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Louisiana LLC Simple Start Guide

Louisiana LLC Simple Start Guide

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Louisiana LLC Simple Start Guide

If you’re thinking of starting a business in Louisiana, you’ll need to make a choice between the different types of business structures available to you. One popular option is the LLC (Limited Liability Company). The LLC provides personal asset protection and has the potential to save money on taxes. With our guide, you can learn how to form an LLC in Louisiana without an attorney.

Related: How to start a business in Louisiana

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Steps to Form a Louisiana LLC

Step 1: Choose a Name for the LLC

The first step in forming a Louisiana Limited Liability Company is to make sure the name you want is available. This step ensures the name you want is available, as the name of each LLC must be distinguishable from other entity names registered in the state of Louisiana. Fortunately, the Louisiana Secretary of State makes it easy to do a Louisiana LLC name search, so you can quickly check to see that your name is available.

In addition to finding a unique name, there are a few additional requirements that are referenced in Louisiana Revised Statute § 12:1306

  • The name of the LLC must include an approved entity designator at the end of the business name. The approved entity designators include:
    • Limited Liability Company
    • LLC
    • L.L.C.
    • LC
    • L.C.
  • A comma may be used after the business name and before the designator.  “Cajun City Crafts L.L.C.” and “Cajun City Crafts, L.L.C.” are both acceptable.
  • The LLC name can’t contain any word or phrase that indicates or implies that it is organized for an unlawful purpose or is different from what is indicated in the Articles of Organization.
  • The name of the LLC can’t imply that the company is an administrative agency of any parish of this state or the United States.
  • An LLC name can’t include any words in its name that would deceptively or falsely suggest a charitable or nonprofit nature.
  • In order to use the words “engineer,” “engineering,” “surveyor,” or “surveying” in an LLC, the Secretary of State requires written notice of approval from the Louisiana Professional Engineering and Land Surveying Board
  • If an LLC in Louisiana includes the words “bank,” “banker,” “banking,” “savings,” “safe deposit,” “trust,” “trustee,” “building and loan,” “homestead,” or “credit union,” in its name, the Secretary of State requires written approval from the Commissioner of the Office of Financial Institutions

If you find a name you want to use but are not ready to form the LLC, the Application for Reservation of Trade Name (Form 398) can be filed to reserve the name for up to 120 days. 

After deciding on a name, you may also want to select a domain name so you can secure a matching website address.

Step 2: Appoint a Louisiana Registered Agent

In Louisiana, every LLC will need to designate a registered agent. A registered agent is simply an individual or company with a Louisiana street address who will be responsible for any legal correspondence. This commonly includes the receipt of legal documents, such as lawsuit notifications, on behalf of the business.

While many LLC owners opt to fulfill this role themselves, some owners choose to hire registered agent services like Northwest Registered Agent. Utilizing a registered agent service ensures that your LLC adheres to state requirements while offering an added layer of convenience and confidentiality since the owner’s personal address isn’t disclosed in public records.

Related: What is a Louisiana registered agent?

Note – The registered agent must agree to serve as the agent of the LLC by clicking on a link emailed from the Secretary of State.  If the Registered Agent does not accept, the LLC will not be filed. 

Step 3: File the Louisiana LLC Articles of Organization

The paperwork to officially create an LLC in Louisiana is called the Articles of Organization. To submit the paperwork, either file online or download the Articles of Organization through the Louisiana GeauxBiz website.

Related: How to fill out the Louisiana Articles of Organization

Depending on the parish where the LLC will be located, online filing may be the only option. LLCs with a registered office address in the Ascension, Bossier, Caddo, Calcasieu, East Baton Rouge, Jefferson, Lafayette, Livingston, Orleans, Ouachita, Rapides, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, or Terrebonne parish will have to fill out the online application.

If filing by mail, be sure to also file Form 973, Initial Report with the Louisiana Articles of Organization. The mailing address for the forms is:
State of Louisiana Secretary of State
P.O. Box 94125
Baton Rouge, LA 70804

Both forms will also need to be notarized. If filing online, the Initial Report will be filed at the same time.

There are a few sections in the Articles of Organization that can be a little confusing when filling this form out for the first time. Let’s go over a few of those sections to help you get your LLC started right.

Select entity: One of the questions in the Articles of Organization asks you to select the type of business entity you intend to form.  In this instance, we are looking at how to form an LLC.

The following question asks whether the entity is a “Domestic LLC” or “Foreign LLC.” In this instance, foreign is an entity filed in another state that intends to do business in Louisiana physically (open another branch, hire employees, etc.).  Most people on our site are looking to start their first business in Louisiana and would choose “Domestic.”

Related: What’s the difference between a Domestic and Foreign LLC?

Business purpose: The first option lists “Engaging in any lawful activity” and is what most LLCs enter. The other option is to enter information about what the business does. It’s usually recommended to stay with the first option because if you list a specific business activity and decide to change later, additional filings will be needed to update the Articles of Organization.

Duration of the LLC: Most businesses intend to exist forever, and if so, would choose “perpetual.” If you have a specific end date in mind (typically used for investment-related businesses), choose “Indefinite, dissolves on {specific date}” and enter the closing date.

Other provisions: If there are other operational rules for the LLC to follow that you would like to include in the Articles, add them here. Most LLCs skip this step.

Title: This section asks you to either select enter “Member,” “Manager,” or “Organizer.”

  • A member is an owner of the LLC.
  • A manager is an individual hired by the members to run the LLC, similar to a CEO of a corporation.
  • An LLC organizer is someone helping form the LLC, sometimes an attorney or accountant.
    Click the “Next” button to continue.

Registered office location: In this section, enter the street address, city, state, and zip code of the initial registered office. This address must be located in Louisiana, which can be the Louisiana Limited Liability Company’s physical address, the address where the business records are stored, or the address of the registered agent. A PO Box may not be used.

