How to Form an LLC in Louisiana

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Louisiana LLC Quick Facts

Louisiana LLC Costs

Initial LLC Filing Fee – $100

Recurring Fee: Annual Report – $30

LLC Processing Time

Online – 1-2 days
Mailed-in – 1 week

 

Expedited processing is also available for an additional fee.

Don’t want to form an LLC by yourself?

Let IncFile or IncAuthority guide you through the LLC formation process, so you know everything was done right. Only pay state fees!

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 a little research, you can learn how to form an LLC in Louisiana yourself and save a little money.

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.

Related: How Does an LLC Protect You?

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.

Guide to Forming an LLC in Louisiana

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?

In this guide, we will show the online LLC formation process. If filing by mail, be sure to also file Form 973, Initial Report with the Louisiana Articles of Organization. Both forms will also need to be notarized. If filing online, the Initial Report will be filed at the same time.

Depending on the parish the LLC will operate, 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.

To get started, create an account with the Louisiana GeauxBiz website.

After logging in, select “Getting Started.”

Step 1: Name the LLC

In the list under “What would you like to do?” select Reserve a new business name and click next.

Louisiana LLC Register a Business Name

On the next screen, you are asked if you have a FEIN (Federal Employer Identification Number).  You don’t want this number yet as if the name you want is already being used, and you will need to change the name later with the IRS.  Select “Start Name Registration” to proceed.

Step 2: Select Entity

Select the type of business entity you intend to form.  In this instance, we are looking at the LLC (Limited Liability Company).

Then choose 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 LLCs will choose “Domestic.”

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

Choose your responses and then click “Next.”

Louisiana Secretary of State Select Entity

The Name filing fee is $25.

Step 3: File and Sign the Name Registration

Before filing the name registration, you will want to check for LLC name availability.  Names registered with the Louisiana Secretary of State must be unique.  Enter the name of the LLC you want to register to do a name search.  The name of the LLC must also include one of the following phrase or abbreviations at the end of the business name:

  • Limited Liability Company
  • L.L.C.
  • L.C.

Before finalizing a name, learn more about LLC Name Requirements in Louisiana. You may also want to see if a domain name is also available to have a matching website address.

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.

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.

If you plan to use a different name from the one that you register (perhaps you want to run multiple businesses under the LLC), you can use a trade name (sometimes referred to as a fictitious business name, assumed name, DBA, or Doing Business As name).  To register a fictitious name, the application for Reservation of Trade Name form, along with the $25 filing fee will need to be sent to the Secretary of State.

In the last field, “Title,” enter Member or Manager.

  • Member-Managed LLCs have members (owners) that are active in the day-to-day operations of the business.
  • Manager-Managed LLCs have managers hired by the members to run the LLC, similar to a CEO of a corporation.

Most LLCs are Member Managed.

Related: What is the Difference Between a Member-Managed LLC and Manager Managed LLC?

Step 4: File and Pay for the Name Registration

You do have an option to expedite the name review process from 1-2 business days to only 3 business hours.  This option costs an additional $50.

Step 5: Register for an EIN

After filing the name registration, register for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).  The EIN is basically a social security number for a business and will be needed before opening a business bank account.  There is no cost to apply, and it takes about 5 minutes to get.  Learn how to apply for an EIN in Louisiana.

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 federal and state taxes, 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.

Step 6: Articles of Organization

After registering the name and obtaining an EIN, go back to the GeauxBiz site.

  • Click on the “My Businesses” link
  • Select your business name
  • At the top, click on the “Convert to New Business Registration” button.

Step 7: Doing Business As

If you only plan to use the name that was registered, leave this field blank.  Otherwise, enter the name of your DBA (Doing Business As)

Step 8: Federal Employment Identification Number (FEIN)

Enter the recently acquired FEIN

Step 9: 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.

Step 10: 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.

Step 11: 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.

Step 12: Title

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.

Step 13: 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.

Next, enter your phone number and email address.

Step 14: Mailing Address

If you would rather have mail from the Secretary of State go to another address enter that address in this field.  This address can be a PO Box and does not have to be in Louisiana.

Step 15: Registered Agent

A Registered Agent in Louisiana is required to form an LLC for service of process.  The Registered Agent can either be a resident of Louisiana (select “Person”), a commercial registered agent service (select “Service Company”), or an attorney (select “Law Firm”).  The agent must have a physical address in the state to act as a point of contact to receive important legal documents, tax notices, summons, subpoenas, etc. on behalf of the LLC.  A PO Box is not allowed.

Enter the contact information for the selected Registered Agent.

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. 

You are not required to pay for a registered agent. 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.

Step 16: Names and Addresses of Managers and Members

Enter the name, social security number, role, physical address (no PO Box), and phone number for all of the LLC members and managers.

Step 17: Review

Review the information to ensure it is all correct.

Step 18: 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.

Step 19: Tax and Employer Questions

The GeauxBix system connects to various agencies for the new business to register with.  For the purposes of this guide, we have skipped them.

Step 20: Pay and File

Pay and file the LLC’s Articles of Organization.  The processing time for LLC approval is typically 1-2 business days when filing online or around 1 week for mailed in applications.

Mailed in forms will be sent to:

State of Louisiana Secretary of State
P.O. Box 94125
Baton Rouge, LA 70804

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Tasks After Forming Your LLC

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

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 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 License – Some cities require businesses to obtain licensing before they can start.
  • Professional License – Certain services such as barbershops, accountants, salons, and others must be licensed.
  • Sales Tax Permit – To sell products and certain services, state sales tax will need to be collected. Register for a sales tax permit with the Louisiana Department of Revenue.

Related: What Business Licenses 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