennessee Secretary of State. These filings will require paying the correct fees. If you don’t know where to start, we’re here to help. Read on to learn more about which fees you might pay as a Tennessee business owner and how our services can make the process easier.

Step 1:  Pay your Tennessee business’s initial filing fees

For a corporation, you need to file Articles of Incorporation with the Tennessee Secretary of State’s office via its online portal or by mail. For a limited liability company, you need to file Articles of Organization. Once your documents are filed, expect approximately five business days for your application to be processed and made official. 

You don’t have to do this all by yourself, though. Our experts are here to help. With our expedited filing service, we can handle the details and hassles of filing the documents. With just a little work on your part, we’ll have your business formation documents filed in no time.

Step 2:  Reserve your Tennessee business’s name

To be legal, your Tennessee business name has to be unique, and can’t already be in use by another business. If all you want to do is reserve a name for a future business, you can do this by paying a small fee. This filing will hold the name for up to four months. But you don’t have to reserve the name if you’re going to create the business first. The filing of your statutory entity formation documents will do that. 

We also offer a service to easily reserve your Tennessee business name for a small fee. We can help you file your documents correctly and on time.

Step 3:  Reserve a “doing business as” name in Tennessee

Creating a “doing business as” (DBA) name is necessary when you want to use multiple names for one business. In Tennessee, a DBA is called an assumed name and requires a registration form and filing fee with the Secretary of State’s office. You may decide to use an assumed name for many business reasons. For example, for marketing purposes, you may want to advertise a product under a different business name.

You don’t have to figure this out on your own. Our experts can help with our assumed name registration service. Let us create the paperwork and file your DBA correctly and on time.

Step 4:  Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN)

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is similar to having a social security number for your business. It allows you to accomplish many business needs like obtaining loans, opening bank accounts, and hiring employees.

You can obtain an EIN through the IRS’s website, but we offer this EIN service to our customers so you can have one less thing on your plate.

Step 5:  Draft an operating agreement, corporate bylaws, or partnership agreement for your Tennessee business

Although they aren’t strictly required, every statutory entity can benefit from an operating agreement (LLC), corporate bylaws, or partnership agreement. These operating documents establish the rules of how the business is to be structured and run. The documents are necessary for resolving management disputes, creating future contingency policies, and keeping control of your company. 

Some people hire lawyers to create these documents. But this can cost thousands of dollars in legal fees. We offer an easier solution that is much less expensive. We can help you create and customize the appropriate formation documents by using our easy-to-use Operating Agreement Templates.

Step 6:  Apply for your Tennessee business’s necessary licenses and permits

You will need to apply for local or county licenses or permits to legally operate your business. For example, if your business will be selling alcohol, you will need a license from the Alcohol Beverage Commission. 

There may be many other permits and licenses that need to be researched. We offer a business license report service that can take the uncertainty out of the process and help you check that you have the right licenses and permits in place to operate legally.

Step 7:  Pay Tennessee registration fees for out-of-state businesses

Foreign or out-of-state businesses have to register with the Tennessee Secretary of State’s office before they can legally operate in the state. A foreign corporation may apply for a Certificate of Authority to transact business in Tennessee by filing an application which can be found on the Secretary of State’s website.

Step 8:  Check Tennessee’s annual report requirements and fees

Tennessee requires the filing of an annual report relating to your business. The type of business entity you chose will dictate the contents of the report. You need to file your report by the end of your yearly anniversary month, and if you file online, there is a small processing fee. The Secretary of State’s website has how-to videos available to show you how to file an annual report and what the report should include. You need to provide the following information on a yearly basis:

  • Business name
  • Tennessee business file number
  • Principal business address
  • State your company was initially formed in
  • Old Tennessee business file number, if applicable
  • Registered agent name and address
  • Officer/director OR member/manager information, including their names, titles, and mailing addresses
  • Signature and title of the person filing the annual report

We offer an annual report service to help you keep track of these reports and get them filed correctly and on time. Use our expert staff to see that your business’s annual report contains the necessary information and is filed with the right state office.

Step 9:  Keep your Tennessee business legally compliant

If there are certain changes to your business, Tennessee requires that you file amendment documents reflecting those changes. Examples of these changes are:

  • Changes to the name of your business
  • Updates to  board and officer names and duties/responsibilities
  • Changes in stock in the business
  • Any other changes or alterations to the Articles of Incorporation/Certificate of Organization

With our Amendment service and Worry-Free Compliance service, you don’t have to worry about missing the appropriate filing if there has been a change in your business. We can help you complete it correctly and on time.

We’re here to help you with your Tennessee business’s needs

Creating the perfect company formation documents is the first step toward having a successful business. With our help, you can easily create and file everything you need to start your company and be compliant with the law. With our Worry-Free Compliance Service, you’ll receive immediate notification of any business filing needs.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is for information purposes only, and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.


  • Are there penalties for paying my fees late in Tennessee?

    No, there are no late fees. However, if the report is late past 60 days, then the Secretary of State reserves the right to dissolve your business, preventing you from operating in the state. You will receive a notice of pending dissolution so that you will know to file the documents immediately.

  • What happens if I can’t pay my fees to the Tennessee government?

    If you can’t pay your fees on time, then the Secretary of State reserves the right to dissolve your business, preventing you from operating in the state. The Secretary of State’s office will send you a notice of pending dissolution, which will provide a timeline as to when your business will be dissolved in the state.

  • Who receives the fees for forming my Tennessee business?

    Pay fees for forming your Tennessee business to the Tennessee Secretary of State.

  • What is usually the biggest fee I will pay when I form my Tennessee business?

    The largest fee that you will have to pay is typically the fee associated with the documents that form and initially create your business.

  • What payment methods can I use to pay my LLC or corporation filing fees to the Tennessee government?

    For filings sent by mail, Tennessee allows customers to pay with check, money order, credit card, or trust account. Online filings through Tennessee’s online business portal require credit or debit card payments.

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