You have a big idea, truckloads of ambition, dreams of a thriving New York 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 Articles of Organization.
With such grand plans, the last thing you might want to do is file paperwork, but completing the Articles of Organization is what authenticates your LLC, making it official in New York. It’s perhaps the most important step in starting your New York LLC. Following this guide will help take the tedium out of paperwork and get your business started quickly.
But before you dive into the Articles of Organization, you should have a few pieces of information ready to help streamline the process.
Quick Note: If you’d like to have an online service file the Articles of Organization for you or simply need to save time, hire an LLC formation service. Two popular options are LegalZoom and ZenBusiness.
Choosing an LLC Name
Before anything else, you will need to decide on an LLC name. You must include a business name on your Articles of Organization, and if the Department of State deems that name unacceptable or unavailable, the document will be rejected, so make sure you nail down a good name right away.
Before you decide on a name, confirm that it complies with New York’s business name requirements. This means it must use a business type designator like “Limited Liability Company,” or the abbreviation “L.L.C.” or “LLC,” and not include any of the state’s restricted or prohibited words.
Most importantly, your name must not already be in use. It needs to be completely distinguishable from every other business name reserved or registered with the Department of State. Unsure if your name is available? Perform a search to find out.
Once you’ve found your perfect name, include it on your Articles of Organization to automatically register it. In the event that you’re not quite ready to file an LLC, you can place a 60-day hold on your name by submitting a name reservation request.
Choosing a New York 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. New York’s registered agent situation is unique. Every LLC must use the Secretary of State as its agent. However, an LLC is allowed to appoint a secondary agent as well.
This additional agent can either be an individual – as long as they are a New York resident with a physical in-state address – or a business entity authorized to do business in the state, like a registered agent service.
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 New York Articles of Organization
Now for the main event: the Articles of Organization. Here’s your opportunity to get your LLC officially on record and authorized to conduct business in New York.
Considering its weight in the LLC formation process, the Articles of Organization is surprisingly short and sweet. It only requires a few easily-accessible pieces of information, so you should be able to crank it out in one sitting. Here’s what you’ll need:
- The LLC name
- The county where the LLC’s office is located
- An address where the Secretary of State (as designated registered agent) can send documents and process
- The filer’s name, address, and (if applicable) company
The hardest part of the Articles of Organization, quite frankly, is the cost. It’s $200 regardless of which filing option you choose, so have your checkbook or credit card ready when you file.
Once you’ve gathered the requisite information and prepared your payment, you’re ready to file, and you have four different options to do it. File online, by mail, by fax, or in person, and your LLC will be well on its way to New York business success.
This is the most efficient option simply because you can do it without leaving your house, or even your desk. You’ll need to create an account with New York’s Business Express website. Then, select the digital form, fill it out, and wait for its approval.
Hard Copy Filing
Download and fill out the paper application, then mail it to:
New York State Department of State, Division of Corporations, State Records and Uniform Commercial Code
One Commerce Plaza, 99 Washington Avenue,
Albany, New York 12231.
Once you’ve completed your form, take it to the address above. The Division of Corporations is on the sixth floor.
Send your finished form to (518) 474-1418. You must include a Credit Card/Debit Card Authorization form with all faxed forms.
No matter which route you take, the processing time is typically seven business days. But if you’re in a hurry, you can request one of three expedited filing options: 24-hour service for an extra $25, same-day service for $75, and – if you need it immediately – two-hour service for $150.
What About Foreign LLCs?
The process outlined above works for domestic LLCs (those formed in New York), but what if your business is expanding to New York from another state? In this case, forget the Articles of Organization. It’s not the form for you.
Every LLC entering New York from another state must foreign qualify by filing an Application for Authority. After the Department of State accepts your application, you’ll be able to conduct business in New York. You might be itching to begin your business activities right away, but resist the temptation! If you’re caught doing business without foreign qualification, the state can impose some serious penalties.
But after your form is accepted, you’re free to kick off your business activities in the state.
Want Help Filing Your Articles 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 Articles 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 New York Department of State. They will complete everything outlined in this guide and notify you when your Articles 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.