How Much Does it Cost to Set Up an LLC? Get an LLC in 2021

    by Benjamin Aronson
Updated September 12, 2021

The main cost to form an LLC falls on the state filing fees. Depending on where you want to form your LLC, state filing fees range from $40 – $500.

There are three main options that you can choose when forming an LLC:

  1. Hire a professional LLC service provider
  2. Do it yourself (DIY) and
  3. Hire a lawyer to form your LLC

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Cost to Set Up an LLC

The main cost involved in forming an LLC is the state filing fee which is your company’s articles of organization that must be filed with the Secretary of State.

This cost ranges anywhere from $40-$500 and unfortunately, you cannot control or change the state fee. The state that you choose to establish your company will have a flat cost.

To help you get on your way quickly, we engineered a calculator that immediately informs you how much it costs to get an LLC:

LLC Filing Fee by State

The filing fees involved in starting an LLC with the Secretary of State costs anywhere between $40-$500.

Whether you hire an incorporation service, file the LLC yourself (DIY) or use a lawyer to set up your LLC, you will be subjected to the LLC filing fees below:

State LLC Filing Cost LLC Annual Fee
Alabama $212 $100 minimum
Alaska $250 $100
Arizona $85 No Annual Fee
Arkansas $50 $150
California $75 $20 Biennially + Annual franchise tax
Colorado $50 $10
Connecticut $120 $20
Delaware $110 $300
Florida $125 $138.75
Georgia $100 $50
Hawaii $50 $15
Idaho $100 No Annual Fee
Illinois $179 $75
Indiana $98 $30
Iowa $50 $45
Kanas $160 $50
Kentucky $40 $15
Louisiana $105 $35
Maine $175 $85
Maryland $197 $300
Massachusetts $520 $500
Michigan $50 $25
Minnesota $155 No Annual Fee
Mississippi $53 No Annual Fee
Missouri $52 No Annual Fee
Montana $70 $20
Nebraska $109 $10
Nevada $425 $350
New Hampshire $102 $100
New Jersey $130 $75
New Mexico $50 No Annual Fee
New York $205 $9 Biennial
North Carolina $127 $200
North Dakota $135 $50
Ohio $99 No Annual Fee
Oklahoma $104 $25
Oregon $100 $100
Pennsylvania $125 No Annual Fee
Rhode Island $156 $50
South Carolina $150 No Annual Fee
South Dakota $150 $50
Tennessee $308 $300
Texas $300 No Annual Fee
Utah $76 $20
Vermont $125 $35
Virginia $100 $50
Washington $200 $60
Washington D.C $220 $300 Biennial
West Virginia $125 $25
Wisconsin $130 $25
Wyoming $102 $50

Additional LLC Costs and Fees

Depending on where you form your limited liability company, there are additional costs and fees. Below are the most common costs that business owners face once the articles of organization are filed.

Business Licenses and Permits

Business licenses and permits don t apply to everyone. Depending on your business industry and location, you might need to acquired specific licenses and permits which allow you to operate.

There are four main types of business licenses:

  1. Local business license and permit
  2. State business license and permit
  3. Federal business license and permit
  4. Business license and permit for home-based businesses

There are many businesses that are required to obtain licenses and permits so make sure you do your research and figure out if that applies to your business.

Fictitious Name Fee

If you decide that you do not want to do business under your LLC’s legal name, then you can set up a fictitious name or a “Doing Business As” (DBA). This is not a requirement, but there are business owners that want to set an anonymous LLC and registering a DBA makes the process more protected.

Where is the Best State to Form My LLC?

Many entrepreneurs get faulty legal advice and believe that they can save tax if they form a foreign LLC, but that’s just not the average case.

You should form your LLC in the state that your LLC is transacting business. That is the best state to register your LLC.

LLC Maintenance Costs

There are three main ongoing maintenance costs that small businesses may have to pay after filing the articles of organization and establishing LLC formation:

  1. Annual or biennial report
  2. Franchise tax
  3. Registered agent fees

Depending on the state you might not have to pay annual or biennial ongoing costs or annual franchise tax. If you don’t live or have an address in the state that you are doing business, you will most likely need to pay a registered agent service to ensure that you are in good standings.

