Before we get started on this guide for how to start an LLC in Louisiana, I like to make sure you know there is a cheat code button for this. All you need to do is go to ZenBusiness and they will get your Louisiana LLC setup and ready to go. They also offer the first year free of the registered agent service that you’re going to need.
I do take you through all the steps to do this on your own but if you’re looking for the easy way to setup your Louisiana LLC, just go to them to help you!
Before I jump into the step by step process for how to start an LLC in Louisiana, I like to take some time to look at what Louisiana is known for and come up with some good business ideas for you.
The things that Louisiana is known for are:
- Cajun Food
- Mardi Gras Celebrations
- Jazz Music & American Blues
If I were going to start a Limited Liability Company in Louisiana, I’d start a cajun food truck that was called something like Cajun Jazz Feast LLC. If you can get a name for yourself around Cajun Food with a bit of a Jazzy Feast built in – you’ll have something so go start your LLC in Louisiana that is all in on food and music.
Alright – let’s get into the steps it takes to get setup as an LLC in Louisiana without the cheat code!
Name Your Louisiana LLC
Yep – you need a name and there are some rules around how you’re going to setup your Limited Liability Company that will require you to submit Louisiana LLC documents about your business entity.
The Louisiana LLC Naming Guidelines are:
- Your LLC name must contain the phrase “Limited Liability Company” or one of its abbreviations (“LLC” or “L.L.C.”).
- Your LLC name must be distinguishable from the names of other business entities already on record with the Louisiana Secretary of State.
- You may reserve a name for your LLC by filing an Application for Reservation of Business Name with the Louisiana Secretary of State. The reservation is effective for 120 days and may be renewed for additional 120-day periods.
This is the first step in LLC formation and whether you’re thinking about a Limited Liability Company, sole proprietorship, Foreign LLC or you’re going to have LLC members that you’ll need to work with on your business formation – this is a step you’ll need to follow.
The Louisiana Secretary of State’s office has a portal you can use to look up whether your name is available which you can do here:
If you can lock in a company name using this portal and feel comfortable with the business structure you’re thinking about then I would make sure you also get the name at GoDaddy.
If you have the digital version of your business and the official name from the Louisiana Secretary of State’s office – you’re going to be in great shape.
Once you have your Louisiana LLC name, you’re going to want to get it registered with the state so no one else can use it. We’ll talk about that in just a bit but let’s get setup with a registered agent before we move onto the next step.
Choose your registered agent
A Louisiana Registered Agent is a company or individual that agrees to accept service of process on behalf of your LLC. In other words, they agree to receive legal paperwork on your behalf in the event that you are sued. They must have a physical address inside Louisiana and be available during normal business hours.
You can act as your own registered agent, but we don’t recommend it. When you sign up to be your own registered agent, your name and address become part of the public record. This means that anyone who wants to can look up your information online.
If you would prefer to keep your information private, you can use a professional registered agent service like Northwest Registered Agent.
They will give you the first year of their registered agent services as a part of the Louisiana LLC formation that you’re going to setup with them.
Once you have a registered agent, you’ll need to let the state of Louisiana know who they are by filing the Certificate of Formation for Domestic Limited Liability Companies.
Prepare and File Certificate of Formation
You guessed it – you’re going to be filing some paperwork with the state to get this process started.
The first step is to file the Certificate of Formation for Domestic Limited Liability Companies form with the Louisiana Secretary of State’s office in order to officially create your LLC.
You can find the form you need on the Secretary of State’s website, or you can let Northwest Registered Agent who will provide registered agent services for you.
The filing fee for this form is $100, and it can be paid by check or money order. If you use a professional registered agent service like Northwest Registered Agent, they will take care of this step for you and include the filing fee in the total cost.
There are a few things you’ll need to include in your Certificate of Formation:
- The name of your LLC and whether it will end in “LLC” or “L.L.C.”
- The name and address of your registered agent
- The principal office address of your LLC
- Whether your LLC will be member-managed or manager-managed
- The names and addresses of the members or managers of your LLC
- The effective date of your LLC, which can be a future date
- Whether your LLC will have a specific duration or if it will be perpetual
- The signature of the person filing the Certificate of Formation
Once you have all of this information, you can either file the form yourself or have a professional service like Northwest Registered Agent file it for you.
