When forming an LLC business structure, you first need to file the Certificate of Formation (called the Articles of Organization in some states) with the California Secretary of State. This is a legal document that officially launches your new LLC into existence. After filing, the business can obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN), state tax number, open a bank account, and register for business licenses.
Some of the required information needed to complete the Certificate of Formation in California includes:
- Your new company’s name. When filling out this information be sure to include the entity designator at the end of the business name. The allowed designator can be LLC, L.L.C., Limited Liability Company, Limited Liability Co., Ltd. Liability Company, or Ltd Liability Co.Professional or Series can be used in front of Limited Liability Company if the LLC is set up to be either a Professional LLC or Series LLC.
If you haven’t verified already, be sure to do a name search with the Secretary of State to be sure the LLC name is available.
- Address of the principal place of business. This refers to the physical street address or the main location where the business records are kept. A physical address must be used as P.O. Boxes are not acceptable.
- Name and address of your company’s registered agent. A registered agent is a party authorized to receive and accept service of process on behalf of your LLC. You may act as your registered agent or you may authorize an individual outside of the LLC or another company authorized by your state to act as a registered agent. The registered agent must use a physical street address in California.
- Management of the LLC. In the articles of organization, you will need to indicate of the management structure is either member-managed or manager-managed will be asked.
- The effective start date for your LLC. While you cannot back-date the formation date of your LLC, you can specify when you want the business entity to become effective at a time in the future.
- Management of the LLC. In the articles of organization, you will often need to include contact information with the names and mailing addresses of the LLC members. Additional information such as whether the management structure is either member-managed or manager-managed will be asked.
- Business purpose statement – A statement of purpose (already created) needs to be included in the articles of organization.
The filing fee for the Articles of Organization is $100, plus an additional $100 for expedited service.
In addition, many LLCs will want to draft an operating agreement is an internal document outlining the governing structure and operating guidelines of the entity along with the responsibilities of the members.
Download the California Articles of Organization from the California Secretary of State.