To start an LLC in Louisiana, you must file Articles of Organization with the Louisiana Commercial Division. You can file the document online or by mail. The Articles of Organization cost $100 to file. Once filed with the state, this document formally creates your Louisiana LLC. However, to actually ready the LLC to do business, you must complete several additional steps.
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How to Start an LLC in Louisiana
To start an LLC in Louisiana, you’ll need to do three things: appoint a registered agent, choose a name for your business, and file Articles of Organization with the Louisiana Commercial Division. You can file the document online or by mail (in some parishes). The articles cost $100 to file. (Plus a $5 credit card fee if you file online.) Once filed with the state, this document formally creates your Louisiana LLC.
According to Louisiana Revised Statute § 12:1-501, every Louisiana LLC must appoint and maintain a registered agent (sometimes called an agent for service of process). 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 Louisiana Secretary of State Business Filings Search 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 Louisiana Articles of Organization. Follow along with our filing instructions below:
Filing the Louisiana 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.
Louisiana’s paper version of the Articles of Organization are divided into three parts: the Transmittal Form, the articles, and the Initial Report. Though they are technically three separate forms, it may be easiest to think of them collectively as the Articles of Organization, as they must be submitted together in order to form your LLC. The articles and initial report must be notarized as well.
Paper filings are not an option for everyone. Business owners in the following parishes must file business documents online via geauxBIZ: Ascension, Bossier, Caddo, Calcasieu, East Baton Rouge, Jefferson, Lafayette, Livingston, Orleans, Ouachita, Rapides, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa and Terrebonne.
When you file online, the documents aren’t separated out like they are on paper. You won’t necessarily see the words “transmittal form” or “initial report” when you file articles online. But, you will be directed through a huge process, as geauxBIZ (the state’s online filing system) tries to combine tax registration and Workforce Commission registration together with your business registration.
The information below details the requirements of both the paper and online forms. Duplicate questions have mostly been omitted. (For example, the paper forms ask for your company name three different times. Below, you’ll only see one “company name” entry.)
Many people find the whole process confusing, regardless of whether they file online or by mail. Skip the form(s) entirely and hire us to form your Louisiana LLC. We provide a free business address to list whenever possible throughout the filing to better keep your personal address private. Looking for a low-cost way to start a business? Pay just $45 out the door with our VIP monthly payment option.
1. Service Requests and Payment
On the paper form, you need to indicate if payment is enclosed and if the documents should receive standard or expedited processing. There are corresponding boxes to check.
2. Tax Information
If filing online, you have the option to include additional tax information so that you can register with the state tax and employment departments. This section will also ask if you have employees. Note that if you choose to provide this information at this time, you’ll typically need your EIN. (Usually, businesses get their EIN after formation, but it is possible to apply for an EIN prior to formation).
3. LLC Ownership Type
The online form asks how your business is classified for taxation by the IRS. You can select from “corporation,” “partnership,” or “sole proprietorship.” Unless you’ve chosen to be taxed as a corporation, a multi-member LLC is classified as a partnership. A single-member LLC is classified as a sole proprietorship (technically a disregard entity, but we understand the state not overcomplicating the language here).
4. Company Name
Your name must include “Limited Liability Company” or an abbreviation like “LLC.” The name cannot already be in use by a different Louisiana entity.
5. Document Filer Name and Address
On the paper form, the person submitting the documents will need to write their name and mailing address. The submitter might be you or another member of your LLC, or it might be a business like Northwest. Hire Northwest, and we’ll put our information here.
You can either tick the box with the general purpose that says your business is formed for “engaging in any lawful activity,” or you can choose to limit your LLC’s activities. Most businesses go for the general purpose.
Most LLCs don’t have a set expiration date—they continue unless they are dissolved. If you’d like to include a self-destruct timer for your LLC, however, you can include an end date in your articles.
8. Other Provisions
Louisiana allows you to put a lot of additional information in your Articles of Organization. For example, LA Rev Stat § 12:1316 states that voting power of managers can be addressed in an articles provision. But, you can also keep your articles as simple as possible and skip this step. (If you want to discuss your LLC’s operations at length, your operating agreement is a great place to do that.)
Whoever is submitting the documents needs to sign here on the paper filing.
