You have big plans, but before your business can officially take off, you’ll need to make a bit of an investment.
And we’re not talking about renting office space or paying employees — before you sell a single product, there are startup costs associated with launching an LLC in Louisiana.
Make sure that you consider all the possible costs associated with starting an LLC. To help you out, we’ve compiled the most common Louisiana startup fees here.
Bare Minimum Cost to Start an LLC in Louisiana
Optional: LLC Name Reservation Fee
- $25 with an optional $30 expedited processing fee
Optional: LLC Formation Service
- $39 for an LLC service like ZenBusiness and $79 for LegalZoom
Required: Articles of Organization Fee
- $100 with an optional $30 expedited processing fee
Recommended ✔If you want to make sure your LLC is formed correctly, hire an LLC service. Below are the top two that will take care of all the legal paperwork:
If getting the most value out of an LLC service is your priority, choose ZenBusiness. They charge one of the lowest rates online and include all the most important features when starting a business. Read Review. If you're on a strict budget and prefer using the cheapest LLC service, choose IncFile. They will form an LLC for free (plus state filing fee) and give you great features along the way. Read Review.
If getting the most value out of an LLC service is your priority, choose ZenBusiness. They charge one of the lowest rates online and include all the most important features when starting a business. Read Review.
If you're on a strict budget and prefer using the cheapest LLC service, choose IncFile. They will form an LLC for free (plus state filing fee) and give you great features along the way. Read Review.
Overall Louisiana LLC Formation Costs
LLC Name Reservation Fee
First things first: reserving a business name is not required to start an LLC in Louisiana. That said, if you’ve come up with a perfect name but aren’t ready to start your business, the name reservation is a nice option. It costs $25 and gives you a 60-day hold on your desired name. If that’s not enough time, you can file up to two 30-day extensions. If you’re ready to start your business, though, you’ll save time and money by skipping the reservation and going straight to the Articles of Organization.
To clarify, most states don’t require name reservations, and they’re rarely necessary. If you’re concerned about someone else registering the name you want, you could opt to simply form your LLC instead of reserving the name.
Business Domain Name & Website
To properly brand your business, you’ll want to acquire the domain name so nobody else can use it. Search for and find the perfect one through GoDaddy for just $4.99.
Articles of Organization Fee
This is the big one, the most important (and most expensive) form that you’ll file to start your Louisiana LLC. Once your Articles of Organization is accepted, your business is official and recognized by the state. But to submit it, you’ll need to pay a $100 fee and, if you want to submit it quicker, $30 for expedited processing as well. You only file the Articles of Organization once, so once you make this payment, you won’t have to do so again.
The information you’ll need to file your Articles of Organization includes the parish or county where you’re forming your LLC, your LLC’s official business name, a brief summary of the purpose of your business, the duration of your LLC, other provisions (optional), the date, and your LLC organizer’s signature. Your Articles of Organization must be notarized or the state will reject your filing.
If you would rather get some help for this step, you’re in luck! There are plenty of reputable LLC formation services that will prepare and file your Articles of Organization on your behalf. You have plenty of options for this service, but we prefer ZenBusiness. They offer great low rates and well-rounded services, and with our exclusive discount code, you can get 20% off!
Business and Professional Licenses
Even after you’ve filed your Articles of Organization, your LLC may need additional licenses before commencing business in Louisiana. This all depends on the type and location of your business. For example, cosmetologists must acquire licensure from the Board of Cosmetology before operating in the state. Plus, certain cities and/or counties have their own licensure laws, so you’ll need to contact your local government — along with Louisiana’s Professional License page — to find out which licenses you need.
What are some of the most commonly required business licenses for Louisiana LLCs? If your business operates in a regulated industry, you will probably need some sort of professional license to operate in compliance with state law. On the municipal level, things like alarm permits, building permits, and zoning permits are all very common.
LLC Formation Service
Starting an LLC can be a complicated and time-consuming process. If you want to spend less time on paperwork and more time planning your business, you might opt for a service that starts an LLC. These services take care of the registration process for you, so you don’t have to spend the time on research, paperwork, and filings.
Most of these services (like ZenBusiness and LegalZoom) offer basic LLC formation service like Articles of Organization filing, tax consultations, and phone/email support for a flat rate, with options to pay more for premium packages with premium services like Employer Identification Numbers, operating agreements, and expedited filing.
There are many different companies offering LLC formation services these days, and it can be tricky to tell which one is the right choice for your needs. We think ZenBusiness and IncFile are the two best LLC formation companies, and we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend either of them to our families and friends.
Registered Agent Service
Appointing a registered agent is an important part of your LLC formation process. Your registered agent is responsible for handling sensitive legal and tax documents and keeping your business compliant with Louisiana business law. In short, you need an agent you can trust.
