Skip to main content

Start an LLC in South Dakota

Use our free business tools below to complete your South Dakota LLC Articles of Organization. This is the document you file directly with the South Dakota Secretary of State to form your LLC.

If you want more, hire us to form your LLC in South Dakota for just $39 + state fees. We’ll get your business stood up in minutes with a free domain, website, email, business phone, and more.

File today

with the help of a Registered Agent

How to Start an LLC in South Dakota

Starting a South Dakota LLC takes three major steps: naming your business, designating a South Dakota registered agent, and filing an Articles of Organization form and a $165 fee ($150 if filing online) with the South Dakota Secretary of State. But after forming your company, you’ll need to do a few more things to stay compliant and cover your South Dakota LLC’s legal bases.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to create an LLC, as well as what to do after your LLC is officially in business.

1. Name Your LLC

First up, naming your LLC! You can’t file your paperwork without knowing what the name of your business will be. South Dakota’s LLC naming rules are outlined in SDCL § 47-43A-105. Specifically, these rules say your LLC’s name must:

  • Include an indicator like “limited liability company,” “L.L.C.,” or “LLC.”
  • Be “distinguishable” (different) from any other business name registered in South Dakota.

If you know exactly what you want to call your LLC and are ready to file your Articles of Organization, find out if it’s available. And if you’re not ready to form an LLC yet, you can reserve your business name as long as 120 days for $25.

A DBA (Doing Business As name) is any name other than your LLC’s legal name. Many businesses use DBAs to market specialized products or target a new audience. South Dakota requires anyone using a DBA to register with the Secretary of State via the state’s E-Filing System. Registering a DBA in South Dakota costs $10.

Learn how to get a DBA Name in South Dakota.

Create Your South Dakota LLC!


2. Designate a Registered Agent

South Dakota law requires every LLC in the state to name a registered agent. The registered agent is someone (yourself, another individual, or a company like Northwest) that can accept legal mail on behalf of your business. You’ll need to know your registered agent’s name and physical address before filling out your LLC Articles of Organization.

The requirements for a registered agent in South Dakota are set in SD Codified Laws § 59-11-6. In addition to accepting legal mail on your behalf, your registered agent needs to:

  • Have a physical address in South Dakota (a PO box won’t work!).
  • Be available at that address during regular business hours.

Learn why the pros use a registered agent service.

One hundred percent. You can be your own registered agent in South Dakota if you meet the criteria listed above, and you’re not bothered by the idea of listing your personal information on the public record. You’ll also need to keep regular business hours at your registered agent address to be available to accept legal mail in person (which means it might not be a great choice if your job requires you to do a lot outside your office).

Yes. You can change your registered agent in South Dakota at any time. Just file a Statement of Change of Registered Agent form with the South Dakota Secretary of State for $10.

3. Submit LLC Articles of Organization

To officially create your South Dakota LLC, you’ll need to file Articles of Organization with the South Dakota Secretary of State and pay a formation filing fee. All the information you supply in your Articles of Organization becomes part of the public record.

To complete the form, you’ll need to list the following information:

  • Company Name. Include the words “limited liability company” or an abbreviation thereof.
  • Purpose. This is an optional part of the paper form where you can designate a business purpose.
  • Initial Designated Office. This is your main business address and it must be a street address. You can also add a mailing address and an email address.
  • Registered Agent. The person or company that you’ve named to accept legal mail on behalf of your LLC. If you appoint a commercial service (like Northwest!) as your LLC’s agent, you’ll also need to provide a CRA number, which you can get from your registered agent.
  • Organizer Information. The name and address of the person who signs and submits this form. The organizer can be someone from outside your LLC.
  • Duration. You can optionally specify an end date for your LLC to dissolve.
  • Management. Check a box to indicate whether your LLC will be managed by members or managers.
  • Manager Information. Manager-managed LLCs must list the name and address of each manager.
  • Extra provisions. One last optional section, where you may attach extra information or provisions to add to your articles.
  • Organizer Signature. Each person completing and submitting this form must sign and date the form.

The fee to file Articles of Organization with the South Dakota Secretary of State is $150 when you do it online. If you’re filing with a paper form by mail or in person, the fee is $165.

After the South Dakota Secretary of State receives a paper form, it usually takes 3-5 business days to process the filing and create the LLC. Online filings are processed as soon as they’re received.

You can submit your Articles of Organization to the South Dakota Secretary of State by mail, in person, or online.

