Forming a new limited liability company (LLC) in any state can be a daunting task.
You need to choose a business name, designate a registered agent, draft and file the articles of organization, and more.
In some states, there’s another step on top of all the usual ones, which is publishing proof of your LLC’s formation in reputable local newspapers.
Arizona is one of just three states that still has this requirement — New York and Nebraska are the others — and it’s a vital part of forming your LLC, because there are some potentially harsh penalties for failing to complete it. However, there are some jurisdictions within Arizona that are exempt from this requirement.
That’s why we decided to put together this guide, which will break down everything you need to know in order to successfully complete Arizona’s publication requirement, including which counties are exempt. Let’s get started!
What Is the Arizona LLC Publication Requirement?
When you start an LLC in Arizona, you are required to publish an advertisement in a local newspaper for three consecutive publication periods. The newspaper you publish in must be located in the same county as your LLC’s home office, and your advertisements must run within 60 days of the state accepting your LLC formation documents.
When your ads finish their run, the newspaper will provide you with a document called an affidavit of publication. There used to be an additional requirement that you provide the Arizona Corporation Commission with a copy of this affidavit, but today you just need to keep it in your own records in case anyone ever asks for a copy.
The reason so few states have this requirement today is that it’s quite antiquated. Many years ago, newspapers were the only reliable source of information regarding new businesses in any jurisdiction, so it made sense to require that new companies advertise proof of their formations. Most states have gotten rid of this requirement over the years, but in much of Arizona, the publication requirement persists.
However, as we mentioned in the introduction, there are some exceptions to this rule. If your business is located in Maricopa or Pima Counties — Arizona’s two most populous counties — you do not need to publish your formation. This is because the state allows entrepreneurs in these counties to simply publish proof of formation on the Arizona Corporation Commission’s public notice database website. Even more convenient is the fact that the commission will handle this for you as soon as your LLC is formed.
Why isn’t this allowed in the rest of the state? That’s a great question, and one that we do not have the answer for. But the fact remains that only businesses in these two counties are exempt from the publication requirement.
What Happens if I Don’t Complete the Publication Requirement?
Arizona’s penalties for failing to complete this requirement are significantly stiffer than those you would face in New York, one of the only other states that has a similar requirement. In Arizona, you will actually run the risk of having your LLC administratively dissolved.
This means that the state will revoke your LLC’s good standing, and you lose your right to conduct business. In order to return your business to good standing, you would need to complete the publication requirement. As you can see, there’s really no good reason to put off publication.
Can I Hire a Service to Handle My Publication Requirement?
While there are a lot of good LLC services online, there aren’t very many that offer Arizona publication service, but there are a few.
If you would rather hire out this process than do it yourself, we recommend BizFilings. If you choose BizFilings to form your LLC, they will actually provide your publication step free of charge! All you need to pay is the state fee, along with the actual publication charges from the newspaper.
While BizFilings isn’t our top overall choice for LLC formations, they are our #6 pick. In other words, if you want to use BizFilings for your publication step, they are definitely a strong enough option to form your LLC as well.
Even though Arizona’s publication requirement is no longer in effect in the state’s two most populous counties, entrepreneurs in the state’s other 13 counties must still publish proof of their LLC formations.
There aren’t very many companies that offer publication service in this state, most likely because most entrepreneurs choose to complete it themselves. Still, if you would rather hire out this step, BizFilings can help you out.
All told, the Arizona publication requirement can be quite expensive and a serious hassle, but it remains a vital part of forming an LLC in most of this state.