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Starting a new business in Utah can seem overwhelming at first. While you’re likely excited about getting started and working with customers, if you’ve been doing your research, you know there’s a lot of paperwork and red tape to be tackled first. 

It’s important to start on the right foot with all of the legalities taken care of correctly so that you can stay in compliance and not worry about these details moving forward. This is where we come in. We can show you how forming a limited liability company (LLC) in Utah can be straightforward and affordable. 

In this guide, we offer step-by-step instructions and the insights you need to make sure you’re doing it right. You will also learn how the right LLC service can support you through this process and provide value to your company once it’s up and running.

The primary requirement to tackle as you get your LLC in Utah off the ground is to file a Certificate of Organization with the Secretary of State. This sounds simple enough, but there are several important decisions to make before doing so. Once the filing is complete, you will need to look at creating an operating agreement, obtaining any necessary licenses and permits, and setting your business up to file taxes at the federal, state, and local levels. To simplify the process of forming an LLC in the Beehive State, we’ve put together a guide detailing each step.

An infographic that explains how to form an LLC in 5 Steps

Step 1: Name your Utah LLC

At first glance, coming up with a business name might seem to involve nothing more than deciding on a name that sounds good to you, but there are other factors to consider, including:

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  • Make sure your LLC name is not already being used by someone else in Utah. To do this, visit our business entity search page for Utah and follow the instrucitons there.
  • Be sure to include the words “limited liability company,” “limited company,” or one of the allowed abbreviations: “L.L.C.” or “L.C.”
  • The name may not include the words “association,” “corporation,” “incorporated,” “partnership,” “limited partnership,” or “L.P.”
  • You should also make sure that if you intend to have a business website, you can find available domain names that fit your chosen business name. 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.
  • Additional naming requirements can be found in the Utah Code 48-3a-108(8).

If you settle on your business name before you’re ready to file your Certificate of Organization, you may want to reserve the name so it doesn’t get snagged by another business. Utah allows you to reserve a business name for 120 days for a 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.

Another consideration is whether you want a DBA. A DBA or “Doing Business As” name is another name you can use for your business. This allows you to do business under a name different from your official business name. Registering a DBA in Utah requires filling out a form and paying a fee. Our DBA service 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 Utah Department of Commerce website page for trademarks.

Step 2: Appoint a registered agent in Utah

When filling out the Certificate of Organization, you need to appoint a Utah registered agent. A registered agent is a person or business (like a registered agent service) that can receive legal documents, such as lawsuits or summons, on behalf of a business entity. Business correspondence from the Utah Department of Commerce is also sent to the registered agent.

Requirements for registered agents in Utah include:

  • A Utah street address.
  • If the registered agent is a business, they must be registered with the Division of Corporations and in good standing. (If you use a commercial registered agent service, you will only need to indicate their name on the application since the remainder of their information is already on file.)
  • Your company cannot serve as its own registered agent. 

While you can act as your own registered agent on behalf of your company, there are reasons why that might not be the best idea. Being your own registered agent can lead to complications within your LLC. For example, it’s not the best look to receive service of process in front of customers.

Often, it’s a good idea to go with a registered agent service like ours. The benefits of doing so include:

  • Discreet receipt of legal notices (as opposed to being served a lawsuit in front of a client).
  • Ability to move your office location without having to update your registered agent address with the state.
  • Freedom to leave the office, as the registered agent must be present at the office during all normal business hours.

Step 3: File Utah Certificate of Organization

Now that you’ve named your business and chosen a registered agent, it’s time to register it. This is done by filing the Certificate of Organization — commonly known as the Articles of Organization in other states — with the Utah Department of Commerce.

Filing official government documents like this can be a daunting task 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.

Filing the Certificate of Organization can be done by filling out the appropriate form and paying a processing fee. On this form, you will include:

  • Your business name
  • Your principal office address
  • The name and associated information about your registered agent
  • The names and addresses of any additional members or managers

For those who choose to mail the Certificate of Organization, you’ll want to send it to:

Utah Division of Corporations and Commercial Code
P.O. Box 146705
Salt Lake City, UT 84114

Registration can alternatively be completed through the OneStop Business Registration website (you’ll need to create an account).

