How to Get an Articles of Organization for an LLC: Everything to Know
In most states, you will file your Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State, but some states have alternate agents which take care of registrations.4 min read
Wondering how to get Articles of Organization for an LLC? An Articles of Organization is a document which describes your LLC's fundamental operating and identifying characteristics. Drafting a detailed Articles of Organization is an essential step for putting your LLC on the right track.
An Overview of Filing Your Articles of Organization
A limited liability company (LLC) is a type of business which must be registered in the state in which it is located. An LLC is similar to a corporation in that it is a separate legal entity from its owner, meaning that it can obtain a tax identification number, conduct business, and open a business bank account under its own name.
An LLC's Articles of Organization acts as a charter establishing the business and setting forth basic information about the company structure. Essentially, the Articles of Organization acts like a birth certificate for your business.
Your Articles of Organization can be any length you choose, but whether the document is simple or detailed, its purpose is to file something in writing with the state. An Articles of Organization should include:
- Your business name (you do not need to register the business name separately if you file the Articles of Organization because registering the LLC also registers the name)
- The LLC's owners (who are referred to as “members”)
- The LLC's managers (if different from the owners)
Creating your LLC's Articles of Organization may be one of the first steps toward establishing your business, but it's one of the most important ones. Once the document is filed and approved by the Secretary of State's office, a new legal entity (your LLC) is created and registered. Some states may refer to this document as a Certificate of Formation or Certificate of Organization, but it's the same thing as an Articles of Organization.
In most states, you will file your Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State, but certain states have a different state government agent which takes care of business registrations. These states include:
- New Jersey
Regardless of your location, each state has a different filing process, but the requirements are generally the same. You can find the necessary forms for filing your LLC documents on your Secretary of State's website. Some of these sites provide an Articles of Organization sample or template, giving you an itemized list of which items to include on the document.
Typically, you can file your Articles of Organization in less than one hour. Just remember to pay the required filing fee.
Naming Your LLC
Before creating your Articles of Organization, you must obtain certain information about your LLC and its members. Perform a business entity search on your Secretary of State's website for the LLC name you wish to use to make sure it's available. If another company has already registered the name, you cannot use it.
Some states do not allow prohibited words in an LLC name, such as:
Your LLC must also have the phrase “Limited Liability Company” or one of its designators (“LLC,” “L.L.C.,” “Ltd. Company,” etc.) at the end of the name. Do not use any terms referring to “corporation” or “incorporated,” as these terms do not apply to LLCs. An LLC may share some characteristics with a corporation, but it is not a corporation.
Most Articles of Organization that are rejected are usually because of an issue with the proposed business name, so choose your LLC name carefully.
Filling Out the Articles of Organization
Once you've decided on an appropriate name for your LLC, you can move forward with your Articles of Organization. One of the first things you need to include is the LLC's principal place of business. This refers to the LLC's main location or company headquarters and is generally the street where records are kept and management works.
If you run your business from a home office, simply list your home address. Just be sure to list a street address and not a PO Box.
Next, identify the members of your LLC. Nominate a registered agent and include their name and contact information in the Articles of Organization. The registered agent can be either an LLC member, an outside individual, or a state-approved registered-agent company. In some states, you can designate the Secretary of State's office as your registered agent.
As long as your Articles of Organization includes all of your state's required information, it will most likely be approved even if you draft it yourself without any legal help.
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