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Louisiana Corporation Service We’re Just Not Annoying®

How to Start a Corporation in Louisiana

To start a Louisiana corporation, you must file Articles of Incorporation with Louisiana’s Commercial Division and pay a $75 filing fee. While this filing creates your business, it’s really just the first step to launching your Louisiana corporation. The complete steps to incorporating in Louisiana are as follows:

  1. File Louisiana Articles of Incorporation
  2. Pay the Louisiana Commercial Division $75
  3. Wait to receive your Certificate of Incorporation
  4. Get a federal tax ID (EIN) for the corporation
  5. Create Louisiana corporate bylaws
  6. Take these documents to the bank and get a Louisiana corporate bank account
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Louisiana Articles of Incorporation free download. When you're done filling out the form, submit it to your state.

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Documents & Forms

How to File Louisiana Articles of Incorporation

To form a Louisiana corporation, you file the Articles of Incorporation in the following steps:
Step 1 Choose a name for your new corporation
Step 2 Declare the purpose for your corporation
Step 3 Choose how long you’d like your business to exist
Step 4 Decide how many shares you’d like to authorize and their par value
Step 5 Choose an incorporator to sign and submit your Articles
Step 6 Decide if you want to hire a registered agent service to minimize public disclosures
Step 7 Decide what address you’d like to list publicly
Step 8 Decide who you will list publicly as the directors and determine what their liability will be
Step 9 File online and pay $75 with a credit card (+ $5 processing fee) or mail to the Commercial Division at PO Box 94125, Baton Rouge LA 70804-9125 with a check or money order for $75

How Long Does it Take to Start a Louisiana Corporation?

2

Fastest 2 Days

File your Articles yourself online using the state’s geauxBIZ portal.

2

Almost Fastest (and some might say better) 2 Days

Filing online yourself may be fast, but it’s not exactly straightforward. A better option? Hire Northwest. Just answer a few questions about your business, sit back, and let our Corporate Guides file everything correctly the first time.

3-5

Not Too Shabby 3-5 Days

Have some time to kill? Forgo online filing. Instead, print and mail your Articles. With the mail time and the manual processing time, it’ll take several days to get your approval.

What is the Cost of a Louisiana Corporation?

Louisiana’s Commercial Division charges a $75 filing fee to submit Articles of Incorporation. Filing online? Note that there’s also a $5 convenience fee for credit cards.

Hire Northwest to form your Louisiana corporation and your total, out-the-door cost is $305, including state filing fees.

How Much Does a Corporation in Louisiana Cost Each Year?

At least $30. Every year, your corporation is required to pay the $30 filing fee to submit the mandatory Louisiana Annual Report. There’s also a $5 fee for credit card processing.

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What is a Louisiana Annual Report?

Your Louisiana Annual Report is a form you submit to the Secretary of State each year to confirm or update your corporation’s ownership and contact information. The report and $30 fee (+ $5 for credit card processing) are due on your Louisiana corporation’s anniversary. Because most people don’t celebrate corporate anniversaries like they do birthdays and wedding anniversaries, it’s easy to miss this filing deadline. While there’s no late fee, the state will eventually dissolve your corporation if your report remains unfiled.

At Northwest, we help ensure our clients stay in compliance—that’s why we send our clients reminder notifications to file reports. For just $100 plus filing fees, we can even take on this annoying task for you and file your Louisiana Annual Report so you can focus on more important things—like running your business.

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What are the Taxes for a Louisiana Corporation?

Louisiana has both a corporate net income tax and a franchise tax that apply to corporations. The Louisiana corporate net income tax rates are:

4%: $0 to $25,000
5%: $25,001 to $50,000
6%: $50,001 to $100,000
7%: $100,001 to $200,000
8%: over $200,000

The franchise tax rate is $1.50 for each $1,000 of capital in the State of Louisiana. After $300K of capital, the rate jumps to $3 per $1,000.

The state sales tax rate is actually fairly low at 4.45%. On average, however, customers will pay 8.925% at the counter—nearly double the state rate. This is because cities can add on local sales taxes up to 7%. For comparison, below are the average total sales tax rates for the 5 largest cities in the state:

New Orleans: 9.26%
Baton Rouge: 9.21%
Shreveport: 9.05%
Metairie: 9.16%
Lafayette: 8.12%

Louisiana Taxes and S Corporations

In most states, businesses with an S corporation tax election are considered pass-through entities (meaning income passes through the business and is taxed on personal returns). Essentially, this means S corporations don’t usually pay entity-level income taxes like corporate net income taxes.

In Louisiana, however, S corps are mostly treated like regular corporations. S corporations have to pay the corporate franchise tax, AND they sometimes pay the corporate income tax. Why sometimes? Louisiana tax regulations are a bit unusual here, strongly favoring resident shareholders. If shareholders are Louisiana residents, the S corp can typically “exclude” their income from corporate net income tax. However, if some shareholders are nonresidents, then a ratio of the S corp’s income will be subject to corporate net income tax.

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Is a Registered Agent Required for a Louisiana Corporation?

Absolutely. Your corporation must appoint a Louisiana registered agent. Some people try to save a few bucks and appoint themselves as their corporation’s registered agent. This strategy can backfire though—being your own registered agent can end up costing you privacy, time, and flexibility. Registered agents have to list the street address where they’ll be available to accept legal notifications. This address becomes part of the permanent public record of your corporation—attracting junk mail and solicitors. You’ll also have to actually be at the address you list during business hours. Not sitting in meetings. Not running errands. Not hiking in Kisatchie.

