Starting an LLC in Louisiana: Step-By-Step

Written by Melissa Pedigo – CPA, updated on

Looking to start an LLC in Louisiana?

Fortunately, Louisiana is quite an affordable place to live and run a business from. Furthermore, Louisiana has top-notch universities such as Louisiana State and Tulane that provide a steady stream of entrepreneurial talent, along with a unique culture and heritage.

All of this makes Louisiana a great place to start a new business. And forming a limited liability company (LLC) is the most common option among small business owners. This type of business entity provides personal asset and liability protection for its owners, plus it’s easy to manage.

So how do you incorporate an LLC in Louisiana? This step-by-step guide provides all the instructions.

Table of Contents

Step 1: Choose a business name for your LLC

If you're thinking of starting an LLC, you probably have a few names in mind. Before you register your top option, make sure it meets Louisiana’s requirements.

Louisiana LLC names must:

  • Include Limited Liability Company, Limited Company, or a similar abbreviation
  • Be unique and distinguishable from existing business names
  • Avoid implying it’s a part of a government agency
  • Not contain immoral, deceptive, or scandalous words
  • Refrain from regulated industry terms like insurance or bank, unless authorized

Once you find a name that meets these requirements, make sure it is available. Head over to the business name search on the Louisiana Secretary of State’s website.

Louisiana Secretary of State Business Search
Louisiana Secretary of State Business Name Search. Source: Louisiana Secretary of State.

Along with a business name, you should also check if a domain name is also available. Even if you don’t want to create a website right away, it’s best to secure the domain name.

Make a name reservation

If you’re not quite ready to form the LLC but know the name you want, you can reserve it. This is an optional step. It gives you time to prepare other documents without worrying if someone will take it.

Filing a name reservation costs $25. The reservation lasts for 120 days.

Louisiana Reservation of corporate LLC Name Application
Louisiana Reservation of LLC Name Application. Source: Louisiana Secretary of State

Trade name

Many business owners choose to operate under a name that’s different from the LLC’s legal name. This is known as using a trade name, doing-business-as (DBA), or assumed name.

Not every business needs a trade name. But it can help in many situations:

  • For sole proprietors to avoid using their legal first and last name
  • To keep a generic LLC name with a more descriptive operating name (e.g., New Orleans First Enterprises LLC using Cajun Crawfish Craziness)
  • To offer different services or products under multiple trade names

To register one in Louisiana, complete the Application to Register a Trade Name. A $75 filing fee applies.

Louisiana Trade Name trademark Reservation Form
Louisiana Trade Name Reservation Form. Source: Louisiana Secretary of State.

Step 2: Designate (or become) a registered agent

Choosing a reliable registered agent is the next important step. This is a contact responsible for accepting legal documents and other administrative notices.

You’ll need to list the registered agent details on your company formation documents. This includes the full name and address, which become part of the public record.

Louisiana requirements for registered agents

All registered agents must meet the following requirements:

  • At least 18 years old
  • A legal resident of Louisiana
  • Has a physical address in Louisiana (not a P.O. Box)
  • Will be available during regular business hours

You or any other person can act as a registered agent. This includes people like a trusted employee, corporate attorney, or accountant.

Or you can hire a professional registered agent service instead. Many savvy business owners go this route because it helps to:

  • Keep your address out of public records, reduce junk mail, and protect privacy
  • Let you to focus on other business obligations and step away from the office as needed
  • Avoid embarrassing situations such as receiving lawsuit notices in front of customers

Hiring a registered agent costs around $50 to $200 per year.

Step 3: File Louisiana LLC Articles of Organization & Obtain a Certificate of Registration

After you’ve settled on your company name and registered agent, you’re ready for a very important step. The Articles of Organization is the document that creates your business.

The Articles of Organization form is a short two-page application. You’ll list important information about your company, such as:

  • Company name and address
  • Registered agent contact information
  • Names and contact details for members

The filing fee is $100 for domestic LLC formation and $150 for foreign LLCs.

Louisiana’s Articles of Organization need to be witnessed and signed by a notary if you submit a paper application.

