When you form your LLC in Delaware, you’ll have to pay certain costs to officially register your business with the state.
In addition to formation and ongoing costs, there will be business expenses like using a registered agent service, building a website, getting business insurance, and so on. So, how much does an LLC cost in Delaware?
In this guide, we break down the costs associated with forming your LLC, from the Delaware LLC filing fee to LLC upkeep prices and other business expenses.
Cost of Forming an LLC in Delaware
When forming your LLC, there are a few different costs that you may incur. These include the filing fee, LLC formation service cost, operating agreement draft, and registered agent costs.
Delaware LLC Filing Fee
To form an LLC, you must file a Certificate of Formation with the Delaware Department of State. The state filing fee for a Certificate of Formation is $90. Filing fees are often referred to as the “state fee.”
If you elect to have an LLC formation service file the paperwork, you will pay an additional fee for their services on top of the $90 filing fee. These service fees generally start around $29, but can be higher if you require any additional services.
Most people choose to use an LLC formation service to create their LLC. The cost is low and they guarantee that your filing is done correctly. Check out our #1 rated LLC service:
For more details on the formation process, check out our Delaware LLC Formation guide.
Delaware Registered Agent and Registered Office
Every LLC doing business in Delaware LLC is required to assign a registered agent. Your registered agent must be available to receive mail on your behalf during normal business hours. Registered agents accept important business documents, including government correspondence, legal paperwork, and tax forms.
They help ensure your business remains in compliance and don’t miss important filing deadlines. You can hire a registered agent service, which costs around $130 or more annually.
Your registered agent can be:
- A registered agent service (most common)
- Yourself (not recommended)
- Another member of the LLC
- A business attorney
If you haven’t yet formed your LLC, we recommend using Northwest Registered Agent to form, as you will receive one year of registered agent services for free with a $29 formation.
Delaware LLC Operating Agreement
An operating agreement provides transparency by defining the roles and responsibilities of each member or manager in your LLC. Defining these roles early on helps avoid any confusion and settle potential conflicts as they arise.
In Delaware, LLCs are not required to file operating agreements with the Department of State. With no filing fees to pay, the real cost comes in the drafting of the document. Many single member LLCs and simple multi-member LLCs elect to draft this document themselves.
A free operating agreement template or document builder can help you draft your document, taking your total cost to $0.
Optional Delaware LLC Formation Costs
Along with the fees associated with forming an LLC, there are several optional LLC formation costs that you may encounter.
- Reserve a Name for Your LLC – Prior to registering your new LLC’s business name, you will first need to check to ensure it’s available by doing an entity name search. If your LLC name is available and you aren’t forming your LLC right away, you can reserve the name temporarily through the Division of Corporations. Name reservations are good for 120 days and cost $75.
- Doing Business As (DBA) Name – If you want to operate your business under a different name than your LLC’s, you will need to file a DBA. In Delaware, a DBA is often referred to as a trade name. Delaware DBAs must be registered in each county your LLC conducts business in. The filing fee for a trade name is $25 per county.
- Expedited Delaware LLC Filing – Delaware offers expedited filing of your Certificate of Formation. The fee is $50 for 24-hour turnaround and $100 for same-day processing.
- Certified Document Copies – Many LLC business owners request a certified copy of their Delaware business documents. This is a great way to validate that all paperwork is accurate and that your LLC is fully compliant. The fee for requesting a certified copy is $50 per document.
- Certificate of Status – Your bank or lender may require you to provide a certificate of status. This serves as verification that your LLC is registered and authorized to conduct business in the state. You can request a short-form certificate, which includes the name and current status of your LLC. You can also request a long-form certificate, which includes your current status and details about any name changes that have been done since your LLC was originally formed. Short-form fees are $50 and long-form fees are $175.
Delaware LLC Cost and Fees Over Time
There are a few things you need to address to keep your LLC in good standing with the state year after year. Each of these comes with costs and fees.