While you can be the registered agent for your own LLC, this puts pressure on you to keep up with business filings and potential legal disputes. Sometimes it’s better to hand off that responsibility to a professional. A registered agent service ensures that your annual reports and other forms are filed efficiently, saving you from the penalties of delinquent filings and the stress of having to do it yourself.
Not all registered agent services are equal, so you’ll need to be careful in choosing one. Fortunately, we’ve done some research for you, and we recommend Northwest Registered Agent. In addition to registered agent services, Northwest also handles LLC formation — and they’ll include a registered agent free for one year when you form your business with them. We think they’re the most reliable choice, but if you’d like to evaluate all your options, check out our top services guide.
If you have questions or concerns about the LLC formation process or if it’s the best business structure for you, sometimes it’s best not to take chances and consult an attorney. They’re not cheap, but they can provide essential business advice, professional filing assistance, and peace of mind.
Some attorneys offer free consultations (usually 30-60 minutes) but will charge by the hour after that. On average, business attorneys charge between $150-350 per hour. Some will offer a flat rate for setting up an LLC, which can range from $500-2,000.
Cost variations depend on the experience and location of the lawyer. But with so many business lawyers available, how do you find the right one for your LLC? On a site like Avvo, you can access a database of Louisiana business lawyers and compare areas of expertise, rates, locations, etc., so you can be confident that you’re hiring the right one.
If you don’t want to go digging for your own attorney, we compiled the following list of highly rated business lawyers in Louisiana. All of these attorneys are primarily focused on the business world, they all receive five-star ratings from clients, and they all have excellent Avvo ratings.
Foreign Qualification Fee
This only applies if your LLC was formed in another state and is now expanding into Louisiana. Does this describe your company? Then instead of the Articles of Organization, you’ll file an “Application for Authority.” All foreign business entities are required to foreign qualify in Louisiana, or they could incur some pretty severe penalties. At $150, the Application for Authority is a bit pricier than the Articles of Organization, but similarly, it’s a one-time filing and fee.
LLC Annual Fees
So far, we’ve mainly discussed one-time fees, but there are also recurring fees for Louisiana LLCs, primarily associated with filing annual reports. Your LLC will be required to file an annual report every year before its “anniversary month,” or the month in which it was formed. These reports must be filed online and cost $30, so you can write that expense into your yearly budget.
The information required to file your annual report includes the official business name of your LLC, your LLC’s principal office address, the name and address of your registered agent, the names and addresses of your LLC’s members and/or manager(s), and your signature.
For more info on annual reports for Louisiana LLCs, check out our full article on this topic!
LLC taxation isn’t overly complicated in Louisiana. The federal government classifies them as “pass-through” entities, meaning the LLC itself doesn’t pay corporate income taxes; rather, the owners/members report income and losses on their personal returns. Also, Louisiana is one of the states that does not charge its LLCs with “franchise” or “privilege” taxes.
Still, there are certain circumstances that would require your business to pay specific taxes. For example, if you sell merchandise, you will pay a sales tax, and if you maintain employees, you will need to pay withholding and unemployment taxes.
It’s less common, but if you’ve set up your LLC to be taxed like a corporation, it will be subject to the corporate income tax and a franchise tax. Learn more on the Louisiana Department of Revenue website.
What if I Don’t Pay?
Looking at all these fees, you might be thinking: how can I pay less? While you might be tempted to look for loopholes or find a way around them, this could cause you bigger problems in the future.
Fail to pay any necessary taxes and you will incur a penalty of 5% of the amount owed for every 30 days it remains delinquent (up to 25%). Fail to file your annual report on time and your LLC will lose its good standing with the state. Without good standing, you cannot foreign qualify in most other states, apply for business loans, renew some professional licenses, and more.
If you take too long to reconcile your good standing, pay outstanding taxes, make registered agent changes, or submit other necessary filings, the state can administratively dissolve your business. At this point, you would be unable to continue doing business in Louisiana until you submit all necessary payments and forms, as well as a $75 fee.
Planning Your Expenses
By now, your budget spreadsheet might be looking a little crowded, but have no fear! Most of these are one-time fees that you won’t have to worry about again. Plus, with all these on the books, there won’t be any surprise costs when you register an LLC in Louisiana.
Soon, you’ll have these fees behind you and you’ll be forging ahead, growing your business and earning profits. As you do, make sure to keep up with the few recurring fees — like annual reports — so your business doesn’t fall out of good standing.
Key Steps for Starting a Louisiana LLC
- The first step to forming a Louisiana LLC is to come up with a good name for your business. You’ll want to make sure the name you want is still available and hasn’t already been claimed by another business, so you’ll need to search the state’s business database to verify its availability.
