Start a Tennessee LLC

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If you’ve been wanting to launch a limited liability company (LLC) in Tennessee, you might feel overwhelmed by the information, legal jargon, and paperwork involved. Don’t worry – we’re here to help.

Starting a Tennessee LLC offers a variety of benefits, including personal asset protection and operational flexibility. Follow our step-by-step guide on how to create an LLC in Tennessee. Our LLC formation service can also register your business entity and provide the tools and support to keep it running smoothly.

How to Start an LLC in Tennessee

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Tennessee Limited Liability Company Formation

If you think a Tennessee LLC is right for you, then we’re here to help. There are many Tennessee LLC articles out there, but ours provides a step-by-step process on forming one. Let’s take a closer look at how to start an LLC in Tennessee, the Volunteer State!

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Step 1: Name your Tennessee LLC

Choosing a name is the first step in starting an LLC in Tennessee. Steer away from generic or vague names, but don’t use something too similar to other businesses in the state.

Start by conducting an LLC name search. The Tennessee Secretary of State requires that new business names be distinguishable from existing ones in the state. Avoid an LLC name that can be confused with state or federal agencies. Not sure where to start? Take a look at our guide to conducting a Tennessee business name search.

Be aware that certain words in your business’s name could be restricted by state law or come with additional approvals. For example, any LLC’s that plans to use words like “bank” or “insurance” in its title will first need to acquire written permissions from the Tennessee Department of Financial Institutions and/or the Department of Commerce and Insurance, respectively.

Limited Liability Company Name Requirements

All LLC names must include the appropriate “designator,” which are words or abbreviations indicating the business type. You have the choice of “limited liability company” or one of two abbreviations: “LLC” or “L.L.C.” Your Tennessee Limited Liability Company Articles of Organization will further detail applicable word restrictions and point out appropriate permissions if your company name contains a restricted designator.

If you aren’t planning to file your Articles of Organization right away, consider reserving your business name. Tennessee allows potential business owners to reserve an available name for up to four months. Check out our business name reservation service.

Filing a DBA in Tennessee

Some companies may want to use an assumed name for their Tennessee LLC. This is known as a “doing business as” (DBA) name. This allows your company to separate services under various titles or to advertise without the mandated “LLC” designator. This is something else we can take care of for you. Learn more about Tennessee DBAs.

Seek a matching domain name for your website

Even if you don’t sell your products or services directly online, you’re going to want a presence on the web. At the very least, you want your company’s name, address, and contact info to pop up when potential clients search for it.

That’s why getting a good domain name that pairs well with your business name is so important. You’re likely going to be putting that URL on your business cards and other marketing materials, and you want people to be able to remember it and associate it with your business.

We have a domain name service to help you find and purchase a domain name for your business. We can also help you create a business website and provide domain name privacy.

Step 2: Appoint a registered agent in Tennessee

Successfully forming your Tennessee LLC will require naming a registered agent. A Tennessee registered agent is an individual or business entity that receives legal notices (like lawsuit notifications) and official government correspondence involving your company.

The registered agent must be a registered of Tennessee or a business authorized to do business in Tennessee. They must have a physical street address in the state and not a P.O. box or something similar. The registered agent must also be available during normal business hours.

Hiring a Registered Agent Service in Tennessee

Some business owners prefer to be their own registered agent, but there are drawbacks. You must be available during business hours at that address, which isn’t always convenient or possible. This is especially true when a business is first formed. This is where registered agent services can help. Thankfully, we have your back. We can put you in contact with our commercial registered agent partners in Tennessee. This registered agent service allows you the peace of mind in knowing you are legally compliant while keeping certain matters discreet.

Step 3: File Tennessee Articles of Organization

Articles of Organization officially register your Tennessee LLC in the eyes of the state. To file with the Tennessee Secretary of State, you’ll need to make key information about your business ready and available. Make sure your chosen name has been researched and cleared. Double-check that you have all contact information for your members and registered agent handy. The Tennessee Secretary of State accepts filings online, by mail, and by hand-delivery, along with the relevant filing fee.

How fast can I form my Tennessee LLC?

If you’re ready to launch and don’t want to wait weeks for your paperwork to get processed, we can help. You can form your LLC in Tennessee in as little as one day with our rush filing services. With our rush filing service, we prioritize your formation paperwork so you can get it filed with the Tennessee Secretary of State within 1-3 business days for just $100 + state fees.

If you’re having trouble doing this by yourself or don’t have the time, that’s okay! Filing official government documents to the Tennessee Secretary of State can be intimidating and complicated. With our business formation plans, we can handle it for you to make sure it’s done quickly and correctly.

We can take care of filing your Articles of Organization with the Tennessee Secretary of State. Once your LLC is approved, your paperwork will be available from your ZenBusiness dashboard. You can keep it and other important paperwork digitally organized.

Keep your LLC’s documents, like operating agreements, member certificates, contracts, compliance checklists, transfer ledger, etc. in a safe location. We offer a customized business kit to help you keep these important documents organized and looking professional.

Step 4: Create an operating agreement for your Tennessee LLC

To keep your LLC in Tennessee running smoothly, you should draft and adopt a comprehensive operating agreement. This is a set of rules that lays out and governs the LLC’s management structure, best practices, how to resolve conflicts, naming the members’ rights and responsibilities, and more.

While Tennessee doesn’t require you to have an operating agreement, you’ll likely want to create one, anyway. Having the right Tennessee LLC agreement can protect and inform your LLC members (owners) about the company. Luckily, we can help here as well. Our operating agreement template can be customized for your business to help all LLC members.

Step 5: Apply for an EIN for your LLC in Tennessee

You may need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service to ensure that your LLC follows all local, state, and federal taxes. The only LLC’s that sometimes don’t require one are single-member entities with no employees. It’s still a good idea to have one.

This tax ID number serves your business similarly to a Social Security number for an individual. It allows the Internal Revenue Service to identify your business category and determine what kind of taxes you will owe. It also allows you to get things like a business bank account.

You can get your Tennessee LLC’s EIN through the IRS website, by mail, or by fax. We can also get it for you with our EIN service.

Open a business bank account for your Tennessee LLC

Once you have an Employer Identification Number, you’ll be able to open a business bank account. Having separate accounts for your business and personal banking is crucial for sorting out your finances at tax time. It also helps ensure that you aren’t commingling funds. This could also be used against you if someone takes you to court to challenge whether you and your LLC are truly separate entities.

We offer a discounted bank account for new businesses. It offers unlimited transactions, online banking, a debit card, and more. If you want to let others in the business use the account, then we offer a banking resolution template to make it easier. Try ZenBusiness Money to create invoices, receive payments, transfer money, and manage clients all in one place.

We can help

We offer fast, accurate Tennessee LLC formation online. Our services provide long-term business support to help you start, run, and expand your business.

If starting an LLC in Tennessee feels like an uphill battle, we can reduce your stress. Let us take care of formation, compliance, and more. That way, you can get back to running your dream business.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is for informational 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.

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