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 Oklahoma.
Make sure that you consider all the possible costs associated with starting an LLC. To help you out, we’ve compiled the most common Oklahoma startup fees here.
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Overall Oklahoma LLC Formation Costs
LLC Name Reservation Fee
You don’t need to reserve a business name before starting your LLC, as it’s not a mandatory step in the process. But if you have a perfect name and aren’t ready to start your business yet, it’s a great way to protect it. Filing an Application for Name Reservation online or by mail will cost you $10 and will place a 60-day hold on your desired name. Filing the Articles of Organization, however, will automatically lock in your LLC name, so if you’re ready, go straight to that filing and don’t worry about the name reservation.
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.
Whether you reserve your business name or not, you should always perform an Oklahoma business name search to make sure the name you want is available.
Articles of Organization Fee
This is the big one, the most important (and most expensive) form that you’ll file to start your Oklahoma LLC. Without an Articles of Organization on record, your LLC won’t be recognized by the state, and you won’t be able to start doing business. The filing fee is $100 but because it’s such an important document, it’s money well spent. You can file either online or using a hard copy. You only need to file the Articles of Organization once, so this fee won’t come up again.
The information you’ll need to file your Articles of Organization includes the official business name of your LLC, the street address where your business is located, your email address, the name and address of your registered agent, your LLC’s term of existence, the date, your printed name, and your signature.
Before we move on, we’ll note that Oklahoma series LLCs use the same Articles of Organization form as a standard LLC. However, if you’re forming an Oklahoma professional LLC, you will need to use a specialized version called the Professional Articles of Organization. For more information, consult our comprehensive guides on each entity.
Business and Professional Licenses
Before conducting business in Oklahoma, some LLCs need to obtain licenses on top of their Articles of Organization. For example, electrical or plumbing contractors must apply for licensure through the Oklahoma Construction Industries Board. Beyond state licenses, certain cities and/or counties have their own requirements. Your LLC might need multiple licenses, or it might not need any. Check with the Department of Commerce Licensing page and your local government to find out.
What are some of the most commonly required business licenses for Oklahoma 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 in Oklahoma 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 company formation website. These services take care of the registration process for you, so you don’t have to spend time on research, paperwork, and filings.
Most of these services (like IncFile or ZenBusiness) offer basic LLC formation services 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.
Registered Agent Service
Appointing an Oklahoma 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 Oklahoma 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.
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 quality business lawyers out there, trying to find the right one can be a daunting task. Using a site like Avvo, which offers access to a whole database of Oklahoma business attorneys, can help. It lets you compare rates, locations, specialties, and more, all in one place, so you can be sure you find a great fit 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 Oklahoma. 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 Oklahoma. As a foreign LLC, you won’t file the Articles of Organization; instead, you’ll submit an “Application for Registration.”
All foreign business entities are required to foreign qualify in Oklahoma, or they could incur some pretty severe penalties. The Application for Registration is a bit more expensive than the Articles of Organization – $300 for an online or hard copy filing. But like the Articles of Organization, you only pay this fee once, right before you start doing business in Oklahoma, and won’t have to do so again.
LLC Annual Fees
State governments need a way to keep their business records updated. Oklahoma does this via Annual Certificates. Every Oklahoma LLC must file an Annual Certificate by its anniversary date each year. The filing fee for online or paper copy submissions is $25, so make sure to write that into your annual budget.
The information required to file your Annual Certificate includes your LLC’s official business name, your LLC’s principal business address, your LLC’s filing number, the date you formed your LLC, an indication that your LLC is or is not an active business, your email address, the date, and your printed name, signature, and title.
For more info on Annual Certificates for Oklahoma LLCs, check out our full article on this topic!
Your LLC will only need to pay specific business-related taxes in Oklahoma under particular circumstances. Because the federal government classifies them as “pass-through” entities, LLCs don’t file separate corporate tax returns; owners and/or members report income and losses on their personal returns. Plus, Oklahoma doesn’t impose a franchise tax for the privilege of doing in-state business on its LLCs.
There are a couple of common situations that require LLCs to pay taxes. If your company sells merchandise, it will need to register for a Sales Tax Permit and pay a Sales Tax. If it maintains employees, it will be subject to a Withholding Tax and an Unemployment Insurance Tax.
It’s less common, but if you’ve set up your LLC to be taxed as a corporation, it will need to file a corporate tax return and pay the 6% corporate income tax.
All Oklahoma businesses are required to register with the Oklahoma Tax Commission before paying any necessary taxes.
What if I Don’t Pay?
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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.
Let’s say you forget to file your Annual Certificate, a common mistake. If you don’t file within 60 days of the due date (anniversary of the date you formed your LLC), you will fall out of good standing with the state. Businesses without good standing cannot foreign qualify in most other states, apply for many business loans, renew professional licenses, and more. Fail to file three Annual Certificates and the state can administratively dissolve your LLC. There are similar penalties for failure to update registered agent information and other necessary changes.
Failure to pay any requisite taxes will result in penalties too. For example, if you don’t file your Sales Tax return within 15 days of the due date, it will incur a fine equalling 10% of the amount due. Fail to file within 10 days after you’ve been sent a written demand and it will incur a fine equalling 25% of the amount due. Take a look at the Oklahoma Tax Commission website for more information on specific tax types.
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 Oklahoma.
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 Certificates — so your business doesn’t fall out of good standing.
Key Steps for Starting an Oklahoma LLC
- The first step to forming an Oklahoma 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 Oklahoma, 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 Oklahoma 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 Oklahoma 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 Oklahoma!
Key Steps for Maintaining an Oklahoma 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.
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 Oklahoma.
What are the state business tax rates in Oklahoma?
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 0.5% and 5.25%, depending on your income level). If your LLC is taxed like a corporation, you’re required to pay Oklahoma’s 6% corporate income tax on your business revenue.
How quickly does Oklahoma process LLC formations?
The Secretary of State should be able to process your LLC’s formation within two business days if you file online or 7-10 business days if you use a paper form. If you’re in a hurry, you can hand-deliver your documents to the Secretary of State’s office and pay them an additional $25 — they will process your filing as you wait.
How many small businesses are there in Oklahoma today?
The state of Oklahoma is home to more than 300,000 small businesses. Entrepreneurs of all backgrounds and business types find that Oklahoma is a great place to own and operate a small business.
What are the top small business resources and websites in Oklahoma?
The Oklahoma chapter of the Small Business Development Center is a great place to start, as they offer a wide variety of tools and resources for Oklahoma LLCs. The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Oklahoma District Office is another valuable resource, and the state’s entrepreneurship resource page also has plenty of good info.
Should I form my LLC in Oklahoma, 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.
Cost to Start an LLC in All 50 States
We break down the LLC costs in detail in all 50 states. View all of our State LLC Costs guides below.