Limited Liability Company (LLC)

An LLC Tennessee is a type of business structure that shields the personal assets of its members when the company is sued. In addition to operating a business, an LLC can be used to secure assets such as:

  • Aircraft
  • Boats
  • Real estate
  • Vehicles

Steps to Start an LLC in Tennessee

The first step to forming your LLC Tennessee is choosing your name. You will need to do some research to make sure the name you've chosen fits the purpose of your business and that your name can be easily found by future customers.

Your LLC will need to follow Tennessee's naming requirements:

  • L.L.C., LLC, or Limited Liability Company must be included in your company name.
  • You will need to file extensive paperwork and may need a licensed individual as an LLC member when using restricted words such as Attorney, Bank, or University.

You cannot use a word that would confuse your LLC with a government entity such as the Secret Service or Treasury.

Check for name availability to make sure that the name you've chosen isn't being used by another business. If the name of your LLC is available, you should also reserve a domain name. Reserving a domain name will protect it from use by another business, even if you never plan to use a website for your LLC.

You should also consider choosing a professional email address. Registering an email address with Google will provide you access to useful business apps and advanced security options.

Appointing a Registered Agent is the second step to forming your LLC. Your Registered Agent is a business or a person that receives papers sent to your LLC, including documents resulting from a lawsuit and legal forms sent by the state. To be eligible, your Registered Agent must either be a resident of Tennessee or a business that is allowed to operate in the state. It is possible to appoint a person within your LLC as your Registered Agent.

Step three of forming your LLC in Tennessee is filing your Articles of Organization which can be done in person, by mail, or online. You will need to decide if your LLC will be member or manager managed when filing your Articles of Organization. 

In a member managed LLC, members are involved in the day-to-day operations of the business, and members can respond to and vote on business issues as soon as they arise. Sometimes called “decentralized management,” this type of LLC places managerial powers in the hands of the LLC's members. 

A manager managed LLC is much more common and is used when members prefer to hire managers to efficiently run the business. This structure is often referred to as "centralized management," and employs the services of one or more managers to run the business without needing to gather the LLC members for a vote.

You can file your Articles Organization online or you can download this form to file by mail or in person. When filing, you will need to pay a $50 fee per member which is non-refundable. There is a $300 minimum and a $3,000 maximum. Money orders and checks can be made out to the Tennessee Secretary of State. It should take between three and five business days for your Articles of Organization to be processed.

Creating an Operating agreement is the fourth step of forming your LLC, although it is not required by the state of Tennessee. Your Operating Agreement outlines how your LLC will be operated and lists the LLC owners.

The fifth and final step of LLC formation in Tennessee is acquiring an Employer Identification Number (EIN), which allows the government to identify your business. You can request an EIN from the IRS by mail or online.

Key Steps After Forming a Business

When forming your LLC, you should be sure to completely separate your personal assets from your business. You will need to open a business bank account to simplify your tax filings and accounting and to keep your personal and business assets from mixing.

You should also acquire a business credit card, which will further separate your assets and will help you build a credit history for your LLC.

If your LLC has employees that work in the State of Tennessee, you will need to register your LLC for the Unemployment Insurance Tax. You can register for the Unemployment Insurance Tax with the Department of Labor & Workforce Development.

If you need help forming your LLC Tennessee, you can post your legal needs on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.