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How to Start an LLC in Louisiana: Step-by-Step Guide

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Are you planning to start a Limited Liability Company (LLC) in Louisiana? Whether you’re looking to turn a hobby into a business or formalize an existing operation, an LLC can offer the flexibility and protection you need. Let’s go step by step through setting up your LLC in Louisiana.

 

Step 1: Choose a Business Name

Your LLC’s name is your business’s first impression, so it’s essential to choose wisely. In Louisiana, your LLC name must comply with specific guidelines:

  • It must be distinguishable from other business names already registered in Louisiana.
  • It has to include “Limited Liability Company,” “LLC,” or “LLC.”
  • Certain restricted words may require additional paperwork and possibly a licensed professional to be part of your LLC, such as “Bank” or “Lawyer.”

Checking Name Availability

Louisiana offers an online search tool on the Secretary of State’s website, or do a quick, free name check to ensure your desired name is available. If you are considering getting a website name that matches your business name, you can find good deals for your domain names on Namecheap.

 

Step 2: File Your Articles of Organization in Louisiana

Filing the Articles of Organization is critical in making your LLC official in Louisiana. This document registers your LLC with the state and outlines its basic structure.

What to Include in Your Articles of Organization:

  • LLC Name: Your LLC’s name must include “Limited Liability Company,” “LLC,” or “LLC” and comply with Louisiana’s naming guidelines to ensure it’s distinguishable from existing entities.
  • Mailing Address: If your LLC’s mailing address differs from its physical location, specify it here.
  • Registered Agent: Louisiana requires you to appoint a registered agent to receive legal documents for your LLC. Include their full name and physical address in Louisiana. The agent must consent to this responsibility in writing.
  • Management Structure: Indicate whether your LLC is member-managed or manager-managed, and list the members’ or managers’ names and addresses. Using a PO box for addresses is acceptable for privacy reasons.
  • Purpose: Please provide a general description of your business activities.
  • LLC Organizer: Identify the individual or entity responsible for filing the Articles of Organization. This person or entity plays a crucial role in forming your LLC.
  • Formation Date: Select your LLC’s official start date, either on the filing date or a specific future date within 90 days of filing.
  • Signing: Before submitting, verify all information for accuracy. Ensure that your registered agent has agreed to their role, then sign and date the form.

How to Send Your Form:

  • Online: The Louisiana Secretary of State has a system for online filing of Articles of Organization. This provides a quick and convenient way to register your LLC.
  • By Mail: For those who prefer traditional methods, you can mail the completed Articles of Organization form and the filing fee to the following address: Commercial Division, PO Box 94125, Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9125.
  • In-Person: If you’re in the Baton Rouge area, you can file your documents at the Commercial Division’s office at 8585 Archives Ave., Baton Rouge, LA 70809.

Filing Fee:

The filing fee for the Articles of Organization in Louisiana is $100, regardless of the submission method. This fee is necessary to process your LLC’s formation documents.

By completing these steps and filing your Articles of Organization, you’ll be well on your way to establishing your LLC in Louisiana. This process is the foundation of your business’s legal structure, ensuring the state recognizes it and can operate legally.

 

Step 3: Choose Your LLC’s Management Structure

Louisiana LLCs can be either member-managed or manager-managed:

  • All members (owners) participate in the day-to-day decision-making process in a member-managed LLC.
  • In a manager-managed LLC, one or more designated managers (who can be members but don’t have to be) take on the decision-making responsibilities.

This decision affects how your LLC operates, so choose the structure that best fits your business model and goals.

 

Step 4: Making an Operating Agreement for Your Business

Let’s discuss setting up some ground rules for your business. This is where an Operating Agreement comes in. Think of it as a handbook that explains how your business runs. It’s important because it helps everyone understand their role and what’s expected in your LLC.

Here’s what an Operating Agreement usually includes:

  • Ownership: This part talks about who owns what percentage of the business. 
  • Member’s Rights and Responsibilities: Here, you’ll write down what each person in the LLC can and cannot do and what they’re responsible for. It’s like a job description for each member.
  • Joining & Leaving: This section covers how new people can enter your business and what happens if someone decides to leave. It’s good to have this figured out so there are no surprises later.
  • Dissolution: This might sound a bit gloomy, but it’s practical. It’s about how to close down the LLC if you ever need to. It includes the steps to take and how to handle everything when wrapping up the business.

Creating an Operating Agreement is a smart move. It keeps things clear and organized so everyone knows what to expect, and it can save you a lot of time. 

