Arizona LLC Formation Options
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How to Start an LLC in Arizona
To start an LLC in Arizona, you’ll need to do three things: appoint a registered agent, choose a name for your business, and file Articles of Organization with the Arizona Corporation Commission. You can file the document online, by mail or in person. The articles cost $50 to file. Once filed with the state, this document formally creates your Arizona LLC.
According to AZ Rev Stat § 29-3115 (2020), every Arizona LLC must appoint a registered agent (also known as a statutory agent). You don’t need to hire a registered agent, but if you do, make sure your registered agent will list their address on your articles wherever possible to ensure maximum privacy.
If you’re starting a new business, you probably already know what you want to name your LLC. But you’ll need to know if your preferred name is available. To find out, visit https://ecorp.azcc.gov/EntitySearch/Index and search until you find the perfect name for your LLC.
Once you know who your registered agent will be and what your LLC name is, you’re ready to file your Arizona Articles of Organization. Follow along with our filing instructions below:
Filing the Arizona LLC Articles of Organization
Learn more about each Articles of Organization requirement below. Note that the information you provide becomes part of the public record—permanently.
Or skip the form entirely and hire us to form your Arizona LLC. We provide a free business address to list whenever possible throughout the filing to better keep your personal address private.
1. Entity Type
Arizona uses the same form for both professional and standard LLCs, so you’ll need to tick the right box. Most LLCs are standard. PLLCs offer the service of licensed professionals (like architects or accountants).
2. Entity Name
You must include “Limited Liability Company” or “Limited Company” in your name, or an abbreviation like “LLC.” Professional LLCs must include “Professional Limited Liability Company” or an abbreviation. Words like “bank” or “trust” require approval from the Arizona Department of Financial Institutions (and yes, you actually have to be in banking to get approval).
3. Professional Services
PLLCs have to describe what professional services they provide. Don’t have a PLLC? Skip this section.
4. Statutory Agent
You can put your own name and street address or someone else’s (as long as you’re Arizona residents). Or, you can list a business like Northwest that provides statutory agent service, and we’ll list our address on this public document instead of yours. Reminder: “statutory agent” is the state’s way of saying “Arizona registered agent.”
5. Principal Address
If you plan to use your statutory agent’s address as your public business address in Arizona, you can just tick the “yes” box and skip to the next section. Otherwise, you can list a different Arizona street address in the space provided. An added bonus of using our address here? Our office is in Pima County, one of two Arizona counties where you don’t have to personally file a notice of publication in local newspapers after forming your LLC.
6. LLC Management
Are you “member-managed” or “manager-managed”? If the members of your Arizona LLC make decisions for the company, then you are member-managed. If decision-making powers are vested in one or more managers, you are manager-managed. In your articles, you don’t just tick the appropriate box. You also have to fill out an appropriate attachment: either a Member Structure Attachment or a Manager Structure Attachment, where you include the names and addresses of members and managers. Just like your articles, these documents are public. Many people opt not to put personal addresses and use their business or statutory agent’s address instead. (Hire us and you can use our address here.)
7. Arizona LLC Organizer
“Organizer” may sound like a fancy, official position like “director” or “manager,” but it’s just the person who signs and submits your Arizona LLC Articles of Organization. The organizer doesn’t need to be a member or manager. When you hire Northwest to form your Arizona LLC, we’ll be your organizer.
8. Cover Sheet
Submitting with a paper form? The Arizona Corporation Commission requires a special cover sheet for every document you submit. On the sheet, you indicate if you want regular or expedited processing, your payment method, and how you want to receive your documents (email, mail, pick up). For better security, instead of listing your personal email or address, use ours when you hire us.
Why Have a Registered Agent Form Your Arizona LLC?
Professionals in Arizona hire registered agent services like Northwest Registered Agent to start an LLC—but why?
Standard filing companies don’t have employees or offices in every state. But as a national registered agent, it’s a requirement for us, which is a benefit for our clients. Our office is in Oro Valley, AZ. We’re on a first name basis with the people who work in the Corporations Division. We know all the fastest filing methods, which translates to fast, professional service—without extra fees.
As your registered agent, we list our Oro Valley registered office address on your LLC’s formation documents. Why? If you’re starting a business from your apartment in Phoenix, do you really want your apartment address as your business address? (Hint: the answer is no.) We’ll list our address, so you don’t have to list yours. Plus, we never sell your data. We don’t list your personal information on filings if we don’t have to. It’s all standard and part of our commitment to Privacy by Default®.
Free Mail Forwarding and Business Address
We already accept your legal mail—so why not take it a step further? In every state, we include limited digital mail forwarding for your regular mail too (5 pieces of regular mail a year; $15 a doc after that). Plus, you can list our address as your business address. That means you can have all business mail routed through our office. With both mail forwarding and a business address included, you get a level of security unmatched in the formation industry.
We know the in’s and out’s of each state—and we use this knowledge to help you when you need it most. Our team of Corporate Guides® has over 200 local business experts. You can call or email us for answers to all your questions about your LLC in Arizona. Our Corporate Guides are dedicated solely to helping you with your business—not selling you services or meeting quotas.
