To start an LLC in Michigan, you must file Articles of Organization with the Michigan Corporations Division. You can file the document online or by mail. The Articles of Organization cost $50 to file. Once filed with the state, this document formally creates your Michigan LLC. However, to actually ready the LLC to do business, you must complete several additional steps.
Everything You Need to Know About Michigan LLCs:
Michigan LLC Formation Options
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How to Start an LLC in Michigan
To start an LLC in Michigan, you’ll need to do three things: appoint a registered agent, choose a name for your business, and file Articles of Organization with the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). You can file the document online, by mail, or in person. (In-person services are suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic.) The articles cost $50 to file. Once filed with the state, this document formally creates your Michigan LLC.
According to Michigan Compiled Law § 450.4207, every Michigan LLC must appoint a resident agent (also called a “registered 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 the Michigan Business Entity 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 Michigan Articles of Organization. Follow along with our filing instructions below:
Filing the Michigan 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 Michigan LLC. We provide a free business address to list whenever possible throughout the filing to better keep your personal address private. Prefer to start a business on a budget? Pay just $40 out the door with our VIP monthly payment option.
1. Company Name
You have to include “Limited Liability Company” or an abbreviation like “LLC.” You can’t use a name that is the same or too similar to one already in use in the state.
If you want to narrow or otherwise specify the purpose of your business, you can add an optional sentence or two in this section. But, the form already includes a sufficient general purpose, so many LLCs skip this section.
Unless you want to add an expiration date for your LLC, you can skip this section too.
4. Resident Agent and Registered Office
Your Michigan registered agent (referred to on Michigan’s articles as a “resident agent”) must be available during business hours to accept legal notices for your LLC. You can list yourself, someone else, or a service like Northwest. You’ll also need to include a physical address for the registered office, which will become a permanent part of the public record. Hire Northwest, and our information will go here.
5. Additional Provisions
You can include additional information in your articles, as long as the provisions are allowed by state statute. For example, if your LLC will be manager-managed as opposed to member-managed, you can indicate that here.
6. Effective Date
On the online form, there’s an option to add an effective start date up to 90 days in the future. You’ll leave this blank unless you want your LLC’s formation to be delayed (perhaps until next tax year?).
7. Organizer Signature
The organizer is just the person who signs and submits the articles. This person can be a member or manager of your LLC, but doesn’t have to be. Hire us to form your LLC, and we’ll be your organizer.
8. Submitter/Preparer Information
Michigan needs the name and contact information of the person submitting the documents. When you hire Northwest, our information will go here.
You have the option to pay extra to expedite your articles. If you’d like to expedite, you’ll indicate which expedite option you’re choosing. Expediting ranges from $50 for 24-hour service to $1,000 for 1-hour service.
Why Have a Registered Agent Form Your Michigan LLC?
Professionals in Michigan 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 Okemos, MI. 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 Okemos registered office address on your LLC’s formation documents. Why? If you’re starting a business from your apartment in Detroit, 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 Michigan.
What Do I Do After My Michigan LLC Is Formed?
After your Michigan 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 Michigan LLC need an EIN?
Most likely. You’ll need an EIN if you have employees, when you register to pay sales tax, 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 Michigan operating agreements (including free operating agreement templates), see our Michigan LLC Operating Agreement resource.
Do I need an operating agreement for a Michigan LLC?
Michigan doesn’t legally require an operating agreement. There is no state statute that says this explicitly, but there also isn’t a statute that declares an operating agreement’s legal necessity. Instead, there are many state statutes that discuss what an operating agreement may address, and what the default solution is if a topic isn’t addressed. For example, MCL § 450.4402 says that an operating agreement can state the requirements of an LLC’s managers (if manager-managed), such as how many managers the LLC must have. If an operating agreement doesn’t address this, then there would be no rule regarding the number of managers.
Though not legally required, an operating agreement is one of your LLC’s most important internal documents. Creating one can help 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 Michigan law. For example, MCL § 450.4501 states that an operating agreement may outline the LLC’s requirements for member admission and MCL § 450.4502 says an operating agreement may establish members’ voting rights.
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 Michigan LLC?
