You have a big idea, truckloads of ambition, dreams of a thriving Idaho 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 Formation.
With such grand plans, the last thing you might want to do is file paperwork, but completing the Certificate of Formation is what authenticates your LLC, making it official in Idaho. It’s perhaps the most important step in starting your Idaho 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 Formation, you should have a few pieces of information ready to help streamline the process.
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.
When selecting a final LLC name, confirm that it complies with the state’s business name requirements. This means it must contain the words “limited liability company,” or “limited company,” or one of the abbreviations: L.L.C., LLC, L.C., or LC, and avoid any language that implies governmental affiliation. On top of that, it needs to be distinguishable from every other business name reserved or registered with the Secretary of state. Unsure 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 four-month hold on your name by submitting a name reservation request.
Choosing an Idaho 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. When filing your Certificate of Organization, you must include your registered agent’s name and address, or your submission will be rejected.
A valid registered agent can be either an individual Idaho resident with a physical address in the state or a business entity – like a registered agent service – that has been authorized for business in Idaho.
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 Idaho 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 Idaho.
The Certificate of Organization holds immense weight in the LLC formation process – it’s the key to making your business official. But considering its importance, the form itself is surprisingly quick and easy. If you gather the necessary information beforehand, you’ll have no problem breezing through it. Here’s what it requires:
- LLC name
- Principal office address
- Registered agent name and address
- At least one LLC governor’s name and address
- Mailing address for future correspondence
- Filer phone number and email address
In fact, the most difficult part of the form might actually be its filing fee. Online submissions cost $100 and mailed or hand-delivered ones cost $120, so have your checkbook or credit card out when you file.
Collected your information? Arranged your payment? Now it’s time to file. The Secretary of State offers three options: online, by mail, or in-person, so you can choose the one that best fits your timeline and preferences.
The Secretary of State prefers online submissions and encourages you to file electronically by charging less for it – $100 compared to $120 for paper filings. The process is quick and painless. Head over to the SOSBiz page and select “Forms” from the left-side menu. On the next page, choose “Certificate of Organization Limited Liability Company” and you’ll be on your way. If you don’t already have an account, you’ll need to create one.
Download a paper application, fill it out, and include your payment. When you’re ready, mail the document and payment to:
Office of the Secretary of State
450 N 4th Street
PO Box 83720
Boise, ID 83720-0080
If you’re local to Boise, you also have the option of hand-delivering your Certificate of Organization and payment to the same address.
The standard processing time is 7-10 business days. Not fast enough? You can request expedited service for an additional $40 and your filing will be processed in eight working hours.
What About Foreign LLCs?
The process outlined above works for domestic LLCs (those formed in Idaho), but what if your business is expanding to Idaho from another state? In this case, you can forget about the Certificate of Organization because your LLC will follow a different route.
Out-of-state businesses must instead foreign qualify in Idaho by filing a Foreign Registration Statement and paying the requisite $100 fee (or $120 for hard copy filings). Refrain from conducting any business in the state until you’ve successfully foreign qualified, or you could face serious fines and penalties.
After the state has granted your LLC authority, however, you’re free to kick off your business activities in Idaho.
Want Help Filing Your 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 Idaho 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.