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How to Form an LLC in Louisiana

Follow these steps to start an LLC in Louisiana.

Louisiana’s diversity makes it an exciting place to live and work. The Cajun and Creole population have left unique permanent marks on the state — from language to cuisine.

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.

What’s more, Louisiana is quite an affordable place to live and run a business from. So it follows that new small businesses have an 81% survival rate after the first year in this state.

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

  1. Step 1: Choose a business name for your Louisiana LLC
  2. Step 2: Designate a registered agent
  3. Step 3: File Louisiana LLC Articles of Organization
  4. Step 4: Obtain an EIN (Employer Identification Number) from the IRS
  5. Step 5: Register with the Louisiana Department of Revenue and Workforce Commission
  6. Step 6: Prepare an LLC operating agreement
  7. Step 7: Open a Louisiana business bank account
  8. Taxes, costs, and fees in Louisiana for LLC
  9. Business permits and licenses in Louisiana
  10. Pros and cons of forming an LLC in Louisiana
  11. Key takeaways
  12. Formation FAQs for an LLC in Louisiana

Step 1: Choose a business name for your Louisiana LLC

Chances are, if you’re considering starting an LLC, you already have a few names in mind. But before you can register your top option, you’ll need to verify it against Louisiana’s business naming requirements.

Your LLC business name must:

  • Include the term “limited liability company” or an abbreviation L.L.C., or L.C., Ltd.
  • Be distinguishable from any other company name already registered
  • Not imply that it’s a part of or an agent for the state or the U.S. government
  • Not contain words that are immoral, deceptive, or scandalous
  • Not include the words insurance, bank, trust, etc. unless the appropriate state regulatory agency has licensed the LLC

Your name meets all the requirements. Great, now you’ll need to verify its availability.

To check whether your name is available, you can do a business name search on the Louisiana Secretary of State’s website. Be sure to look up the full name you plan to use (with LLC abbreviation included).

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. After all, every business needs a website these days.

Name reservations

Once you confirm that your business name is available and meets the rules, you may choose to reserve it.

Reserving a business name isn’t required to form an LLC. Instead, you may opt for this if you are not ready to begin the company incorporation process just yet.

Filing a name reservation costs $25, and it reserves your selected company name with the state for 120 days.

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

Trade name

When you want to use a name that differs from your legally registered business name, that’s called using a trade name.

Trade names can also be called DBA (doing business as), assumed, or fictitious names.

Not every business needs a trade name. But it makes sense to register one as:

  • A sole proprietor who doesn’t want to use their legal first and last name as the business name.
  • A company with a legal name that’s vague or generic (e.g., “New Orleans First Enterprises, LLC”).
  • A company that wants to offer multiple services or products. A trade name can let them market each product individually.

If you need to register a trade name in Louisiana, the process is straightforward. You’ll need to complete an application with the Secretary of State and pay the $75 filing fee.

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

Step 2: Designate a registered agent

Choosing a reliable registered agent is the next important step.

A registered agent is a person or company responsible for accepting legal documents, sometimes called service of process, and other important tax and administrative notices on behalf of your company.

You’ll need to list the registered agent details on your company formation documents – full name and address.

Louisiana requirements for registered agents

You or any other person can act as a registered agent as long as they meet the following state 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 there during regular business hours

You could appoint a trusted employee, corporate attorney, or accountant to be your registered agent. Just make sure they agree to accept this role.

Hiring a professional registered agent service

Some LLCs may want to hire a professional service to act as their registered agent instead of appointing someone internally.

Using a professional makes sense for:

  • LLCs with no physical location in Louisiana
  • LLCs seeking privacy to keep the business owner’s personal address out of the public record
  • Owners who don’t want to be available from 9-5 year-round

Hiring a professional company will cost between $100 and $300 a year, depending on the selected service package.

Step 3: File Louisiana LLC Articles of Organization

After you’ve settled on your company name and registered agent, you’re ready to form your LLC by filing your Articles of Organization. It’s the document that officially creates your business and lets you operate in Louisiana.

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

  • Company name and address
  • Registered agent contact information
  • Names and contact details for members (e.g., owners)

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

In both cases, you can file your Articles online through Geauxbiz.com. Or hand-in or mail-in a
paper application to the Secretary of State.

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

Registering your business online not only provides a quicker response (typically a few business days). Moreover, you can also register to receive your state tax identification number and apply for an unemployment insurance account from the same portal.

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

  • Regular expediting (24 hour processing time) — $30
  • Priority expediting (2-4 hour processing time) — $50

Step 4: Obtain an EIN (Employer Identification Number) from the IRS

After your Articles of Organization are approved by the Secretary of State, you’ll want to get an EIN from the Internal Revenue Service.

Although the name implies that you’re an employer, an EIN is necessary for all multi-member LLCs, regardless of whether they have staff. You’ll also need an EIN to:

  • Hire and pay full-time employees
  • Report federal income tax
  • Pay for any type of federal licenses or permits
Single-member LLCs, reporting taxes as a sole proprietorship and without payrolled employees, can skip EIN application and use a social security number for federal tax purposes.

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.

Step 5: Register with the Louisiana Department of Revenue and Workforce Commission

You may need to register your new business with other Louisiana offices like the Department of Revenue (DOR) and the Louisiana Workforce Commission.

If you sell taxable goods or services in Louisiana, you’ll need to collect sales tax from your customers and send it along to the Department of Revenue each month or quarter.

To make payments, you’ll need a Louisiana tax account number, which is different from your EIN. Luckily Louisiana makes this easy for you, and you can apply for your tax account on Geauxbiz.com while you form your business.