 

Step 5: Getting Your EIN from the IRS

Your business needs a number called an EIN from the IRS. It’s like an ID number for your business. This number will help you as an identification number when getting bank accounts and credit accounts, filing taxes, and hiring employees.

It’s free, and you can get it from the IRS website at https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small.

 

Step 6: Hire a Registered Agent

In Louisiana, every LLC is required to have a registered agent. This person or company agrees to receive important legal documents on behalf of your LLC, including tax forms and notices of lawsuits. Your registered agent must:

  • Be a resident of Louisiana or a corporation authorized to conduct business in Louisiana.
  • Have a physical street address in Louisiana.

You can act as your registered agent, choose someone you trust, or hire a professional service like Northwest Registered Agent or Bizee. Choosing a reliable registered agent ensures that your LLC stays in good legal standing.

 

Check out our blog: ‘Is a Registered Agent Necessary? Your Guide to Finding an Affordable Option

 

Louisiana LLC: Permits, Licenses, Tax Requirements, and Annual Reporting

Starting an LLC in Louisiana is an exciting venture. Still, it’s essential to ensure you comply with all state regulations, including obtaining the proper permits and licenses, understanding tax obligations, and adhering to annual reporting requirements.

Obtain Any Additional Permits and Licenses

After forming your LLC, you may need various permits and licenses, depending on your business activities.

Local Business Licenses

  • Overview: Most businesses in Louisiana will need to obtain a local business license from the city or parish where they operate.
  • How to Obtain: Check with your local town or parish government office or website for specific requirements. Each locality has its own set of rules and application processes.

Professional Licenses

  • Overview: Certain professions may require state-issued licenses, such as healthcare, legal services, or construction.
  • How to Obtain: Professional permits are regulated by specific Louisiana state boards. For a comprehensive list and details on how to apply, visit the Louisiana Professional Licensing page.

Health Permits

  • Overview: Businesses in food service, health care, or beauty industries often require health permits.
  • How to Obtain: Health permits are issued by the Louisiana Department of Health. Visit their website for application details and requirements.

 

Tax Requirements in Louisiana

Understanding and fulfilling your tax obligations is crucial for your LLC’s smooth operation.

Employer Taxes

If you plan to hire employees, you’ll need to register for:

State Taxes

  • Pass-through Taxation: LLCs in Louisiana are typically treated as pass-through entities for tax purposes, meaning the LLC does not pay income taxes. Profits and losses are reported on the individual member’s tax returns.
  • Sales Tax: If your LLC sells goods or services, you may need to register for a sales tax permit through the Louisiana Department of Revenue.
  • Franchise Tax: Unlike some states, Louisiana does not impose a franchise tax on LLCs.
  • EIN: Regardless of state tax obligations, obtaining an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS is necessary for tax purposes, hiring employees, and opening a business bank account.

 

Annual Report Filing in Louisiana

Louisiana requires LLCs to file an Annual Report with the Secretary of State.

  • Filing Requirements: The Annual Report is due each year by the anniversary date of your LLC’s formation. This report updates the state on your LLC’s contact information, registered agent, and management structure.
  • Fees and Filing: The filing fee for the Annual Report is $30. You can file online through the Louisiana Secretary of State’s geauxBIZ portal.

 

Filing your Annual Report on time is essential to maintaining your LLC’s good standing in Louisiana.

By following these permits, licenses, tax requirements, and annual reporting guidelines, your LLC will be well-positioned for success in Louisiana. For more detailed information and updates, always refer to the official Louisiana Secretary of State website and the Louisiana Department of Revenue. 

 

Step 7: Steps After Forming Your LLC 

Open a Business Bank Account

Keeping your personal and business finances separate is crucial for financial management and legal protection. Opening a business bank account requires your EIN and Articles of Organization. It makes tracking business expenses easier and simplifies tax filing.

Get a Business Credit Card

A business credit card is an excellent tool for handling business purchases and can help build your company’s credit history. Just like with personal credit, a good business credit score can make it easier to get loans and may qualify you for better terms. Visit our website to see our favorite business cards review. 

Check out our blog: Novo Review: The Best Business Banking Account in 2024.

Hire an Accountant

Managing finances can get complicated, especially as your business grows. An accountant can help you navigate tax laws, handle bookkeeping, and plan for financial growth. This professional guidance can save you time and money in the long run.

Create a Professional Website 

A website makes your business look legit. WordPress is a great tool to build your site. You can check out SiteGround or Hostinger for web hosting. They’re both good options to get your site up and running.