You can file your Articles online through Geauxbiz.com. Or hand in or mail in a paper application to the Secretary of State.

Registering your business online has the fastest response, usually within a few business days. You can also receive your state tax ID and apply for an unemployment insurance account.

In a rush? No problem. Louisiana SOS offers two tiers of expedited processing for an extra fee:

  • $30 for 24-hour processing
  • $50 for immediate walk-in processing

Once your LLC is approved, request a certificate of organization. Keep this with your records. It may be needed for financing, banking, and other needs. Louisiana charges $15 for this document.

Step 4: Create an LLC operating agreement

The next step is to draft an operating agreement. Louisiana doesn’t require your LLC to have an operating agreement. But it’s a sound idea to have one, especially as a multi-member company.

An operating agreement spells out how your company will function. Without one, Louisiana law will determine the outcome of disputes. This may not align with your interests.

Protect your business by creating a well-drafted operating agreement. It will help to prevent problems and ensure everyone is on the same page.

An operating agreement should cover things like:

  • Member names and contact information
  • Ownership percentages and contributions
  • Method for allocating profits and losses
  • Process for adding or removing members
  • Voting process for major company decisions
  • Procedures to close the company

You can find standard operating agreement templates online to customize. Or you can hire an attorney to prepare one for you to make sure your LLC is covered.

Step 5: Get an EIN (Employer Identification Number) from the IRS

After forming your LLC, you’ll want to get an EIN from the Internal Revenue Service. It’s like a Social Security number for businesses. The IRS uses them to track tax information.

All multi-member LLCs must get an EIN. They’re also needed to:

  • Hire and pay full-time employees
  • Report federal income tax
  • Pay for any type of federal license or permits

Some single-member LLCs can use their personal Social Security number instead of an EIN. But if the LLC hires any employees or falls under other special situations, it must get an EIN.

Getting your EIN is quick and easy when you apply on the IRS website. It will take less than 15 minutes, and your ID number will be issued immediately. The application is free.

Costs to set up an LLC in Louisiana

The only required cost to start an LLC in Louisiana is the filing fee to submit your Articles of Organization. This is $100 for domestic LLCs and $150 for foreign LLCs.

Other optional costs include:

  • Name reservation ($25)
  • Fictional name filing ($75)
  • Registered agent service ($50 to $200 per year)

Additionally, LLCs must pay a $30 fee each year to file the Annual Report to the State of Louisiana.

Last Steps

At this point, take a moment to celebrate. You’ve started your Louisiana LLC and are almost ready to start your business. There are a few final items to take care of first.

Business bank account

Setting up a business bank account is great for accounting and tax purposes. It’s also a crucial element of the LLC’s legal protections.

If you combine your personal and business finances, you could lose the LLC’s asset separation. This means your personal assets could be on the table if your LLC gets sued.

To open a business account, most banks will want to see the Articles of Organization, EIN, and a photo ID.

Taxes, licenses, and permits

Another critical step is to register and get any approval your business needs. These can come from state, city, and parish authorities.

Start with agencies like the Louisiana Department of Revenue (DOR). It manages sales tax for businesses that sell taxable goods or services. The Louisiana Workforce Commission handles withholding and unemployment tax payments.

Local authorities may issue licenses and permits. For example, Baton Rouge has a New Business Registration process. And New Orleans requires an Occupational License.

Other considerations

Getting adequate insurance coverage is always worthwhile. Workers’ compensation is vital if you hire employees. But all businesses can get a lot of value from a general liability policy.

Experienced entrepreneurs understand the value of learning from others. You can uncover proven ways to find success. Connect with the local business community through groups like:

Keep your wheels turning by making sure your name meets Louisiana's standards. Continue forward through this guide to start your LLC’s engine and see your business dreams roar to life.

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Article by:

Melissa Pedigo

CPA

Melissa Pedigo is a US CPA with more than 20 years of experience. She’s worked at Big 4 firms, for the government, and internationally. Now a full-time writer, she enjoys translating complex financial and tax topics into plain English. When she’s not keeping current reading IRS rules or tax legislation, you’ll find her studying foreign languages or playing tennis.

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