If you file it yourself, you’ll need to send it by mail or in person, along with the $100 filing fee, to:
Louisiana Secretary of State
P.O. Box 94125
Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9125
You can also hand-deliver your filing to:
Office of the Louisiana Secretary of State
8585 Archives Ave.
Baton Rouge, LA 70809
Once your Certificate of Formation is filed, you’ll receive a filing confirmation and your Louisiana LLC will be official!
Create an operating agreement
While technically not required in the state of Louisiana, I highly recommend that you create an Operating Agreement for your LLC.
As a business owner, operating agreements are the key document you need to make sure you’re LLC owners are on the same page of how you’re going to operate your business.
If you’re putting any personal assets into your Louisiana Limited Liability Company, you’re going to want to make sure you’re LLC operating agreement keeps track of that and you’re on the same page with the other owners.
If you’re going to have a physical Louisiana address, you’ll want to make sure the LLC’s mailing address and the LLC’s initial managers are aware of what you’re plugging into the operating agreements you’re working on.
Think of this as a working document that can change over time but I’d recommend you start by having the following items listed out:
- The LLC’s name and address
- The LLC’s business purpose
- How long the LLC will exist
- Who the initial members are going to be
- Details on how the LLC is going to be managed
- Voting rights for members
- Profits, losses, and distributions among members
There are plenty of other items you can plug in but this is a good start for your initial report on your team’s operating agreement.
Get an EIN
The next step is to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for your LLC.
You’ll need this number to open a business bank account, file your taxes, and hire employees (if you have any).
You can apply for an EIN on the IRS website, or you can let Northwest Registered Agent handle this step for you.
You can go to the Internal Revenue Service site here:
If you’re going to be running an LLC online or conduct business in person, you’re going to need this number to transact business. The Federal Tax Identification Number is also something that’s going to be used on legal documents so keep track of it.
This won’t change your business structure or operating agreement but as you build this your business and start to collect sales tax from customers, you’re going to need your EIN no matter if it’s a domestic or foreign corporation.
Open A Business Bank Account
Now that you have your EIN, you can open a business bank account for your LLC. This will help you keep your personal and business finances separate, which is important for both tax and liability purposes.
I recommend that you look at Novo.co and consider using them to help track your business assets and setup your business credit card too.
They are a great way to do online filings for a bank setup and help you plug into your business accounting software that will track your business debts and make sure your Louisiana LLC is ready to go for prime time.
Get Small Business Insurance
One of the best ways to protect your business (and yourself) is to have the proper insurance in place.
There are many types of insurance policies available, and which ones you need will depend on your specific business.
Some common types of business insurance include:
General liability insurance
Professional liability insurance
Product liability insurance
Workers’ compensation insurance
Home-based business insurance
You can get quotes from different insurers and compare prices to find the best coverage for your needs.
I always recommend that you consult with an insurance agent or broker to make sure you are getting the right coverage for your business.
Get a Business License
Most businesses in Louisiana will need to obtain a business license from the state.
The type of business license you need will depend on the type of business you are operating.
For example, if you are selling merchandise, you will need to apply for a sales tax permit.
You can find more information on the Louisiana Business Permits website.
File an Annual Report
All LLCs in Louisiana are required to file an annual report with the state.
This report must be filed by May 1st of each year, and it must include the LLC’s name, address, and the names of all members and managers.
You can file your annual report online through the Louisiana Secretary of State website.
Pay Annual Taxes
All LLCs in Louisiana are required to pay annual taxes.
The amount of tax you owe will depend on the size and income of your LLC.
For example, an LLC with less than $12,500 in gross receipts will owe a minimum tax of $50.
You can find more information on the Louisiana Department of Revenue website.
Do I need a business license to start an LLC in Louisiana?
Most businesses in Louisiana will need to obtain a business license from the state. The type of business license you need will depend on the type of business you are operating.
Do I need a separate bank account for my LLC?
Yes, you should open a separate bank account for your LLC. This will help you keep your personal and business finances separate, which is important for both tax and liability purposes.
Do I need to file an annual report for my LLC?
Yes, all LLCs in Louisiana are required to file an annual report with the state. This report must be filed by May 1st of each year, and it must include the LLC’s name, address, and the names of all members and managers.
Do I need to pay annual taxes for my LLC?
Yes, all LLCs in Louisiana are required to pay annual taxes. The amount of tax you owe will depend on the size and income of your LLC.
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