Start A Corporation In Louisiana
To start a corporation in Louisiana, you’ll need to choose a Louisiana registered agent, file business formation paperwork with the Louisiana’s Commercial Division, and pay a $75 state filing fee. You can use our tool below to fill out the Official Louisiana Articles of Incorporation, and even download, print, or save your progress, all for free.
The best part is you only need to enter your information once to create a free account and pre-populate your Articles of Incorporation, corporate bylaws, IRS filings, and ongoing annual filings to maintain your Louisiana corporation. You can use our free system to file with the state yourself or you can have us help you out along the way.
How to Start a Corporation in Louisiana
A Louisiana corporation is a business with a legal existence separate from its owners. If properly maintained, a corporation can conduct business in its own name and has many of the rights and obligations of a natural person, including the ability to enter into contracts, sue and be sued, hold assets, and pay taxes in its own name.
To start a corporation in Louisiana, you’ll need to do three things: appoint a registered agent, choose a name for your business, and file Articles of Incorporation with the Louisiana Commercial Division. The articles cost $75 to file. Once filed with the state, this document formally creates your Louisiana corporation.
Name Your Corporation
Choosing a name for your business is almost as important as naming your first born. Go as crazy as you want, but make sure you adhere to Louisiana’s rules for naming your corporation. Basically your corporation’s name must:
- Include either “corporation,” “corp,” “inc,” “ltd,” or another abbreviation.
- Not include words or abbreviations that make it sound like it’s another kind of entity, like “LLC” or “limited.”
- Be unique among business names in Louisiana.
Already have a business name? Check to see if it’s available.
Can I reserve a business name in Louisiana?
Have a great name for your business but you’re not ready to register your corporation just yet? You can reserve your Louisiana corporation name for 120 days. Simply file a Reservation of Company Name application by mail or online and pay the $25 fee.
What’s the difference between my corporation’s name and a DBA?
Your corporation is a legal entity formed under state law, and your corporation’s legal name is the name you’ll use on state formation documents. That doesn’t mean that you are stuck with your corporation’s legal name forever. You can file for a DBA name, which is short for “doing business as.” Businesses use DBAs or trade names to better brand their business, or to organize their business under a name that makes more sense to the customer.
Louisiana requires that you register your DBA with the Secretary of State. You can file online at Louisiana’s business portal, or you can complete the Application for Registration of Trade Name. It costs $75 to register your trade name (DBA) with the state.
Thinking about using a trade name? Learn How to Get a Louisiana DBA.
Designate a Registered Agent
Appointing a registered agent is required by law, and picking a good one is imperative. Your registered agent will be the person or business that is available during business hours to receive all legal mail on behalf of your corporation. You’ll also need your registered agent’s information before you proceed to file your Articles of Incorporation. Without one, you won’t be able to form your corporation. Choose wisely.
Learn why business pros use a registered agent service.
What does a registered agent do?
A registered agent is a person or company with the authority to accept service of process (legal documents and government notices) on behalf of your corporation. A Louisiana registered agent must act in accordance with LA Rev Stat § 12:1308. In general, your registered agent needs to:
- Have a physical Louisiana address (not a PO Box).
- Be available during regular business hours.
- Accept legal and state mail on behalf of your corporation and get it to you fast.
Can you be your own registered agent in Louisiana?
Yes, you can be your own registered agent. Just remember that acting as your own registered agent means listing your name and address on the public record. You’ll also be required to maintain regular business hours so that you can accept any service of process in person. If this sounds like something you can handle, go right ahead. But if you want to be able to go on vacation or keep your address or phone number off public record, a registered agent is your best bet.
Can I change my registered agent after I start a corporation?
Yes. It costs $25 to change your registered agent in Louisiana. You’ll need to file a “Notice of Change of Registered Office and/or Change of Registered Agent” with the Louisiana Secretary of State.
