You have a big idea, truckloads of ambition, dreams of a thriving Mississippi 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 Mississippi. It’s perhaps the most important step in starting your Mississippi 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 Formation, 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.
This means obeying all of Mississippi’s business name requirements. So, when choosing a name, confirm that it uses the words “limited liability company,” or the abbreviation “L.L.C.” or “LLC” and avoids the restricted words “bank,” “banker,” “bankers,” “banking,” “trust company,” “insurance,” “trust,” “corporation,” “incorporated,” “partnership,” and “limited partnership.”
But even if you follow these rules, your name will not be accepted unless it’s completely distinguishable from all other business names on file with the Secretary of State. Perform a name search to find out if it’s already in use. If it’s taken, head back to the drawing board.
Once you’ve found your perfect name, include it on your Certificate of Formation to automatically register it. In the event that you’re not quite ready to file an LLC, you can place a 120-day hold on your name by submitting a name reservation request.
Choosing a Mississippi 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. You can’t complete and file a Certificate of Formation without including registered agent information.
Your choices fall into two broad categories: individuals an business entities. If you plan on appointing an individual, that person must be a Mississippi resident with a physical, in-state address. And if you want to use a business entity – like a registered agent service – it must be authorized to do business in the state.
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 Mississippi Certificate of Formation
Now for the main event: the Certificate of Formation. Here’s your opportunity to get your LLC officially on record and authorized to conduct business in Mississippi.
This is the most crucial document in the LLC formation process, the one that officially authorizes your company to do business in the state. But despite its immense importance, the Certificate of Formation isn’t extensive or complicated. In fact, if you collect all the necessary information beforehand, you’ll fly right through it. Here’s what you’ll need:
- The LLC name
- A business email address
- A future effective date of up to 90 days after the filing (optional)
- Nature of business via NAICS codes
- Registered agent name, mailing address, and email address
- Names, addresses, signatures of the organizers
The bad news is that the Certificate of Formation isn’t free. But the good news is that at $50 it’s less expensive than many other states’ formation documents. You should have your payment ready when you file.
Once you’ve gathered your information and arranged your payment method, it’s time to file. You must complete the form online through the state’s filing system. Create an account (if you don’t already have one), then select “Form a Mississippi Corporation, Non-Profit, LLC, or Partnership” and follow the onscreen instructions.
It’s easiest to simply complete the filing online, but you also have the option to print the completed form and mail it to:
Secretary of State
P.O. Box 136
Jackson, MS 39205
If you complete the filing online, your form will be processed immediately, but mailed documents will take 3-5 business days.
What About Foreign LLCs?
The process outlined above works for domestic LLCs (those formed in Mississippi), but what if your business is expanding to Mississippi from another state? In this case, don’t worry about filing the Certificate of Formation. Your LLC will take a different route.
All out-of-state LLCs expanding to Mississippi must foreign qualify by submitting an Application for Registration online. The filing process is similar to the Certificate of Formation. After logging into the online filing system, select “Register an Out-of-State Corporation, LLC, Partnership, or Business Trust” and follow the instructions.
Despite how excited you might be to start doing business in Mississippi, but don’t conduct any business activities without first foreign qualifying, or you might face some serious fines and penalties.
Want Help Filing Your Certificate of Formation?
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 Formation 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 Mississippi Secretary of State. They will complete everything outlined in this guide and notify you when your Certificate of Formation 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.