A better option? Hire an expert registered agent service like Northwest. We’re in the business of being available. Our address will go on your public formation documents, and we’ll be there ready and waiting to accept your legal notifications. We’ll even scan and send them the same day, so you can run your business on your time.

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Louisiana Corporation Versus Louisiana LLC:

Starting a Louisiana corporation costs $25 less than starting an LLC ($75 vs $100). Other filing fees are the same—for example, both entities pay $30 to file their Annual Report each year.

Taxes are little harder to compare as both LLCs and corporations have choices in how they’re taxed. For example, both entities can choose to be taxed as S corporations, which would make their tax obligations the same. LLCs, however, have a few more tax election options than corporations, which can be advantageous in Louisiana. While corporations can’t avoid the state’s corporate franchise tax, LLCs taxed as partnerships wouldn’t have to pay this particular tax.

Whether a corporation or an LLC is a better fit also depends on what you plan to do with your business. Hoping for a large business or fast growth? The familiar, formal structure of a corporation can make managing a large-scale operation easier. Stocks also give corporations plenty of flexibility for attracting investors or raising capital. LLCs, on the other hand, often appeal to small businesses that value simplicity. Leaning towards a Louisiana LLC? Here’s information on starting an LLC in Louisiana.

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Do I Need a Tax ID Number (EIN) for a Louisiana Corporation?

Yes, you’ll need a federal tax ID (also called an “EIN” or “FEIN”) for your Louisiana corporation. It’s required for federal tax filings and for local paperwork as well. For example, if you operate in East Baton Rouge Parish, you’ll need your EIN for your mandatory Business Registration Application.

How do you get a federal tax ID? You can fill out all the paperwork and apply directly with the IRS for no fee. Or, skip the extra forms and hire Northwest. Just add on EIN service during checkout when you hire us to form your Louisiana corporation.

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Does a Louisiana Corporation Need a Business License?

Louisiana doesn’t have a general, state-level business license, but cities and parishes often have their own requirements. (For those new to the Pelican State, Louisiana has parishes, not counties.)

For instance, businesses operating in East Baton Rouge Parish file a Business Registration Application to obtain an “Occupational License.” Similarly, Orleans Parish requires all businesses to get an “Occupational/General Business License” from the Bureau of Revenue.

Does a Louisiana Corporation Need Bylaws?

Absolutely. While your bylaws aren’t mandatory public filings like your Articles or Annual Reports, they are a critical part of the formation of your Louisiana corporation. The state is mostly interested in knowing how to contact your Louisiana corporation and ensuring your business keeps up on its taxes and fees. The specific details of your corporate operations—like how many members it takes to vote on a resolution—aren’t of much interest to the state. These sorts of specific details, however, are crucial to your business.

Your bylaws are where you get to define how your corporation works internally. For your board of directors, your bylaws will explain who’s on the board, what the scope of their powers are, how long they’ll stay, and how they’ll be replaced. You’ll list the details of your corporation’s stock, such as classes, series and voting rights. You’ll list the officers and their responsibilities. Essentially, the bylaws that you adopt will spell out exactly how your company will run and how much authority each person will have—pretty important stuff.

Creating bylaws can be overwhelming, but Northwest is happy to help. When you hire Northwest to form your Louisiana corporation, we’ll give you free corporate bylaws. We’ll give you loads of other free corporate forms as well, from resolutions to meeting minute templates. We want to work with your business for years to come, so it’s important for us that you start off on the right foot. Check out the free corporate forms we provide to help corporations form and maintain their businesses.

Louisiana Corporation Articles of Incorporation Requirements

Business Name

Your name must include “Corporation,” “Incorporated,” “Company,” “Limited” or an abbreviation of one of these words. Tip: Most corporations keep it short and sweet with “Corp” or “Inc.”

Purpose

You have two choices for your business purpose. You can select the general business purpose of “engaging in any lawful business or activity,” or you can write your own, more specific purpose. A specific purpose limits the activities your corporation can engage in. Specific purposes are typical for professional corporations that provide licensed services (think doctors and lawyers) but not-so-common for regular corporations. Tip: Most corporations choose the general purpose.

Duration

Want your business to continue indefinitely? Choose “perpetual.” Prefer to put a self-destruct timer on your corporation? Enter an end date or period of time to exist. Tip: Most businesses go with “perpetual.”

Authorized Shares

List the number of shares you’d like to create. You must create at least one.

Par Value

This is the “face value” of the shares (the price written on stock certificates). It’s typically the lowest value at which shares will be traded.

Louisiana Incorporator

Your incorporator signs and submits your Articles and must include their name and address. Your incorporator doesn’t have to be a director, officer, or anyone in the corporation—just someone you authorize to sign off on your Articles. Tip: We’ll be your incorporator when you hire Northwest to form your Louisiana corporation.

Registered Office

This Louisiana street address is where your registered agent will be available to accept any service of process. Tip: Hire Northwest and our Louisiana address will go here.

Principal Office

This street address is the official address of your corporation and where you’ll receive mail (other than legal notifications—those go to your registered agent). Tip: Keep all your mail together with one address throughout your Articles. When you hire Northwest as your registered agent, you can use our Louisiana address as your principal office address.

Registered Agent

Your registered agent accepts service of process at the registered office—so even though you already listed the registered office address, include the address again here. Your agent can either be a business (but not your own) or an individual Louisiana resident (such as yourself). Tip: We recommend Northwest.

Directors

List the names and addresses of your initial directors.

Protection Against Liability

One of the benefits of a Louisiana corporation is the limited liability that helps protect directors and officers (LA Rev Stat § 12:1-832). However, if you want to limit or remove these protections, you can include a statement of rejection or limitation in your Articles.

Corporate Compliance
by Local Corporate Guides®