Louisiana Incorporation Services
To start a corporation in Louisiana, you must file Articles of Incorporation with Louisiana’s Commercial Division. You can file the document online or by mail. The Articles of Incorporation cost $75 to file. Once filed with the state, this document formally creates your Louisiana corporation. However, to actually ready the corporation to do business, you must complete several additional steps.
Starting a Louisiana Corporation Guide:
Louisiana Corporation Filing Options
Skip the state fees! Get a Louisiana corporation and the best of our services today. Includes EIN, hassle-free maintenance, business address & mail forwarding, Privacy by Default®, local Corporate Guide® service, and everything you need to operate at full capacity.
Do It Yourself
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Pay in Full
Includes Louisiana corporation, business address & free mail forwarding, Privacy by Default®, lifetime support from local Corporate Guides® and a year of registered agent service.
Louisiana Articles of Incorporation Requirements
To form a Louisiana corporation, you must complete and file the Articles of Incorporation with the Commercial Division. See the document below and click on any number to see what information is required in the corresponding section.
Your name must include “Corporation,” “Incorporated,” “Company,” “Limited” or an abbreviation of one of these words. Tip: Most corporations keep it short and sweet with “Corp” or “Inc.”
You have two choices for your business purpose. You can select the general business purpose of “engaging in any lawful business or activity,” or you can write your own, more specific purpose. A specific purpose limits the activities your corporation can engage in. Specific purposes are typical for professional corporations that provide licensed services (think doctors and lawyers) but not-so-common for regular corporations. Tip: Most corporations choose the general purpose.
Want your business to continue indefinitely? Choose “perpetual.” Prefer to put a self-destruct timer on your corporation? Enter an end date or period of time to exist. Tip: Most businesses go with “perpetual.”
List the number of shares you’d like to create. You must create at least one.
This is the “face value” of the shares (the price written on stock certificates). It’s typically the lowest value at which shares will be traded.
Your incorporator signs and submits your Articles and must include their name and address. Your incorporator doesn’t have to be a director, officer, or anyone in the corporation—just someone you authorize to sign off on your Articles. Tip: We’ll be your incorporator when you hire Northwest to form your Louisiana corporation.
This Louisiana street address is where your registered agent will be available to accept any service of process. Tip: Hire Northwest and our Louisiana address will go here.
This street address is the official address of your corporation and where you’ll receive mail (other than legal notifications—those go to your registered agent). Tip: Keep all your mail together with one address throughout your Articles. When you hire Northwest as your registered agent, you can use our Louisiana address as your principal office address.
Your registered agent accepts service of process at the registered office—so even though you already listed the registered office address, include the address again here. Your agent can either be a business (but not your own) or an individual Louisiana resident (such as yourself). Tip: We recommend Northwest.
List the names and addresses of your initial directors.
One of the benefits of a Louisiana corporation is the limited liability that helps protect directors and officers (LA Rev Stat § 12:1-832). However, if you want to limit or remove these protections, you can include a statement of rejection or limitation in your Articles.
How much does it cost to start a Louisiana corporation?
Louisiana’s Commercial Division charges a $75 filing fee to submit Articles of Incorporation. Filing online? Note that there’s also a $5 convenience fee for credit cards.
Hire Northwest to form your Louisiana corporation and your total, out-the-door cost is $305, including state filing fees.
How long does it take to start a Louisiana corporation?
File your Articles of Incorporation online using the state’s geauxBIZ portal, and it’ll take about 2 days. Mail your filing and wait about 3-5 days for processing.
If you hire Northwest to start your corporation, we file online and typically have your Louisiana corporation formed within 2 business days.
Does Louisiana have a parish recording requirement for corporations?
Yes, after filing with the state, Louisiana requires corporations to “record” formation documents on the local level as well. Within 30 days of incorporation, your Louisiana corporation must submit formation documents to the Clerk Court in the parish where the registered agent’s office is located.
This filing comes with additional fees which typically add up to between $75 and $100. Check out our Guide to Recording a Certificate of Incorporation in Louisiana for step-by-step recording instructions.
Does a Louisiana corporation need a registered agent?
Absolutely. Your corporation must appoint a Louisiana registered agent. Some people try to save a few bucks and appoint themselves as their corporation’s registered agent. This strategy can backfire though—being your own registered agent can end up costing you privacy, time, and flexibility. Registered agents have to list the street address where they’ll be available to accept legal notifications. This address becomes part of the permanent public record of your corporation—attracting junk mail and solicitors. You’ll also have to actually be at the address you list during business hours. Not sitting in meetings. Not running errands. Not hiking in Kisatchie.
A better option? Hire an expert registered agent service like Northwest. We’re in the business of being available. Our address will go on your public formation documents, and we’ll be there ready and waiting to accept your legal notifications. We’ll even scan and send them the same day, so you can run your business on your time.
Create Bylaws for Your Louisiana Corporation
Do I need bylaws?