What Do I Do After My Arizona LLC Is Formed?
After your Arizona Articles of Organization are approved, you still have a few more important steps to take, including getting an EIN, drafting an operating agreement, opening a bank account, funding the LLC and learning about state reporting and tax requirements.
Get an EIN
An EIN (“Employer Identification Number”) is a federal tax ID assigned to your business by the IRS. The IRS uses your EIN to easily identify your business on tax filings.
Does an Arizona LLC need an EIN?
Most likely. You’ll need an EIN if you want to hire employees or if you submit special tax filings like Alcohol/Tobacco/Firearms returns. You may need an EIN to open a business bank account, establish credit with a vendor, or fill out local tax forms. Since EINs are free from the IRS, it just makes sense to get one.
How do I get an EIN for my LLC?
You can apply for an EIN directly from the IRS at no cost. Most businesses are able to apply online, but if you don’t have a social security number, you’ll need to apply with a paper form. Want one less thing to do? Add on EIN service when you hire us, and we’ll get your EIN for you. Or choose our VIP service—an EIN is included.
Write an LLC Operating Agreement
Operating agreements put into writing how your business actually operates—how much each member invested, how profits and losses will be allocated, how voting works, and what happens if there’s a dispute or if the whole business (knock on wood) falls apart.
Do I need an operating agreement for an Arizona LLC?
An Arizona LLC is not required to have an operating agreement. If there is no operating agreement, the LLC’s governance and rules revert to whatever is dictated by state statute.
Because an operating agreement isn’t legally required, it may be tempting skip. However, an operating agreement isn’t just tedious paperwork. It’s one of your LLC’s most important internal documents— creating one can help your LLC with everything from opening a bank account to handling major events from mergers to dissolution.
What should be in an operating agreement?
An operating agreement should explain how the business will handle “big picture” situations—everything from allocating profits and losses to dissolving the business. Below is a list of common topics that operating agreements should cover.
- Initial investments
- Profits, losses, and distributions
- Voting rights, decision-making powers, and management
- Transfer of membership interest
- Dissolving the business
Your operating agreement can cover pretty much anything as long as it isn’t contrary to Arizona law. Topics not allowed to be changed in the operating agreement are listed in the Arizona statute A.R.S. § 29-3105, which forbids actions such as varying the requirements of statutory agents and unreasonably restricting the rights of members.
How do I write an operating agreement?
To write an operating agreement, you need to address how your business will handle money, members, votes, management, and more. Not sure how to get started? At Northwest, we’re here to help your LLC get off on the right foot. When you hire us, we provide your business with a free LLC operating agreement, specific to your management style. We’ve spent years developing these agreements and other free LLC forms—which have been used by over a million LLCs.
Open an LLC Bank Account
Your LLC needs its own bank account. Why? An LLC gets its limited liability from being a distinct entity, separate from its members. If you mix personal and business finances, you could lose your liability protections.
How do I open a bank account for my Arizona LLC?
To open a bank account for your Arizona LLC, you will need to bring the following with you to the bank:
- A copy of the Arizona LLC Articles of Organization
- The LLC operating agreement
- The LLC’s EIN
If there are multiple members in the LLC, you may also want to bring an LLC resolution to open a bank account that states that the person going to the bank is authorized by the members to open the account in the name of the LLC. Northwest can help with this as well—LLC bank resolutions are one of the many free legal forms we provide to ensure you can get your LLC started fast.
Fund the LLC
Time to put some money in that new LLC bank account. What money? For starters, your initial contributions to your LLC’s capital. LLC members are owners, and each owner needs to pay for their membership interest to fund the LLC.
What is membership interest?
Membership interest is your percentage of ownership of the LLC. Membership interest is normally proportionate to your investment. So how does this work?
Imagine your LLC has 5 members. 4 members each invest $1,000 in the business. One member invests $6,000. The total contribution of all members is $10,000. The 4 members each own 10% of the business. The moneybags member who shelled out $6,000 owns 60% of the business.
Typically, this also means that the 4 members would each get 10% of any profits, and moneybags would get 60%. Exactly how profits and losses are allocated, however, can be adjusted in the operating agreement as long as changes are in line with IRS requirements and Arizona laws.
File Arizona Reports & Taxes
Arizona is one of the few states that does not require LLCs to file state reports. (Arizona corporations aren’t as lucky—they do have to file annual reports and pay applicable fees.) Though annual reports don’t need to be worried over, Arizona LLCs are subject to state tax filing requirements.
What should I know about Arizona LLC taxes?
The Arizona tax rates for personal net income vary:
- 2.59%: $0 to $26,500
- 3.34%: $26,501 to $53,000
- 4.17%: $53,001 to $159,000
- 4.5%: $159,001+
Arizona does not have a sales tax—in its place is a business privilege tax. This differs from a sales tax because the responsibility of payment falls upon the seller, rather than the buyer. (Of course, sellers often treat it like a sales tax by passing the payment burden along to the buyer.) Arizona has a flat business privilege tax rate of 5.6%. Cities and counties can also have their own tax rates. For example, retail establishments in Phoenix are taxed at 2.3%, plus 0.7% from Maricopa County, for a total of 8.6%. While business privilege tax rates can also change based on the service, they are often the same across many industries.
