To form a state of Minnesota LLC, follow these steps:

  1. Choose an appropriate business name.
  2. Designate a registered agent.
  3. File Articles of Organization with the state.
  4. Draft an operating agreement.
  5. Obtain an EIN as well as all necessary licenses and permits.

How to Start an LLC in Minnesota: First Steps

Choosing an appropriate name for your limited liability company, or LLC, is one of the first and most important steps you'll take. Choose a name that's suitable for your business type. You also want a name that potential clients can easily remember and find.

Minnesota has some naming guidelines you'll have to follow. For instance, you must include a designator on your business name that identifies it as an LLC. You can't use certain restricted words, such as “Attorney” or “Bank,” without filing additional paperwork and/or having licensed professionals as a part of your business. Other words are prohibited, such as “Secret Service” or “Treasury,” as they can confuse your LLC with a state or federal agency.

You can reserve a name up to one year by filing a reservation application with the state.

Conduct a name search at the state website to make sure your desired business name is available. You must choose a name that's distinguishable from existing businesses in Minnesota.

You may also want to see if the URL for your desired LLC name is available. If so, you might want to reserve it even if you don't have plans to create a website right away. However, securing the domain name now prevents someone else from acquiring it.

Registered Agent and Important Documents

You must choose a registered agent — also called an agent for service of process, resident agent, or statutory agent — for your business. This is an individual or company that accepts and sends legal documents on your LLC's behalf. These documents typically include state filings and possibly service of process.

Your registered agent has to be a state resident or a company that's authorized to conduct business in the state. You or someone in your company may act as the registered agent.

You'll file an Articles of Organization to officially register your business with the state. Your Articles must include the following information:

  • Your LLC name and address
  • The purpose of your business
  • Your registered agent's name and address
  • The duration of your LLC, i.e., a specified time frame or perpetual
  • Organizer's name and address (at least one)

You may submit your Articles by mail, in person, or online. It costs $155 for in-person and online filing and $135 for mail filing. It typically takes two to five business days to process documents, but you can pay extra to expedite the process.

While you don't have to have an operating agreement for your Minnesota LLC, it's a good idea to create one for your own records. It's a legal document that outlines your business's ownership and operating procedures. The state recognizes these documents as governing documents for your business.

You don't have to file your agreement with the state. However, if your LLC has more than one owner, it's useful to have one in case disagreements arise in the future. Your registered agent can keep a copy on file.

Final Steps

You must obtain an Employer Identification Number from the IRS. This is also called a Federal Tax ID Number or EIN. It's a nine-digit number associated with your business. You'll need an EIN to file your taxes with the state and the IRS. Most banks will require you to have an EIN to open a business account. You can get your EIN free of charge after creating your LLC. Apply online at the IRS site or by mail.

Depending on your location, you may also need to obtain permits and licenses from your city and/or county before being allowed to conduct business there.

Because LLCs are so easy and inexpensive to form, they're a popular business type for small business owners. Many people can start their own LLC without legal assistance. You can always refer to the Minnesota Secretary of State website for additional information and resources.

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