By mail or in person:
South Dakota Secretary of State
500 E Capitol Ave.
Pierre, SD 57501

South Dakota Online Filing System

Any information listed on your LLC’s Articles of Organization will be readily available online. This makes it easy for junk mail and spammers to find names, personal addresses and phone numbers.

Hire Northwest and we’ll list our business address wherever we can on this form, so you can keep your address private and avoid risking being targeted by opportunistic spammers and scammers.

Your South Dakota LLC Is Formed. What's Next?

Write an LLC Operating Agreement

Your South Dakota LLC needs an operating agreement, a legally binding document that establishes how your LLC is organized and how it will function. The operating agreement covers important, big-picture stuff like how voting works, how profits are allocated, and how you’ll proceed if you need to dissolve the business. You don’t have to file your operating agreement with the Secretary of State, as it’s an internal document that you should keep on file with your business records.

Check out our attorney-drafted South Dakota LLC Operating Agreement.

South Dakota doesn’t legally require your LLC to have an operating agreement. However a clearly written operating agreement is super important for any LLC. Without one, your business will be required to operate under South Dakota’s default LLC statutes, leaving you with less control over your company.

A solid operating agreement will plan for every major situation your LLC is likely (and unlikely) to face. Here’s a list of the topics most operating agreements address:

  • initial investments
  • profits, losses, and distributions
  • voting rights, decision-making powers, and management
  • transfer of membership interest
  • dissolving the business

Yes. Without an operating agreement, a single-member LLC can look a lot like a sole proprietorship (a business type without liability protection) in the eyes of a court, should you ever face a lawsuit. And although you probably won’t need an operating agreement to resolve an argument with yourself, you will almost certainly need one to open a bank account for your business.

Get an EIN, Bank Account & Funding

It’s no surprise that your South Dakota LLC can’t operate without money. And in order to keep your LLC’s limited liability and remain a legally distinct entity from its members, you’ll need to open a business bank account. Generally, that means you’ll also need to get an EIN to open that account (unless you have a single-member LLC and don’t mind giving out your social security number).

Once your business bank account is formed, your LLC then can fund it. Each member should make an initial deposit to the business account. The amount they contribute will determine their membership interest (percentage of LLC ownership).

You can apply for an EIN from the IRS for free, either online or by mail. Filing online is fastest, but only available if you have a social security number. Otherwise, you’ll need to file by mail.

When you hire us to form your South Dakota LLC, Northwest can file your EIN application for you.

File Taxes & Reports

There are specific tax and reporting requirements your South Dakota LLC needs to meet. Here’s how they all stack up:

  • Taxes: In South Dakota, like all other states, LLCs are taxed as pass-through entities by default. That means LLCs usually don’t pay income tax as a business. Instead, profits “pass through” the LLC as distributions to the owners (members), who then report the profits as earnings on their personal tax filings. Profits are subject to the federal self-employment tax rate (15.3%).
  • Annual Reports: South Dakota requires LLCs to file a yearly report on your LLC’s current ownership and contact information. This annual report costs $50 to file online, or $65 to file by mail or in person. If you’re worried you’ll forget to file, let us handle your annual report for you.
  • BOI Report: The majority of South Dakota LLCs also need to complete a federal-level filing called the Beneficial Ownership Information (BOI) Report. This report discloses identifying information about your LLC’s beneficial owners and company applicant and all beneficial owners to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). You can hire us to file the BOI Report for you for $9.

All South Dakota LLCs must file annual reports, which are due yearly by the end of the anniversary month  in which your LLC was formed.

By default, LLCs in South Dakota are taxed as pass-through entities, but can also elect to be taxed as an S-corp or C-corp by filing paperwork with the IRS.

Learn more about S-Corp vs LLC tax designation.

You can file your BOI report for free online through the BOI E-Filing System. The report must be filed within 90 days of forming your LLC.

When information listed on your BOI Report changes, like if your LLC moves to a new business address, you’ll need to file an updated report. These updates are due within 30 days of a change, and can be done for free through the BOI E-Filing System.

There are 23 classes exempt from the BOI Report, which include:

  • Large operating companies
  • Tax-exempt entities
  • Most financial companies like banks and credit unions
  • Investment companies registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
  • Insurance companies registered with a state or federal agency
  • Public utilities companies registered with a state or federal agency


*This is informational commentary, not advice. This information is intended strictly for informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice or a substitute for legal counsel. This information is not intended to create, nor does your receipt, viewing, or use of it constitute, an attorney-client relationship. More information is available in our Terms of Service.

Ready to Start an LLC in South Dakota?