You have a big idea, truckloads of ambition, dreams of a thriving Connecticut LLC, and you’re mentally prepared to make it happen. But the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu once said, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,” and for you, that first step is filing the Certificate of Organization.
With such grand plans, the last thing you might want to do is file paperwork, but completing the Certificate of Organization is what authenticates your LLC, making it official in Connecticut. It’s perhaps the most important step in starting your Connecticut LLC. Following this guide will help take the tedium out of paperwork and get your business started quickly.
But before you dive into the Certificate of Organization, you should have a few pieces of information ready to help streamline the process.
Quick Note: If you’d like to have an online service file the Certificate of Organization for you or simply need to save time, hire an LLC formation service. Two popular options are LegalZoom and ZenBusiness.
Choosing an LLC Name
Before anything else, you will need to decide on an LLC name. You must include a business name on your Certificate of Organization, and if the Secretary of State deems that name unacceptable or unavailable, the document will be rejected, so make sure you nail down a good name right away.
That name must adhere to a couple of state guidelines. It must contain a term that identifies its business type, like “Limited Liability Company,” “L.L.C.,” or “LLC,” and it shouldn’t mislead the public as to your business purpose. More importantly, any name you choose needs to be distinguishable from every other business name on record with the Secretary of State. Not sure if your name is available? Perform a business name search to find out.
Once you’ve found your perfect name, include it on your Certificate of Organization to automatically register it. In the event that you’re not quite ready to file an LLC, you can place a 120-day hold on your name by submitting a name reservation request.
Choosing a Connecticut Registered Agent
A registered agent is your LLC’s liaison to the state, the mediator who takes care of all your important legal, tax, and compliance documents, keeping your business in good standing. Your Certificate of Organization won’t be complete or acceptable without including your registered agent’s name, address, and signature, so touch base with your agent beforehand to confirm the appointment.
Your agent can be either an individual or a business entity. If you choose an individual, that person must be a Connecticut resident with a physical address in the state (not a P.O. box), and if you go with a business entity – like a registered agent service – it must be authorized to do business in the state.
Quick Note: If your first choice doesn’t work out, don’t worry. You can always change your registered agent in the future.
Preparing to File Your Connecticut Certificate of Organization
Now for the main event: the Certificate of Organization. Here’s your opportunity to get your LLC officially on record and authorized to conduct business in Connecticut.
For an important legal document, the Certificate of Organization isn’t overly intimidating. It only requires a handful of information, and if you have it ready beforehand, you’ll breeze through it with no problem. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Filer’s name and address
- LLC name
- Principal office address (not a P.O. box)
- Mailing address (can be a P.O. box)
- Registered agent name, address, and signature
- Names and addresses for each member or manager
- LLC email address
- Execution date
- Organizer name and signature
Gathering this information is a great start, but the Certificate of Organization requires a bit more than facts – it also carries a $120 filing fee, so have a check or credit card ready.
Typical processing time for both online and hard copy filings is 3-5 business days, so your application should be processed within a week. Although it can take longer during peak filing periods. Expedited processing (hard copy only) costs $50 and is completed within 24 hours.
Once you’ve compiled your information and arranged your payment, it’s time to file. The state offers three different options: online, postal mail, and in person.
Head over to the Secretary of State’s Online Filing System and click the button for the Business Startup Tool, which will guide you through the entire process.
You can find a paper application here. Download and complete it, then include your $120 payment and mail it oof to:
Business Services Division
Connecticut Secretary of the State
P.O. Box 150470
Hartford, CT 06115-0470
If you live in Hartford, or just happen to find yourself there, you can also hand-deliver your form and payment to 30 Trinity St.
What About Foreign LLCs?
The process outlined above works for domestic LLCs (those formed in Connecticut), but what if your business is expanding to Connecticut from another state? In this case, you can put the Certificate of Organization aside, because you won’t need it.
Instead, your LLC will need to foreign qualify in Connecticut by filing a Foreign Registration Statement online or on paper. Resist the temptation to start doing business without first foreign qualifying, because this can lead to some serious fines and penalties.
However, after your LLC has been authorized by the state, you’re free to kick off your business activities in Connecticut.
Want Help Filing Your Connecticut Certificate of Organization?
Let’s be honest: you’ve got a lot on your plate. Filing paperwork can take time away from your other tasks, ones more focused on setting your budding LLC up for success.
The good news is that you don’t need to file the Certificate of Organization yourself. But if an attorney is out of your price range, hiring an LLC creation service is a great option.
There’s no shortage of business incorporation services out there, but not all of them are equal. Each one offers different packages, costs, and processing times, so it’s important to find the right fit for your LLC.
While each service has optional upgrades and perks packages, on the most basic level, they will review your business information, prepare your formation documents, and submit them to the Connecticut Secretary of State. They will complete everything outlined in this guide and notify you when your Certificate of Organization has been filed. You won’t have to lift a finger.
There are other benefits too. Some services will include a year of free registered agent service when you hire them. Other services offer order tracking, notifications on future documents (like Annual Reports), assistance drafting your operating agreement, or coverage of certain LLC formation costs.
Which is the Best LLC Service?
All you need to do now is research every service extensively and make side-by-side comparisons for each option. Easy, right? Just kidding – we did all of that for you.
And from our meticulous research of reviewing and ranking the top LLC services, we’ve drawn the conclusion that IncFile and Northwest are your best overall options.
They might not have the brand recognition of LegalZoom, the industry giant, but both have amazing customer support, affordable prices, and include a year of registered agent service.