How to Start an LLC in Oklahoma
Oklahoma LLCs (limited liability companies) are business entities that protect business owners from being held personally liable for business debt. LLCs have a flexible management structure and are taxed as pass-through entities by default. To start an LLC in Oklahoma, you’ll need to first name your LLC and designate a registered agent. Once you’ve completed those steps, you can file your LLC’s Articles of Organization with the Oklahoma Secretary of State. The articles cost $100 (add a 4% fee for credit cards) and can be filed online, by mail, or in person. In-person filings can be approved by the state on the same day at an expedited cost of $25. Here’s our step-by-step guide to completing your Oklahoma LLC filing.
Ready to Start an LLC in Oklahoma?Get Started
Name Your LLC
Designate a Registered Agent
Submit LLC Articles of Organization
Write an LLC Operating Agreement
Get an EIN
Open a Bank Account
Fund the LLC
File reports + taxes
1. Name Your Oklahoma LLC
First, you need a business name. You can name your LLC pretty much anything you want, as long as it follows Oklahoma’s naming rules. Basically, your LLC name must:
- Contain an indicator like “limited liability company” or “LLC.” See 18 OK Stat § 18-2008 for a list of acceptable indicators.
- Be unique among approved business names in Oklahoma.
- Not include words or abbreviations that make it sound like the LLC is another kind of entity, like “corp” or “limited partnership.”
Already have a business name? Check to see if it’s available.
Can I reserve a business name in Oklahoma?
Let’s say you’ve got your business name all picked out and ready to go, but you just aren’t to form your LLC. Never fear, Oklahoma allows you to file an Application for Reservation of a Name and put a hold on the name. It costs $10 and you can file online or by mail. Your name reservation will be good for 60 days.
What’s the difference between my LLC’s name and a DBA?
Your LLC’s name is the legal name that you’ll register with the state when you fill out and file your articles. A DBA, short for “doing business as,” is sometimes called a trade name or fictitious name. In short, using a DBA allows an LLC to operate under a different name than the one it was registered as.
It works like this: Sam has registered his cafe as Sam’s Soups, LLC. Now he’s expanding, and the new location is a totally different concept. Instead of Sam spending the money to register a totally separate LLC with a new restaurant name, he can file for a DBA. All Sam has to do is file a Trade Name Report form with the Oklahoma Secretary of State, pay the $25 filing fee, and boom, Sam’s Taco Dreamland is ready for business.
Thinking about using a trade name? Learn How to Get a DBA.
2. Designate a Registered Agent
Oklahoma state law requires every LLC to have a registered agent. You can act as your own, designate your LLC or an acquaintance to do it, or you can hire a professional registered agent service. The important part is that your registered agent needs to have a local street address and agree to accept legal mail on behalf of your business. You’ll need a registered agent before you start filling out your Oklahoma Articles of Organization.
Learn why the pros use a registered agent service.
What does a registered agent do?
The requirements for an Oklahoma registered agent are outlined in 18 OK Stat § 18-1022. At a minimum, your registered agent must:
- Have a physical address (no PO boxes or virtual offices) in the state of Oklahoma.
- Keep regular business hours.
- Accept legal mail and correspondence from the Oklahoma Secretary of State on behalf of your business and get them to you fast.
Can you be your own registered agent in Oklahoma?
If you don’t mind the state of Oklahoma publishing your name and address on public documents, then yes, you can be your own registered agent. If you’d prefer to make it more difficult for spammers, robocallers, and identity thieves to find you, then you’re probably better off hiring a registered agent. A good registered agent will list their address in place of your own on all public documents.
Hiring a registered agent also ensures you won’t miss an important legal summons when you go out of town.
Can I change my registered agent after I start an LLC?
If you’re looking to change your Oklahoma registered agent, you’ll need to complete and file a Notice of Change of Registered Agent form with the Oklahoma Secretary of State. The form must be submitted by mail, in person, or online and costs $35 to file.
3. Submit LLC Articles of Organization
The Articles of Organization is the name of the document that—once approved by the Secretary of State’s office—legally creates your Oklahoma LLC. When the form is completed, you’ll submit it to the Oklahoma Secretary of State online, by mail, or in person.
Note: All of the information on this form will become part of the public record.
Provide the following information about your LLC in order to successfully fill out the articles:
- Company name. Include “Limited Liability Company” or an abbreviation like “LLC.”
- Principal office. List your street address in Oklahoma (no PO Boxes).
- Business email. This is where the Secretary of State will send notifications.
- Registered agent and office. List the name and street address of your Oklahoma registered agent.
- Term of existence. List your term of existence as “perpetual,” unless you want the LLC to expire on a certain date.
- Executor. The person you authorize to form and file your Oklahoma LLC Articles of Organization. This doesn’t need to be someone within your LLC.
How do I file the Oklahoma Articles of Organization?
Oklahoma allows you to file your Articles of Organization online, by mail, or in person. The total cost to file your paperwork is $100. Online filings take up to two days after the state receives them, while mailed filings take about seven business days (add time for mailing). In a hurry? Walk your filings in, pay an extra $25, and your LLC will be approved in one hour. If you file online or in person and pay with a credit card, you will be subject to a 4% service charge.
Mail and in person filings:
Secretary of State
421 NW 13th Street
Oklahoma City, OK 73103
Oklahoma Business Services
What’s the difference between a member-managed and manager-managed LLC?
It’s all in the name. Member-managed LLCs are run by their members. This means that the members of the LLC take an active role in the business and its daily operation, handling tasks like hiring employees, managing payroll, ordering inventory, and signing leases, among other things. If the members agree to hire or designate a person (or persons) to manage the business, the LLC would be manager-managed.