Describe your business activity: This optional section is used to classify what industry the business operates in.  If you choose to list your business industry, select a NAICS Code from the drop-down menu.

The NAICS (North American Industry Classification System) code is a six-digit number that classifies and categorizes different types of businesses.  This information is used in reporting statistical data for each of the industries in the U.S.  Remember this number as you will need it when filing annual tax returns.  Find your NAICS number here.

If you are worried about making a mistake when forming your LLC, or just don't want to deal with filling out state paperwork, an LLC formation service will help guide you through the process. My top recommended services include:

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What To Do After Starting A Louisiana LLC

Once the LLC has been formed, there are a few additional steps to take care of. Below is a list of the most common tasks.

Prepare a Louisiana LLC Operating Agreement

The operating agreement is a document that governs the framework of an LLC.  This document covers items like ownership rights, LLC member responsibilities, how profits and losses are distributed, and more.

Most states (Louisiana included) do not require an LLC to have an operating agreement, but it is still worth considering. Without an operating agreement:

  • The LLC could be subject to generic state rules that may be detrimental in the event of a lawsuit.
  • Member’s personal liability protection may be diminished.
  • Members may not fully understand their roles and responsibilities, which could lead to costly disputes in the future.

Related: Louisiana operating agreement template

Obtain an EIN

If the LLC will hire employees or is owned by more than one member, an EIN is required. 

The EIN or Employer Identification Number (also referred to as a Federal Employer Identification Number, FEIN, or Federal Tax ID Number) is a unique 9-digit tax identification number assigned to a business by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Similar to a social security number for an individual, the EIN identifies business entities for tax purposes.

Related: How to apply for an EIN

Open an LLC Bank Account

Opening a bank account for your LLC is important for liability protection as the account separates the business’s funds from the member’s personal funds.

Several documents will be needed to open a business bank account, such as:

  • A banking resolution, which is a document that authorizes the members to open a business bank account on behalf of the LLC.
  • Copies of the original Louisiana LLC formation paperwork from the state showing the creation of the LLC.
  • Government ID of the members.
  • In some circumstances, a Louisiana Certificate of Good Standing may be needed to prove the LLC is active and in good standing with the state.

Apply for Business Licenses and Permits

Depending on what your business does and where it is located, there will likely be various business licenses and permits needed before starting. Some common registrations include:

  • Business licenses: The state of Louisiana doesn’t have a general business license; however, many cities require a business license to operate.
  • State sales tax license: Businesses selling products and certain services will need to register for a Business Tax License with the Louisiana Department of Revenue. More information about business licenses can also be found on the geauxBIZ website.
  • Occupational license: Some services in Louisiana, such as physical therapists, interior designers, detectives, cosmetologists, barbers, architects, and massage therapists, require licensing in order to legally operate in the state.  

Related: What business licenses and permits are needed in Louisiana?

File Louisiana LLC Annual Reports

To stay in compliance with the state, LLCs are required to file an annual report with the Louisiana Secretary of State.  The annual report costs $35 each year and updates ownership information and other details.

Related: How to File a Louisiana LLC Annual Report

File the Beneficial Owner Information Report

Beginning in 2024, any individual who owns at least 25% or has “substantial control” of an LLC or corporation in Louisiana or any other state must file the Beneficial Ownership Information (BOI) form with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). BOI reports are filed electronically through FinCEN’s website.

Louisiana LLC FAQs

How much will it cost to start an LLC in the state of Louisiana?

The cost of starting an LLC in Louisiana is a $100 filing fee to submit the Articles of Organization to the Louisiana Secretary of State.

Do you have to renew your LLC every year in Louisiana?

Yes – Each year, an Annual Report will need to be filed, along with a state filing fee of $35 will be sent to the Louisiana Secretary of State’s office.

Is an LLC the best business structure?

When starting a business in Louisiana, choosing the right structure is important, and an LLC stands out for its flexibility and protection.

Unlike a sole proprietorship or general partnership, where personal and business assets blur, an LLC safeguards your personal assets from business debts and lawsuits. This means if your business faces financial trouble, your personal savings, house, and car are generally protected. Corporations offer similar liability protections, but they’re more complex to start and maintain, making LLCs a popular choice for small to medium-sized businesses.

The best choice depends on your business needs, goals, and the level of personal liability you’re willing to accept. Sole proprietorships and partnerships offer simplicity and direct control but less protection. Meanwhile, corporations are ideal for those planning to raise significant capital or go public.

Related: Comparison of business structures

How long does it take for an LLC to be approved in Louisiana?

It normally takes 2-3 business days when filing online or about one week when filing by mail for the state to process the LLC paperwork in Louisiana.

What is a Foreign Limited Liability Company?

A foreign LLC refers to an LLC that is physically operating in states outside of the state where it was formed. Physically operating means having a presence, such as having an office or employee. The LLC will need to register as a foreign LLC in each state where it plans to operate.

Learn more about the foreign LLC

What is a Professional Limited Liability Company?

Businesses that require state licensing, such as accountants, attorneys, podiatrists, physical therapists, acupuncturists, etc., often must file as a Professional Limited Liability Company (sometimes referred to as a Professional LLC or PLLC) instead of an LLC. Filing for a PLLC is very similar to that of an LLC.

Learn more about a professional LLC

Author

  • Greg Bouhl

    With over two decades as an entrepreneur, educator, and business advisor, Greg Bouhl has worked with over 2,000 entrepreneurs to help them start and grow their businesses. Fed up with clients finding and acting on inaccurate and outdated information online, Greg launched StartUp101.com to be a trusted resource for people starting a business.

Louisiana LLC Simple Start Guide

Louisiana LLC Simple Start Guide

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