Best Overall Service

LegalZoom is the biggest name in the LLC formation service industry.

They’ve been a prominent player in this market for years, and they advertise more than most of their competitors combined. They also serve a very high volume of customers, so there’s no denying that LegalZoom is a popular service. In addition, LegalZoom has thousands of mostly positive customer reviews available online.

However, their pricing is acceptable but uninspiring. Their LLC formation packages are threadbare and lacking value compared to many of their competitors.

Furthermore, LegalZoom does not offer any level of assistance with New York publication requirements. If you prioritize using the company with the largest volume of customers or the biggest brand power, LegalZoom is certainly worth a look.

When you’re forming an LLC in a state like New York which has some unusual requirements for LLC formations, it’s nice to have access to personalized customer support.

Northwest provides all of its clients with support from its Corporate Guides. These highly trained representatives walk you through each step of the formation process, and you can contact your Guide at any time to ask questions or get advice.

Northwest’s pricing starts at $225, and that rate includes 12 months of their registered agent service. They provide excellent overall value, and they also receive strong reviews from their customers, albeit in a smaller volume of feedback than ZenBusiness has.

The only real drawback of Northwest for New York business formations is that they do not offer publication service. However, they will provide you with a set of step-by-step instructions to make it easier to complete this requirement on your own.

If you’re looking for personalized service, Northwest is a solid NY LLC service.

Along with ZenBusiness, IncFile is one of the only companies we’ve ever heard of that actually offers to form your New York LLC at absolutely no charge, as long as you pay your own state fee.

This is obviously a solid bargain, and it gets even better when you realize that IncFile is far from a barebones service.

With IncFile, that free formation package we just discussed actually comes with a free year of registered agent service.

In addition, they have a positive customer feedback reputation, as they have thousands upon thousands of reviews available online, and nearly all of them are perfect five-star scores.

IncFile doesn’t offer any assistance with New York’s publication requirement, and their customer support team can sometimes take a bit to get back to you. Still, it’s hard to complain about a company that offers to form your LLC for free while still throwing in a full year of registered agent service.

At $99, BizFilings doesn’t have the most appealing price point for LLC formations, but they make up for it with affordable New York publication service.

BizFilings not only offers to handle this step on your behalf, but they also charge just $150 in total ($100 service fee + $50 state fee), plus newspaper fees.

BizFilings includes six months of registered agent service with any of their LLC formation packages. However, they hardly have any online customer reviews, which is strange at best for a company with as much experience as they have.

In addition, their upper-tier Standard or Complete packages vary in price depending on which state you’re forming a business in, but they’re not a great value no matter which state you’re in.

New York LLC Fast Facts

  • LLC Formation Speed: Usually same-day if filed online, paper filings take 7 business days (expedited options: $25 for 24-hour service, $75 for same-day, $150 for 2-hour)
  • Cost to File a NY LLC: $250 ($200 for the Articles of Organization and $50 for the required publication certificate), plus the service’s fee if you use one
  • How to File Your Articles of Organization: Online or by mail
  • Biennial Reports: Due every other year (odd-numbered years only) by the end of your LLC’s anniversary month; costs $9 to file
  • State General Business License: Not required, but industry licenses will probably apply
  • PLLCs: Permitted, but called a “Professional Service LLC” in NY

What Is a New York LLC?

LLCs are formal legal entities that are typically taxed similarly to sole proprietorships and general partnerships, in that the owners include any company profits or losses into their personal returns — the LLC itself does not owe income taxes.

An LLC may also elect to be taxed like a corporation, although this is not a very common option.

There are similarities to corporations too, especially when it comes to financial responsibilities. In an LLC, the owners or members are not usually personally accountable for the financial status of the business. This means that if someone sues your LLC, your personal assets are not at risk.

New York charges a somewhat high $200 filing fee to form your LLC, which isn’t the absolute highest price in the nation, but it’s still higher than most states’ formation fees. In addition, this state levies an annual fee for all LLCs with a minimum of $25.

New York is one of several states that legally requires LLCs to have an operating agreement. This is an internal document that outlines several of the LLC’s operational details. You don’t need to file the operating agreement with the state, but you do need to have one in your business documents file.

One thing that makes LLC formations unique in New York is that this is one of a small handful of states that requires entrepreneurs to publish proof of their LLC formations in area newspapers. When you form your LLC, you’ll need to take out advertisements in two local newspapers within 120 days of filing your Articles of Organization document with the state.

Once you’ve completed this requirement, each newspaper will send you an affidavit of publication to submit to the Department of State. At this point, the Department of State will provide you with a Certificate of Publication to certify that you have fulfilled the publication step.

The Total Cost of Forming and Maintaining an LLC in New York

In addition to the costs of a business formation service or hiring an attorney (which are optional, as we’ve discussed), there are quite a few other required and optional expenses when forming and maintaining a New York business. You cannot form an LLC in New York without filing the Articles of Organization, the document that officially registers your business within the state. This document has a $200 filing fee.

