Step-by-Step Guide to Starting an LLC in Louisiana [2022]

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Quick Reference

The Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a popular entity structure for businesses starting in the state of Louisiana.  The LLC provides personal liability protection and has the potential to save money on taxes. With our guide, you can learn how to form an LLC in Kentucky without an attorney.

Unlike a sole proprietorship or partnership where the small business owner can be held personally liable for lawsuits against the business, the LLC is a separate legal structure, protecting the business owner’s personal assets.

Besides the liability protection, the Limited Liability Company provides several other benefits over the sole proprietorship, partnership, and corporation because of the multiple tax options, ease of administration, and management flexibility.

Forming an LLC can be both affordable and is something most people can do themselves. Entity formation companies like IncFile or IncAuthority help guide you through the process and make sure there are no mistakes.

Related: Should you use a Formation Service, Hire an Attorney or Do it Yourself?

Steps to Form a Louisiana LLC

Let’s break down the steps to complete the Louisiana LLC formation process.

Total Time: 10 minutes

Step 1: Choose a Name for the LLC

The first step in forming a Louisiana Limited Liability Company is to make sure the name you want is available.  

It’s critical to do a name search before registering an LLC name, as the name of each LLC must be distinguishable from other entity names registered in the state of Louisiana. Fortunately, the Louisiana Secretary of State makes it easy to search and verify if your LLC name is available.  Here is more information on how to do a Louisiana LLC name search

In addition to finding a unique name, there are a few additional requirements that are referenced in Louisiana Revised Statute § 12:1306

1- The name of the LLC must include an approved entity designator at the end of the business name. The approved entity designators include:
– Limited Liability Company
– L.L.C.
– L.C.

A comma may be used after the business name and before the designator.  “Cowboy Cleaners L.L.C.” and “Cowboy Cleaners, L.L.C.” are both acceptable.
One question that may be confusing is, “Said name is requested to be reserved on behalf of.”  In this field, enter the name of a member or manager in the LLC.

2 – The LLC name can’t contain any word or phrase which indicates or implies that it is organized for an unlawful purpose or different from what is indicated in the Articles of Organization.

3 – The name of the LLC can’t imply that the company is an administrative agency of any parish of this state or the United States.

4 – An LLC name can’t include any words in its name that would deceptively or falsely suggest a charitable or nonprofit nature.

5 – A Limited Liability Company with the words “engineer”, “engineering”, “surveyor”, or “surveying”, the Secretary of State requires written notice of approval from the Louisiana Professional Engineering and Land Surveying Board

6 – If an LLC in Louisiana includes the words “bank”, “banker”, “banking”, “savings”, “safe deposit”, “trust”, “trustee”, “building and loan”, “homestead”, or “credit union”, in its name, the Secretary of State requires written approval from the Commissioner of the Office of Financial Institutions

If you find a name you want to use but are not ready to form the LLC, the Application for Reservation of Trade Name (Form 398) can be filed to reserve the name for up to 120 days.  The state fee to reserve a name is $25.

You may also want to see if a domain name is also available to have a matching website address.

Step 2: Appoint a Registered Agent

Every LLC in Louisiana is required to have a Registered Agent. A Registered Agent will act as a central point of contact to receive legal documents, tax notices, summons, subpoenas, etc., on behalf of the LLC.

The basic requirements to be a Registered Agent in Louisiana include:
– The agent must be a Louisiana resident at least 18 years of age or a commercial Registered Agent service
– The agent must have a physical address in the state (PO Boxes aren’t allowed)
– The agent must generally be available during normal business hours at the address provided to receive service of process

Learn more about the requirements for a Registered Agent in Louisiana

Any individual meeting the requirements can be the agent; however, the agent’s name and address become public record, and with that comes a loss of privacy. This is more important for some entrepreneurs, especially when doing business from home or still employed.  Hiring a company like Northwest Registered Agent to be the Registered Agent will reduce unwanted phone calls and mailings.

Note – The Louisiana Registered Agent must agree to be the Registered Agent of the LLC by clicking on a link emailed from the Secretary of State.  If the Registered Agent does not accept, the LLC will not be filed. 

Step 3: File the Louisiana Articles of Organization

The paperwork to officially create an LLC in Louisiana is called the Articles of Organization. To submit the paperwork, either file online or download the Articles of Organization through the Louisiana GeauxBiz website.

Depending on the parish where the LLC will be located, online filing may be the only option. LLCs with a registered office address in the Ascension, Bossier, Caddo, Calcasieu, East Baton Rouge, Jefferson, Lafayette, Livingston, Orleans, Ouachita, Rapides, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, or Terrebonne parish will have to file the online application.

