You have a big idea, truckloads of ambition, and dreams of a thriving Oklahoma 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 Oklahoma. It’s perhaps the most important step in starting your Oklahoma 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.
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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 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.
You might be proud of the name you dreamed up, but it won’t work unless it adheres to Oklahoma’s business name requirements. This means that it must include the terms “Limited Liability Company,” “Limited Company,” “LLC,” “L.L.C.,” “LC,” or “L.C.” Not only that, but it must also be completely unique and distinguishable from every other name reserved or registered with the Secretary of State. To check your name’s distinguishability, search for it using the Name Availability Search feature.
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 an Oklahoma 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. Your Articles of Organization will not be complete without the inclusion of a valid registered agent’s name and address. Speak with your agent beforehand so you can include this information. Otherwise, your form will be rejected.
Your registered agent can be an individual, provided they are an Oklahoma resident and have a continuous physical address in the state.
Or you can use a business entity that’s 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 Oklahoma Articles of Organization
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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 Oklahoma.
Despite its great importance in the LLC formation process, the Articles of Organization is pretty quick and easy. In fact, it’s only one page and doesn’t require much information. Still, it’s a good idea to gather this necessary information beforehand so you can complete it in one sitting. Here’s what you’ll need:
- The LLC name
- The principal office address (P.O. boxes not allowed)
- Email address of the LLC’s primary contact
- Registered agent name and address (P.O. boxes not allowed)
- Term of existence
- An LLC representative signature
Pretty easy, right? It might not take long, but like most other state forms, it will still cost money. The filing fee is $100, so have your credit card or checkbook ready.
Once you’ve collected your information and planned out your payment, it’s time to file. You have three options: online, by mail, and in person.
To access the online application, you will need to create an account. After you’re logged in, follow the onscreen instructions to complete the form. Once complete, your form will be processed in 1-2 business days.
Filing by Mail
Download, complete, and print the paper application and send it, with your payment, to the address below. It will be processed in 7-10 business days.
421 N.W. 13th Street
Oklahoma City, OK 73103
Filing In Person
Complete and print the application, then deliver it to the address above. When you walk in your form, you’ll pay an extra $25 fee, but your form will be processed while you wait.
What About Foreign LLCs?
The process outlined above works for domestic LLCs (those formed in Oklahoma), but what if your business is expanding to Oklahoma from another state? In this case, forget the Articles of Organization. Your LLC will go a different route.
Foreign entities are required to foreign qualify in Oklahoma instead. This just means that you’ll file a different form: the Application for Registration, either online or with a paper form. Under no circumstances should you conduct business in Oklahoma without foreign qualifying first. It’s for your own good! There are some serious consequences for doing so, and that’s not how you want to start your relationship with the state.
But after your application has been accepted, go right ahead. You’re free to begin your business activities.
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 feature packages, on the most basic level, they will review your business information, prepare your formation documents, and submit them to the Oklahoma Secretary 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.
Important Post-Formation Compliance Issues
Once you’ve successfully filed your Articles of Organization, your LLC is an official business entity in the state of Oklahoma. However, this doesn’t mean that your responsibilities have come to an end. There are several other steps you’ll need to take if you want to operate a compliant LLC for years to come.
Acquire a Federal Tax ID Number (EIN)
While an EIN isn’t a requirement for Oklahoma LLCs, we strongly recommend that every entrepreneur obtains one. An EIN enables your LLC to hire employees, open business bank accounts, file taxes, and take care of several other important aspects of LLC maintenance. Even if you operate a single-member LLC with no employees, you should still have an EIN for your business.
Set Up a Financial Infrastructure
One other crucial step is to solidify the financial aspects of your LLC, first by opening a business bank account. You must have separate bank accounts for your personal use and for business purposes, as this will help you keep your personal and business assets separate, a vitally important consideration for any entrepreneur. If you commingle these assets, you leave yourself wide open for lawsuits, as it would be easy for someone to claim that your business is simply an extension of your own personality and not a separate entity from you as a person.
The other portion of this step is to set up an accounting system. This can either mean that you hire an accountant to take care of your LLC’s bookkeeping, or you could acquire high-quality accounting software like QuickBooks. Either way, you need a reliable means of keeping detailed records for each financial transaction your LLC executes. This is another vital part of keeping your personal and business assets separated, and it will also be enormously helpful come tax time.
Acquire Licenses and Permits
The next step involves obtaining any industry-specific licenses and permits your LLC may need to operate in compliance with state laws. Depending on the nature of your LLC’s business, you may require several permits or you may be able to operate your LLC without any state-level licenses.
Thankfully, Oklahoma makes it very easy to figure out your business’ licensing needs. All you need to do is visit the state’s Business Licensing page and you’ll find the license and permit applications you require. Make sure to check with your county and locality as well, as there may also be licensing requirements for your business on these levels.
Obtain Business Insurance
This step isn’t a requirement, but it is a strong recommendation. The exact insurance policies your business needs will vary based on the type of products and services you offer, but most LLCs should at least have a general liability insurance policy to protect against common perils like slip-and-fall accidents. In some industries, you might need several different insurance policies to cover all of your financial bases, so do your research ahead of time to determine which types of insurance you should purchase.
File Your Annual Certificate
Each year, every LLC in Oklahoma must file an annual report. This report includes some basic information about your business and keeps the state updated regarding any important changes to your LLC’s structure. The information you’ll need to file this report typically includes your LLC’s name, principal business address, Oklahoma state filing number, anniversary date, street address, and email address.
Frequently Asked Questions
About Filing the Oklahoma LLC Articles of Organization
How long does it take Oklahoma to form an LLC?
Oklahoma can typically process an online filing in just 1-2 business days. However, paper forms can take 7-10 business days. If you need the fastest possible turnaround time, you can hand-deliver your formation documents to the Secretary of State’s office and they’ll process your filing as you wait.
Should I file my own Articles of Organization, hire an attorney, or use an online service?
This question largely comes down to personal preferences, but we do have some general insights. The DIY route can be quite a bit of work, as you’ll need to complete each step of the formation process on your own with no assistance. As for hiring an attorney, this can be prohibitively expensive for new businesses, as a lawyer can charge hundreds or even thousands of dollars to form your LLC.
You can think of business services companies as a middle ground between these options. While most of these companies charge a fee to form your LLC, that fee will be significantly less expensive than an attorney’s fee. At the same time, you still aren’t going it alone. Instead, you have an experienced professional guiding you through the entire process.
What does Oklahoma require for LLC formations other than the Articles of Organization?
Unlike some states, Oklahoma doesn’t require any related filings other than your formation articles. However, we still strongly recommend obtaining a federal tax ID number (EIN). An EIN allows your LLC to file taxes, hire employees, open business bank accounts, and more. Every LLC should have one, whether your state requires it or not.
How many small businesses are there in Oklahoma?
Today, Oklahoma has more than 350,000 small businesses. Clearly, entrepreneurs in many different fields find Oklahoma to be a great place to own and operate a business entity.
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