1. Forming an LLC in California
2. Naming Your California LLC
3. Forming an LLC in California: Filing Your Articles of Organization
4. Forming an LLC in California: Appoint a Registered Agent
5. Forming an LLC in California: File the Initial Statement of Information
6. Forming an LLC in California: Prepare an Operating Agreement

LLC Articles of Organization California is a document you file with the Secretary of State of California to form your LLC, or Limited Liability Company.

Forming an LLC in California

In California, it is easy and affordable to form a limited liability company. As is true of other states, the State of California has specific requirements when forming an LLC. The first step to creating your LLC is to register with the California Secretary of State by filing the required forms, which must meet all name and formation requirements, and paying all required fees associated with the filing. As a final requirement, some states require LLCs to publish the Articles of Organization in a newspaper; however, this is not required in California.

Before making a decision on whether or not to form a California LLC, it is important to know what an LLC is and whether forming one is the best business plan for your company. An LLC is a business structure with an unlimited number of members. The members of an LLC can be corporations, individuals, other LLCs, and even foreign entities. Anyone can form an LLC, other than banks and insurance companies.

Naming Your California LLC

The first (and most important) step is to name your LLC. It is crucial that you put in the time and research to ensure that your LLC name is well-suited to your business and can easily be found in a search by your target clients. California law requires that your LLC name must end with the phrase “Limited Liability Company” or use the abbreviation "LLC" or "L.L.C." Another key consideration in naming your LLC is that you must avoid the following words in your chosen name:

  1. Bank
  2. Trust
  3. Trustee
  4. Incorporated
  5. Inc.
  6. Corporation
  7. Corp.
  8. Insurer
  9. Insurance Company

Additionally, the name you choose for your LLC cannot be the same as or too similar to a current name in the California Secretary of State records. It also cannot be misleading to the public.

Once you decide on a name, you have the ability to reserve that name by filing a Name Reservation Request Form. The filing of this form allows you to reserve the name for up to 60 days. There is, however, a $10 fee required in order to reserve the name. You can use the California Secretary of State website to search for LLC name availability and also to find additional information regarding name availability here.

Forming an LLC in California: Filing Your Articles of Organization

In order to formally register your LLC, it is necessary for you to file the Articles of Organization with the State of California. You have the option to file this either in-person or by mail. The following information is required in the Articles of Organization:

  1. Name of the LLC
  2. Purpose of the LLC
  3. Management information
  4. Address of the LLC
  5. Name and address of the LLC's registered agent

The correct form for the Articles of Organization to use in California is the Form LLC-1, and the filing fee is $70. You can complete the form online using the California Secretary of State's website, and then you are able to either hand-deliver it or mail it to the Secretary of State's office.

Forming an LLC in California: Appoint a Registered Agent

The State of California requires you to nominate an agent for purposes of service for your LLC. An agent for this purpose is known as a registered agent. A registered agent is a business or person who agrees to accept and send legal documents on behalf of the LLC. These legal documents can include state filings or documents relating to legal actions.

Forming an LLC in California: File the Initial Statement of Information

In California, it is required that all LLCs must file the initial statement of information with the Secretary of State within a ninety-day period after forming the LLC. This filing is known as Form LLC-12 in California and can be found here. After the initial statement is filed, another statement of information is required to be filed every two years. The initial statement of information can be filed online, in person, or through the mail and has a non-refundable fee of $20.

Forming an LLC in California: Prepare an Operating Agreement

When filing an LLC in California, you must also file an operating statement. This statement can either be a verbal or written agreement. An operating agreement details the ownership and operating procedures of the LLC.

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