Submit Articles of Incorporation
Your corporation won’t be official until the Louisiana Secretary of State approves your Articles of Incorporation. You can submit your Articles online, by mail, or in person.
Note: All of the information on this form will become part of the public record.
Here is the information you will need to provide:
- Company name: Should include “corporation” or an abbreviation that indicates the business’ entity type.
- Business Purpose: Include the lawful business activity the corporation intends to conduct.
- Business Duration: This may be in perpetuity.
- Authorized Shares: Must include issued shares and consideration received.
- Incorporators: Must include the names and addresses of all your incorporators.
- Business address: Must be a street address in Louisiana.
- Registered office: Must be a street address in Louisiana.
- Registered agent: Someone authorized to accept legal mail on behalf of your corporation.
- Name of Directors: Must include names and addresses of anyone on the initial board.
- Signatures: The signature must match exactly the name in the incorporator’s section.
Optionally, this form has a spot for other provisions.
How can I keep my personal information off the public record?
It’s true that when you submit your Articles of Incorporation to the state, all the names and addresses listed on it become part of the public record. Marketing firms are experts at finding this information and using it to send you junk mail.
The best way to limit the amount of personal information you share is by hiring a registered agent service that will put their address on this form instead of yours wherever possible.
How do I file the Louisiana Articles of Incorporation?
Learn more about each Articles of Incorporation requirement below. Note that the information you provide becomes part of the public record—permanently. Some of this information is only required when filing on a paper form, other parts are necessary when filing online through geauxBIZ.
- Paper Filings: Louisiana’s paper articles must be notarized. Additionally, those in the following counties CAN’T file with paper forms and must file online: Ascension, Bossier, Caddo, Calcasieu, East Baton Rouge, Jefferson, Lafayette, Livingston, Orleans, Ouachita, Rapides, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa and Terrebonne.
- Online Filings: When you file online, geauxBIZ (the state’s online filing system) tries to combine tax registration and Workforce Commission registration together with your business registration. If you opt to complete the other registrations along with your incorporation, you will need your EIN and additional tax info.
Not every county in Louisiana allows for you to submit your paperwork online. When in doubt, call your local municipality to confirm how to submit your articles.
Better yet, skip this confusing filing process entirely and hire us to incorporate your Louisiana business. We provide a free business address to list whenever possible throughout the filing to better keep your personal address private.
Louisiana Secretary of State
P. O. Box 94125
Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9125
Louisiana Secretary of State
8585 Archives Ave.
Baton Rouge, LA 70809
Start Your Louisiana Corporation Today!Get Started
Get an EIN
Your federal employer identification number (commonly known as an EIN or FEIN) is similar to a social security number for your business. The IRS assigns these numbers and uses them to easily identify individual corporations on tax filings, including federal corporate income tax returns.
Why does my Louisiana corporation need an EIN?
The IRS requires corporations to get an EIN for their federal tax filings, and the Louisiana Department of Revenue requires an EIN for their business registration. You may also be asked for your EIN when opening a bank account, securing a loan, or applying for local business permits and licenses.
Do I need an EIN before forming my corporation?
It depends on your registration process. When filing online with geauxBIZ, you will be told you need an EIN before applying. This is because geauxBIZ handles formation and tax registration simultaneously for new corporations. If you reserve your corporation name ahead of filing Articles of Incorporation, you can get your EIN in advance of filing on geauxBIZ. However, if you decline to register for taxes during the formation process, you won’t need your EIN. Also, if you are located in a parish that allows paper filing, you can wait on getting your EIN until after formation.
How do I get an EIN for my corporation?
You can get an EIN directly from the IRS. The application is free, and most businesses can apply online. However, if you don’t have a social security number, you’ll need to submit a paper application form. Can’t bear to fill out yet another application? Hire Northwest to get your EIN for you. Just add on EIN service during checkout when you sign up for our incorporation service.
