How to Start an LLC (For all states)

Limited liability companies (LLCs) are a popular choice for new businesses for several reasons, but they’re just one option when forming a business.

In this guide we’ll show you what forming an LLC looks like and all the tips, tricks and things to consider before doing so.

Six Basic Steps to Start an LLC

  • Step 1: Select Your State
  • Step 2: Name Your LLC
  • Step 3: Choose a Registered Agent
  • Step 4: File the Articles of Organization
  • Step 5: Create an Operating Agreement
  • Step 6: Get an EIN

Forming an LLC is easy. Our state-by-state LLC formation guides streamline the process into six easy steps.

Step 2: Name Your LLC

You will need to give your business a unique name that is distinguishable from all registered names in your state when you file your LLC’s formation documents. To do this, you can do a search on the website of the state of your choice.

Step 3: Choose an LLC Registered Agent

Your LLC registered agent will accept legal documents and tax notices on your LLC’s behalf. You will list your registered agent when you file your LLC’s Articles of Organization.

Step 4: File Your LLC’s Articles of Organization

The Articles of Organization, also known as a Certificate of Formation or a Certificate of Organization in some states, is the document you will file to officially register an LLC with the state.

Step 5: Create an LLC Operating Agreement

After you register an LLC in Maine, create a detailed outline that explains how you will run and manage your new business. Even though it doesn’t need to be filed with the state, put one together and keep it for your records.

When you open a bank account, you may be asked for this document in order to open an account. You’ll also want to keep in mind that any future business partners or managing members may also be interested in seeing your Operating Agreement before joining your company. After all, this document essentially serves as your overall plan for success.

An attorney can help you outline your Operating Agreement or create one from a free template online. You can read more about Operating Agreements here, but some of the basic information you’ll want to have includes:

  • Individual members’ ownership percentages
  • Rights and responsibilities
  • Voting powers and meeting guidelines
  • Allocation of profits and losses
  • Management rules for the LLC
  • Provisions for buying a member owner out, or transferring their shares in the case of illness or death

Step 6: Get an EIN or Transfer an Existing EIN

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a number that is used by the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to identify and tax businesses. It is essentially a Social Security number for a business.

EINs are free when you apply directly with the IRS. For more information about whether your LLC is required to obtain an EIN, visit IRS EIN for LLCs guide.

Once you’ve got that information pulled together, you’re ready to go.

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