- Step 1. Naming Your Louisiana LLC
- Step 2. Appoint a Registered Agent
- Step 3. File Your Articles of Organization
- Step 4. Create an Operating Agreement
- Step 5. Get an EIN/Tax ID Number
- Step 6. Keeping Your LLC Running
- Louisiana LLC Resources
- Louisiana LLC FAQs
Step 1. Naming Your Louisiana LLC
To get started establishing your LLC in Louisiana, you will need to choose a name that is distinct and adheres to the state’s naming regulations.
Legally Required Designation
According to Louisiana’s LLC laws, the name of your LLC must contain the phrase “limited liability company” or one of the following abbreviations:
The LLC name that you choose must be distinct from any other business in Louisiana and not at risk of any type of infringement. To find a suitable name, you can conduct a search online with the Louisiana Secretary of State’s office.
If you find a name that you like, you can file the Name Reservation Form with the Secretary of State to hold your LLC name for up to 120 days ahead of officially establishing your LLC. You can file this form online or by mail sent to the address printed on the form. There is a $25 filing fee associated with the formation.
At the same time, you may also want to perform an available domain name search while you are looking for an LLC name. Even if you aren’t sure that you want a business website immediately, it is a good idea to search for and purchase a matching one ahead of time, reserving it for when you need it.
When choosing an LLC name, keep in mind that you are not able to include any words that run the risk of confusing your business with a government entity. This can include words like “IRS,” “Treasury,” “FBI,” or “State Department.”
You should also be aware that using words such as “bank,” “trust,” or “architect” may require the presence of a properly licensed individual in your LLC and filing additional paperwork.
Using a Trade Name
You can use a trade, or DBA (doing business as), name for your LLC in Louisiana. This means that you will continue using the legally registered LLC name on all official documents, but will have the option to use a different registered name when interacting with the public.
To start using a DBA name in Louisiana, you will need to file the Application to Register a Trade Name Trademark or Service Mark with the Secretary of State’s office. This application can be filed online or through the mail depending on where your LLC will be conducting business. Certain Louisiana parishes require online filing, and you can find more information about that here.
There is a $75 filing fee associated with the DBA name application, and you can pay an additional $30 for expedited 24-hour processing. You may also reserve your trade name ahead of time.
Step 2. Appoint a Registered Agent
A registered agent, also called an agent for service of process, is required for every LLC established in Louisiana. Your registered agent will be responsible for receiving all legal documents, government communications, and necessary tax documents, acting as a contact point between your LLC and federal agencies or the state of Louisiana. They will also be the responsible party that is contacted in the event of a lawsuit against your LLC.
You can appoint any Louisiana resident, entity, or a registered agent service that is authorized to conduct business in the state as your registered agent. As long as your appointee has a valid state address, they are eligible to be your registered agent.
Step 3. File Your Articles of Organization
The next step in setting up your LLC is to file your Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State’s office. This is the document that will legally establish your business in the state. Below, you can find some of the information that may be required on this form.
- Your LLC’s tax structure (see our section on this [ANCHOR TO #Federal Tax Requirements]below[END ANCHOR LINK])
- Your LLC’s name
- Your LLC’s business type
- Your LLC’s principal office address
- Your LLC’s registered agent name and address
- Whether your LLC is member-managed or manager-managed
- Your LLC’s members’ or managers’ names and addresses
- The signature of a member or manager
- The NAICS Code for your LLC’s business
- Your federal EIN, if applicable (see our section on this [ANCHOR TO #Get an EIN]below[END ANCHOR LINK])
- Your LLC’s duration, either perpetual or limited
You can file your Articles of Organization either online or through the mail. In certain Louisiana parishes, such as Ascension, Bossier, Caddo, Calcasieu, East Baton Rouge, Jefferson, Lafayette, Livingston, Orleans, Ouachita, Rapides, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa and Terrebonne, your Articles of Organization are required to be filed online.
There is a $100 filing fee associated with this form, and you may pay an extra $30 for expedited 24-hour processing.
Additionally, at the same time as filing your Articles of Organization, you will be required to file an Initial Report. There is a $25 fee associated with this form, and it adheres to the same filing rules as your Articles of Organization. This document should include the following information.
- Your LLC’s name
- Your LLC’s street address
- Your LLC’s registered agent name and address
- Your LLC’s initial members or managers names and addresses
- Signatures of those who signed the Articles of Organization
- Your LLC’s registered agent’s signature
After filling both of these documents correctly, your LLC will receive a Certificate of Organization, and you can begin to legally conduct business under your LLC.
