What is a Registered LLC?

A registered LLC is an LLC—or limited liability company—whose establishment has been officially recognized by the state and as such is on record with the state. An LLC is registered with the state by filing Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State or other agency that handles such matters, but there are several other steps needed to complete LLC organization, as well.

Choose a Name for Your Registered LLC

Your first step towards creating a registered LLC will be choosing a name for it. Although regulations for LLC names vary from state to state, there is no variance in that:

  • Your name cannot be the same as another LLC’s name.
  • Your name must include some variation of the phrase “Limited Liability Company” in it (such as “LLC” or “Ltd.”).
  • Your name cannot include forbidden terms (such as “Corporation” or “IRS”) or restricted terms (such as “Bank” or “Attorney”) unless authorized to do so.

To discover if your LLC name is acceptable, simply conduct an LLC name search at your state’s LLC name database. If your name is already taken or in any other way restricted, the search will notify you.

Choose a Registered Agent for Your Registered LLC

Registered agents are individuals or businesses who receive and send legal papers on your LLC’s behalf. An LLC must have a registered agent so that it may be contacted for legal matters. Registered agents may also be referred to as statutory agents, resident agents/resident offices, or agents of service.

Regardless of the name, such a representative must be a resident of the state in which the LLC is to be registered or be a business entity authorized to do business in that state. A physical address in that state is also required. A company may not act as its own registered agent, although you may be your own registered agent if you so choose. However, professional representation is usually recommended.

Complete the Articles of Organization for Your Registered LLC

The Articles of Organization are a legal document that provides the state with basic information concerning your LLC. The requirements for the Articles of Organization may vary from state to state, but some general information that is required in any state is:

  • The LLC’s name and address.
  • The name of the LLC’s registered agent and their address.
  • The name and signature of the LLC’s organizer.
  • The LLC’s business purpose.

In most states, Articles of Organization may be filed online, although some still require paper filings submitted by fax or mail. Completion time for these filings can vary from a few days to a few months, depending on the state and the means of filing (online filing is faster). For an additional fee, some states offer expedited filing. Once your Articles of Organization have been accepted and registered by the state, your LLC will officially be a registered LLC.

After Setting Up Your Registered LLC

Completing and submitting your Articles of Organization does not mean you are completely ready for business, however. Some other steps that should be completed include:

  • Getting an EIN. An EIN, or Employer Identification Number, is used by the IRS to identify your business for tax purposes. Some banks may also require it for setting up a business account with them. File Form SS-4 with the IRS to obtain an EIN. There is no fee for filing.
  • Writing an operating agreement. Although not generally required, an operating agreement is recommended, as it can be very helpful in organizing the internal structure of your LLC and strengthening limited liability. If you do not set up your own operating agreement, you will be held to your state’s default rules.
  • Obtaining permits and/or licenses. Depending on your line of business, it may be necessary to acquire permits or licenses before legally going into business. What permits or licenses are necessary will vary between state and community. You can consult the U.S. Small Business Administration to see what your business requires.
  • File reports to the state. Depending on the state, you may be required to file informational or other reports on annual, biennial, or periodic basis, as well as upon LLC formation. There may be fees to go with these reports.

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