 

New 2024 Reporting Requirements (BOI)

Effective from January 1, 2024

Big news! Starting January 1, 2024, there are new reporting requirements for both domestic and foreign reporting companies. This includes LLCs, corporations, and other entities. Here’s what you need to know:

First Report Deadlines:

  • Existing Entities: If your LLC was already around before 2024, you’ve got until January 1, 2025, to submit your first report.
  • New Entities: If you’re forming your LLC in 2024, you must file your report within 90 days of your company’s creation.

Who Needs to Report:

  • Domestic Reporting Companies: This includes LLCs and similar entities within the U.S.
  • Foreign Reporting Companies: Entities registered foreign entities must also adhere to these new rules.

Exceptions to Reporting:

  • For specific exceptions, you’ll want to refer to the Beneficial Ownership Information Reporting Regulations at 31 CFR § 1010.380(c)(2) and the Small Entity Compliance Guide.

What Must Be Reported

What you need to report is all about transparency. The exact details can be found in the compliance guide, but it generally involves information about your LLC’s ownership and control.

When Must Reporting File Reports

Timing is key! Remember, if you’re an existing entity, your deadline is January 1, 2025. For new LLCs formed in 2024, it’s within 90 days of creation.

Filing Reports & Noncompliance Penalties

Starting January 1, 2024, all BOI reports must be filed electronically. Here are some critical points:

  • Filing Before the Date: You must file on January 1, 2024.
  • Accuracy: Filer certification of accuracy is mandatory – you need to double-check that everything you report is correct and accurate.

Penalties for Noncompliance:

  • False Information Penalties: Mistakes or misinformation can lead to a fine of up to $10,000 or up to 2 years in prison.
  • Penalties: If you slip up here, you could face a fine of up to $10,000 or even imprisonment for up to 2 years.
  • FinCEN’s Approach: The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) focuses on education and outreach to ensure compliance. 
  • Safe Harbor Rule: Did you make a mistake? If you discover inaccuracies in your initial report, you have a 90-day grace period to submit a corrected report.

If you need more information or specific guidance, please visit the FinCEN website for all the details.

If you’re considering starting an LLC in Louisiana, it might seem like a lot of work, but it’s easier than it looks. You need to take it step by step. First, you’ll need to pick a name for your LLC. Next, you must get an EIN and find a registered agent. These steps are essential for ensuring your business is set up correctly and legally. 

Northwest Registered Agent

Northwest Registered Agent Pricing: What to Expect

Northwest Registered Agent keeps pricing simple. They have a clear, straightforward fee structure, which is a big plus. No hidden fees or surprises – that’s the kind of honesty we all appreciate, right?

Why is Their Pricing Affordable?

  • Transparent Costs: They tell you exactly what you’re paying for so you can make informed decisions.
  • Competitive Rates: Their prices align with your expectations for top-notch services, ensuring you get good value.
  • One-Stop Shop: Since they offer a whole suite of services, you can bundle things together, potentially saving time and money.
  • Location: They’re headquartered in Spokane, Washington, but don’t worry – they have offices in all 50 states. So, wherever you are in the U.S., they’ve got local expertise ready for you.
  • Experience Counts: These folks have been in the game for over 20 years. That’s a lot of experience under their belt, helping businesses like yours start and grow.

Core Services

  • LLC Formation: Dreaming of starting your own LLC? They can help make that happen.
  • Registered Agent Service: The main event – they’ll be your reliable point of contact for all those essential legal documents.
  • Address Privacy: Keep your address off the public records. It’s all about your privacy.
  • Lifetime Customer Support: Got questions? They’re there for you, not just today, but for the life of your business.
  • Annual Report Reminders: Never miss a deadline with their handy reminders.
  • Online Document Dashboard: All your important documents are organized in one easy-to-access place.

Additional Services (Because There’s Always More)

  • EIN Number: They can help you get your business’s unique tax ID.
  • Annual Report Service: Let them handle your annual reporting needs.
  • Operating Agreements: Need help with the rules for running your LLC? They’ve got you covered.
  • Virtual Office Service: Get a professional business address without the office.
  • S-Corp Election: Thinking about S-Corp status? They can help with that.
  • Mail Forwarding Service: Keep your mail organized and forward it where needed.
  • Foreign Qualification: Expanding your business to new states? They can assist.
  • Legal Forms: Access a variety of legal forms easily.
  • Legal Services (in Indiana): If you’re in Indiana, they’ve got specific legal services just for you.
  • Incorporation Services: More than just LLCs, they can help incorporate your business, too.

So, if you want to create an LLC, Northwest Registered Agent is very beneficial. They ensure everything runs smoothly, keeping you focused on what you love – growing your business. 

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