California LLC Fees

California LLC fees include costs for submitting required forms, checking and/or reserving an LLC name, associated costs if you hire a lawyer, paying taxes, and more. It will also cost extra if you need to hire a registered agent. Read on for more information about these costs and what you can expect to pay to start an LLC in California.

How to Start an LLC in California?

To start an LLC in California, follow these steps:

  1. First, file California's Articles of Organization for your LLC with the Secretary of State. This filing includes basic information about the company.
  2. Next, file California Form LLC-1. This document names an agent for service of process, names the LLC, lists its principal business address, and more.
  3. LLC registrants also need to file the LLC's Articles of Organization and Statement of Information. You'll have to pay fees to file these documents. California Form LLC-1 costs about $70 to file, and it's usually $20 to file the Articles of Organization and Statement of Information. However, these amounts can change.

Note that if your LLC is a partnership with multiple members, the state also requires a limited liability operating agreement shared between members. This document records the terms that the members agree to. It also outlines things such as members' roles, voting rights, who manages the LLC, how to add or remove members, how to dissolve the LLC, and how to amend the operating agreement.

Also note that your LLC's name must be unique and distinguishable from any other company's name and must include certain words to be approved. You can have the State check the eligibility of the name you want and reserve it for your filing. However, the State charges fees for these services. Simply request this service when you submit the LLC formation documents to the Secretary of State.

The time it takes to process your documents depends on a few factors, such as the type of request submitted, how you submitted it, and when the California Secretary of State's office receives it.

Things to Remember for Forming an LLC in California

Remember these rules when you set out to form an LLC in California:

  • You can name your business anything, but it has to be unique. The name also has to end with “Limited Liability Company,” “Ltd. Liability Co.,” “LLC,” or “L.L.C.”
  • You must name a registered agent who will receive service of process for any lawsuit that names the company as a defendant. This can be you, a friend, a family member, or anyone else who lives in California. Your registered agent could also be a business, if it is properly certified, or a professional registered agent — though a fee will apply.
  • California has strict requirements governing who may provide professional services. Your LLC must comply with these laws.
  • If your LLC is a partnership, you and all other members will need an LLC operating agreement. This doesn't need to be submitted with the other initial paperwork; hold on to this one until you file your California tax license.
  • You must submit a Statement of Information. The state also requires that the California Secretary of State have access to your internal books and records for inspection.

In addition to the previous rules, you'll need to submit these forms and pay these fees to start your LLC in California:

  • The Articles of Organization, which includes the name and address of the resident agent, signatures of all LLC members, an LLC name that meets state requirements, and payments for applicable fees
  • Processing fees for LLC Form-1 and LLC Form-12 ($70 and $20, respectively)
  • The LLC Operating Agreement
  • The Statement of Information form
  • Federal and California taxes

Cost to Set up a California LLC

You can name yourself or a friend or family member as your registered agent for free. However, it costs up to $125 to hire a registered agent.

Submitting Articles of Organization costs $70, but some steps, like creating an operating agreement or getting your LLC's EIN, are free. However, some LLC owners need professional help — either a lawyer or an online specialist. Expect to pay additional fees for their services.

Though all California LLCs are charged an Annual LLC Franchise Tax, other fees are only incurred if you make a certain amount of money. Pay your franchise tax with Form 3522 (LLC Tax Voucher). If your LLC makes $250,000 or more annually, you are charged the Estimated Fee. This is a minimum amount of $900 that you can pay using Form 3536.

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