Welcome to Start a Business’s guide to business registration in the state of Michigan. Our tutorials feature all the instructions needed to register your corporation, partnership or limited liability company with the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). This general homepage will go over all of the functions and filings covered by our Michigan tutorials and we encourage you to peruse the more in-depth guides found linked throughout this main page in order to gain a deeper understanding of each process. Due to the fact that there is no online filing portal, all businesses will be required to submit their filing forms to LARA by fax, email or mail. With help from our webpages, we’re sure that you will find the registration process relatively stress-free and manageable.
Start an Entity
Search for a Name
As is the case with most states, each business entity filing in Michigan is required to register with an operating name that is unique to them, one that is indistinguishable from that of any other active business on file in the state. For this reason, it is always wise to utilize the Business Entity Search function prior to registration to make sure that your chosen entity name hasn’t already been taken. Once registered, this tool can be used to access the filing history and business information of any entity on file with the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.
Though there exists no online filing system within the government web portal, filers will still be able to pay for their filing fees by credit card through what is called a MICH-ELF account. An account of this nature is needed when submitting filing forms to LARA by fax to (517-241-6445) or by email (CDfilings@michigan.gov). When using these filing methods, a MICH-ELF cover sheet must be supplied. The process of applying for an account and of filing using the prescribed cover sheet has been relayed in our tutorial here.
How to File in Michigan
Step 1– The first thing we recommend you do is double checking whether or not your entity name is available for use in the state of Michigan. Though this step is not technically mandatory, filing under a completely unique operating name is. Filers will also have the option to reserve their entity name pre-registration if they feel as though they will need additional time to fully prepare. The period of reservation endures for 4-6 months and costs either $10 or $25 depending on the entity type.
Step 2 – When a name has been chosen and you’re prepared for the filing process, you will be able to download your filing forms in PDF and complete them on your computer. Click on the link below that corresponds to the entity type you’re planning on filing to investigate the contents of the prescribed filing form.
- Domestic Profit Corporation
- Domestic Non-Profit Corporation
- Domestic Professional Corporation
- Domestic Ecclesiastical Corporation
- Foreign Profit Corporation
- Foreign Non-Profit Corporation
- Domestic Limited Partnership
- Domestic Limited Liability Partnership
- Foreign Limited Partnership
- Foreign Limited Liability Partnership
Step 3 – Once you’ve completed your filing form and double checked it for accuracy, you will be able to print it off and provide the requisite signatures. If you wish to submit the application to LARA by mail, you will be required to attach to your filing form, a check or money order made out to the State of Michigan which will cover the filing costs (list of fees found below). Once both items have been consolidated, you can send them to the address posted below this paragraph. There is also the option to file by fax (517-241-0538) or by email (CDfilings@michigan.gov) though you must also have a MICH-ELF account in order to do so.
Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs
Corporations, Securities & Commercial Licensing Bureau
P.O. Box 30054
Lansing, MI 48909
- Domestic Profit Corporation- Based on number of authorized shares (see table here)
- Domestic Non-Profit Corporation- $20
- Domestic Professional Corporation- Based on number of authorized shares (see table here)
- Foreign Profit Corporation- $60
- Foreign Non-Profit Corporation- $20
Limited Liability Company
- Domestic Limited Liability Company-$50
- Foreign Limited Liability Company-$50
- Domestic Limited Partnership- $10
- Domestic Limited Liability Partnership- $100
- Foreign Limited Partnership- $10
- Foreign Limited Liability Partnership- $100
When gathering and preparing all information and resources needed to register in Michigan, it is often a good idea to reserve your entity name. A reservation filing ensures that, for either 4 or 6 months, no other business will be able to register under your chosen operating name. Like all filings in this state, your application must be completed in PDF format and sent to the government offices by fax, email or mail. With this filing you will be required to pay a $10 fee if you represent a partnership or corporation and a $25 if reserving for an LLC. Click here to review our tutorial covering the complete name reservation process.
Certificate of Good Standing
A certificate of good standing is a document that is used to prove the validity of a particular business entity. This document is most often used when expanding a business to foreign jurisdictions or when applying for large business loans. In Michigan, business operators can purchase this document by paying the $10 fee and submitting a Certification and Copies Request form to the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. Click on this link to navigate to our tutorial on the acquisition process.
There are no laws dictating that a business entity is required to draft and file an operating agreement, a partnership agreement, or a corporate bylaw. The creation of this internal document is optional yet remains highly recommended as it is often the most significant legal and organizational record on file with any business entity. With any of the below agreements, the initial organizers of an entity can establish the exact manner in which the internal affairs of their business are to be organized. All rights and responsibilities of managing members can be relayed in black and white along with many other important logistical and financial provisions which would otherwise remain undocumented. Click on the link below that corresponds with your entity type to gain access to our free templates, available in MS Word and Adobe PDF formatting, which have been designed to assist you in drafting an agreement of your own.
Employer Identification Number
An Employer Identification Number, often referred to as a Federal Tax Identification Number, is issued by the IRS to each employer in the United States that pays withholding taxes on their employees. This 9-digit identifier will be asked of you when opening company bank accounts, applying for credit cards, seeking loans from financial institutions or otherwise conducting any financial transaction as a business entity. In many ways, the EIN is considered the corporate equivalent to the Social Security Number and for this reason it is imperative that you apply for one at some point during the formation process of your business. For more information on how to apply, either Online or through the mail, click on this link to be brought to our step-by-step tutorial.