What Are Articles of Organization?
If you are planning on starting an LLC, all states will require you to file an article of organization with the secretary of state and pay a filing fee.
The articles of organization outline basic details about your company. Once filed with the state, the LLC becomes official. The articles of organization essentially act as a birth certificate for the LLC.
Each state has different requirements for what’s needed, but the most common information includes:
- Company name
- Description of the company
- Mailing address
- Name and address of the registered (or statutory) agent
- Information about company owners, managers, and officers
The secretary of state will review the articles and may reject them. Articles that get rejected are usually not approved due to issues with the LLC’s suggested name.
Depending on the secretary of state office, it may take several weeks to get a response, but most states offer an expedited option. Once these articles are approved and filed, the LLC becomes a legal business entity.
How to File Articles of Organization
Step 1: Visit the Secretary of State Website
Your Secretary of State’s website should outline the requirements for filing articles of organization. Information to look out for includes:
- LLC articles of organization form
- Whether or not you can file the form online
- The filing cost—depending on the state, the prices are typically between $50 and $150, but could be much higher depending on your state.
Step 2: Gather Your Information
Before filing, gather the information you’ll need. Here is a list of some of the information that most states will require you to have before you’re able to file:
- LLC name: You’ll have to already have a name for your LLC. If you haven’t chosen a name for your LLC yet, now is the time. You’ll need one to register your LLC.
- LLC address: You’ll need to provide a physical address of your LLC. In some states, an actual street address may be required over a PO box. The Secretary of State website will help you understand address requirements for your state.
- Registered agent: A registered agent is someone you designate to receive the legal paperwork for your business, such as service of process notices, government correspondence, and compliance-related documents
Step 3: Prepare to Answer Questions
Before you can complete your LLC articles of organization application, your state will require you to submit additional information, such as operational and organizational details. Here are some examples of what your state may ask you:
- LLC Purpose: Some states may want you to state the purpose of your LLC. For example, some LLCs must enter a single professional purpose when filing, such as accounting services or law practice.
- LLC Manager: Will a manager or group of members manage the LLC? This is something you need to be prepared to answer. Member-managed LLCs usually have fewer members and are involved in the day-to-day operations. Manager-managed LLCs sometimes have a larger number of members who aren’t involved in day-to-day management.
- Members: In some states, you need to provide information about the initial members of the LLC, such as addresses and names. Additionally, there is no max amount of members to include in your list.
Step 4: Submit the Form
Once you’ve provided the necessary information, you’ll need to submit your LLC articles of organization for approval. Depending on how your state lets you file, you can either send your paperwork in the mail with a check payment or file it electronically.
Tip: Double-check and make sure your articles of organization are signed—it must be done by the authorized representative of the LLC.
What To Do After Filing
After you’ve filed your LLC, there are some other documents and actions you should consider taking:
Step 1: Get an EIN
An EIN, or an employer identification number, is a nine-digit number given to a company from the IRS for purposes of identification. This can also be called a federal employer identification number or a federal tax identification number.
An EIN is required to open a business banking account, obtain a business license, or file a business tax return.
Step 2: Form an Operating Agreement
To ensure your LLC operates smoothly, you need to create an operating agreement. This agreement outlines your business’s functional and financial decisions including regulations, rules, and provisions.
The operating agreement should outline things like member responsibilities and roles, member titles, and contributions.
Step 3: Open a Bank Account
Now that you have LLC designation, you can open an LLC bank account. Utilizing a business account for your LLC is more manageable than using your personal one because all of your business expenses can be found in one place. Deposit any member contributions for proper tracking. Opening a bank account for your LLC is also the first step to establishing business credit.
Step 4: Get a Business License
Depending on the type of business you are opening and your state’s regulations, you may need a business license. This license will ensure you comply with all state, county, and local laws. You’ll need to reach out to your city’s licensing authority to obtain an application, or it may also be available online.
Step 5: File for an Annual Report
In many states, you must file an annual report for your LLC. Filing this report keeps your company compliant with all state regulations and in good standing to preserve your limited liability protection and other benefits.
How to File by State
While most states are similar, every state has its own rules and procedures for creating an LLC and articles of organization. Pick your state below to find out how to start an LLC and file your articles of organization.
State Requirement Cheat Sheet
LLC Articles of Organization FAQ
Do I need an attorney to file Articles of Organization?
An attorney is not required and you can file articles of organization by yourself. However, each state has different rules and regulations for filing. Thus, a business attorney may be able to help you navigate the process and help you better understand and prepare.
Do Articles of Organization serve as a business license?
LLC articles of organization are not the same as a business license—this must be obtained separately and requires a different process.
Do I need to register my business name?
If you are filing articles of organization, you don’t need to register your business name. Registering your LLC in the articles of organization also serves as registering your business name.
Do I need other forms to file Articles of Organization?
This depends on the state you’re filing in. Some states will require other forms, such as a docketing statement or an initial list of managers or managing members. Check with your specific state to see if there are additional forms that are required.
Are Articles of Organization on public record?
Articles of organization are public records if they’re filed with the state. If you’re starting a company, ensure you’re aware of this so that you don’t unknowingly reveal confidential information.
LLC Articles of Organization Checklist
Ready to complete your articles of organization form for your new LLC? Follow this checklist below to ensure you have everything you need to file:
If you’re ready to get your company running, articles of organization are a required step to reach that goal. With this guide and breakdown by state, filing your LLC articles of organization will become easier to navigate. Be sure to choose LegalZoom as your registered agent for your business.