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The Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a smart entity choice for many start-up businesses. 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 Michigan 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 for 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 in Michigan can be both affordable and is simple enough for most people to start on their own. That said, it’s not a bad idea to have a legal professional like While the filing is pretty straightforward, it’s nice to have some support if you have questions, alerts when the annual report is due, forms like operating agreements, banking resolutions and more. There are companies like IncFile or Swyft Filings and others that do all of this for only $49.
To form a Limited Liability Company in Michigan, file the Articles of Organization with the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs
Corporations, Securities & Commercial Licensing Bureau. The LLC filing fee is $50.
Approval for the LLC typically takes between 10-15 business days. Expedited service is available to reduce the time to file the LLC. 24-hour service is available for an additional $50, same day service is an additional $100, two-hour service is an additional $500 and one-hour service is available for $1,000. In this situation where the LLC needs to be filed quickly, it is advisable to submit in person at the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs – Corporations, Securities & Commercial Licensing Bureau office located at 2501 Woodlake Circle in Okemos, MI. For more information, contact 517-241-6470
HOW TO FILE THE ARTICLES OF ORGANIZATION AND FORM A MICHIGAN LLC
To file an LLC in Michigan, begin by downloading the Articles of Organization (Form CSCL/CD-700) or filing online. This for is for most business activities, however, if this Limited Liability Company will be providing professional services such as a dentist, physician, surgeon, doctor of divinity or attorney at law, use form BCS/CD 701.
Article 1: Name the LLC
Enter the name you want for the LLC. The name of the LLC also has to differ from other entity names registered with the state of Michigan. Check on available Michigan LLC names before filing to be sure the one you want is available.
Additionally, the name of the LLC must include one of the following designators at the end of the business name:
- Limited Liability Company
A comma may be used after the business name and before the designator. “Cowboy Cleaners LLC” and “Cowboy Cleaners, LLC” are both acceptable.
Article 2: Purpose of the LLC
You are allowed to provide more information about what the LLC will do however, you can just keep the included text “The purpose or purposes for which the limited liability company is formed is to engage in any activity within the purposes for which a limited liability company may be formed under the Limited Liability Company Act of Michigan” and not add anything more.
Article 3: Entity Duration
If you intend the business to exist forever, which most businesses leave this field blank. If you have a specific end date in mind (typically used for investment-related businesses) choose a dissolution date.
Article 4: Resident Agent
To have an LLC in Michigan, a Resident Agent (more commonly known as a Registered Agent) must be identified. The Registered Agent can either be a resident of Michigan or a Resident Agent service that is registered with the state. The Registered Agent must have a physical address in the state to act as a point of contact to receive legal documents, tax notices, summons, subpoenas, etc on behalf of the LLC.
Even though the business owner can be the registered agent, their name and address become public record and with that comes a loss of privacy. This is more important for some entrepreneurs, especially when they are doing business from home.
Article 5: Additional Provisions
This is an optional section and not used by most LLCs. Here you would include additional rules for the operation of the LLC.
The most common provision would be if the LLC was Manager-Managed. If the LLC is Manager-Managed, meaning the members hired a manager to run the LLC, similar to a CEO of a corporation a statement would need to be included in this Article. It’s more common for an LLC to be Member-Managed, meaning the members (owners) are actively involved in the day-to-day operations of the business.
Additional articles can be added. One common one is a delayed effective date. By default, the LLC is effective on the date submitted. If you prefer to have the LLC officially start at a later date (up to 90 days), enter that date in a new article.
The organizer(s) need to sign the Articles. The organizer(s) are typically the members but can also include or be an attorney, accountant or resident agent.
Step 14: Pay and File
Pay and file the Articles of Organization.
In approximately 10-15 business days with standard processing or less with expedited processing, the LLC will be approved.
That concludes the basics of forming an LLC in Michigan. Remember, even though you can do it yourself, there is more to an LLC than just the filing. If you have questions, work with an attorney or a specialized entity formation company such as IncFile or Swyft Filings to make sure everything is done correctly.
While not required, an Operating Agreement is recommended in many cases. An Operating Agreement is a legal document outlining the roles and responsibilities for the members of the LLC. Read more about when an LLC needs an Operating Agreement.
After filing the LLC, be sure to 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. See how to apply for an EIN.
Last, before starting a business in Michigan, you may still need to apply for business licenses, sales tax permits, self-employment taxes and more in Michigan. See the Guide to Starting a Business in Michigan for more information.