Annual/Biennial Report

You may or may not have to submit an annual or biennial report, based on the state that you chose to stat an LLC. This consists of filing an annual report including any updates to the following information:

  • LLC name
  • Address of the LLC
  • Ownership of the LLC
  • Change in the operating agreement

Take a section to verify with your Secretary of State if you are required to pay such a filing fee.

Franchise Tax

Aside from the filing cost to form an LLC, there can be annual franchise tax as well. Franchise tax is an annual report that business owners must file. There are states like Texas that required LLC owners to file franchise tax, but the chance of actual fees is very low.

Hire an LLC formation Service

Are you thinking about hiring a professional LLC formation service to start your LLC?

LLC formation companies are dedicated professionals that specialize in forming an LLC. Hiring an LLC formation service does increase the LLC cost and it is not required to use them. If you’re interested in forming an LLC with a filing service of process company, stay away from organizations with hidden fees like Incorporate.com.

Basic LLC Formation Package: $0 – $149

Online incorporation services like Incorporate Fast, Northwest Registered Agent, Harbor Compliance and ZenBusiness are all leading filing companies.

If your looking for a LegalZoom alternative to file your article of organization these professional services will set you up in a fraction of the time.

Generally speaking, when you form an LLC you will also need to:

  • Write up an Operating Agreement
  • Register your LLC for an Employer Identification Number (EIN)
  • Hire a Registered Agent, if you start an LLC in a state that you don’t have an address

All of the incorporation companies provide the services mentioned above.

Operating Agreement: $0-$99

An operating agreement is a legal document that should be written up when starting an LLC. An operating agreement is a legally binding document that outlines the organization. Information such as the distribution of profits and losses, where the bank account is, the legal business name and the distribution of ownership is all written in the is this document.

Employer Identification Number (EIN) Registration: $50-$100

An EIN is a 9 digit identification number for your LLC that is for tax purposes and identification. If you do not want to apply for your EIN online, you can pay a fee for a formation service to get the job done for you.

Registered Agent Service: $0-$150 yearly

If you decide to file your LLC in a state that you are not residing in, you are going to need a registered agent.

A registered agent is a company or individual that is designated to receive services of processes and mail on behalf of your LLC. Many business owners hire professional registered agent services to take care of this. There are annual fees when hiring a professional registered agent.

How to Start an LLC Yourself

Setting up an LLC yourself is the cheapest LLC formation by far. Don’t get overwhelmed, we are going to walk you through the five basic steps to start your LLC.

Five Basic Steps to Start an LLC

  1. Name Your LLC
  2. Appoint a Registered Agent
  3. File Articles of Organization
  4. Write up an Operating Agreement
  5. Register for an EIN

1. Name Your LLC

The first step is choosing the legal name of your business. This is a bit more than just choosing a name that “sounds good”.

You must make sure that you follow the general guidelines below:

  • The business name must include “limited liability company” or LLC or L.L.C.
  • Your business name cannot confuse the general public with governmental organization
  • There are restricted words such as Bank or Lawyer. They may be included if you have the required licensing.

2. Appoint a Registered Agent

When setting up your LLC, you must have a registered agent to receive services of processes on behalf of your LLC.

In order to be a registered agent, the individual must:

  • Be 18 years or older
  • Have a physical address in the state of the LLC

If you form a foreign LLC and need a registered agent, you can hire a registered agent to ask on behalf of your business.

Note: You must have a registered agent to start a non-profit organization (NPO).

3. File Articles of Organization

The articles of organization is essentially the certificate of formation and legalization of your LLC. The costs for filing the articles of organization range between $40 -$500 and differentiate by state.

4. Write up an Operating Agreement

This document outlines how the business will be run, who are member managers, and how profits are distributed.

This document is not required in all states, but it is highly recommended and almost always necessary when opening a bank account.

5. Register for an EIN

Registering for an EIN is completely free if you do it yourself. An EIN is essentially a small business tracking number for tax purposes. You can apply for your EIN on the IRS website online.

Hire a Lawyer to Set up Your LLC

You do not need a lawyer to form an LLC, but having an attorney to answer questions and guide you through the certificate of formation is a pleasure. Depending on where you are located, the cost of a business lawyer is approximately $1,000-$1,500. That normally encompasses the start-up lawyer fees.

Having an attorney is a big benefit because you will have someone by your side who knows what to do every step of the way. This is probably one of the easiest methods of establishing an LLC.

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