How to Start a Louisiana LLC
By Bazal Razzaq
Updated: August 31, 2023, 12:30pm
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Looking for ways to form an LLC in Louisiana? Well, you’re at the right place! Through this guide, we’ll walk you through the process, ensuring you have a solid foundation for your business.
#1 Select a name for your Louisiana LLC
The very first step in your Louisiana LLC would be to pick a name for your company. You need to develop a distinct, unique, and legally compliant name that best reflects your brand identity. Apart from this, you also need to make sure that your chosen name complies with Louisiana’s naming requirements and is easily recognized by potential customers and clients.
Here’s a list of all the naming requirements you need to consider before starting your Louisiana LLC,
- Your chosen LLC name should be different and distinguishable from other registered business entities in Louisiana. For reference, you can check out this business name search tool from the Secretary of State’s website to check if a particular name is already in use.
- Secondly, avoid using words that might confuse people and make them think your business is something it’s really not, like a bank, corporation, FBI, or CIA.
- It goes without saying, but there should be no rude, forbidden, or obscene terms in your chosen LLC name.
- Also, it’s best to stay away from terms like “trustee,” “board,” or “insurance” that could restrict your business’s identity.
- Check that the name is not already used as a website domain to avoid trademark or legal issues.
- Your LLC’s name should indicate that it’s a limited liability company. It’s a good idea to end the name with abbreviations like “LLC,” “LLC,” or “Ltd.” Most people just stick with “LLC.”
- Some terms like “lawyer,” “credit union,” and “attorney” have special restrictions given their professional nature. You’d need to provide additional documents and licensing to the state government.
Still confused? Here’s a complete list of all the LLC naming regulations in the state of Louisiana.
Suppose you aren’t comfortable fully launching your business just yet but are concerned about someone else taking up your name. In that case, you have the option to reserve your name by filing a Name Reservation form (Form #398) with the Secretary of State. You can save a name for up to 120 days. The normal fee is $25, but you can pay an added fee of $30 to speed up the whole process to 24 hours or $50 to get your paperwork processed within four business hours.
You can send your completed paperwork to the address mentioned below:
PO Box 94125
Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9125
Additionally, if you’re planning to submit your LLC formation documents through the state’s online geauxBIZ portal, you must first secure a name reservation and acquire a federal tax I.D. number. Once you’ve completed the steps, you can proceed to file your LLC articles of organization.
Note: It’s essential to remember that entrepreneurs are under no obligation to use their registered business name(one that’s mentioned in their Articles of Organization document) when doing business in the real world.
You have the option to use a Trade Name or Fictitious Name, more popularly known as a DBA (doing business as). To register under a different name, you need to register your trade name with the Louisiana Secretary of State. You have the option to apply online or through mail by filing an Application to Register Trade Name Trademark or Service Mark (Form # 309).
Remember that online filing is required for LLCs located in the following regions: Ascension, Bossier, Caddo, Calcasieu, East Baton Rouge, Jefferson, Lafayette, Livingston, Ouachita, Orleans, Rapides, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, and Terrebonne. The filing fee is $75.
#2 Draft a business plan
While it’s not a mandatory requirement in Louisiana, having a business plan in place is always an advantage for new LLCs. Why? A well-drafted business plan offers multiple benefits, from strategic decision-making and risk management to huge scope for continuous improvement for entrepreneurs and businesses. The best part? You can draft a plan according to your specific budget and needs.
Here’s what you can include in your business plan,
- A brief Introduction describing your business idea and its purpose.
- A Market Analysis explaining your target market and competitors.
- Your Products/Services and an in-depth summary of what you offer and how it solves customer needs.
- A proper Marketing Strategy outlining how you’ll attract and retain customers.
- Operations section describing how your LLC will run day-to-day.
- Introduce key Team Members and their roles.
- Your Financial Projections, including income, expenses, and projected profits.
- A Funding section explaining how you’ll finance your business.
- Your future Goals, which highlight clear short-term and long-term objectives.
- Add any additional relevant information.
#3 Assign a registered agent
Like all other U.S. states, Louisiana requires you to assign a registered agent for your LLCs. These agents are the ones responsible for receiving and accepting your legal documentation and notices, from government correspondence to lawsuit notices and financial statements. Then, they forward all this important paperwork to the appropriate owners/members of the LLC.
You have the following options when it comes to choosing a statutory agent for your Louisiana LLC:
- Be your own registered agent.
- Pick another registered business entity.
- Hire a registered agent service.
- Choose an individual within the company(manager/employee/member)
- Hire an Attorney, lawyer, or legal facility.
Here are some other legal requirements to keep in mind when selecting a registered agent for your company,
The agent needs to be,
- Provide a valid street address in Louisiana.
- Be present during regular business hours (9:00 AM to 5 PM) to receive legal documents
- Agree to be the LLC’s official point of contact.
- Be at least 18 years old.
- Reside in Louisiana or have authorization to do business there.
- Be an individual or a business entity authorized to operate in Illinois.