- Next, you’ll need to choose your registered agent. While you can legally serve as your own registered agent in Louisiana, this role can actually be more of a hassle than you might expect. That’s why we always recommend hiring a reputable registered agent service that can handle the responsibility of this position on your behalf.
- The third step involves the preparation and filing of your Articles of Organization. You’ll need to fill out the paperwork and pay a $100 fee. Once the state processes this document, your LLC will be officially open for business!
- That’s not the end of the road for the startup process though, as you’ll also need to create an operating agreement for your LLC. There is no legal requirement for Louisiana LLCs to have written operating agreements, but it’s still an extremely important element of any LLC. The operating agreement is an internal document that outlines how your LLC will operate, and there are several aspects of this document that can prevent messy ownership disputes down the line.
- You will also need to acquire a federal tax ID number (also known as an EIN, or employer identification number). This is essentially a Social Security number for your business, as it is a nine-digit code used to file taxes, hire employees, open business banking accounts, and more.
- Next, you’ll need to register for any relevant taxes with the Louisiana Department of Revenue, and also obtain all licenses and permits that apply to your business type. Keep in mind that, depending on the nature of your business, you might require licenses from the federal, state, county, and municipal governments.
Once you’ve finished all of these steps, you’re ready to operate a compliant business entity with the state of Louisiana!
Key Steps for Maintaining a Louisiana LLC
After you’ve completed all of the items in the previous section, you’ll need to focus on maintaining your LLC. The first step in this process is to open a business bank account. This will help you keep your business and personal expenses entirely separate, and it will also help immensely with your accounting and taxation responsibilities.
You should also keep detailed records of every financial transaction that takes place with your LLC. This means maintaining a file of invoices for every purchase and sale you make, along with information regarding your employees or contractors and the work they perform for your business.
As we already mentioned, annual reports are a key component of LLC maintenance in this state, and there are harsh financial penalties for delinquent reports. Additionally, you might want to hold an annual meeting to discuss goals and priorities for your LLC, although this is an optional step.
The Top 3 Louisiana LLC Services
If you want to hire a reputable LLC formation service to handle the heavy lifting on your behalf, these are the three companies we trust and rely on the most.
- ZenBusiness ($39) – ZenBusiness offers a well-rounded LLC formation package at a great low rate. Their standard LLC package includes a full year of registered agent service, an accounting assessment, and a customizable operating agreement. ZenBusiness also receives stellar customer feedback.
- IncFile (FREE) – That’s not a typo! IncFile really does form LLCs for free. Even better, they include 12 months of registered agent service in their free package. IncFile has a ton of experience and more than 500,000 satisfied customers, so they’re always a reliable choice.
- Northwest Registered Agent ($225) – Northwest offers a bit more of a premium service, but if you have the money, we think it’s worth it. Like ZenBusiness and IncFile, Northwest also includes a year of registered agent service with the purchase of any LLC formation package. They also offer the best customer support in this industry, with knowledgeable representatives who are familiar with the details of business formation processes in every state.
Frequently Asked Questions
Before we wrap things up, let’s take a look at some of the most common questions we hear from readers regarding the LLC formation process in Louisiana.
What are the state business tax rates in Louisiana?
If your LLC is taxed like a sole proprietorship or general partnership, you’ll need to pay taxes on your business income at the state’s personal income tax rates (between 2% and 6%, depending on your income level). If your LLC is taxed like a corporation, you’re required to pay Louisiana’s 4-8% corporate income tax on your business revenue.
How quickly does Louisiana process LLC formations?
The Secretary of State should be able to process your LLC’s formation in roughly four weeks or less. If you’re in a hurry, you can pay a $30 expediting fee and the state will process your formation “before other documents received the same day.”
How many small businesses are there in Louisiana today?
The state of Louisiana is home to nearly 350,000 small businesses. Entrepreneurs of all backgrounds and business types find that Louisiana is a great place to own and operate a small business.
What are the top small business resources and websites in Louisiana?
The Louisiana chapter of the Small Business Development Center is a great place to start, as they offer a wide variety of tools and resources for Louisiana LLCs. The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Louisiana District Office is another valuable resource, and the state’s small business resource page also has plenty of good info.
Should I form my LLC in Louisiana, or choose a state like Delaware or Wyoming?
Some people like to form their LLCs in states with favorable legal settings. For instance, Delaware is often seen as the most business-friendly state, as it has an entire court system that’s dedicated solely to business matters. As for Wyoming, this state has some of the most generous anonymity laws for LLC ownership.
However, for most people, your best option is to simply form your business in your home state. Forming in a different state can be a tremendous hassle, and it can add some unnecessary complexity to tax issues as well.