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

Now that your business is registered, it’s time to form a Utah operating agreement with all members. While it is not a legal requirement, it’s highly recommended and can save considerable headaches down the road. An operating agreement is a document that clearly defines the rules for your business, including how it will be run. Information like whether members have the right to admit additional members, an explanation of the terms and conditions, and the circumstances, if any, under which the cessation of the membership of one or more members will result in the LLC’s dissolution should be included. The benefits of having an operating agreement include:  

  • Clearly defined rules for all to follow
  • A clear succession plan should a member leave the business
  • Allowing you to avoid some of the default rules of the state where the LLC was formed
  • Can help secure funding from investors and lenders
  • Can help resolve legal disputes in the event of a disagreement

Don’t know 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

Any LLC with employees or more than one member will need to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN), also known as a Tax ID Number, Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN), or Federal Tax Identification Number (FTIN). Largely needed for tax purposes, this acts as a Social Security number for your business and will allow you to file tax documents as needed. It can also help with things needed to run your business, like opening a business bank account.

You can get your 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 FEIN 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 (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. 

Utah LLC FAQs

  • How much does it cost to start an LLC in Utah?

    The total cost of starting an LLC in Utah will vary, depending on your business needs, consulting fees, and licenses required. The state fees for forming a Utah LLC can range from $70 to $114, depending on factors such as whether you choose to reserve your business name or get a DBA name. Note that fees change over time, so check the Utah Division of Corporations website for the most recent fee schedule.

  • What are the benefits of an LLC in Utah?

    The benefits of forming a Utah LLC include:

    • You get free one-on-one management consulting from Utah’s Small Business Development Center.
    • Utah was ranked No. 3 on Forbes’s Best States for Business list in 2019 with high marks for labor supply, economic climate, and quality of life.
    • The cost of doing business is 2% below the national average.
    • Utah is one of the fastest-growing economies in the U.S.
  • How is a Utah LLC taxed?

    LLCs are considered “pass-through” entities, which means you will not have to pay both business tax and personal income tax on the company’s profits. The LLC itself does not pay federal income tax; the owners pay tax on their share of the LLC profits on their personal income taxes only. However, there might be additional taxes you need to pay to the Utah government. You will also need to pay federal, self-employment, and possibly payroll taxes to the IRS. 

    If your LLC sells goods and you collect sales tax, or if you have employees, you must register your LLC with the Utah State Tax Commission. A qualified tax professional can help you make sure you’re staying compliant with all tax laws.

    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 Utah LLC?

    The processing time may vary, but you can expect it to be completed within seven to 10 business days. For forms filed online through the OneStop portal, the time will likely be less than for mailed-in forms.

  • Do I need to file my operating agreement with the state of Utah?

    While operating agreements do not need to be filed with the state, they should be kept in a safe location with other business documents since they are legally binding.

  • What tax structure should I choose for my Utah LLC?

    When you get your EIN, you will be informed of the different tax classification options. LLCs usually choose the default tax status, meaning that owners pay state and federal taxes on income earned from the business as part of their individual taxes. Larger LLCs, however, sometimes opt to file taxes as a corporation. A tax professional can help you determine what’s best for your LLC.

  • Does Utah allow a Series LLC?

    A Series LLC is a limited liability company with more than one series of members, managers, or LLC interests having separate rights, powers, or duties with respect to specified property and/or obligations of the LLC. Any series may also have a separate business purpose. Utah is one of a handful of states that allows Series LLCs.

  • Which licenses and insurance are required for an LLC in Utah?

    All businesses in Utah are required to get a business license, but it’s acquired at the city or county level. Occupational and professional licenses can also be applied online. Licenses can be industry-specific and happen at the federal, state, and local level, so you’ll need to research what licensing your LLC needs.

    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.

    To learn about which business insurance might be required or advisable, visit the Utah Insurance Department’s Business Insurance page or talk to a qualified insurance agent.

  • How do I dissolve an LLC in Utah?

    To dissolve an LLC in Utah, you must file a Statement of Dissolution.

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