Think about your LLC a year from now: raking in profits and taking Oklahoma by storm. 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.
While you’re making plans and dreaming big, 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.
Quick Note: If you’d like to keep your costs of starting an LLC as simple and low as possible, consider hiring ZenBusiness – a reliable business formation service. To get a better idea of the value they offer and how it works, we compared them to the two most well known services:
Bare Minimum Cost to Start an LLC in Oklahoma
- Optional: LLC Name Reservation Fee
- $10 for online and hard copy submissions
- Required: Articles of Organization Fee
- $100 for online or hard copy submissions
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.
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.
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.
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 an LLC 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 Northwest) 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.
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 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 and on-time, 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 $500-2000.
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.
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.
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?
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.