If filing by mail, be sure to also file Form 973, Initial Report with the Louisiana Articles of Organization. The mailing address for the forms is:
State of Louisiana Secretary of State
P.O. Box 94125
Baton Rouge, LA 70804

Both forms will also need to be notarized. If filing online, the Initial Report will be filed at the same time.

Estimated Cost: 100 USD

Turnaround Time: It normally takes 2-3 business days when filing online or about one week when filing by mail for the state to process the LLC paperwork.

Expedited 3 hour processing is available for an additional fee.

When filling out the Articles of Organization, there are a few sections that may be unfamiliar when seeing them for the first time. Let’s go over a few of those sections to help you get your LLC started right.

Select Entity – One of the questions in the Articles of Organization asks you to select the type of business entity you intend to form.  In this instance, we are looking at how to form an LLC.

The following question whether the entity is a “Domestic LLC” or “Foreign LLC.” In this instance, foreign is an entity filed in another state that intends to physically do business in Louisiana (open another branch, hire employees, etc.).  Most people on our site are looking to start their first business in Louisiana and would choose “Domestic.”

Related: What’s the Difference Between a Domestic and Foreign LLC?

Business Purpose – The first option lists “Engaging in any lawful activity” and is what most LLCs enter. The other option is to enter information about what the business does. It’s usually recommended to stay with the first option because if you list a specific business activity and decide to change later, additional filings will be needed to update the Articles of Organization.

Duration of the LLC – Most businesses intend to exist forever, and if so, would choose “perpetual.” If you have a specific end date in mind (typically used for investment-related businesses), choose “Indefinite, dissolves on {specific date}” and enter the closing date.

Other Provisions – If there are other operational rules for the LLC to follow that you would like to include in the Articles, add them here. Most LLCs skip this step.

Title – This section asks you to either enter “Member,” “Manager,” or “Organizer.”

  • A member is an owner of the LLC.
  • A manager is an individual hired by the members to run the LLC, similar to a CEO of a corporation.
  • An LLC organizer is someone helping form the LLC, sometimes an attorney or accountant.
    Click the “Next” button to continue.

Registered Office Location – In this section, enter the street address, city, state, and zip code of the initial registered office. This address must be located in Louisiana, which can be the Louisiana Limited Liability Company’s physical address, the address where the business records are stored, or the address of the registered agent. A PO Box may not be used.

Describe your business activity – This section is used to classify the industry the business operates in.  If you choose to list your business industry, select a NAICS Code from the drop-down menu.

The NAICS (North American Industry Classification System) code is a six-digit number that classifies and categorizes the different businesses.  This information is used in reporting statistical data for each of the industries in the U.S.  Remember this number as you will need it when filing annual tax returns.  Find your NAICS number here.

You don't have to form your LLC by yourself or pay an attorney!

Forming an LLC is a little intimidating, especially when it’s your first time. Professional entity formation services help guide you to make sure it’s done right. Check out our reviews of popular LLC formation services to learn more.

You have a Louisiana LLC, now what??

Once the LLC has been formed, there are a few additional steps to take care of. Below is a list of the most common tasks.

Prepare a Louisiana LLC Operating Agreement

The operating agreement is a document that governs the framework of an LLC.  This document covers items like ownership rights, member responsibilities, how profits and losses are distributed, and more.

Most states do not require an LLC to have an operating agreement, but it is still worth considering. Without an operating agreement:

  • The LLC could be subject to generic state rules that may be detrimental in the event of a lawsuit.
  • Member’s personal liability protection may be diminished.
  • Members may not fully understand their roles and responsibilities, which could lead to costly disputes in the future.

Related: Louisiana operating agreement template

Obtain an EIN

The EIN or Employer Identification Number (also called a Federal Employer Identification Number, FEIN, or Federal Tax Identification Number) is a unique 9-digit tax identification number assigned to a business by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Similar to a social security number for an individual, the EIN identifies business entities for tax purposes. The EIN will be needed to hire employees, open a bank account, register for business licenses and permits, file tax returns, and more.

There is no cost for the EIN when registering through the IRS. The number is available immediately when applying through the IRS website; however, you can also register by phone, fax, or mailing IRS Form SS-4.

