To create an LLC in California the incorporator must file the appropriate form (LLC-1 for domestic, LLC-5 for foreign) with the office of the Secretary of State. Both forms require a $70 filing fee as well as a $15 special handling fee if submitted in person. Foreign applicants must also include with their filings a certificate of good standing from the initial jurisdiction of formation.
How to File
Step 1- Filers are encouraged to check the availability of their desired operating name prior to registration. This process can be accomplished by performing a Business Entity Search. Furthermore, you can reserve your business name for 60 days by filing a Name Reservation application ($10 by mail, $20 in person).
Step 2- You will now be required to download the requisite PDF application and begin supplying your business information. Click on the link below that matches your business type to learn more about the exact filing requirements.
Step 3- With the application completed you can proceed by attaching the filing fee. The state asks that you pay for this fee by including a check made payable to the Secretary of State. You can then submit your filings by mail or in person, with addresses for each located below. Foreign applicants will also be required to supply a certificate of good standing from the initial jurisdiction of formation.
- By Mail ($70): Secretary of State, Business Entities Filings, P.O. Box 944228, Sacramento, CA 94244-2280
- In Person ($70 + $15): Secretary of State 1500 11th Street, 3rd Floor Sacramento, CA 95814
EIN– Once filing has been completed with the Secretary of State your LLC may be required to obtain an Employer Identification Number. This unique identifier will allow your business to perform a number of financial transactions such as opening back accounts, hiring employees and applying for loans. You can apply for free directly Online or through the mail with the PDF Form SS-4. For more information click on the link at the heading of this paragraph.
Operating Agreement– This form is not required by law in California but we still recommend that all newly incorporated LLCs draft an operating agreement as it will be the only official document listing the owner(s) of the company on record. Select the link above to access a tutorial on drafting your own operating agreement. For your convenience we have provided a template in both MS Word and Adobe PDF formats.
Renewal– Each LLC in California will be required to submit a report to the Secretary of State within the first 90 days after incorporation and every two years thereafter. The Statement of Information will be used to update the state with your new business information and it can be filed by mail or in person (see addresses below). Along with your renewal application you will also be asked to provide a $20 filing fee. The link at the heading of this paragraph contains the PDF document which you can download, complete and forward to the appropriate address below.
- By Mail: Secretary of State, Statement of Information Unit, P.O. Box 944230, Sacramento, CA 94244-2300
- In Person: Secretary of State 1500 11th Street., 3rd Floor Sacramento, CA 95814