This is the first and most important step in starting your LLC. Be sure to choose a name that complies with state naming requirements and is easily searchable by potential clients.
1. Follow the naming guidelines:
- Your name must include the phrase “limited liability company,” or one of its abbreviations (LLC or L.L.C.).
- Your name cannot include words that could confuse your LLC with a government agency (FBI, Treasury, State Department, etc.).
- Restricted words (e.g. Bank, Attorney, University) may require additional paperwork and a licensed individual, such as a doctor or lawyer, to be part of your LLC.
For more information, check out Arizona's Corporation Commission.
2. Is the name available in Arizona? Make sure the name you want isn't already taken by doing a name search on the Arizona website.
3. Is the URL available? We recommend that you check to see if your business name is available as a web domain. Even if you don't plan to make a business website today, you may want to buy the URL in order to prevent others from acquiring it.
After registering a domain name, consider setting up a professional email account (@yourcompany.com). Google's G Suite offers a business email service that comes with other useful tools, including word processing, spreadsheets, and more. Try it for free
You are required to nominate a Statutory Agent for your Arizona LLC. A Statutory Agent is more commonly known as a Registered Agent in other states.
What is a Statutory Agent? a Statutory Agent is a person or business that agrees to send and receive legal papers on behalf of your LLC. Such papers include service of process of legal action (if you are sued) and state filings.
Who can be a Statutory Agent? a Statutory Agent must be a resident of Arizona or a corporation authorized to transact business in Arizona. You may elect an individual within the company including yourself.
Learn more about the role of a statutory agent and why you should consider hiring a professional service.
To register your LLC, you will need to file the Articles of Organization with the State of Arizona. This can be done online, by mail, or in-person.
When filing, you will need to state whether your LLC will be member-managed or manager-managed. We recommend learning more about these two options before you file.
File the Articles of Organization
OPTION 1: File Online with the State of Arizona
Fee: $50 (Nonrefundable)
If you’re expanding your existing LLC to the State of Arizona, you need to form a Foreign LLC.
What is Arizona's LLC publication requirement? Arizona requires newly formed LLCs to publish a Notice of LLC Formation for three consecutive weeks in an approved newspaper in the county of the LLC’s principal office. This must be done within 60 days of formation.
Exceptions: Businesses whose principal address is in either Maricopa or Pima counties do not have to publish a Notice of LLC Formation.
What does my Notice of LLC Formation need to include? You will need to publish the following information:
- Your LLC's name
- The name and street address of your Statutory Agent
- The address of the LLC's principal place of business (if different from that of the statutory agent)
- Whether your LLC is member-managed or manager-managed
- The name(s) and address(es) of either your LLC manager or each member of your LLC
Read our full guide for Arizona publication requirements to learn how many small businesses handle them.
See a list of approved newspapers and their contact information through the Arizona Corporation Division website.
Failure to comply with this requirement will result in dissolution or revocation of your LLC. Learn how to comply and save money doing so by reading our informative guide.
Fee: Fees vary. Average costs range from $30-$300. (Nonrefundable)
An operating agreement is not required in Arizona, but it's a good practice to have one.
What is an operating agreement? An operating agreement is a legal document outlining the ownership and operating procedures of an LLC.
Why are operating agreements important? An operating agreement is an important document because it ensures that all business owners are on the same page and reduces the risk of future conflict.
For more information on operating agreements, read our article What is an LLC Operating Agreement?
Recommended: Use our free Operating Agreement Tool to draft a customized operating agreement for your LLC.
What is an EIN? The Employer Identification Number (EIN), or Federal Tax Identification Number, is used to identify a business entity. It is essentially a social security number for the company.
Why do I need an EIN? An EIN is required for the following:
- To open a business bank account for the company
- For Federal and State tax purposes
- To hire employees for the company
Where do I get an EIN? An EIN is obtained from the IRS (free of charge) by the business owner after forming the company. This can be done online or by mail.
We reviewed and ranked the top 5 LLC formation services.
Find out which is best for you.
Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection. When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your LLC is sued. This is also known as piercing your corporate veil.
1. Opening a business bank account:
- Separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
- Makes accounting and tax filing easier.
Recommended: Get $200 when you open a business checking account with Chase. Learn more.
