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The Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a popular business entity choice structure for many businesses starting in Arizona. 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 Arizona 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.

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.

Forming an LLC in Arizona is something most people can do on their own, but it’s nice to have some support in case you have questions or get stuck.  IncFile and Inc Authority provide LLC formation guidance for only the cost of the state fees!

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

To form a Limited Liability Company in Arizona, the Articles of Organization are filed with the Arizona Corporation Commission.  The LLC filing fee for both online and by mail is $50 for standard filing which takes around 3 weeks.  For faster filing and the expedited fee of $35 reduces the filing time to 7 – 10 days.

If you have questions, contact the Arizona Corporation Commission.

602-542-3026
filings.corp@azcc.gov

 

HOW TO FILE THE ARTICLES OF ORGANIZATION AND FORM AN ARIZONA LLC

The steps for filing online or by mail are largely the same.  Below, we have step-by-step instructions on how to form an Arizona LLC.

To get started either download the Arizona LLC Articles of Organization Form L010 or create an eCorp account with the Arizona Corporation Commission.  After logging in, Go to “Online Services” and then click on “Start a New Business”.

How to form an LLC in Arizona

On the next screen, select form an LLC or PLLC.

Related: What is a PLLC?

Arizona Corporation Commission - Form an LLC

The Limited Liability Company is the most common choice, but there is an option for a Professional Limited Liability Company.  A Professional Limited Liability Company is for state-licensed professionals such as doctors, lawyers, accountants, veterinarians and more.

Arizona LLC vs PLLC

Step 1: Entity Name

This section asks whether the LLC name has been reserved for the LLC.  Assuming the name hasn’t been registered yet, select No and then enter the name you want to use in the Entity Name field.

The legal name of the LLC must include:

  • Limited Liability Company
  • Limited Company
  • LLC
  • L.L.C.
  • LC
  • L.C.

There can’t be another LLC with the same name as the one you want.  If you pick a name that already exists, a message saying “The entity name is not available. If the conflicting entity name is a Trade Name, and you are the owner of the Trade Name, then it is unnecessary to reserve the entity name. However, if you are not the owner, then you must choose another entity name.”

See the full list of Arizona LLC name requirements before finalizing your name.

If the name is available, a message shows that the name is available.  Otherwise, the system won’t let you move forward until a unique name is chosen.

Before selecting a business name, you may also want to see if a domain name is also available.

Reserve LLC Name Arizona

If you want to check the availability of names before starting the formation process, read more about searching the Arizona business entity database.

 

Step 2: Entity Information

Entity Email Address – This is an optional field or you can add your personal email address.

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 the field

Character of Business – Here you can select the activities the business will be engaged in.  If you can’t find one that is relevant or want to keep options open, choose “Any legal purpose”.

Duration – Most businesses intend to exist forever and would suggest “perpetual”.  If you have a specific end date in mind (typically used for investment-related businesses) choose the close date.

Arizona Entity Information LLC Formation

 

Step 3: Statutory Agent Information

In Arizona, there must be an individual or company with a physical presence in the state and act as a point of contact to receive legal documents, tax notices, summons, subpoenas, etc on behalf of the LLC. This person or company is referred to as a Statutory Agent, more commonly known as a Registered Agent.  If using this company, it must be registered with the Arizona Corporation Commission.

If using a company that offers Registered Agent services, click on “yes”.  Otherwise, click “no”.

Any individual can be the Statutory Agent, provided they have a physical address in Arizona and this includes the business owner.  One note is that the name and address of the Statutory Agent 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.

It’s important that the Statutory Agent accept the confirmation email from the Arizona Corporation Commission within 7 days of receipt.  Not confirming will delay the filing of the LLC until accepted.

Related: Do I Need a Registered Agent in Arizona?

Arizona LLC Register Statutory Agent

 

Step 4: Known Place of Business

Include the physical address for the LLC.  This has to be a street or physical address in Arizona and not a PO Box or personal mailbox service.  The known place of business can also be the same as the Statutory Agent’s street address.

Arizona LLC Known Place of Business

 

Step 5: Manager/Member Information

Member Structure

The Manager/Member Information section asks if the LLC is Member-Managed or Manager-Managed.

Member-Managed LLCs have an active involvement in the day-to-day operations of the business.

Manager-Managed LLCs are hired by the members to run the LLC, similar to a CEO of a corporation.

Most LLCs are member-managed.

Principal Information

Enter the name, date taking office, address and email for each of the members (owners) of the LLC.  When all the information has been filled out, click on “Add Principal” to save that member’s information.  Add information for each of the members of the LLC.

Arizona LLC Member Managed

 

Step 6: Organizer Information

An LLC Organizer is involved with the formation of the Articles of Organization.  The Organizer may or may not become a member, such as a mentor, attorney or accountant, but the initial members will all be listed as organizers.  The Organizer does not have to live in Arizona.

Only one organizer is required to sign the Articles of Organization.

Arizona LLC Organizer Information

 

Step 7: Upload Attachment

Unless a physical Articles of Organization has already been prepared, use the current information you have filled out.  This information will become the LLC’s official Articles.

It isn‘t common to upload, so most filers will use Click “No” and then “Next”.

Filing an LLC in Arizona - Articles of Organization

Step 8: Signature

Here, the LLC organizer from Step 6 will agree that the information being submitted is true, complete and accurate and sign.

Step 9: Pay and File

Standard processing is about 3 weeks and the expedited filing reduces it to 7-10 days.

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.

Newspaper Publication

After the LLC is approved, it is typically necessary to publish an ad in a newspaper to complete the registration process. In Arizona, if the LLCs Known Place of Business is in Maricopa or Pima county there is nothing else to do.  LLCs in other counties are required to publish an ad in the legal section of a newspaper within 60 days of filing the Articles of Organization.  The newspaper has to be located in the same county as the LLC’s Known Place of Business and an ad has to run in 3 consecutive publications.

Prepare an 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 have a full understanding of their roles and responsibilities which could lead to costly disputes in the future

Learn more about when an LLC needs an operating agreement and download an  Arizona operating agreement template

Obtain an EIN

The EIN or Employer Identification Number is a unique 9-digit number for a business. Similar to a social security number for an individual, the EIN identifies business entities for tax purposes.

The EIN will be needed in order to open a bank account, register for business licenses and permits, file tax returns, pay payroll taxes and more.

Related: How to Apply for an EIN

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 formation paperwork from the state showing the creation of the LLC.
  • Driver’s licenses of the members.
  • Depending on the age of the LLC, an Arizona 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 a variety of business licenses and permits to register for before starting. Some common registrations include:

  • Business License – Some cities require businesses to obtain licensing before they can start. In some cases, even home-based businesses must have licensing in order to legally operate.
  • Professional License – Certain services such as barbershops, accountants, salons and others must be licensed.
  • Transaction Privilege Tax License (TPT) – In order to sell products and certain services, registration with the Arizona Department of Revenue will be necessary.

Related: What Business Licenses are Needed in Arizona?

File Annual Reports

LLCs are required to file an annual report with the Arizona Corporation Commission.  The annual report updates ownership information and other details.

Related: How to File an LLC Annual Report