File the Beneficial Ownership Information Report
Beginning January 2024, most US corporations will be required to file a Beneficial Ownership Information (BOI) Report with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). On this report, you’ll need to provide some information about your corporation, its beneficial owners, and (for new corporations) the company applicant.
Beneficial Owner: anyone with at least a 25% ownership stake in your company. This also includes anyone with significant control over company operations, such as your CEO, CFO, or General Counsel.
Company Applicant: the individual who filed your Louisiana Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State. It is important to note that corporations formed prior to 2024 are not required to include company applicant information.
Note: Online filings using the Beneficial Ownership Secure System (BOSS) are free, and will begin in January 2024.
What's the deadline for filing the BOI Report?
The deadline for your first BOI Report depends on when you incorporated:
- Companies formed before 2024—January 1, 2025.
- Companies formed in 2024—Within 90 days of incorporation.
- Companies formed in 2025 or later—Within 30 days of incorporation.
What information is required on the BOI Report?
You’ll need to include identifying information for each beneficial owner and (for corporations formed in 2024 or later) your company applicant. You’ll also need to provide some information about the corporation itself.
Beneficial owner and company applicant information:
- Full legal name
- Birth date
- Residential or business street address
- Personal identification document (such as a driver’s license or passport), including the ID number
- Legal business name
- Any DBAs or assumed business names
- Physical business address
- State of incorporation
- Employer Identification Number (EIN)
Will I need to update my BOI Report?
Maybe. You will be required to update your BOI Report any time the information provided in the report changes, such as if your corporation changes owners or gets a new CEO. You have 30 days after the change occurs to file your updated report through BOSS.
Does information on the BOI Report go on the public record?
No. Unlike the information on your Louisiana Articles of Incorporation, your BOI Report won’t become public record. The information on this report will only be accessible to government agencies, law enforcement, and financial institutions that need to confirm customer identity.
Are there any exemptions from the BOI Report?
Yes, there are 23 classes of exemption from the BOI Report. Exemptions include (but aren’t limited to):
- Large operating companies
- Most financial companies, such as banks and credit unions
- Investment companies registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
- Insurance companies registered with a state or federal agency
- Public utilities companies registered with a state or federal agency
- Tax-exempt entities
Write Corporate Bylaws
Bylaws are the internal rules you set for your business. They put into writing how decisions will be made and who gets to make those decisions. All the major organizational processes and procedures for your corporation will go in your bylaws.
For more on Louisiana Corporate Bylaws (including free Corporate Bylaws templates), see our Louisiana Corporate Bylaws resource.
Do I need bylaws for my Louisiana corporation?
Bylaws are not specifically required by statute. Instead, Louisiana Revised Statute § 12:1-206 notes that bylaws may be adopted by a corporation’s board of directors. However, it would be highly unusual for a corporation to operate without bylaws as they include essential information and procedures for your business.
What should bylaws include?
Corporate bylaws cover basic policies and procedures for issues such as company finances and management. Bylaws should cover a range of topics, answering key questions like those below:
Meetings: When and where will meetings for shareholders and directors be held? How many attendees are required to transact business? What are the procedures for voting or proxy voting? How do you call a special meeting? What actions can be taken without a meeting?
Stock: How are stock certificates issued and transferred? How is voting affected by issues such as corporate stock owners or fractional shares?
Directors and officers: How many directors must there be? Which officer positions are required? What powers do they have? How do you fill a vacancy or remove a director or officer?
Finances: What are the procedures for retaining profits, issuing dividends, and paying bills? Who can withdraw money from the corporate bank account or sign checks?
Records: Where is the corporate book to be kept? What information will be maintained? How are requests for review or access honored? Can records or copies be kept or distributed digitally?
Amendments and emergencies: Who can amend bylaws and how? Can emergency bylaws be adopted in the case of disaster?
Louisiana bylaws can make other provisions as well, assuming additions are in accordance with state law. For example, Louisiana bylaws cannot limit the right of shareholders to inspect and copy corporate records as granted by the statute.
How do I write bylaws?