You will also need to submit a Certificate of Publication ($50), which requires you to post an ad in your local paper alerting the public about who you are and what your new business is. You must post this ad once a week for six weeks in two local papers before you can submit the publication certificate.

Another common requirement is the Biennial Statement, which New York requires you to submit every other year. This simple filing keeps the state up-to-date about some basic but vital business information, such as your address and registered agent. The filing costs just $9.

Then there are taxes to account for. Like most states, New York charges different rates for both pass-through entities and businesses taxed as corporations. But state taxes aren’t the only ones to consider. You’ll also have to pay federal taxes, along with several others.

For instance, if you have employees, you’ll pay unemployment insurance tax. If you sell goods or services, you’ll pay sales and use tax. Depending on the nature of your business, there could be other taxes required, so check with the New York Department of Taxation to make sure.

Other than that, the other potential expenses only apply to certain businesses. These include things like professional or industry-specific business licenses and business insurance.

Pros and Cons of Creating a Limited Liability Company

An LLC is one of the most popular entity types nationwide. But it isn’t the right type for everyone.

Only you can pick which entity type best fits you and your business; after all, you understand your business idea better than anyone. You have a clear vision for your products and services, both present and future.

To truly determine whether an LLC is right for you, it’s helpful to consider the advantages and disadvantages of LLCs.


  • Easier to form and maintain than a corporation
  • Personal asset protection
  • Flexible taxation structure; can pay as a partnership or a corporation
  • Business name is protected for exclusive use within state boundaries


  • No authority to issue stock, so opportunities to raise capital are limited
  • Fees are higher than partnerships or sole proprietorships
  • Requires more paperwork than some entrepreneurs are comfortable with

Should You Form a New York LLC or Corporation?

Common characteristics

There are some common aspects of the LLC and the corporation, starting with the personal asset protection they both provide. Also known as limited liability, this personal asset protection ensures that if your business is sued, only the business assets are at risk. Meanwhile, your personal assets — like your house, car, personal bank accounts, investments, etc. — are protected by your LLC or corporation’s business structure.

In addition, LLCs and corporations both provide their owners with business name exclusivity. If you own and operate a sole proprietorship or general partnership, you will not have exclusive rights to your business name. Instead, if another company decides to use your name as its own, you won’t be able to stop them. In fact, they could even register your business name and gain exclusive rights to it, forcing you to come up with a new one.

Advantages of the LLC

In general, an LLC is quicker and easier to form than a corporation. LLCs usually need to provide less information for their formation documents than corporations do, and there are fewer steps in the process as well. For instance, LLCs don’t need to draft corporate bylaws, name officers or board members, hold initial board meetings, or issue stock. On the other hand, corporations need to do all of these things and more.

The LLC is also a less rigid business structure that allows its owners greater flexibility. The business structure of a corporation is inflexible, with many regulations dictating how the business should look and function. Meanwhile, LLCs have options for business management structure and ownership responsibilities that corporations simply don’t have.

Another even more valuable option LLCs have is that they can choose how they want to be taxed. Most LLCs are taxed as pass-through entities, which means the business itself does not pay taxes, but the profits are passed through the LLC itself to its owners, who pay taxes on this money on their personal returns. However, LLCs can also opt to be taxed like corporations (either as a C corporation or an S corporation), giving them more options for taxation than a corporation has.

Advantages of the corporation

Corporations have some advantages too, like the ability to sell stock. It’s quite difficult for an LLC to attract outside investments because it cannot issue stock. The vast majority of investors prefer stock as their investment medium, and it’s also very rare to see venture capitalists investing in LLCs. For these reasons, the corporation is a much better option for businesses looking to attract investments.

In addition, the corporation has been around for hundreds of years, while the LLC is a newer addition to the American business landscape. This means that the corporation has more established legalities, and also that it’s easier to expand into other states because the corporation’s structure is essentially the same no matter where you form it.

How to Set Up a New York LLC on Your Own

Technically speaking, you don’t have to use an LLC formation service like ZenBusiness or LegalZoom. These services are incredibly helpful, but you can save money by completing the process yourself.

You can read our complete guide to DIY an LLC setup in New York, but here’s a quick look at the process:

Choose a business name

Every LLC in New York needs a name that’s memorable and gives potential clients a good idea of what goods or services are available. The name also needs to be unique — both for legal reasons and so your business stands out from the competition.

Appoint a NY registered agent

As we’ve mentioned in this guide, every LLC needs an agent who can accept service of process on your behalf. In all states, you can act as your own registered agent as long as you have a physical address in the state. That said, we generally recommend that you appoint someone else (like an online service) to act as your agent.

File the Articles of Organization

This document, once filled out and filed, officially forms your business in the state of New York. You’ll need to provide some important information, including your contact information, your business address, signatures for your LLC’s members, and more. New York charges $200 for the Articles of Organization. You will also file a Certificate of Publication, which requires you to publish a notice about your business in local newspapers. The fee for the Certificate is $50, meaning your total cost to register will be $250, plus the cost of the newspaper advertisements.

