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Start a Business in Tennessee

Starting a business in Tennessee is easy. All you need to do is file a few forms with the Tennessee Secretary of State and start running your business. Below, we show you how to get started and walk you through some of your options.

One option is, of course, to stop reading and just hire us to start your business for you. At Northwest, we form businesses and provide registered agent service throughout the US. That’s our business, and obviously we recommend starting your business in a certain way. We call it “Starting a Business the Right Way."

Starting your business the right way means hiring a registered agent to form your LLC or corporation so you can protect your privacy and receive the care your business needs to stay active. If you hire us to start your Tennessee business, we’ll be your registered agent, provide Privacy by Default®, a business address, mail forwarding and local Corporate Guide® service for life.

All You Need

Hire us to start your Tennessee LLC or corporation and get all the tools you need to start fast:

  • TN registered agent service

  • Tennessee business forms

  • Online client account

  • Easy access to all our business services & answers to your business questions

Start Your Business the Right Way

As your registered agent, when we start your business, we give you what other filing services can’t:

  • Privacy by Default®
  • Business address
  • Free mail forwarding
  • Lifetime support from local Corporate Guides®

Start Your Tennessee Business

$225 + State Fees
Rated 4.6 / 5 stars by 427 clients on Google

How to Start a Business in Tennessee

File Your Articles

You file a corporate charter for a Tennessee corporation or articles of organization for a Tennessee LLC with the TN Secretary of State.

Obtain a Federal Tax ID

You obtain a federal tax ID number (FEIN or EIN) with the IRS after you have confirmation and filed articles from the State of Tennessee showing your approved Tennessee business.

Open a Bank Account

Opening a business banking account under your new Tennessee business name should be easy with these two items.

Register with the Dept of Revenue

If you’re going to have employees or need to withhold sales tax, you will probably need to register with the TN department of revenue. We provide all these links in your online account.

Apply for Licenses

If your business trade requires a license, you’ll have to apply for a license with the Tennessee licensing board. (Most businesses don’t.) But if you do, these quick links and contact details are in your online account. Some local cities or counties have a general license, but most don’t. You obtain a local trade license if the city or county you’re going to be working in requires it.

Get Proper Zoning

If you’re going to have an office or shop you might need an approval from the city zoning for your type of business in that location.

Get Up and Running

If you get overwhelmed, just get your business pulling in money and worry about regulations later.

Are You A Do-It-Yourselfer? You Can Save Some Money:

If you want to start a business in Tennessee yourself, you can just hire us as your Tennessee registered agent, and you’ll instantly have the Tennessee LLC or corporation forms to file along with filing instructions on the quickest, cheapest, and most efficient way to incorporate a Tennessee corporation or form a Tennessee LLC. You’ll get the ongoing support of our online tools, reminders and the support of a professional Tennessee registered agent service.


Tennessee LLC vs Corporation

LLCs are popular for small to medium-sized companies because they require fewer annual requirements and offer a flexible management structure. Corporations are great for large, fast-growing businesses. Because corporations can offer different types of stock, investors are very attracted to them, which makes raising funds easier.

But, what about Tennessee? Any pros and cons for a Tennessee LLC vs a Tennessee corporation?

In terms of initial filing and maintenance fees, there are some advantages to starting a Tennessee corporation versus a Tennessee LLC. For example, the Charter for Profit Corporation costs $100 to file whereas the Articles of Organization costs a minimum of $300. If the LLC has more than six members, the fee will increase by $50 per additional member. Both entities must file annual reports each year; however, corporations will only pay $20 compared to a minimum of $300 for LLCs—again, LLCs will pay $50 for each additional member over six.

Although Tennessee doesn’t assess a personal income tax, both LLCs and corporations are subject to an excise and franchise tax. The excise tax is 6.5% of the total net earnings OR $0.25 per $100 of the company’s fixed asset or equity—depending on what’s higher. The franchise tax is based on total net worth OR the value of real personal property owned/used in Tennessee—whichever is greater. Tennessee also has fairly high sales tax that averages at 9.47%.

If you want a corporation, you file Tennessee Corporate charter:

The Tennessee corporate charter costs $100 with the Tennessee Secretary of State. We custom draft your Tennessee corporate charter when you hire Northwest to start your Tennessee business.

The basic requirements of Tennessee corporations are:

  • An incorporating Tennessee ending such as Inc, corporation, or incorporated
  • An amount of Tennessee corporation shares you would like to authorize
  • The effective date of the TN corporation charter
  • The corporations principal address
  • The name and address of the Tennessee incorporator(s); and
  • The registered agent of the proposed Tennessee corporation.

Tennessee does not require original signatures on new TN corporation filings. Filing confirmation is mailed to the address of the person who filed.

Start Your Tennessee Business!

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If you want a LLC, you file Tennessee Articles of Organization:

To form a Tennessee LLC you must file articles of organization. The articles of organization filing fee is $300 minimum.

The basic requirements of Tennessee LLC filings are:

  • The business name must have a limited liability company ending or variation of it.
  • New Tennessee LLCs name must be different than already registered Tennessee companies.
  • Duration of the Tennessee LLC if not perpetual.
  • The purpose of the Tennessee limited liability company.
  • The Tennessee registered agent and the physical address.
  • The names and addresses of the organizer.
  • The LLCs principal office address.
  • If the limited liability company is to be managed by members or managers.
  • The number of Tennessee LLC members.
  • The Tennessee organizer must sign.
  • The effective date of the LLC articles of organization

Tennessee does not require original signatures on new TN LLC filings. You’ll get a certificate mailed back to the address on your envelope.

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