What Is the California Secretary of State LLC Filing?

The California secretary of state LLC filing is necessary for any individual or group of individuals that wants to form an LLC. 

What is an LLC?

An LLC is a type of business structure that has just one owner, a few owners, or even hundreds of owners. The members of an LLC can be individuals, corporations, foreign entities, and even other LLCs. 

Insurance companies and banks are not allowed to form their businesses as an LLC. Otherwise, there are no restrictions in terms of who is able to form LLCs.

Starting an LLC in California

The first step in the process of starting an LLC in California is deciding on a good name. You can pick just about any name. However, the name you choose needs to end with one of the following:

  • Limited Liability Company
  • L.L.C.
  • LLC
  • Ltd. Liability Co.

The next step in the process is choosing a resident agent, which is also referred to as the agent for service of process. The resident agent must be a business or individual that resides in the state of California. Also, to be a resident agent, a business will need to file a certificate. The responsibility of the resident agent is to receive all service of process for lawsuits that name the LLC as a defendant. 

If your business sells professional services, you need to make sure that you're meeting the legal requirements in California pertaining to professional services entities. Many professional services are regulated with their own separate requirements in the state of California.

You should learn more about the continuing legal obligations of an LLC. An LLC is required to file the Statement of Information. LLCs are also required to maintain internal records and books. The California secretary of state may inspect these books and records. The operating agreement of the LLC also needs to be maintained.

How to Start an LLC in California

Individuals or entities that wish to form an LLC in the state of California will need to fill out and submit California Form LLC-1. The purpose of this document is to name the registered agent, provide a name for the business, and list the main business address of the LLC.

Next, LLC registrants need to file various forms and fees. Both the Statement of Information and the Articles of Organization need to be filed. The fees in California are currently $20 and $70, respectively. Since these fees can change, you should contact the secretary of state for information about current filing fees.

The expected processing times will depend on the request that you submitted. Processing times will also depend on the method of submission and when the secretary of state's office receives the request. You can pay higher filing fees to expedite processing of the formation of your LLC.

You will need to meet a few naming requirements when choosing the name of your LLC. The name of your LLC must be unique from other businesses in the state. Also, you need to include words indicating that the business is an LLC to have the name meet these requirements. If you're not sure whether your proposed name is distinguishable, you can check the name for availability with the secretary of state. You also have the option of reserving a unique name for your LLC if you're not ready to form the business now. File a form for a name reservation request so that you can reserve the name for up to two months. The fee is $10.

Operating Agreement

If an LLC has more than a single owner, the LLC needs to have an operating agreement among the members.

You do not need to submit the operating agreement to the secretary of state. However, you will need the operating agreement ready within three months of filing Form-1 with the secretary of state.

The operating agreement will consist of terms that the LLC members enter. The operating agreement will govern voting roles, the roles of each owner, who is responsible for managing the LLC, the process in which members can be removed or admitted, the process for dissolving the LLC, and the process for making changes to the operating agreement.

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