How to Set Up an LLC: 7 Steps You Don't Want to Miss

Setting up an LLC can be tricky — use the LLC setup checklist within this article to save time.

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#1 Pick an LLC name

Use a domain name search tool to find an available name not only for your business but also for your website. You don't want to register a company only to find out another small business owns your domain name or the user names for social media accounts.

#2 Find a registered agent

The state where you're registering the business needs to deliver notices to a living person. If you don't maintain a residence in the state or have an office where someone can serve you (or a representative), then you need to pay someone to provide the service. It's known as a registered agent.
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#3 Visit your secretary of state's website

Get the following information from your state's department of corporations to prepare for the final step of incorporation:
  • Fees
  • Forms
  • Deadlines
  • Publication rules, if any
Then, you can complete the procedure and officially open your business.

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#4 Create your operating agreement

Your state laws for corporations and companies may not require an operating agreement, but it's best to build one. A corporate binder contains your Articles of Organization, Operating Agreement (or Partnership Agreement), Resolutions, Minutes, and tax/accounting documents that the IRS may request during an audit.

#5 Apply for a business EIN

Visit the IRS website to complete an IRS EIN application, so they can assign you an Employer Identification Number (EIN). Even if you don't plan to hire employees, you'll need the number to open a bank account, apply for a loan, and renew your annual incorporation filing (if applicable).

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READ MORE: Myth: I Only Report My Business When It Earns Money

#6 Get a state sales tax resale certificate

Not every small business owner needs to apply for a resale certificate for sales & use tax. Depending on your product or service, you may or may not need to add sales tax to your invoices or receipts. Call your state department of revenue (or taxation) to see if you're exempt.

#7 Check your local departments

City and county departments also have requirements for a new business. Place calls to your local officials to determine if you need to register the company, get a license, or pay fees.

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DISCLAIMER: Please consult with your accountant, attorney, and financial advisor before implementing any information displayed on this website. DIY research does not replace the advice of a licensed professional who has thoroughly reviewed your file.