A North Dakota LLC gets regulated by the North Dakota Century Code – Title 10, Chapter 32 Limited Liability Company Act.

Pick a Name for the LLC

The first thing you want to do when forming an LLC is to select a name for the company. It is the most important step you take. You want to choose a name that can be searched easily by prospective clients. The title should have the words "Limited Liability Company," "L.L.C.," or "LLC." There are restricted words which require additional paperwork, such as "University" or "Attorney." You may also need to make a licensed individual, like a lawyer or doctor, a part of the LLC if you use one of the restricted words. 

There are also prohibited words that you cannot use like "Treasury" or "FBI," because people may confuse the LLC's name with a federal or state agency. 

You can check to see if the name you want is already registered with another company by doing a name search on the State of North Dakota website. Find out if the name of your LLC is also available as a URL and if so, buy a domain name. Even if you are not ready to make a website, by reserving the domain, it keeps others from taking it. You can place a name on hold for up to 12 months by mailing or faxing a name reservation form to the Secretary of State. Make sure to include a $10 filing fee as well. 

File LLC Formation Documents

After picking a name for your limited liability company, you want to file Articles of Organization. Information included with these documents are:

  • The company's name.
  • The principal executive office address that is a physical street address and not a PO Box. If you do not have an office, then you can use the address of a manager or officer.
  • A North Dakota registered agent. This can be a person or a company who agrees to accept service of process which is a notice of a lawsuit on behalf of the LLC.
  • The effective date is the date your LLC got officially created. It can be either the day you filed the Articles of Organization or a later date that is no later than 90 days after filing the formation documents.
  • A business purpose that is any legal reason for creating the company.
  • The name and address of organizers who prepare and submit the Articles of Organization.

Create an Operating Agreement

This is a legal document that outlines the business procedures and ownership of your LLC. It is a governing document which the state recognizes and honors, although it is not mandatory to have one.

Get an Employer Identification Number

This is your Federal Tax ID number which identifies your company as a business entity. It is similar to a social security number for your company. It is essential to have this number for filing state and federal taxes. Also, many banks require that you have an EIN to open a checking account on behalf of the company. There is no cost, and you get the number right from the Internal Revenue Service. 

You apply for the Employer Identification Number either online or through the mail. You do not need to have employees to get this number, but you must have one if you have more than one member. If you are a single-member LLC that has elected to get taxed as a corporation and has employees, you also must get an EIN. 

After Forming the LLC

One of the first things you want to do after forming your limited liability company is to separate your assets. You can do this by opening a business bank account. It is an important first step and necessary for personal asset protection. It also makes tax filing and accounting easier to do. If you get a business credit card, you can build your company's credit history and help raise money for the business down the road. 

Next, you want to register for state tax. If you have employees in North Dakota, then you need to register for the Unemployment Insurance Tax and Employee Withholding Tax for your employees. You can register for both through the North Dakota State Government website.

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