Start an LLC in Louisiana

Thinking about how to get an LLC in Louisiana? This article will answer all your questions, as well as provide a step-by-step guide on forming and maintaining a Louisiana LLC to make the process quick and easy! 

We’ll cover the requirements for a Louisiana LLC, the necessary forms and fees. In addition, you will learn about whether or not to entrust launching a business to an LLC registration service, and we will show you a few examples of the best online companies in the industry.

How to Form a Louisiana LLC: Important Steps

Choose a Name for an LLC

One of the first steps in the Louisiana LLC formation process is choosing the right business name. What is the perfect name? Of course, it should be memorable and reflect the specifics of your limited liability company to attract new customers and enhance its reputation. At the same time, a good Louisiana business name must meet legal requirements as well.

The rules for naming LLCs are embodied in Louisiana Revised Statute §1306 and contain the following main points:

  • Use words or abbreviations that clearly identify the company as an LLC:
    • Limited Liability Company;
    • L.L.C.;
    • L.C.
  • The name should not mislead someone regarding the nature and purpose of the company or imply being an administrative institution;
  • Avoid phrases containing any immoral, deceptive, or offensive information;
  • The name must be unique. You cannot register an LLC if there is already another company operating under the same or similar name in the state;
  • Using the words “engineer”, “engineering”, “surveyor”, “surveying”, or “bank”, “banker”, “banking”, “savings”, “safe deposit”, “trust”, and others requires special permission.

The uniqueness requirement is one of the most important conditions without which operating in Louisiana is impossible. To check the uniqueness of your chosen name, use the free Business Entity Search on the Secretary of State’s website. 

When it shows that the name you want is free, you can enter it in the Articles of Organization and proceed with registration. 

However, if there is a business with a similar name already registered with the state, you must make substantive changes or come up with a new name.

Not every change will be considered as such. For example, you can find synonyms for the keywords or even rearrange them. Nevertheless, the following changes will not be enough:

  • Articles (“a,” “an,” and “the”);
  • Conjunctions (like “and,” “but,” and “or”);
  • Punctuation and spacing;
  • Capitalization and special characters;
  • Business type designators like LLC, L.C.

You might have a great business name option, but you’re not planning to begin the formal startup process right away? In that case, Louisiana offers a name reservation service allowing you to protect your desired name from third parties for 120 days. 

You can submit a Reservation of LLC Name form online, by mail, in person, or by fax. The processing fee is $25.

Online:

Visit the official filing portal and fill out the necessary form. You can pay the registration fee by card during the application process.

As a rule, it takes 1-2 business days to process your documents.

Mail:

If you prefer reliable mail service, a prepared form and a check for the state fee can be sent to the address:

Commercial Division 
P.O. Box 94125
Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9125 

In Person:

Baton Rouge residents, as well as those planning to be nearby, can hand deliver all materials in person to the following address:

8585 Archives Avenue
Baton Rouge, LA 70809

Fax:

You may send the completed form to:

(225) 932-5314

It usually takes 3-5 business days to handle the paperwork. However, you can order expedited service by choosing one of these two options:

  • 24-hour service – $30;
  • Immediate service – $50.

Appoint an LLC Registered Agent

The first thing to take care of when planning to conduct business in Louisiana is choosing and appointing a registered agent. One acts as a guarantor of a stable relationship between the business and the state, receiving important official documents, such as:

  • Taxes;
  • Lawsuits;
  • Maintenance requirements, etc.

Despite the fact that the registered agent plays a key role in the company’s smooth operation, the requirements for candidates are quite flexible. 

Any resident who is at least 18 years old and has a physical address in the state may take on the duties of a Louisiana individual registered agent. However, staying at the LLC registered office during regular business hours (from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) to receive the papers in person is also a prerequisite. If these criteria are met, the owner may appoint themselves, relatives, co-workers, or friends as a Louisiana registered agent.

Another good option is to hire a Registered Agent Service, like IncFile or Northwest Registered Agent. Most professional online companies can not only help you get your business up and running quickly but also provide a registered agent service at an affordable price. Moreover, some companies, such as IncFile or ZenBusiness, offer one year of free registered agent service when you purchase any of their formation packages. 

Get an EIN for a Louisiana LLC

After you start an LLC in Louisiana, it is a good time to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) by applying to the IRS. 

An EIN is a unique 9-digit code that identifies a company’s tax records. It provides such opportunities as:

  • Managing and paying corporate taxes;
  • Hiring employees;
  • Opening a business bank account, etc.

Fortunately, it is easy to obtain an EIN. You can do it online, by mail, or fax. Regardless of the LLC filing method you select, the IRS does not charge a fee for getting an EIN.

Online:

Want to start using your EIN immediately after filling out the form? Then the online application is the best option for you. 

However, you can apply only on weekdays between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. EST. You will also need a valid individual taxpayer number, such as a Social Security Number.

By Mail:

If you choose a reliable postal service and are ready to wait about 4 weeks for your EIN, then Form SS-4 can be sent to the address:

Internal Revenue Service Operation
Attn: EIN Operation
Cincinnati, OH 45999

Fax:

There is another quick way to get an EIN, which allows you to receive it in only four business days. You should send your completed Form SS-4 to:

(855) 641-6935

If you don’t know whether your company needs an EIN or not, you can find more information about it on the IRS website.

File the Louisiana LLC Articles of Organization

To get your LLC registered and ready for doing business in Louisiana, you need to file formation documents with the state, which are known as the Articles of Organization. It is the first step in formally establishing an LLC.

