Articles of organization outline the governance of a Limited Liability Company (LLC) as well as its operating agreement and corporate statutes. It is required in many U.S. states, though it goes by “certificate of formation” in some states, and “certificate of organization” in some other states. Once the articles of organization have been filed with and approved by the secretary of State or other company registrar in the state where the LLC is being formed, the LLC is legally created as a distinct business entity in that state. In this article, we will discuss how to file articles of organization.
Get Information from the Secretary of State’s Website
Each state has a secretary of state or company registrar responsible for registering LLCs. Their website will show you the requirements you have to meet in order to file your articles of organization. In some cases, you are shown a sample filing, while in other cases, you will be given an itemized list of the requirements you have to meet. You should be able to download the articles of organization form. Many states will allow you to upload the form once you have filled it in and met the requirements. Costs of filing vary from state to state. The costs of filing range from $50 to $500.
Collect All The Necessary Information Before Filing
Before you start filling in the form, gather up all the information required. For instance, you will need information about the owners, or “members” or the LLC, and the LLC itself. Examples of information you will also need to have:
- A name for the LLC. You will have to check to see if the preferred name of the LLC has not been taken.
- A street address for the LLC.
- A registered agent. You will need to nominate a registered agent to send and process your company documents. Most states will maintain a database of recognized registered agents in that state.
- An effective start date. If you do not state this, the effective start date of the business will be the date of filing and approval.
- A designated manager, in the event that you choose a manager-managed LLC over a member-managed LLC.
- In some states, you will need to provide the physical addresses of the members of the LLC.
Once you have collected all the necessary information, you can fill out the form. After that, you can either mail it by post or by email, making sure to sign the form and pay for the filing. Consult this online guide for more details.
The final piece of the puzzle is to create an operating agreement. Most states do not require an operating agreement, but it is a great framework to have because it outlines the LLCs regulations, rules, and provisions. It essentially tells everyone how the LLC will be or should be run.
Once an operating agreement has been signed, it has the force of a binding contract between all the members of the LLC. Even though only California, Delaware, Maine, Missouri, and New York require one, having an operating agreement will make sure that everyone is clear about how the business should be run.