How to Start an LLC in Louisiana

Written by: Mary Gerardine

Last updated:

Louisiana LLC is one of the most simple, cost-effective, and quick business structures to form. Even so, navigating the formation process can seem daunting without clear guidance and an actionable plan.

In this How to Start an LLC in Louisiana guide, we’ll break down everything you need to know to form your LLC, from the steps you’ll need to take to get started to maintaining your structure.

Louisiana LLC

In order to form an LLC in Louisiana, you’ll need to complete the following steps:

  1. Name Your Louisiana LLC
  2. Pick a Louisiana Registered Agent
  3. Submit Your Articles of Organization
  4. Create a Louisiana LLC Operating Agreement
  5. Get an EIN
  6. File Your BOI Report

In the sections below, we’ve broken down each of these steps in more detail.

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Step 1: Name Your Louisiana LLC

The first thing you’ll need to do before getting started is picking the right name for your LLC. This is important because your business’s name will need to represent your brand accurately, as well as be as memorable as possible.

In Louisiana, all LLC names need to abide by the following statutory guidelines in order to be accepted by the Secretary of State:

  • With the exception of low-profit LLCs, all names must contain the term “limited liability company” (or one of its abbreviations, such as “LLC”, “L.L.C.”, “LC”, or “L.C.”)
    • The names of low-profit LLCs (business entities that operate primarily for charitable purposes) must contain the phrase “low-profit limited liability company”, or the abbreviation “L3C” or “l3c”
  • Names are not allowed to include any words or terms that suggest the business entity is organized for a purpose that is either (a) illegal; or (b) in contradiction with the entity’s Articles of Organization
  • Names must be “distinguishable” from the registered, reserved, or trade names of any active business entities that are recognized by the Kentucky Secretary of State
  • No names that lead to any confusion between a business entity and any state or federal agencies will be permitted (e.g., names containing terms like “FBI”, “Louisiana Department”, or “Treasury”
  • No names made (in whole or in part) of terms that are misleading, immoral, or offensive will be permitted
  • Words related to the banking industry are restricted (e.g., “bank and “trust”), meaning that they require explicit permission from the Office of Financial Institutions to be used

The naming regulations governing Louisiana LLCs are broken down in greater depth under Louisiana Revised Statutes Title 39, § 1306.

Keep in mind that even though picking an LLC name in itself has no cost, there are certain fees that can be associated with the overall process.

Reserve an LLC Name

If you’re not yet ready to launch your business and still need a little more time, you can choose to reserve your desired LLC name for later by submitting a Reservation of LLC Name form with the Secretary of State ($35 fee) to the following address:

Commercial Division
P.0. Box 94125
Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9125
(225) 925-4704

This will keep anyone from being able to take the name you plan to use for 120 days.

Note: Be sure to check the name you want to reserve is available to use before you submit this form. The easiest way to do this is by completing a business entity name search on the Louisiana Secretary of State website.

Register a Trade Name

Another potential cost associated with naming your LLC is registering a trade name — which is also referred to as a “doing business as” (or DBA) name in Louisiana.

This is essentially a nickname that you can choose to register for your business to operate under — particularly if you’re not content with your LLC’s legal name.

Registering a trade name can be done by filing an Assignment Of Trade Name, Trademark or Service Mark form with the Secretary of State by mail and paying a $75 processing fee.

Even though you’ll apply for a trade name with a paper application, you can choose to either pay by enclosing a check or money order within your mail submission, or by inserting your payment details on your Louisiana geauxBIZ profile.

The following expedited filing options are also available if you want quicker processing:

  • 24 Hours: $30
  • 2 – 4 Hours: $50

Note: In Louisiana, trade names are only valid for a period of ten years from the date they were initially registered. After this, you’ll need to resubmit the application form and pay the relevant processing fee.

Buy a Domain Name

Finally, you’ll want to focus on securing a good domain name (which is your website’s URL address) for your business. For this, try to focus on choosing one that’s easy for customers to remember, relevant to your business, and accurately reflects your brand.

After confirming the domain name you want to use is actually available, you can purchase it through a trusted registrar.

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Step 2: Pick a Registered Agent

The next step you’ll need to take toward forming your LLC is to pick a registered agent.

This is an individual or business entity that accepts legal correspondence on behalf of your business, such as service of process, notice of lawsuits, and official government communications; you’re required to continuously maintain one as long as your LLC is active.