Creating bylaws can be overwhelming—where do you start? Northwest can help. We give you free corporate bylaws when you hire us to form your Louisiana corporation. We know what kinds of topics and questions corporations need to address, and we’ve spent years refining and improving our forms. We offer many other free corporate forms as well, including templates for resolutions and meeting minutes.
Hold an Organizational Meeting
An organizational meeting is the first official meeting of the corporation after the business is legally formed with the state. At this meeting, bylaws are adopted, officers are appointed, and any other initial business is conducted. The first meeting minutes should also be recorded and added to your corporate record book.
Are there any special rules for Louisiana organizational meetings?
If the initial board of directors are not named in a corporation’s articles, the incorporators will hold an organizational meeting to elect directors who will complete the organization of the corporation. Election of directors can be held without a meeting if written consent signed by each incorporator is provided. Organizational meetings can be held in or outside of Louisiana.
Open a Corporate Bank Account
Businesses that mix personal and business finances together risk losing their liability protections, so your corporation will need its own bank account. In addition, a corporate bank account is essential for easily accepting payments, paying bills and holding funds.
How do I open a bank account for my Louisiana corporation?
To open a corporate bank account in Louisiana, you’ll need to bring the following with you to the bank:
A copy of the Louisiana corporation’s Articles of Incorporation
The corporation’s bylaws
The corporation’s EIN
If your bylaws don’t specifically assign the power to open a bank account, you may also want to bring a corporate resolution to open a bank account. The resolution would state that the person going to the bank is authorized by the business to open the account in the name of the corporation. At Northwest, we provide free corporate bank resolutions, along with many other free corporate forms, to help you get started fast.
File State Reports & Taxes
In Louisiana, corporations file an annual report each year. In addition, the state has a corporate net income tax and a corporation franchise tax.
What is the Louisiana Annual Report?
The Louisiana Annual Report is a filing you must submit each year. On this report, you will list your business name, your registered agent’s name and address, the names and addresses of your directors and officers, and the signature and title of the person filing the report.
Do corporations file a Louisiana Initial Report?
No. Unlike LLCs, corporations do not file initial reports—although they used to. The statute with this requirement was repealed in 2015, and the state-provided paper articles have been updated so that they no longer include an initial report section.
How much is the Louisiana Annual Report?
The annual report has a flat fee of $30, but you’ll also need to add a $5 convenience fee when filing online.
When is the Louisiana Annual Report due?
The annual report is due on your Louisiana corporation’s anniversary.
These filings can be easy to forget—which is why we send our clients automatic reminders for your Louisiana Annual Report filings. Or better yet, let us file for you. With our business renewal service, we can complete and submit your annual report for you for $100 plus the state fee.
What should I know about Louisiana corporate taxes?
Louisiana corporations have two more major taxes to contend with: a corporate net income tax and a corporation franchise tax.
The corporate income tax rate varies based on the amount of net income:
4%: $0 to $25,000
5%: $25,001 to $50,000
6%: $50,001 to $100,000
7%: $100,001 to $200,000
8%: over $200,000
The corporation franchise tax is required for any corporation organized under the laws of Louisiana, qualified to do business in the state, exercising a corporate charter in the state, or owning corporate property the state. The franchise tax is $1.50 for every $1,000 of capital employed in Louisiana (up to $300,000); and $3 for every $1,000 in capital exceeding $300,000.
Note that an initial return is required for the corporate franchise tax. This return is due by the 15th day of the third month after your corporation becomes liable for the tax. The initial corporation franchise tax is $110.
The Louisiana sales tax is 4.45%. City, parish and specialty sales taxes can be added on as well, making the average total sales tax 8.936%.
Do corporations have to register with the Louisiana Department Of Revenue?
Yes, if you conduct business in Louisiana, you’re required to register with the Louisiana Department of Revenue. You can register via geauxBIZ or by filing a Louisiana Business Registration Application. You’ll need your EIN before you can register.