Absolutely. While your bylaws aren’t mandatory public filings like your Articles or Annual Reports, they are a critical part of the formation of your Louisiana corporation. The state is mostly interested in knowing how to contact your Louisiana corporation and ensuring your business keeps up on its taxes and fees. The specific details of your corporate operations—like how many members it takes to vote on a resolution—aren’t of much interest to the state. These sorts of specific details, however, are crucial to your business.
Why are corporate bylaws important?
Your bylaws are where you get to define how your corporation works internally. For your board of directors, your bylaws will explain who’s on the board, what the scope of their powers are, how long they’ll stay, and how they’ll be replaced. You’ll list the details of your corporation’s stock, such as classes, series and voting rights. You’ll list the officers and their responsibilities. Essentially, the bylaws that you adopt will spell out exactly how your company will run and how much authority each person will have—pretty important stuff.
How do I begin writing bylaws?
Creating bylaws can be overwhelming, but Northwest is happy to help. When you hire Northwest to form your Louisiana corporation, we’ll give you free corporate bylaws. We’ll give you loads of other free corporate forms as well, from resolutions to meeting minute templates. We want to work with your business for years to come, so it’s important for us that you start off on the right foot. Check out the free corporate forms we provide to help corporations form and maintain their businesses.
Get an EIN for Your Louisiana Corporation
Do I have to get a tax ID number (EIN)?
Yes, you’ll need a federal tax ID (also called an “EIN” or “FEIN”) for your Louisiana corporation. It’s required for federal tax filings and for local paperwork as well. For example, if you operate in East Baton Rouge Parish, you’ll need your EIN for your mandatory Business Registration Application.
How do you get a federal tax ID? You can fill out all the paperwork and apply directly with the IRS for no fee. Or, skip the extra forms and hire Northwest. Just add on EIN service during checkout when you hire us to form your Louisiana corporation.
Open a Bank Account for Your Louisiana Corporation
To open a corporate bank account, you will need to bring the following to the bank:
- A copy of the Louisiana corporation’s Articles of Incorporation
- The Louisiana corporation’s bylaws
- The Louisiana 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 that states that the person going to the bank is authorized by the business to open the account in the name of the corporation.
We recommend calling your bank ahead of time before going in and asking what their requirements are. Most banks don’t open corporate accounts nearly as frequently as personal accounts, so some bankers may be unfamiliar with their own bank’s requirements. As frustrating as that may be for you, calling ahead will help save you from being super annoyed when you walk into the bank.
Obtain a Business License
Does a Louisiana corporation need a business license?
Louisiana doesn’t have a general, state-level business license, but cities and parishes often have their own requirements. (For those new to the Pelican State, Louisiana has parishes, not counties.)
For instance, businesses operating in East Baton Rouge Parish file a Business Registration Application to obtain an “Occupational License.” Similarly, Orleans Parish requires all businesses to get an “Occupational/General Business License” from the Bureau of Revenue.
File Louisiana Corporation Reports
What is a Louisiana Annual Report?
Your Louisiana Annual Report is a form you submit to the Secretary of State each year to confirm or update your corporation’s business information. The initial Louisiana report must be filed along with your Articles of Incorporation. The annual report is due on your Louisiana corporation’s anniversary. Because most people don’t celebrate corporate anniversaries like they do birthdays and wedding anniversaries, it’s easy to miss this filing deadline. While there’s no late fee, the state will eventually dissolve your corporation if your report remains unfiled.
At Northwest, we help ensure our clients stay in compliance—that’s why we send our clients reminder notifications to file reports. For just $100 plus state fees, we can take on this annoying task for you and file your Louisiana Initial and Annual Reports, so you can focus on more important things—like running your business.
How much does a corporation in Louisiana cost each year?
At least $30. Every year, your corporation is required to pay the $30 filing fee to submit the mandatory Louisiana Annual Report. There’s also a $5 fee for credit card processing.
Pay Corporate Taxes
What are the taxes for a Louisiana corporation?
Louisiana has both a corporate net income tax and a franchise tax that apply to corporations. The Louisiana corporate net income tax rates are:
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 franchise tax rate is $1.50 for each $1,000 of capital in the State of Louisiana. After $300K of capital, the rate jumps to $3 per $1,000.
The state sales tax rate is actually fairly low at 4.45%. On average, however, customers will pay 8.925% at the counter—nearly double the state rate. This is because cities can add on local sales taxes up to 7%. For comparison, below are the average total sales tax rates for the 5 largest cities in the state:
New Orleans: 9.26%
Baton Rouge: 9.21%
What are the taxes for Louisiana S corporations?
In most states, businesses with an S corporation tax election are considered pass-through entities (meaning income passes through the business and is taxed on personal returns). Essentially, this means S corporations don’t usually pay entity-level income taxes like corporate net income taxes.
In Louisiana, however, S corps are mostly treated like regular corporations. S corporations have to pay the corporate franchise tax, AND they sometimes pay the corporate income tax. Why sometimes? Louisiana tax regulations are a bit unusual here, strongly favoring resident shareholders. If shareholders are Louisiana residents, the S corp can typically “exclude” their income from corporate net income tax. However, if some shareholders are nonresidents, then a ratio of the S corp’s income will be subject to corporate net income tax.