Your registered agent can be an individual or business entity, but will need to satisfy the following requirements under Louisiana Revised Statutes § 12:1308:

  • Individuals acting as registered agents must be Louisiana residents
  • Entities acting as registered agents must be authorized to transact business in Louisiana
  • All registered agents must have a physical Louisiana address (PO Boxes and virtual offices don’t count)
  • All registered agents must be available during regular business hours (9am to 5pm)

You can even act as your own registered agent if you’re looking to save money, though we don’t typically recommend this as you’re much more likely to suffer fines and penalties due to non-compliance than if you just hire a professional service.

On top of this, you’ll lose any anonymity your LLC would have given you since your name, address, and contact information will be publicly available.

Note: The individual or entity you choose to act as your LLC’s registered agent will be required to sign the Agent’s Affidavit and Acknowledgement of Acceptance contained with the “Initial Report” section of your LLC formation documents to be accepted by the Secretary of State (see next step).

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If you’re ready to get started, you can form your LLC with Northwest Registered Agent and get a free registered agent service for your first year (normally costs $125).

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To have a look at some of our other top recommendations, you can also check out our Best Registered Agent Service of 2024 guide.

Step 3: Submit Your Articles of Organization

In Louisiana, the Articles of Organization is the filing document that you’ll need to submit with the Secretary of State in order to officially register your LLC (this is also referred to as the Certificate of Formation in other states).

The filing fee you’ll need to pay to submit your formation documents will depend on the type of entity you’re forming. While domestic LLCs are only required to pay a $100 processing fee, foreign LLCs must pay a $150 fee instead.

To complete your Articles of Organization, you’ll need to have the following information available:

  • Your LLC’s transmittal information
  • The legal name your LLC will be registered as
  • A description of the LLC’s business purpose
  • The address of your LLC’s primary place of business
  • The LLC organizer’s signature

Your Articles of Organization should be accompanied by an Initial Report — both this and your Articles of Organization should be notarized before you can submit it to the Louisiana Secretary of State.

We’ve covered the main ways of submitting your LLC formation documents in the two sections below.

Online Filings

We typically recommend filing your LLC’s Articles of Organization online through Louisiana geauxBIZ as it’s the quickest and most convenient way to do so.

An added benefit of filing online is that you’ll be able to access a business license checklist through the geauxBIZ portal detailing all the licenses/permits you may need to operate your business.

Mail Filings

Alternatively, you’re also able to file a paper application by downloading and filling out either Form 365: Articles of Organization (domestic entities) or an Application for Authority to Transact Business in Louisiana (foreign entities).

Once this step is completed you can either mail a copy of the completed form to the following address, along with a check/money order for the relevant filing fee:

State of Louisiana Secretary of State
P.O. Box 94125
Baton Rouge, LA 70804

In Person Delivery

Or, if you’d prefer, you can deliver the completed form in person by dropping it off at the following office address instead:

8585 Archives Ave.
Baton Rouge, LA 70809

Note: If you don’t appoint any initial members or managers by the time you file your LLC’s Articles of Organization, you’ll be required to file a Supplemental Initial Report containing their names and addresses once they have been selected.

Step 4: Create a Louisiana LLC Operating Agreement

Once this is completed, the next step you’ll need to take is to create an operating agreement.

This is an internal document that clearly outlines the ownership and business structure of your company in order to reduce potential future conflict.

While this document isn’t legally mandated in Louisiana, all LLCs are recommended to have one as it can help maintain both: smooth operations and your LLC’s corporate veil.

A number of companies provide drafting services for operating agreements online, typically for a fee of around a few hundred dollars. However, it’s quite easy to sort this out by yourself if you want to save money, and you can even find a number of free templates online to help with this.

Step 5: Get an EIN

Even though it’s not a legal requirement (unless your LLC has employees or multiple members), all Louisiana LLCs should apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN).

This is a free, nine-digit number used by the IRS to identify your business and keep track of its tax reporting — much like a Social Security Number (SSN) for individuals.

You’ll need an EIN to be able to:

  • Hire employees
  • Open a business bank account
  • Apply for some business licenses/permits
  • Establish a line of credit

On top of this, using an EIN instead of a Social Security Number (SSN) helps to protect your personal information and safeguard your anonymity as the business owner of your LLC.

You can quickly apply for an EIN for your LLC online through the IRS website. You’re also able to submit a paper application using Form SS-4 either via fax to (855) 641-6935, or by mailing it to the following address:

Internal Revenue Service
Attn: EIN Operation
Cincinnati, OH 45999

Note: Don’t worry if you don’t already have an SSN, it’s not necessary to have one in order to apply for an EIN — instead, you can just leave Section 7b of the application blank and call the IRS on (267) 941-1099.

