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 Utah.
Make sure that you consider all the possible costs associated with starting an LLC. To help you out, we’ve compiled the most common Utah startup fees here.
Bare Minimum Cost to Start an LLC in Utah
Optional: LLC Name Reservation Fee
- $22 for online and hard copy filings
Optional: LLC Formation Service
- $39 for an LLC service like ZenBusiness and $79 for LegalZoom
Required: Certificate of Organization Fee
- $70 for online and hard copy filings, with expedited processing for an additional $75
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 Utah LLC Formation Costs
LLC Name Reservation Fee
You don’t need to reserve a business name, but it might be a good idea, depending on your situation. It’s an optional part of the process, so if you’re ready to start your business right away, you’re better off going straight to the Certificate of Organization, which will automatically register your name. On the other hand, if your LLC isn’t quite ready yet but you have a great name in mind, it would be worth paying the $22 name reservation fee.
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.
Certificate of Organization Fee
This is the big one, the most important form that you’ll file to start your Utah LLC. That’s because it officially registers your company to do business in the state. Filing the Certificate of Organization either online or with a paper form costs $70 and will put your LLC on record with the Secretary of State. And if you’re in a hurry, you can pay an additional $75 for expedited processing. As long as your Certificate of Organization is accepted, you won’t need to file it or pay this fee again.
The information required to file your Certificate of Organization includes the official business name of your LLC, your LLC’s principal office address, the name of your registered agent, the address of your registered agent (if you have a non-commercial registered agent), and the signature of your LLC’s organizer.
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 Certificate 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
Not all businesses require state and/or city licensure, but some do. Even if they have filed their Certificate of Organization forms, these companies cannot do business in Utah until they’ve acquired the appropriate licenses. On the Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing website, you can see which types of businesses need licensure from state agencies. On top of that, you may need separate licenses from your city and/or county, but you’ll need to check with the local government to find out. License costs vary depending on the type and location.
What are some of the most commonly required business licenses for Utah 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 formation service. 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 IncFile) 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 Utah 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 Best Registered Agent 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. Given the sheer number of qualified lawyers out there, choosing one can be an intimidating decision. Use a site like Avvo, which provides access to a large database of lawyers so you can compare rates, locations, specialties and more, all in one place. Avvo can help you be confident that you’re hiring the best Utah business attorney for your LLC.
If you don’t want to go digging for your own attorney, we compiled the following list of highly rated business lawyers in Utah. 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 Utah. Foreign LLCs must file a “Foreign Registration Statement” instead of a Certificate of Organization. All foreign business entities are required to foreign qualify in Utah, or they could incur some pretty severe penalties. Avoid them by filing a Foreign Registration Statement online or on paper before commencing business in Utah. Like the Certificate of Formation, it costs $70 and only needs to be filed once.
LLC Annual Fees
After you’ve submitted all your LLC startup and formation fees, most of the payments are out of the way, but there are still annual maintenance fees to keep your business in good standing, namely the “Annual Report / Renewal.” Filing a renewal before the LLC’s anniversary date each year will help the Secretary of State keep their records current and accurate. For a $20 fee, you can file it online or with a hard copy. Plan on making this payment during the month of your LLC’s formation each year.
The information required to file this report includes your LLC’s Utah entity number, an indication that your business is an LLC, the official business name of your LLC, your business purpose, the name and address of your registered agent, your LLC’s principal business address, and the names and addresses of your LLC’s members and/or managers.
For more info on annual reports for Utah LLCs, check out our full article on this topic!
We’ll start with federal taxes because they’re the simplest. LLCs are classified as “pass-through” entities, so they don’t need to file corporate tax returns and pay federal income taxes. The same goes for state income taxes. Instead, the LLC’s individual members will report income and losses on their personal returns.
Plus, Utah doesn’t impose “franchise” or “privilege” taxes on its LLCs. But this doesn’t mean your LLC is completely off the hook. If it employs workers, it will be subject to a Withholding Tax and Unemployment Tax. Or, if it sells merchandise, it will owe a Sales and Use Tax. Register for the Sales, Use, and Withholding taxes through the Utah State Tax Commission, and register for the Unemployment Tax through the Department of Workforce Services.
If you’ve set up your LLC to be taxed as a corporation, it will also need to file a corporate income tax and pay the corporate income tax, 4.66% of its net income.
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.
Without filing your formation documents — either the Certificate of Organization or the Foreign Registration Statement — you cannot begin doing business in the state. When it comes time to submit your Annual Renewals, late filings will incur a $10 fine and cause your business to lose its good standing with the state. Without good standing, your LLC can’t foreign qualify in most other states, apply for business loans, renew some licenses, and more. If you fail to reconcile your good standing by reconciling outstanding filings and fees, your LLC can be administratively dissolved.
Unpaid taxes come with their own set of penalties, yet they vary depending on the amount due and the number of days overdue. See this document detailing interest and penalties for more information.
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 Utah.
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 Renewals — so your business doesn’t fall out of good standing.
Key Steps for Starting a Utah LLC
- The first step to forming a Utah 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 Utah, 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 Certificate of Organization. You’ll need to fill out the paperwork and pay a $70 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 Utah 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 Utah State Tax Commission, 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 Utah!
Key Steps for Maintaining a Utah 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 Utah 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 Utah.
What are the state business tax rates in Utah?
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 rate of 4.95%. If your LLC is taxed like a corporation, you’re required to pay Utah’s 4.66% corporate income tax on your business revenue.
How quickly does Utah process LLC formations?
The Secretary of State should be able to process your LLC’s online formation in as little as 15 minutes, although it could take up to two business days. If you file on a paper form, you can expect them to process your filing within 7-10 business days. The $75 expediting fee for paper forms does significantly speed up the process, but online filings are still generally faster.
How many small businesses are there in Utah today?
The state of Utah is home to more than 300,000 small businesses. Entrepreneurs of all backgrounds and business types find that Utah is a great place to own and operate a small business.
What are the top small business resources and websites in Utah?
The Utah chapter of the Small Business Development Center is a great place to start, as they offer a wide variety of tools and resources for Utah LLCs. The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Utah 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 Utah, 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.