Prior to the articles’ filing, they must be notarized. This is a unique requirement, and yet it is essential—though only if you file on paper. The Initial Report that you file with your articles must be notarized, too. If you file online, the notary requirement is nixed.
11. Registered Office
This Louisiana street address will become a part of the permanent record for your LLC. (On the online form, there is also a place to list a mailing address.) When you hire Northwest, our address will go here.
12. Registered Agent
Your Louisiana registered agent can be an individual person (as long as they have a Louisiana address) or a business (like Northwest) that offers registered agent service.
13. Members or Managers
In a member-managed LLC, members share decision-making powers. In a manager-managed LLC, members give these powers to one or more managers. If your LLC is managed by its members, you’ll include the names and addresses of the members. If your LLC is managed by managers, you’ll include the names and addresses of the managers.
The same person or people who signed the articles will need to sign the initial report, as well. For the online form, this is the first time a signature is required.
15. Registered Agent Signature
When filing the paper form, your registered agent will need to verify that they accept the appointment by signing here. If filing online, your registered agent will need to respond to an email from the Commercial Division confirming the appointment in lieu of a signature.
Why Have a Registered Agent Form Your Louisiana LLC?
Professionals in Louisiana 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. We have an office in Lafayette, LA. We’re on a first name basis with the people who work in the Louisiana Commercial Division. We know all the fastest filing methods, which translates to fast, professional service—without extra fees.
As your registered agent, we list our Lafayette registered office address on your LLC’s formation documents. Why? If you’re starting a business from your apartment in New Orleans, 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, Business Address and More
At Northwest, we do everything a registered agent should do and more. You can list our address as your business address on your state filings. We include limited digital mail forwarding with registered agent service (up to 5 pieces of regular mail per year; $15 a doc after that).
Plan on accepting credit cards? We also offer a Free Credit Card Processing Consultation. Our specialists work with processors to negotiate low rates and better contracts for our clients.
And now, try our in-house Northwest Phone Service for 60 days, free of charge with our formation service. Get a virtual phone number with your choice of area code, make and receive calls from any device, and more—for just $9 a month.
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 Louisiana.
What Do I Do After My Louisiana LLC Is Formed?
After your Louisiana 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 a Louisiana LLC need an EIN?
Most likely. You’ll need your EIN before you can register with Louisiana’s Department of Revenue—so if your LLC has to file any state taxes, like sales taxes, you’ll need an EIN. You’ll also need an EIN if you have employees, and you’ll likely use your EIN when you open a business bank account.
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.
For more on Louisiana operating agreements (including free operating agreement templates), see our Louisiana LLC Operating Agreement resource.
Do I need an operating agreement for a Louisiana LLC?
Louisiana LLCs are not legally required to have an operating agreement. Though there isn’t a state statute that explicitly dictates an operating agreement’s necessity or lack thereof, Louisiana Revised Statute § 12:1319 says that if a written operating agreement exists, a copy of it should be kept at the LLC’s registered office.
Even though an operating agreement isn’t legally required, you should still have one. In fact, an operating agreement is one of your company’s most important internal documents. An operating agreement can help your LLC with everything from opening a bank account to handling major events like mergers and 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.
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 Louisiana law.
For example, Louisiana RS § 12:1334 says that your operating agreement can even specify the events that may lead to the LLC’s dissolution.
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 Louisiana LLC?
To open a bank account for your Louisiana LLC, you will need to bring the following with you to the bank:
A copy of the Louisiana 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 Louisiana laws.
File Louisiana Reports & Taxes
Louisiana LLCs are required to file a state report each year. This report is basically an information update you file so the state knows who currently runs things and how to contact your business. Louisiana LLCs are also subject to state tax filing requirements.
How much is the Louisiana Annual Report fee?
The fee for the Louisiana Annual Report is $30 (plus $5 if you pay by credit card.) If you fail to file, you’ll lose your good standing with the state. After three years of delinquency, your LLC will be administratively dissolved.
When is the Louisiana Annual Report due?
Your Louisiana Annual Report is due before your anniversary date each year. So, if your LLC was initially formed on July 17, your annual report will always be due prior to July 17.
When you sign up for Northwest, we send you reminders for your annual report due dates. Want one less thing to worry about? With our business renewal service, we can complete and submit your annual report for you for $100 plus the state fee.
What is the Louisiana LLC Initial Report?