Setting up the LLC is as easy as 1-2-3; it’s the maintenance requirements that are a bit more complicated:

Register for and pay taxes

If you have employees, you’ll need to get an Employer Identification Number from the IRS. Then there are state-specific taxes, too. Understandably, one of your largest tax burdens will be the state’s income taxes. Currently, New York has a flat corporate rate of 6.5%; individual rates fall between 4% and 8.82%. You’ll also need to account for the state sales tax (4%). You can learn more about these and other miscellaneous taxes at the New York Department of Taxation and Finance.

Get licenses and permits

There’s no general state business license in New York, but that doesn’t mean you won’t need to get professional licenses, such as those listed on New York’s Licenses Database. There are more than 1,200 licenses across the state, so there’s a good chance at least one will apply to your business.

Create an operating agreement

Even single-member LLCs should create a “master document” that sets out how the business will operate, both now and in the future.

File your biennial report

Every other year (on odd-numbered years), your LLC will need to file a biennial report to update the state about the standing of your business. It’s due by the end of your LLC’s anniversary month, and there is a $9 filing fee.

Obtain business insurance

Every business with employees needs to maintain workers’ compensation insurance and a commercial vehicle policy for company-owned vehicles. You may also want to get a general business liability policy, too.

Get a business bank account

You should sign up for a business bank account so you can write checks and make purchases in the name of the business instead of pulling from your personal accounts (a legal no-no).

This is just the tip of the iceberg, though. For more detailed guidance, we recommend contacting an attorney or checking out the full New York LLC Formation Guide.

Hiring an Attorney to Form Your New York LLC or Corporation

If your business is especially complicated, or you simply prefer the peace of mind you get from having a qualified business attorney forming your entity, you could hire a lawyer instead of using a formation service. Hiring an attorney will definitely be far more expensive than using an online service, but you will receive the level of expertise and experience you can only get from a lawyer.

We took a look at a wide range of New York business attorneys to help you find the best person to assist with your new entity formation. To find reputable lawyers, we consulted Avvo’s list of the top-rated lawyers in New York. Here are our top five choices in this state:

In Conclusion

Due to some special requirements imposed by the state of New York for LLC formations, it’s important that you choose a service that meets all of your needs. If you want assistance with New York’s LLC publication requirement, you can’t go wrong with ZenBusiness or BizFilings.

We hope this guide helped you hone in on which company is the right choice to form your New York limited liability company!

Frequently Asked Questions

Where Can I Get More Information About Forming LLCs in New York?

We invite you to take a look at our comprehensive guide to forming a limited liability company in New York. This article walks you through the LLC formation process in this state step by step, ensuring that you don’t miss any crucial elements.

What Is New York’s Publication Requirement?

New York is one of a small handful of states that requires entrepreneurs to publish proof of their LLC formations in area newspapers. When you form your LLC, you’ll need to take out advertisements in two local newspapers within 120 days of filing your Articles of Organization document with the state.

Once you’ve completed this requirement, each newspaper will send you an affidavit of publication to submit to the Department of State. At this point, the Department of State will provide you with a Certificate of Publication to certify that you have fulfilled the publication step.

If you would like to find a service to tackle this step on your behalf, take a look at our guide to the best New York publication services.

How Can I Search New York’s Business Name Database?

One of the most important steps in forming a New York LLC is choosing a business name. Once you come up with ideas for your name, you should search through the state’s Corporation and Business Entity Database to make sure your desired name is available. For more information on conducting a business name search in New York, check out our full article on the topic.

Where Can I Find the New York Articles of Organization?

You can complete your Articles of Organization on New York’s Business Express website, or you can print off a paper form to fill out and mail in.

What Are New York’s Ongoing LLC Maintenance Requirements?

New York requires all LLCs transacting business in the state to pay an annual filing fee, along with this form. You will also need to file a biennial report every other year, which you can file online at this link.

Where Can I Get Information on Licensing for My New York LLC?

To find out which permits and licenses are applicable to your business, head on over to the New York Business Express site, where you can find extensive information about licensing requirements in this state.

How Long Does It Take New York to Process My LLC Formation?

The typical filing time for an LLC in New York is around seven business days. However, if you would like to expedite your formation, they offer the following options for faster service:

  • 24-hour service: $25
  • Same-day service: $75
  • Two-hour service: $150

Which Company Provides the Best New York Registered Agent Service?

If you want more details about what these companies can offer in this state, or you’d like to take a look at some other options, check out our complete guide to New York registered agents.

How Can I Dissolve My New York LLC?

Unfortunately, not all businesses last forever. If the time comes when you need to close your LLC’s doors, you’ll need to do so in a manner consistent with the state’s regulations. That’s why we wrote our guide to New York LLC dissolutions, so you can complete the process in a compliant manner.

What if I Need to Expand a Business From Another State to New York?

If your LLC already exists in another state, you don’t actually need to “form” it in New York. Instead, you’ll need to foreign qualify the business in this state. This process is somewhat similar to LLC formation, but there are some crucial differences as well. Take a look at our guide to foreign qualifications in New York for more information.

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