For help with deciding which management structure will work for you, see our page on LLC Member Vs Manager.
How can I keep my personal information off the public record?
The best way to protect your personal information is to keep it off this form altogether. But if you leave any of the required information off your filing, the Oklahoma Secretary of State will reject your filing. So what can you do?
Hire a professional registered agent service who will list their information in place of your own on your formation documents. This means their info will go on public record and yours will stay private. It’s the most effective way to guard your privacy when forming an LLC.
4. Write an LLC Operating Agreement
The operating agreement is an essential document for the future success of your LLC. In the simplest terms, your operating agreement is a document crafted and agreed upon by the members of LLC that spells out financial contributions, management roles, voting rights, and other responsibilities expected of the members. In other words, the operating agreement is the backbone of your LLC. It lends your LLC legitimacy—without an operating agreement, a court may view your LLC as a sole proprietorship or partnership, which could jeopardize the LLC’s liability.
Check out our attorney-drafted Oklahoma LLC Operating Agreement.
Does Oklahoma require an LLC to have an operating agreement?
Oklahoma does not require an operating agreement. This means you don’t have to file it with the state, but you will want to get it in writing and keep an official copy with all of your other important LLC documents. Your operating agreement will help you resolve any internal disputes that may arise. Plus, you’ll likely need an operating agreement in order to open a bank account for the LLC.
What should be included in an operating agreement?
You can find a general list of what operating agreements usually cover in 18 OK Stat § 18-2012.2, but at its most basic, your agreement should address:
- initial funding of the LLCs
- distribution of profits and losses
- voting rights, decision-making powers, and management
- transfer of membership interest
- dissolving the business
Does a single-member LLC need an operating agreement?
While you probably won’t have a disagreement with yourself, there are two main reasons why you’ll want an operating agreement for your single-member LLC. The first reason is that most banks will require an operating agreement to open a bank account for your LLC. A business bank account secures your LLC’s liability protections by creating a defined separation between your personal assets and those of your business. Second, not only will a business bank account make your LLC look more professional, a fully fledged operating agreement will also signal to potential investors and partners that your LLC is the real deal.
5. Get an EIN
An EIN (“employer identification number”) is used by the IRS to identify your business on tax filings. Think of it as a social security number for your LLC. You can apply for an EIN directly from the IRS for free. Applying online is the fastest way to get an EIN, but if you don’t have a social security number, you’ll have to use the paper form.
Do I need an EIN for my Oklahoma LLC?
We’d certainly recommend an EIN. If you don’t have employees you aren’t legally required to have one, but let’s be real, you’ll need an EIN to open a bank account for your LLC. You’ll want a bank account for your LLC to create a separation between you and your LLC, which will serve to strengthen its liability protections in case of a lawsuit of bankruptcy. So yes, get an EIN.
What To Do After Forming Your Oklahoma LLC
6. Open a Bank Account
Opening a bank account for your LLC is an important step in bolstering your LLC’s liability protections. The whole point of starting an LLC is to make it clear that you are separate from your business and so can’t be held liable for business debts. Opening a bank account for your LLC reinforces the fact that you are a separate entity from your business and that you are not mixing finances. A bank account also makes it easier to find potential tax write offs, and you’ll never be left trying to remember if that breakfast burrito was a business expense or a random craving.
To open a bank account for your Oklahoma LLC, you’ll need to bring the following to the bank:
- Oklahoma LLC Articles of Organization (a copy is fine)
- the LLC’s operating agreement
- the LLC’s EIN
- an LLC Resolution to Open a Bank Account (if your LLC has more than one member).
If your LLC has more than one member, use our free LLC Resolution to Open a Bank Account.
7. Fund the LLC
It’s all about the Benjamins, baby. Funding the LLC is pretty straightforward. Each member should write a check (or initiate a bank transfer) from their bank account to the LLC’s bank account. This pays for membership interest. Members can also contribute property or services to the LLC in exchange for membership interest. This can result in tax events based on the value of the services or property provided.
What is LLC membership interest?
Membership interest is your percentage of ownership in the LLC. Usually, it’s based on how much money you invest in your LLC.
If you are the only member, congrats, you own 100% of the LLC. If you share membership with other people, your membership interest will be dependent on the amount of funding you put into the LLC. Say four people funded an LLC for a total of $100,000. If you contributed $75,000, you would hold 75% membership interest in the LLC. Membership interest can affect everything from voting rights to the distribution of profits, and should be noted in the LLC’s operating agreement.
8. File State Reports & Taxes
LLCs must file an Oklahoma Annual Certificate each year. Similar to an annual report, the certificate basically just wants you to update your LLC’s information. Consider it an annual checkup. It only costs $25, but if you forget to file, your LLC will lose its good standing with the state and may even be dissolved.
Worried you’ll forget? Let us file your Oklahoma annual report for you.
When is the Oklahoma Annual Report due?
Your Oklahoma Annual Certificate is due every year on the anniversary of the date when you formed your LLC. Pretty easy to remember, unless you’re the type who always forgets anniversaries. Then you might need a little help.
How are Oklahoma LLCs taxed?
“Taxes are my favorite,” said no one ever. They are, however, a necessity. Unless your LLC chooses S-corp or C-corp tax designation, LLC taxes are pretty straightforward. Oklahoma LLCs are by default, pass-through business entities. This means their tax liability is passed on to the owner or owners of the business, who then report their gains and losses on their own income tax forms. Profits are also subject to the federal self-employment tax rate (15.3%).
Learn more about S-Corp Vs LLC tax designation.