If you want to file your Articles of Organization online, you will need to create an account with the Louisiana geauxBiz portal. From there, you can follow the directions to input all of the necessary LLC information, including filing your initial report. After you submit the form, you will be asked to pay the filing fees and any applicable card processing fees.
To file your Articles of Organization by mail, you will need to print out the document and fill it in with black ink. Then, place the completed form and the completed initial report form into an envelope with two checks – one for $100 and the other for $25. Both checks should be made out to the Louisiana Secretary of State, and the form and check should be sent to the address below.
- O. Box 94125
Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9125
Step 4. Create an Operating Agreement
Louisiana does not require you to create an operating agreement for your LLC, but you should consider creating one anyway. An operating agreement sets clear guidelines for how exactly your LLC is managed, the rights that members or managers have, and what to do in the case that your LLC dissolves or experiences a lawsuit.
Most business bank accounts, loan applications, and other business services will require you to have an operating agreement on hand to demonstrate your LLC as a separately operating business entity before you can secure funding or business services.
If you choose not to create an LLC operating agreement, Louisiana LLC law will dictate how your LLC is to be managed in the event of dissolution, conflict, or lawsuit. This may not be in your best interest, so creating an operating agreement is a good idea to protect yourself and your assets.
Step 5. Get an EIN/Tax ID Number
Once your LLC is legally established in Louisiana, you will need to apply for a Tax ID number, also known as an EIN (Employer Identification Number). Any LLC that has more than one member, any single-member LLC that wants to hire employees, or any LLC that chooses to be taxed as a corporation is required to apply for an EIN.
Your EIN will be used to identify your business to the IRS on all tax documents and necessary government filings. The number acts much like a social security number for your LLC. If you want to hire employees, file federal taxes, open business bank or credit accounts, or apply for business funding, you will need an EIN.
It is free to apply for your EIN with the IRS, and you can file the application online or by mailing it in. Keep in mind that if you are a foreign filer or do not have a social security number, you will need to file for your EIN through the mail.
Louisiana does require you to include your EIN on your Articles of Organization when filing, so you should complete this step before starting on your Articles.
The quickest and easiest way to apply for your EIN is online; you will receive your number once your application is completed.
Visit the IRS website to apply for your EIN for free.
You will need to fill out this form when applying for your LLC by mail. If you are a foreign filer or do not have a social security number, leave section 7b blank. Mail the completed form to the address below. You can follow up on any questions with the IRS at (267) 941-1099.
Internal Revenue Service
Attn: EIN Operation
Cincinnati, OH 45999
Step 6. Keeping Your LLC Running
After your LLC has been legally established, there are several things that you should keep up to date on to ensure that your business stays running smoothly.
File Annual Reports
Every LLC in Louisiana is required to file an annual report with the Secretary of State’s office. This report is due each year on or before the date that the LLC was first organized. Every LLC, no matter the parish, must file the report online using the Louisiana geauxBiz system, and there is a $30 filing fee associated with the form. Detailed instructions for filing the report can also be found on the geauxBiz website.
Separate Your Business Finances
A business credit or debit account can help keep your LLC’s finances separate from any personal ones, establishing the LLC as an independently operating business. It is not required by Louisiana to open a business bank account, but it may be a good idea to establish one anyway.
You will most likely need to show your Articles of Organization, Operating Agreement, EIN, or possible other LLC documents to open a bank account for your LLC. Compare all of your options before making a choice on which bank account to open, as different banks will have different minimum required balances or credit spending limits.
Keep up With Federal and State Taxes
Another important step in keeping your LLC running is to stay up to date on all federal and state tax requirements, as this will help you keep your business running without any chance of major penalties or tax issues.
Federal Tax Requirements
There are several different tax structures you can choose from to use in your LLC that may meet different company needs; each tax structure comes with its own unique type of federal taxation. This article can help you gain an in-depth understanding of the differences between each type and help you decide which is best for you.
In general, most LLCs are taxed as sole proprietorships or partnerships. This means that you will be expected to file Schedule C along with your individual income tax return to declare any income that you receive through your LLC. When using this tax structure, you should keep in mind that you will most likely need to pay self-employment tax (which has a rate of 15.3%), in addition to any income tax. You may also need to make quarterly estimated tax payments to avoid any IRS fines; the IRS website gives more details on this.