#4 Prepare and file your Articles of Incorporation
To formally register an LLC in Louisiana, you need to file your Articles of Organization (Form #365) with the Louisiana Secretary of State. It’s basically an official document that includes all the basic information about your business, like,
- The name and address of your LLC.
- Registered agent’s name and address
- The main purpose of your LLC.
- The number of shares authorized
- The management structure of your company: member-managed or manager-managed?
- Management information
- Filing Fee
- Will the members/owners be liable for debts
- Check the boxes to indicate whether your business is a nonprofit, series, or professional LLC.
- The signature of the organizer(person forming the LLC.)
- Effective date
- Duration of your LLC.
- Any additional information specific to your LLC, like ownership percentages or voting rights.
- Signature of LLC’s organizer.
State of Louisiana Secretary of State
P.O. Box 94125
Baton Rouge, LA 70804
8585 Archives Ave.
Baton Rouge, LA 70809
Fax: (225) 932-5314
The filing fee is $100, which is payable to the Secretary of State and is completely nonrefundable. Again, LLCs located in the following parishes: Ascension, Caddo, Bossier, Calcasieu, East Baton Rouge, Jefferson, Lafayette, Livingston, Orleans, Ouachita, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Rapides, and Terrebonne can only file their LLCs online. But, for LLCs located in areas other than the ones mentioned above, you can submit paper copies through postal mail, fax, and email.
In the case of Foreign LLCs, the owners/members need to fill out an Application for Authority and pay $150 filing charges. You can also include certificates of existence and good standing that are not older than 90 days than the completed LLC application.
#5 Apply for an EIN with the IRS
Once you’ve filed your Articles of Organization document, it’s time to apply for a federal employer identification number(EIN) with the Internal Revenue Service(IRS). It is used to identify your LLC for taxation purposes and also keeps track of your business’s tax reporting. It’s basically a Social Security number (SSN) for your company.
You need an EIN if your LLC plans on,
- Hiring employees
- Opening professional business bank accounts
- Applying for business licenses and permits
- Meeting federal and state tax obligations
- And conducting day-to-day business operations
Internal Revenue Service
Attn: EIN Operation
Cincinnati, OH 45999
Fax: (855) 641-6935
The process is completely free.
#6 Create an Operating Agreement
Finally, the most underrated step. An ideal LLC, not just in Louisiana but in almost all states of the United States, needs to create a clear, detailed, and reliable Operating Agreement. It’s like a roadmap for your company’s success.
An Operating Agreement is an informative document outlining exactly how you plan on running your LLC. Here’s what you should consider including in your Delaware LLC agreement,
- The name and address of your LLC
- LLC’s duration(for how long will it exist)
- The name and address of your registered agent
- Details included in your Articles of Incorporation
- The main purpose of your LLC
- Profit and loss sharing between the members/owners.
- Rules for adding new members or dealing with members who leave
- The management structure of the company
- Information about the members/owners and their contributions
- Liability and Indemnification clauses
We strongly recommend drafting an operating agreement for your LLC to avoid any unnecessary troubles or confusion in the future.
#7 Submit your Statement of Information
All LLCs in Louisiana are required to submit an annual report to the Secretary of State. You can submit it online, with a fee of $30, through the geauxBIZ filing portal of the State website. The whole process can be completed online conveniently.
These reports are due on or before the date on which the LLC was formed. If you fail to submit your report, Louisiana won’t charge late fees but may dissolve or revoke your LLC after three consecutive years.
Once your LLC is registered, you’re finally authorized to complete the following tasks,
- Open a business bank account for your LLC
- Apply for a business credit card.
- Purchase insurance for your business.
- Protect your name and logo with a trademark.
Also, if you plan on hiring employees for your Louisiana LLC, you need to stay compliant with the laws and focus on doing the following,
- Obtain your EIN (Employee Identification Number).
- Ask your employees to fill out the Employee Eligibility Form.
- Set up a process for the collection and payment of taxes.
- Make sure you have workers’ compensation insurance
- Report the state about new hires within 20 days of hiring them.
- Pay unemployment taxes.
Lastly, always make sure that your LLC is legally compliant and in “active” status on the State website.
For further information, you can visit the Louisiana Workforce Commission.
And that’s a wrap! That was all you needed to know before finally forming that LLC in the Pelican State.
Frequently Asked Questions
An LLC, or Limited Liability Company, is a business structure that offers personal liability protection and flexibility in taxation. Starting an LLC in Louisiana can help safeguard your personal assets and provide a clear structure for your business activities.
The main steps to start an LLC in Louisiana include:
– Choosing a unique and compliant business name.
– Appointing a registered agent with a physical address in the state.
– Filing Articles of Organization with the Louisiana Secretary of State.
– Creating an operating agreement to outline management and ownership details.
– Acquiring an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS for tax purposes.
Your LLC’s name must end with “Limited Liability Company” or its abbreviations. Ensure it’s distinguishable from existing business names on record and doesn’t include restricted words without proper approvals.
Yes, Louisiana LLCs must file an annual report with the Secretary of State and pay a fee. This report updates company details and ensures your LLC remains in good standing.