Related: How to Apply for an EIN

Elect the LLC’s Form of Federal Income Taxation

One of the significant benefits of the Limited Liability Company is the tax flexibility it provides.  When applying for the Employer Identification Number, you will choose how the entity will be taxed for federal income tax purposes. While there are some limitations, an LLC may be classified for federal income tax purposes as a:

  • Sole proprietorship
  • Partnership
  • C-corporation
  • S-corporation

While this may sound confusing, this refers to how the LLC is taxed, not the legal structure.

Related: How can an LLC be taxed?

By default, the taxation of an LLC is called pass-through taxation, which means the profits or losses of the LLC flow through to the members.

Single-member LLCs will, by default, be taxed as a sole proprietorship. The members can also elect to change the taxation to a C-corporation or an S-corporation.

Multi-member LLCs will, by default, be taxed as a partnership. The members can also elect to change the taxation to a C-corporation or an S-corporation.

In general, the difference between being taxed as a corporation and being taxed as a sole proprietorship or partnership is that the profits and losses are passed to the member’s federal income tax returns based on their percentage of ownership.  As a result, the owner will pay self-employment taxes on all business profits.  As an alternative, electing to be taxed as a corporation allows the members to take a reasonable salary and then pay payroll taxes.  Any remaining profits are distributed and aren’t subject to payroll taxes, resulting in potential tax savings.

Before electing how your LLC will be taxed, consider talking with an accountant to assess which one will be best for you. Some tax elections, such as the C corporation, may be detrimental for some people due to double taxation.

Open an LLC Bank Account

Opening a bank account for your LLC is important for liability protection as the account separates the business’s funds from the member’s personal funds.

Several documents will be needed to open a business bank account, such as:

  • A banking resolution is a document that authorizes the members to open a business bank account on behalf of the LLC.
  • Copies of the original Louisiana LLC formation paperwork from the state showing the creation of the LLC.
  • Driver’s licenses of the members.
  • In some circumstances, a Louisiana Certificate of Good Standing may be needed to prove the LLC is active and in good standing with the state.

Related: How to Open a Business Bank Account for your LLC

Apply for Business Licenses and Permits

Depending on what your business does and where it is located, there will likely be various business licenses and permits needed before starting. Some common registrations include:

  • Business Licenses –The state of Louisiana doesn’t have a general business license; however, many cities require a business license to operate.
  • State Sales Tax License – Businesses selling products and certain services will need to register for a Business Tax License with the Louisiana Department of Revenue. More information about business licenses can be found on the geauxBIZ website.
  • Occupational License – Some services such as physical therapists, interior designers, detectives, cosmetologists, barbers, architects, and massage therapists require licensing in Louisiana.  While this isn’t a license on the business, licensing is required in order to operate.

Related: What business licenses and permits are needed in Louisiana?

File Annual Reports

To stay in compliance with the state, LLCs are required to file an annual report with the Louisiana Secretary of State.  The annual report costs $30 each year and updates ownership information and other details.

Related: How to File a Louisiana LLC Annual Report

Common Questions To Starting An LLC In Louisiana

How much does it cost to start an LLC in Louisiana?

There is a filing fee to the Louisiana Secretary of State for $100 to start an LLC in Louisiana.

Is there a yearly fee for an LLC in Louisiana?

Each year, an Annual Report will need to be filed, along with a state filing fee of $30.

How long does it take to start an LLC in Louisiana?

It normally takes 2-3 business days when filing online or about one week when filing by mail for the state to process the LLC paperwork.

Do I have to pay to hire a registered agent?

Anyone can act as a registered agent, provided they are at least 18 years old, reside in the state, and are generally available to receive documents during normal business hours.

If I have an LLC, is a business license required?

It’s sometimes thought that the LLC and business license are the same, but they aren’t. An LLC is referred to as the business entity, which is how the business is organized to conduct business. A business license is an approval from a government entity to legally operate.

What is a Foreign Limited Liability Company?

A foreign LLC refers to an LLC that is physically operating in states outside of the state where it was formed. Physically operating means having a presence, such as having an office or employee. The LLC will need to register as a foreign LLC in each state that it plans to operate.

Learn more about the foreign LLC.

What is a Professional Limited Liability Company?

Businesses that require state licensing, such as accountants, attorneys, podiatrists, physical therapists, acupuncturists, etc., often must file as a Professional Limited Liability Company (sometimes referred to as a Professional LLC or PLLC) instead of an LLC. Filing for a PLLC is very similar to that of the LLC.

Learn more about a professional LLC.

Is an LLC the same as a corporation?

The LLC is one of four main types of business entities. You can learn more about each here:
What is a sole proprietorship?
What is a general partnership?
How to form a Louisiana corporation

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