If you want, you can choose to have your LLC taxed as a corporation, like an S Corporation or a C Corporation. You will need to fill out IRS Form 8832 and IRS Form 2553 to declare this. After these forms have been processed, your LLC will be treated as a corporation and expected to file a separate corporate tax return with the IRS.
It is a good idea to figure out which tax structure you will be using before starting on any of the documents required to establish your LLC, as Louisiana does require you to declare your tax status when filing the Articles of Organization. You can consult with a financial advisor or tax professional if you have any questions about which structure will be the best for your business.
Louisiana Business Taxes
While there is no statewide business tax in Louisiana, you will still be expected to pay state income taxes; how much you pay depends on your business type. Most LLCs are treated as pass-through entities, so if you have a sole proprietorship or a partnership, you will pay state income taxes on any income earned through your business each year after filing your individual state tax return.
LLCs that are taxed as corporations (either S or C) will likely be subject to state corporation franchise tax and corporation income tax accordingly. You can read more about this tax and what you may owe here.
Sales and Use Taxes
If your LLC is selling goods or services, you may be liable to pay sales and use taxes in the state. This tax needs to be registered for through the Louisiana Department of Revenue and is taxed at a rate of 4.45 percent.
You can find more information about registering for sales and use tax on the Department of Revenue’s website.
State Employer Taxes
For an LLC that has employees, you may be liable to pay both withholding tax and unemployment insurance taxes. Withholding tax can be paid through the Louisiana Department of Revenue, while unemployment insurance taxes should be paid through the Louisiana Workforce Commission. Both websites also provide additional information about registering and calculating taxes owed.
Acquire Necessary Permits and Licenses
There is no statewide business license requirement in Louisiana, but certain cities or parishes may require your LLC to obtain a license. You may also need to adhere to professional licensing rules in the state. For more information about business licensing, you can check out the Louisiana geauxBiz website.
Additionally, you may be required to obtain certain permits and licenses for your LLC on a federal level. Whether this is needed depends mostly on the type of business you are running and the services you are offering. For help determining if you need to meet additional federal licensure requirements, you can use the directory on the U.S. Small Business Administration’s website.
Louisiana LLC Resources
This list of resources below can help guide you through every step in starting up your Louisiana LLC.
- Available LLC name search
- Available domain name search
- Reserve an LLC name
- Register a DBA name
- Articles of Organization
- Initial Report
- Louisiana geauxBiz
- IRS EIN online application
- IRS Form 8832 and Form 2553 for corporation declaration
- Louisiana corporation tax information
- Louisiana Department of Revenue
- Louisiana Workforce Commission
- S. Small Business Administration
Louisiana LLC FAQs
Check out these frequently asked questions to have any lingering worries about starting up your LLC in Louisiana put to rest.
In Louisiana, it costs $100 to file your Articles of Organization, plus $25 to file your Initial Report. You will also need to pay $25 if you reserve your LLC’s name ahead of time, and $75 if you choose to register a DBA name for your business.
The cheapest way to start your Louisiana LLC is to file your Articles of Organization and Initial Report without reserving an LLC name ahead of time, paying for expedited services, or registering a DBA name. Doing it this way will only cost you $125.
A low-profit Louisiana LLC is one that is designed to benefit society in some way while still providing income for the LLC’s owners. It is often referred to as a hybrid entity, combining both traditional aspects of a charity and a for-profit business. Only certain states allow the formation of this type of LLC.
In Louisiana, you can form a low-profit LLC much in the same way you would a regular LLC. The main difference in the process is the type of documents you will file, such as the Articles of Organization for a Low-Profit Limited Liability Company. When proceeding through the steps to form this type of LLC, be sure that you select and file the documents that are marked for low-profit LLCs, not for traditional LLC filing.
You can learn more about this unique type of LLC here.
How much your LLC pays in taxes depends on the individual tax structure your business has set up. Keep in mind that if you elect to have your LLC taxed as a corporation, you will likely be liable for the state’s corporation franchise and income tax, in addition to any federal corporate taxes.
You will need to file annual reports for your Louisiana LLC yearly. The report is due each year by the anniversary of your LLC’s official establishment. You must file your annual reports online, and there is a $30 filing fee associated with the form.
Once you are done conducting business under your LLC, you will need to file the Articles of Dissolution with the Louisiana Secretary of State. There is a $100 filing fee for this form.
You will also need to consult your LLC’s operating agreement for the pre-decided actions for shutting down your business and tying up any loose ends.