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Forming an LLC in Louisiana

Maybe you'd like to start a limited liability company (LLC) in New Orleans. Or perhaps you'd prefer to create it in Baton Rouge. Either way, you'll have to comply with the requirements outlined in Louisiana's state laws. These requirements include filing the appropriate paperwork with the Louisiana Secretary of State and paying the filing fee to start your LLC. You'll also have to stay on top of ongoing obligations so that your LLC remains compliant with state law.

If you fail to meet specific requirements under state law, you might have to deal with penalties or other legal troubles down the road. Rather than dealing with these hassles, make sure that you take the time to form and maintain your Louisiana LLC under the law.

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Starting an LLC in Louisiana

You'll need to take several steps to form a Louisiana LLC, but the benefits of this business structure could make it all worth it. For example, LLC owners have limited liability protection for their personal assets and flexibility regarding taxation. Whether you're already in business as a sole proprietor or starting a new business from scratch, you might want to take advantage of the benefits of forming an LLC.

Step 1: Name Your Company

Naming your LLC is an essential first step because it affects your brand and has legal implications. In Louisiana, you must consider the naming and other legal requirements when choosing your business name.

In Louisiana, your LLC name:

  • must be distinguishable from every other business name on file with the state
  • must contain the term "limited liability company," "L.L.C.," or "L.C."
  • cannot contain any restricted words unless you have the proper licensing
  • cannot contain any words or phrases that indicate that your business is a governmental agency

Since your name must be unique and distinguishable from all other registered business names in the state, you must conduct a name search to check for name availability. If the name you'd like to use for your company is already used or reserved, you need to choose a different business name. Once you've settled on a name, you can reserve it.

Step 2: Pick a Registered Agent in Louisiana

Limited liability companies in Louisiana must have registered agents to handle service of process. If you don't have a registered agent appointed for your LLC, you could face legal problems.

A person or company could serve as your registered agent in Louisiana. Note that your registered agent must be able to accept legal papers for you during regular business hours. They must also have a physical street address in the state of Louisiana. You can always use a registered agent service if you can't think of anyone you know to serve as your registered agent for service of process.

Step 3: File Your Articles of Organization

LLC Articles of Organization can be filed online in Louisiana. There is also an option to file by mail, but residents of the following parishes can only file online:

  • Ascension
  • Bossier
  • Caddo
  • Calcasieu
  • East Baton Rouge
  • Jefferson
  • Lafayette
  • Livingston
  • Orleans
  • Ouachita
  • Rapides
  • St. Tammany
  • Tangipahoa
  • Terrebonne

The Articles of Organization that you file to form your business should include:

  • LLC name
  • LLC office address
  • Business purpose

Be prepared to provide additional information, such as the registered agent's name and address and preferred tax treatment, if you use the online system for filing. If you file by mail, you'll need to include an Initial Report.

The filing fee for domestic LLCs is $100. If you already have an LLC and are filing for authorization to conduct business in Louisiana as a foreign LLC, your filing fee will be $150.

Step 4: Draft an Operating Agreement

An LLC operating agreement is a document that typically addresses the rights and responsibilities of members of the LLC, ownership, liabilities, and procedures for admitting new members and taking votes.

You won't file the operating agreement with the state, but it's still an important document to have. When conflicts arise, you can look to the operating agreement for guidance on how to resolve them. Without an operating agreement, state LLC laws would apply in the event of a dispute.

Step 5: Get an EIN

Getting an EIN (Employer Identification Number) is a step that is necessary for most new businesses. The EIN or Tax ID number for your business serves the purpose of identification, just like a social security number. You'll need this number to open up a bank account for your business and hire workers. Get your EIN for free on the IRS website.

Step 6: Open a Business Bank Account

You should open up a business bank account and get a business credit card and debit card as soon as possible. Keeping your business funds separate from your personal funds is essential. Without this separation, you could lose the liability protection you have as an LLC owner.

Frequently Asked Questions About Louisiana LLC Formation

1. Do I need a business license or permit for my Louisiana LLC?

You might need to get a license or permit for your business, depending on your location and the type of business you're operating. It's best to contact your local agencies to make sure you understand the requirements for your specific type of business.

2. How much does it cost to form an LLC in Louisiana?

It costs $100 to form an LLC in Louisiana, and you may reserve your LLC name beforehand at the cost of $25.

3. What other obligations do I have after forming an LLC in Louisiana?

You need to file an annual report with the Secretary of State to avoid the dissolution of your LLC. It costs $30 to file this annual report each year. You'll also need to register with the Louisiana Department of Revenue, and you may need to register with the Louisiana Workforce Commission.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Have Questions About Starting Your LLC in Louisiana? Ask an Attorney

Fortunately, forming an LLC in Louisiana can be a straightforward process with FindLaw's Business Formation Service. If you have questions or just want some guidance when starting your Louisiana LLC, it's good to speak with a local business attorney.

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