To complete the Louisiana Articles of Organization, you need to read Louisiana RS §12:1301 et seq and provide the following information:

  • LLC Name and registered address;
  • The LLC’s purpose;
  • Name and address of organizer;
  • Name and address of registered agent;
  • Signature of the registered agent;
  • Names and addresses of all members and managers;
  • Duration (if applicable);
  • Dissolution date (if applicable).

After you finish filling out the Articles of Organization, you should notarize and submit it, along with a signed Initial Report, to the Secretary of State for approval. You can do this online, in person, or by mail, paying a $100 filing fee.

Online:

Visit Louisiana’s filing portal and log into your account or create a new one, then you can file your company documents with the state. It usually takes 1-2 business days to process the application.

Since 2018, the following counties are required to file all of their LLC materials online:

  • Ascension;
  • Bossier;
  • Caddo;
  • Calcasieu;
  • East Baton Rouge;
  • Jefferson;
  • Lafayette;
  • Livingston;
  • Orleans;
  • Ouachita;
  • Rapides;
  • St. Tammany;
  • Tangipahoa;
  • Terrebonne.

By Mail:

If you don’t want to use the online submission option, you can mail the paper application to the address:

Commercial Division
P.O. Box 94125
Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9125

In Person:

Baton Rouge residents and people planning to be there, can apply in person at the address:

8585 Archives Avenue, Baton Rouge, LA 70809

Fax:

Another option for submitting documents to the Secretary of State is via fax. In this case, the completed application should be sent to:

(225) 932-5314

It takes about 3-5 business days to process paper applications. However, for personal delivery, you can order expedited service for an additional fee.

Write an LLC Operating Agreement

An Operating Agreement is an internal company guide that outlines its basic operating principles and management structure.

Although an Operating Agreement in Louisiana is not required by law, there are a number of advantages of having one, such as:

  • The distribution of rights and responsibilities among participants to prevent management conflicts and misunderstandings;
  • The possibility to avoid Louisiana default laws, which may not be beneficial to LLCs because of their general nature;
  • Standardization of basic procedures;
  • Limited liability protection by keeping the LLC’s assets and personal property of its owners separate;
  • Making the company more credible in the eyes of potential investors.

There are no official templates, so creating a Louisiana LLC Operating Agreement can be assigned to a lawyer or written by yourself, relying on online templates. Although most of them available online are of high quality, the best option will be a template provided by a professional online company. For example, ZenBusiness includes an Operating Agreement template in every service package.

The content and volume of this document are entirely up to the owners, but generally, the Operating Agreement regulates the following issues:

  • Rights and obligations of the owners;
  • Procedures for changing LLC members;
  • Allocation of the company’s profits and losses;
  • Accounting procedures;
  • Issues requiring voting procedures;
  • Company dissolution, etc.

What One Should Do After Creating an LLC in Louisiana?

Louisiana LLC Business Licenses and Permits

Once the Articles of Organization is approved, your company is considered officially created. However, most businesses need special permits and licenses to commence business in Louisiana. 

The number and cost of Louisiana business licenses and permits is determined by the type of business you own and its location. To learn more about this, visit the Louisiana.gov Business Licenses page, where you can find detailed information on how to get an LLC license and which LLCs are required to have one. You can also use a professional online company that can do the research for you.

Some of the most common business licenses are as follows:

  • Business Licenses;
  • State Sales Tax License;
  • Occupational License.

Different types of licenses and permits require registration with different agencies. You can use geauxBIZ to simplify the procedure for obtaining them.

Louisiana LLC Tax Filing Requirements

At the federal level, LLCs are treated as “pass-through” tax units by default. This exempts them from the obligation to file a separate tax return. Instead, the owners report the profits and losses from doing business on personal 1040 tax returns and/or Schedule C.

As for Louisiana business taxes, the general rule is that LLCs do not pay taxes on their own behalf, leaving that responsibility to members. Another good news is that there is no “franchise” or “privilege” tax in this state.

However, if you plan to start an LLC in Louisiana, you should remember about additional taxes. Are you hiring employees? Then you have to pay the Unemployment Insurance Tax and Employee Withholding Tax. If your business involves selling goods or providing services, it is subject to Sales and Use Taxes. To pay these and some other taxes, you can register with the Louisiana Taxpayer Access Point.

Additionally, a number of LLC taxes in Louisiana may be provided at the county, municipal, or city level. Visit your local government’s website for more information.

File a Louisiana LLC Annual Report

When filing the Articles of Organization, LLCs in Louisiana are required to file a notarized Initial Report. You can do this online as well as mail the documents to the address:

Louisiana Secretary of State
Commercial Division
PO Box 94125
Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9125

You have to then file an annual report using your geauxBIZ account every year, no later than your business registration anniversary. The cost to process an initial or annual report by the Louisiana Secretary of State is $30.

One month before the annual report filing date, the state will send you a reminder by email or via geauxBIZ. You can also see a video that will give you detailed information about the annual report.

To maintain good standing with the state, it is important to submit all reports on time. Otherwise, your LLC may be administratively dissolved if you miss three consecutive annual reports.

Open an LLC Bank Account

Separating business’s funds and personal assets not only protects the LLC status but also makes bookkeeping easier. It will not take you much time. To open a bank account in Louisiana, you just need to go to any local bank branch and provide the following documents:

  • Copy of the Louisiana LLC Articles of Organization;
  • Operating Agreement;
  • EIN.

Conclusion

You now know how to launch a business in Louisiana, so you can get down to business. However, if you don’t want to handle searching for and filling out Louisiana LLC forms on your own, you can always hire an LLC formation service, for example, ZenBusiness. This company will not only take care of all your Louisiana LLC filing needs but will also provide you with a nice bonus. Each of its service packages includes one year of free registered agent service and a free Operating Agreement, which will reduce your cost to start an LLC in Louisiana.