Louisiana’s LLC Initial Report is basically just an extension of the paper Articles of Organization. In fact, your articles won’t be processed if they’re filed without the report. There is no additional fee to file. If you file your articles online, the Initial Report questions are blended with the articles, so you won’t necessarily see the words “initial report.”
What should I know about Louisiana LLC taxes?
Louisiana’s personal income tax rate is marginal, with three brackets:
$50,000 and up: 6%.
The state also has a 4.45% sales tax—although cities and parishes can stack on local sales taxes as well. The maximum total sales tax tops out at 12.95% (which you can find in Tullos), but the average total sales tax is 8.936%.
Louisiana property taxes are also worth noting, as they are some of the lowest in the country. The median annual property tax payment is $919 in Louisiana, which is quite a bit below the national median payment of more than $2,500.
Do LLCs have to register with the Louisiana Department Of Revenue?
Most likely. If your LLC will be collecting or paying any state taxes, you’ll need to register with the Louisiana Department of Revenue. One common registration reason is if you’ll be collecting sales tax, though other taxes may apply, such as alcohol or tobacco tax. You can register online through the Louisiana Taxpayer Access Point (LaTAP).
Louisiana LLC FAQs
How can I submit the Louisiana LLC Articles of Organization?
You can file Louisiana articles online or by mail (sometimes). Many parishes in Louisiana don’t allow for paper filings. In Lafayette where our office is, for example, all business documents must be filed online. But, if you really want to file by mail, your parish allows it, and you’re willing to get your documents notarized, you can submit your articles to the following address:
PO Box 94125
Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9125
How much does it cost to start a Louisiana LLC?
The filing fee for your Louisiana LLC Articles of Organization is $100 (plus $5 if you pay by credit card). Add $30 for 24-hour expediting, or $50 for processing that takes 2-4 hours.
Hire Northwest for a one-time fee of $330, including state filing fees, a year of registered agent service, limited mail forwarding and loads of useful forms and tools to help get your Louisiana LLC up and running. Or, pay just $45 out the door with our VIP monthly payment option.
How long does it take to start a Louisiana LLC?
Filings average 2-4 business days for processing, but can take up to 7 business days. Pay extra for expediting and your documents can be filed in 24 hours or less.
If you hire Northwest to start your LLC, we file online and typically have your Louisiana LLC formed within 2 days.
Does a Louisiana LLC need a business license?
There is not a statewide general business license requirement in Louisiana. However, some industries and professions—such as engineers, home inspectors, and florists—do need state-level licensing. There also may be license requirements at the city or parish level. In Orleans Parish, for example, an Occupational/General Business license is required prior to conducting business, along with a fee that varies based on the business type and gross sales. Caddo Parish has a similar licensing requirement, though the license there costs a flat $50.
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.
Can a Louisiana LLC help me live more privately?
While you can’t remove all ownership information from a Louisiana public filing (like you can in states like New Mexico, Delaware, and Wyoming), a Louisiana LLC can still help you reduce your public footprint. You can maintain some address privacy by listing our address on public docs instead of your own where applicable. Check out our page on living privately with an LLC to learn more.
What is a foreign Louisiana LLC?
A foreign Louisiana LLC is any LLC formed outside of Louisiana but registered to do business in the state. For example, if you formed an LLC in Texas but wanted to conduct business in Louisiana as well, you would register as a foreign LLC in Louisiana by filing an Application for Authority to Transact Business in Louisiana with the Commercial Division. Like domestic LLCs, foreign LLCs in the state have to file annual Louisiana annual reports. Northwest can register your foreign Louisiana LLC for you today!
How can I get a Louisiana phone number for my LLC?
It’s a conundrum: you need a local number to display on your website and give to customers, but you don’t want to make your personal number quite so…public. We get it. And we’ve got you covered with Northwest Phone Service. We can provide you with a virtual phone number in any state—plus unlimited call forwarding and tons of easy-to-use features. You can try Phone Service free for 60 days when you hire us to form your LLC, and maintaining service is just $9 monthly after that. No contract required.
How to Order LLC Formation Service
Our Louisiana 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 $45 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 Louisiana Articles of Organization and send them to the Commercial Division 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 Louisiana Commercial Division has approved your filing, we notify you that your Louisiana LLC has been legally formed. You can now take any necessary next steps, like getting an EIN and opening a bank account.