To register your limited liability company (LLC) with the State of Michigan, you must file LLC Articles of Organization for your business. Filing the Articles of Organization for your business is one of five fundamental steps to forming a limited liability company.

Create a Unique Name for Your Business

Naming your company is not only the first part of starting an LLC, but it is also the most critical. Research to ensure you choose a name befitting your business endeavor. You also want a business name that future clients can find and understand with ease.

Mostly, you name the business whatever you want. However, Michigan offers guidelines to follow during the creative process:

  • The name of your business entity needs to include the words "Limited Liability Company" or one of two abbreviations, "LLC" or "L.L.C."
  • If you use words that the state restricts, such as "university," "attorney," or "bank," for example, you must fill out extra paperwork. It also may be necessary to make a licensed professional, like an attorney or physician, a part of the organization.
  • You cannot use words the government prohibits, which could cause potential for people to confuse the company with a state or federal agency, such as "Treasury," "Secret Service," "FBI," and so forth.

You want to check that your desired LLC name does not already belong to another business on file. Visit the State of Michigan website to conduct a name search before finalizing your name choice.

Assign Your LLC a Registered Agent

You can nominate either a company or a person to act as your company's registered agent, who agrees to the responsibility of receiving and sending all LLC legal documents. These papers could be various state filings, or if someone sues, service of process of legal action.

There are three principal aspects of a registered agent, which you should keep in mind when making your selection:

  • The limited liability company cannot act as its registered agent.
  • Another person within the company or the owner qualifies as a suitable person for this role.
  • If a person is appointed, he or she must be a Michigan resident. If a business will serve as the agent, it needs to be authorized to conduct business within the state.

Formation Begins With Filing the Michigan LLC Articles of Organization

The first filing you do to form your LLC entity is to submit the Certificate of Formation and register the company with the State of Michigan. You can file in-person, through the mail, or through the internet.

You also need to determine if your LLC will have a manager or a member to manage it when your file.

  • Manager-Managed also receives reference as "centralized management." When an LLC forms in this way, it means the members feel a designated one or more managers could best handle the day-to-day company concerns needed for member involvement.
  • Member-Managed also gets called "decentralized management." An LLC formed this way keeps managerial authority over daily undertakings in the members' hands, who cast their votes on how to address an issue when needed.

The state grants LLC approval within 10 to 15 business days after filing the Articles of Organization on the state website or after it arrives by mail when sent to: 

Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Corporations, Securities & Commercial Licensing Bureau Corporations Division
P.O. Box 30054
Lansing, MI 48909

When you file, you pay $50, which is a nonrefundable filing fee. If you mail the Articles, include the name of the LLC in the memo portion of your money order or check.

State Your Business Purpose With an Operating Agreement

Creating an operating agreement for your company is optional in Michigan. However, it is still worth having in place. It is a legal document describing the policies and procedures of your business. It also outlines the company's ownership.

The IRS Identifies Your Business By Its Employer Identification Number

By now, you have named your LLC, registered and formed the company with the State of Michigan, stated who has ownership rights and defined your business practices. Now it is time to get a tax identity. The Employer Identification Number, or EIN, does for a business what a Social Security number does for an individual. You need an EIN to file your federal and state income tax. Also, most times, banks require that you have one to open a checking account under the business name.

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