A transaction privilege tax license must be obtained for all business locations and lines. (Or you can get a consolidated license instead.) Licenses are applied for via the Arizona Joint Tax Application. Each license costs $12 with the state. Most businesses need to report and pay their transaction privilege tax monthly to the Arizona Department of Revenue. (Annual reporting may be granted for businesses making less than $2,000 a year; for businesses making $2,000-$8,000, quarterly reporting may be an option.)
While you figure out how Arizona’s tax nuances will impact your business, let us handle your LLC’s formation. At Northwest, we can form your Arizona LLC for as low as $310.
Do LLCs have to register with the Arizona Department Of Revenue?
Yes. Your LLC must register with the Arizona Department of Revenue prior to conducting any taxable business in the state.
Arizona LLC FAQs
How can I submit the Arizona LLC Articles of Organization?
You can file Arizona articles online, by mail, or in person. For online filings, you’ll need to create an account with eCorp (the Arizona Corporation Commission’s online filing system). Paper filings must be submitted with a cover sheet to:
Arizona Corporation Commission
1300 W. Washington St.
Phoenix, Arizona 85007
How much does it cost to start an Arizona LLC?
The filing fee for your Arizona LLC Articles of Organization is $50. However, paying only the standard fee means you could wait a month for processing. Expedited processing is an extra $35. Next-day service adds $100, same-day service adds $200, and two-hour service adds $400.
Hire Northwest for a one-time fee of $310, including state filing fees, a year of registered agent service, limited mail forwarding and loads of useful forms and tools to help get your Arizona LLC up and running. Or, pay just $33 out-the-door with our VIP monthly payment option.
How long does it take to start an Arizona LLC?
Regular processing typically takes 30 days or less. Expedited processing is usually completed within five days.
If you hire Northwest to start your LLC, we file online and typically have your expedited Arizona LLC formed within 24 hours.
Does an Arizona LLC need a business license?
Most likely. Arizona doesn’t require a business license at the state level, but many cities and towns issue licenses. In Yuma, for example, there are two different business license applications—one for home-based businesses, and one for businesses that operate outside the home. Flagstaff follows a similar pattern: all businesses require licensing, and home-based businesses must obtain an additional permit. Keep in mind that licensing for your specific industry may be a requirement as well. And, remember that you’ll also need a transaction privilege tax license if this tax applies to you.
Need an EIN or a certified copy of your formation docs for your license applications? Northwest can help. You can easily add on these items to your LLC formation order.
What are the publishing requirements for an Arizona LLC?
Arizona is one of the few states that requires some businesses to publish notification of formation. Most Arizona LLCs will have to publish a notice in a local newspaper for three consecutive issues of the paper. (“Local” is a relative term here. The newspaper must be located in the same county as your statutory agent’s address.) After you submit Articles of Organization, you’ll receive an approval letter from the Arizona Corporation Commission, which will include directions for publication. There is typically a fee for publication, but rates for each newspaper vary.
Good news, however, if your business is located in Maricopa or Pima County. These two counties automatically publish a notice for you online in the Public Notice Database for no fee. Our Northwest office is in Pima County—so when you hire us and list our address as your principal address, you can skip this headache entirely.
Can an Arizona LLC help me live more privately?
Yes, it can. While you can’t remove all ownership information from Arizona public filings (like you can in states like New Mexico, Delaware, and Wyoming), an Arizona LLC can still help you reduce your public footprint. For instance, you can better protect your address privacy by listing our address on public docs instead of your own. Check out our page on living privately with an LLC to learn more.
What is a foreign Arizona LLC?
A foreign Arizona LLC is any LLC formed outside of Arizona but registered to do business in the state. For example, if you formed an LLC in Utah but wanted to conduct business in Arizona as well, you would register as a foreign LLC in Arizona by filing an Application for Admission to Transact Business with the Arizona Secretary of State. Like domestic LLCs, foreign LLCs in the state have to file annual Arizona annual reports. Northwest can register your foreign Arizona LLC for you today!
How to Order LLC Formation Service
Our Arizona LLC formation service is designed to be fast and easy—signing up takes just a couple minutes. Here’s how it works:
With Northwest, we give you flexibility on how to pay. You can pay all the fees up front (this includes one full year of registered agent service). Or, pay just $33 out-the-door with our VIP monthly payment option. With our VIP option, we also include an EIN. Just choose one of the buttons below, answer a few easy questions about your business and submit your payment.
We’ll prepare your Arizona Articles of Organization and send them to the Arizona Corporation Commission for approval. In the meantime, you’ll have immediate access to your online account, where you can find useful state forms, pre-populated with your business information.
Once the Arizona Corporation Commission has approved your filing, we notify you that your Arizona LLC has been legally formed. You can now take any necessary next steps, like getting an EIN and opening a bank account.