Registration with the Workforce Commission is necessary if you plan to have local employees. In this case, you’ll have to meet state employment tax requirements such as state income withholding and unemployment tax payments.

You can either register directly with them or through Geauxbiz.com during the initial company formation step.

Step 6: Prepare an LLC operating agreement

The last step you need to take is to draft an operating agreement for your business. Louisiana doesn’t legally require your LLC to have an operating agreement.

But it’s a sound idea to have one, especially as a multi-member company. Why?

Because an operating agreement spells out how your company will operate and be managed.

The document also details how you’ll make big decisions like adding a new member or issuing profit distribution.

To prevent disputes between members in regards to the above, an operating agreement has to specify:

  • Company name and primary purpose
  • Member names, contact information, and initial contribution amounts
  • Methodology of how profits and losses will be allocated
  • Process for admitting new members and letting members leave
  • The voting process for any type of company decisions
  • Dissolution procedures to close the company

You can find standard operating agreement templates online to customize as per your needs. Or you can (and should) hire an attorney to prepare one for you.

Step 7: Open a Louisiana business bank account

The final step in getting your Louisiana company up and running is to open a business bank account.

Having a bank account for your company is essential for:

  • Keeping personal and business finances separate
  • Preparing for year-end tax returns
  • Establishing business credibility
  • Securing a business loan (should you ever need one)

To open a business account, most banks will want to see your approved Articles of Organization, EIN, and a personal ID document.

Approach your primary bank first to ask about business account options. Since you already have a relationship with them, they may offer you a better deal. But shop around too and do your research.

New Orleans, Louisiana.
New Orleans, Louisiana.

National banks like Chase and Regions will likely offer a large variety of services and have numerous branches to choose from. And that convenience usually means a monthly service fee that can be as much as $50.

A local bank such as Bank of Louisiana or a credit union may be a better choice as they usually focus on small businesses and are involved in the community. The fees may also be lower compared to bigger players.

Louisiana LLC taxes, costs, and fees

Louisiana LLC taxes, costs, and fees

There will be more expenses than just your initial startup costs — an LLC as a business structure comes with extra maintenance costs.

Annual reports

Louisiana requires all LLC owners to file an annual report to stay in compliance with the state laws. It’s where you can update any company information that changed from the prior year. For example, your registered agent details or primary office address.

The state filing fee for LLC annual report is $30, and you can submit it online through Geauxbiz.com.

State taxes

Most LLCs won’t need to pay corporate income taxes. Since LLCs are considered pass-through entities, the business profits are taxed on the owner’s personal tax return.

However, if your LLC elects the tax classification of a C-corporation, you’ll have to pay state corporate income taxes. As of 2021/22, the rates are as follows:

  • 4% on the first $25,000 of net income
  • 5% on the next $25,000
  • 6% on the next $50,000
  • 7% on the next $100,000
  • 8% on the excess over $200,000

Similarly, LLCs taxed as corporations will have also to pay Louisiana corporate franchise tax, which is:

  • $110 minimal
  • Or ​​$1.50/$3 for each $1,000 over $300,000 of capital employed in Louisiana

Also, some LLCs will need to collect sales tax from customers. The state sales tax rate is currently 4.45%. But in most cities and towns, the tax rate will be higher since they can tack on local sales tax. For example, the sales tax rate in Baton Rouge is 9.95%.

Depending on what your company sells, you may need to pay other local business taxes such as:

  • Excise taxes
  • Premium taxes
  • Severance taxes

Be sure to check with your local tax authorities to ensure you’re collecting and paying all the appropriate taxes.

Louisiana business permits and licenses

Like most states, Louisiana doesn’t require companies to have a general business license to operate. But specific regulated industries, such as doctors, attorneys, and accountants, will need to secure a specialty license from the state to operate.

Specialty license fees vary depending on the occupation. For example, an accountant will pay $100/year for a license while a home inspector pays $200 annually.

Also, keep in mind that local authorities may require a general license to set up shop in their city.

For example, New Orleans requires an Occupational or General Business License for any business operating within its boundaries.

Thus, it’s best to give your local government a call to discuss what licenses or permits you’ll need.

Pros and cons of forming an LLC in Louisiana

Starting your new business in the Bayou State has some distinct advantages, but this decision isn’t without its drawbacks either. Here’s a summary:

Louisiana LLC pros

  • Relatively low state fees for company formation
  • Low ongoing maintenance expenses
  • No state franchise taxes for LLCs reporting taxes as a partnership, sole proprietorship, or S-corporation

Louisiana LLC cons

  • One of the highest combined state and local sales tax rates
  • Specific municipalities may require general business licenses
  • Annual report filings are mandatory to maintain a good standing

Key takeaways

  • You can start an LLC in Louisiana for as little as $100.
  • Annual reports are required for all LLCs and cost $30.
  • The sales tax rate is on the higher end of the spectrum.
  • No state-specific business license is required, but local permits may be necessary.
  • No corporate income tax for most LLCs.

Louisiana LLC FAQs

Here are the most frequently asked questions regarding LLC formation in Louisiana.

1. How much does it cost to start an LLC in Louisiana?

The filing fee to submit your Articles of Organization is $100 for domestic LLCs and $150 for foreign LLCs. But if you plan to hire a registered agent, use a trade name, or need expedited service, you’ll pay more in state fees. Likewise, any extra help such as CPA, attorney, or LLC formation services consults will increase the cost of incorporation by $100-$500 on average.

Melissa Pedigo

Article by:

Melissa Pedigo

Certified Public Accountant (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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