To open a bank account for your Michigan LLC, you will need to bring the following with you to the bank:
A copy of the Michigan 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 Michigan laws.
File Michigan Reports & Taxes
Michigan 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. Michigan LLCs are also subject to state tax filing requirements.
How much is the Michigan Annual Report fee?
The fee for the Michigan Annual Report is $25. Your LLC will be administratively dissolved if no report is filed for two years.
When is the Michigan Annual Report due?
Your Michigan Annual Report is due by February 15 each year. The exception to this is if you form your LLC after September 30. In that case, you wait to file. For example, if your LLC is formed in October 2021, your first annual report would be due by February 15, 2023.
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 should I know about Michigan LLC taxes?
Michigan has a flat personal income tax rate of 4.25%. The state also has a 6% sales tax. Unlike many other states, Michigan does not allow local municipalities to add their own sales tax, so the rate is 6% no matter where in the state you are.
In contrast to its relatively low personal income and sales tax rates, Michigan has some of the highest property tax rates in the country. Rates are determined by county, but the state’s average effective property tax rate is well above the national average, at 1.45%. If the property tax doesn’t scare you away and you decide to invest in Michigan property, your attorney will likely advise creating an LLC to protect your personal assets. At Northwest, we can form your Michigan LLC for as low as $275. Or, pay just $31 out the door with our VIP monthly payment option.
Do LLCs have to register with the Michigan Department of Treasury?
Most likely. All LLCs with employees will need to register. Companies that collect sales tax will need to register in order to obtain a sales tax license. You can register at Michigan Treasury Online.
Michigan LLC FAQs
How can I submit the Michigan LLC Articles of Organization?
You can file Michigan articles online with the LARA Corporations Division, by mail, or in person. Mailed filings must be submitted to the following address:
Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs
Corporations, Securities & Commercial Licensing Bureau
PO Box 30054
Lansing, MI 48909
Documents can be delivered in person to 2501 Woodlake Circle, Okemos, MI 48864. (Walk-in service is unavailable during the COVID-19 pandemic.)
How much does it cost to start a Michigan LLC?
The filing fee for your Michigan LLC Articles of Organization is $50. Add $50 for 24-hour processing, $100 for same-day, $500 for 2-hour, or $1,000 for 1-hour.
Hire Northwest for a one-time fee of $275 ($325 for 1-day expediting). This includes state filing fees, a year of registered agent service, limited mail forwarding and loads of useful forms and tools to help get your Michigan LLC up and running. Or, pay just $40 out the door with our VIP monthly payment option.
How long does it take to start a Michigan LLC?
Filing times for Michigan LLC Articles of Organization vary based on how the documents are filed. If you file online, it generally take 10 days for the articles to process. If you file by mail, the wait time balloons to up to 4 weeks. Pay an extra $50 for expediting and you can get your Articles of Organization processed in 24 hours.
If you hire Northwest to start your LLC, we typically have your Michigan LLC formed within 10 days.
Does a Michigan LLC need a business license?
Michigan doesn’t have a statewide general business license. But, some specific occupations and business activities require state-level licensing. For example, charter boat pilots need to be licensed with the Department of Natural Resources, Law Enforcement Division. To see if you need a state-level license, you can conduct a state license search. Cities and counties may have their own requirements as well. For example, all Detroit businesses are required to have a business license, and the fees vary based on business type: a coffee house needs a $100 license, but a bowling alley license is $223.
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 Michigan LLC help me live more privately?
Yes, a Michigan LLC can help you reduce your public footprint. You can maintain a significant degree of 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 Michigan LLC?
A foreign Michigan LLC is any LLC formed outside of Michigan but registered to do business in the state. For example, if you formed an LLC in Ohio but wanted to conduct business in Michigan as well, you would register as a foreign LLC in Michigan by filing a Certificate of Authority with the Corporations Division. Like domestic LLCs, foreign LLCs in the state have to file annual Michigan annual reports. Northwest can register your foreign Michigan LLC for you today!
How can I get a Michigan 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 Michigan 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 $40 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 Michigan Articles of Organization and send them to the Corporations 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 Michigan Corporations Division has approved your filing, we notify you that your Michigan LLC has been legally formed. You can now take any necessary next steps, like getting an EIN and opening a bank account.