Annual LLC Fee Delaware
All LLCs doing business in Delaware are required to pay an annual business entity tax. For LLCs, this tax is a flat rate of $300.
Business entity taxes are due on or before June 1st of each year. Delaware assesses a penalty fee for all late filings. The penalty is $200 plus 1.5% interest per month.
Unlike most states, Delaware does not require LLCs to file an annual report.
Registered Agent Fee
If you use a professional registered agent service, you will pay their fee annually. Pricing will depend on the service provider that you use, but usually costs around $130/year. Using a registered agent service will save you time and the hassle of handling important legal documents and filings for the long term.
If you act as your own registered agent there are no maintenance fees. However, for privacy and compliance purposes, we don’t recommend being your own registered agent.
We recommend Northwest Registered Agent, which offers a year of its registered agent service for free when you use the company to form your LLC ($29 + state fees).
General Costs of Running a Business
Operating a business will obviously come with more than just LLC costs. These are a few of the expenses that you may run into.
Business Bank Account
An LLC separates your personal assets from your business assets. This separation is called the corporate veil. That corporate veil ensures that if your business is sued or incurs debts, your personal assets will be protected from any liabilities.
Commingling (mixing) your personal bank account with your business can pierce your LLC’s corporate veil, which means you are no longer protected by the separated entity of your LLC.
Using a separate bank account to accept payments and pay business expenses is the only way to prevent commingling funds and piercing the corporate veil.
Recommended article: Check out TRUiC’s Best Small Business Banks guide to find the best bank account for your business.
Business Permits and Licenses
Depending on the type of business you operate, your business may need the proper permits and licenses to legally operate in Delaware.
Alongside the permits required, your business may require industry-specific licenses to operate legally. Examples include licenses like the Delaware real estate license, Delaware insurance license, Delaware adjuster license, and so on.
See TRUiC’s How to Get a Business License in Delaware article for more information.
Every business needs a website. There’s no better way to get in front of your customers, build your brand, and grow your business.
Fortunately, the cost and difficulty of creating a business website have come down over the years. Websites are now simple to build and cheap to keep up.
We advise small business owners to use the GoDaddy Website Builder. It’s an extremely simple to use system, creates great business websites, and only costs about $15/month.
Having the proper insurance coverage can potentially save your entire business if there is a loss, accident, or lawsuit.
A few of the most common business insurance policies include:
- General liability insurance – Protects against claims of personal injury, physical injury, property damage, and more. This is the most common of all business insurance policies. Learn more about general liability insurance.
- Professional Liability Insurance – Protects against claims of inaccurate or negligent work. It’s most common in the “professional” space where businesses offer services or advice to other businesses or consumers. Learn more about professional liability insurance.
- Commercial Workers’ Compensation Insurance – This type of insurance protects your employees from on-the-job injuries or illnesses. This coverage is required if you have one or more employees. Learn more about Workers’ Compensation insurance.
The cost of business insurance varies widely based on business type, size, location, and other factors. Getting a quote is the only way to understand the actual cost of insurance for your LLC.
We recommend NEXT Insurance to help protect and grow your Delaware LLC. It features instant coverage with competitive pricing that’s tailored to fit your business’ needs.
LLC Cost in Delaware FAQ
Do you have to pay ongoing fees for an LLC every year?
Delaware requires LLCs to pay the annual business entity tax. This business tax is a flat rate of $300 and is paid to the Delaware Department of State.
What’s the cheapest way to form an LLC?
Can you start a Delaware LLC for free?
No. All applicants must pay the state filing fee to start a Delaware LLC. The filing fee is $90.
How much does a registered agent cost?
Do I need to pay a franchise tax for my Delaware LLC?
No. The State of Delaware does not collect a franchise tax from businesses operating in the state. However, it does collect an annual business entity tax.
How much does an LLC formation service provider cost?
It depends on the LLC formation company you choose. We recommend Northwest Registered Agent, which starts at $29, plus the $90 state fee, and includes the first year of registered agent services for free.