Step 6: File a BOI Report

Starting January 2024, the vast majority of LLC owners will be required to file a Beneficial Ownership Information (BOI) Report with the US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).

This is part of an initiative by the U.S. government to stop individuals and entities engaging in illegal or unethical activities from being able to conceal this using “opaque ownership structures”, like shell companies, to hide their true identities.

Existing LLCs will be able to file this report anytime between January 1, 2024, and January 1, 2025, while new LLCs will have up to 90 days after the date they were initially formed to do so (30 days for LLCs formed after the start of 2025).

Keep in mind that failure to file your LLC’s BOI report on time can result in exorbitantly high fines (i.e., $591 per day) or even jail time (up to two years).

Note: Not every LLC owner is required to file a BOI report. For example, companies with more than 20 full-time employees, accounting firms, and banks are exempt. For a full list of filing exemptions, you can have a look at FinCEN’s website.

How to Maintain Your Louisiana LLC

In order to keep operating legally in the state of Louisiana, you’ll need to file an annual report with the Secretary of State every year.

Don’t worry if you’re not sure how to complete this step, as we’ve detailed all the information you’ll need to know in the sections below.

File an Annual Report

All LLCs based in Louisiana are legally obligated to file an annual report with the Secretary of State each year. This report is due by the anniversary of the date when your LLC was initially formed within Louisiana and requires a $30 processing fee to be paid.

The purpose of this report is to keep the Secretary of State’s records current regarding all key business information — including your current members, registered agent details, and principal place of business.

You can quickly and easily file your annual report online by visiting the Louisiana geauxBIZ website and inputting your Charter Number and Renewal ID.

Note: Failure to file within 30 days of your LLC’s deadline will result in your business losing its good standing. After three years of failing to submit this report, your business will be administratively dissolved.

Louisiana vs Other States

For many business owners, organizing their business in Louisiana is a strategic and advantageous decision.

Louisiana offers significant advantages for businesses, primarily due to its sophisticated infrastructure network — which includes six interstate highways, six Class 1 railroads, six deepwater ports, and seven primary airports.

This grants business owners with a range of different diverse and efficient options for the movement of goods, which makes it particularly attractive for businesses that depend on robust transportation networks for distribution and supply chain management.

On top of this, the state’s extensive port system and central southern U.S. location make it an essential hub for both global and domestic commerce, which only further enhances its appeal for companies looking to expand their reach in both international and domestic markets.

Regardless, keep in mind that the best state to form your LLC is almost always the state that you will be operating in; this is because otherwise you’ll likely be required to register as a foreign LLC in your home state, meaning that you’ll need to pay registration and maintenance fees twice.

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Louisiana Secretary of State Contact Information

Mailing Address:

Commercial Division
Louisiana Secretary of State
P.O. Box 94125
Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9125

Physical Address:

Louisiana Secretary of State
8585 Archives Ave.
Baton Rouge, LA 70809
Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Contact Information:

EmailgeauxBIZ Commercial Division
Amanda Baker
Commercial Administrator
Phone: (225) 925-4704

Resources

Inc and Go – Louisiana LLC

How to Start an LLC in Louisiana FAQ

How much does it cost for an LLC in Louisiana?

Forming an LLC in Louisiana involves a $100 filing fee for the Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State. However, additional costs may include fees paying Louisiana business taxes (e.g., registering with the Louisiana Workforce Commission if you have employees) and obtaining all applicable local licenses.

We provide more information on all the different expenses you may face in our Louisiana LLC Cost guide.

How long does it take for an LLC to be approved in Louisiana?

The approval time for an LLC in Louisiana typically ranges from two to three business days from receipt for mail or online filings. However, 24-hour and 2-3 hours expedited processing options are also available for an additional fee.

For more information on this topic, be sure to see our How to Start an LLC in Louisiana guide.

Does an LLC in Louisiana have to file a tax return?

Since LLC’s are treated as pass-through entities for tax purposes by default, they will not typically be required to file a tax return as an entity — though its members will need to file personal tax returns.

However, if an LLC opts to be treated as a corporation for tax purposes, it will be required to file a corporate income tax return.

Do I need a registered agent for my LLC in Louisiana?

Yes, each Louisiana limited liability company will be required to appoint a registered agent in order to operate legally.

This registered agent must have a physical address in the state and be available during regular business hours to receive legal documents and government notices on behalf of the LLC.

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