2. Getting a business credit card:
- Helps you separate personal and business expenses.
- Builds your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise capital later on.
Recommended: Compare business credit card offers at CreditCards.com. Learn more.
Even if you haven’t officially opened for business – it’s critical to get your books in order. A well managed accounting system will help you:
- Track your business finances, including bills, expenses and income.
- Simplify your annual tax filings.
Quality accounting software makes the whole process fast and easy. Look for software that:
- Syncs with your bank automatically
- Matches transactions to invoices, bills, and purchase orders
- Can be accessed from your phone
- Makes it easy to work with your accountant
If you need help, a certified public accountant can work with you to set up an accounting system for your business. Thumbtack.com is a great resource for finding local professionals.
Recommended: QuickBooks has all the accounting features your small business will need.
You should also be aware of important Arizona taxes that may apply to your business:
- If you are selling a physical product, you’ll likely need to register for sellers permit, through the Arizona Tax website.
- If you have employees in Arizona, you will need to register for Arizona Unemployment Tax and Arizona Employee Withholding Tax through the Arizona Tax website.
Register for Arizona State Taxes
To operate your LLC, you must comply with federal, state, and local government regulations. For example, restaurants likely need health permits, building permits, signage permits, etc.
Keep in mind that in order to get some licenses or permits, you may need to pay a fee, take classes, or pass an exam.
Research what types of federal, state, and local licenses and permits your LLC needs:
- Federal: Use the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) guide.
State: Visit the State of Arizona's Department of Revenue website.
- Local: Contact your local county clerk and ask about local licenses and permits.
Recommended: If you are a first-time entrepreneur, consider having a professional service research your business’ licensing requirements. Our friends at Startup Savant have reviewed and ranked the top five license research services.
Business insurance helps you manage risks and focus on growing your business. The most common types of business insurance are:
- General Liability Insurance: A broad insurance policy that protects your business from lawsuits. Most small businesses get general liability insurance.
- Professional Liability Insurance: A business insurance for professional service providers (consultants, accountants, etc.) that covers against claims of malpractice and other business errors.
- Workers Compensation Insurance: A type of insurance that provides coverage for employees’ job-related illnesses, injuries, or deaths. In Arizona, businesses with one or more employees, excluding officers and LLC members, are required by law to have workers compensation insurance. Get a free quote with ADP.
How much will the right insurance cost you? Click here to find out.
If you plan to hire employees, stay compliant with the law by following these steps:
- Verify that new employees are able to work in the US
- Report employees as "new hires" to the State
- Provide workers compensation insurance for employees
- Withhold employee taxes
- Print compliance posters and place them in visible areas of your work space
Recommended: A payroll service saves you time and makes it easier to follow these requirements.
We understand that creating an LLC and getting your business up and running comes with many challenges. To help you succeed, we compiled the best local resources in every major metro area in Arizona . You can get free assistance in the following areas:
- Business Planning
- Sales & Marketing
- Research Assistance
- Financial Planning
- Legal Assistance
- Product Development
Arizona requires LLCs to file an annual report with the State of Arizona. This can be done online.
File your Annual Report
File Online with the State of Arizona
Fee: $45 (nonrefundable)
Due Date:Due every year on or before the date in which the LLC was formed.
Late Fees: The Arizona Corporations Commission charges a $9 late fee per month for every month the annual report is late.
LLCs may face fines and even automatic dissolution when they miss one or more state filings. When this happens, LLC owners risk loss of limited liability protection. A quality registered agent service can help prevent this outcome by notifying you of upcoming filing deadlines, and even submitting reports on your behalf for an additional fee.
Recommended: Northwest offers a reliable registered agent service and excellent customer support.
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A Certificate of Good Standing verifies that your LLC was legally formed and has been properly maintained. Several instances where you might need to get one include:
- Seeking funding from banks or other lenders
- Forming your business as a foreign LLC in another state
- Obtaining or renewing specific business licenses or permits
You can order an Arizona LLC Certificate of Good Standing online or by mail.
If at any point in the future you no longer wish to conduct business with your LLC, it is important to officially dissolve it. Failure to do so in a timely fashion can result in tax liabilities and penalties, or even legal trouble. To dissolve your LLC, there are two broad steps:
- Close your business tax accounts
- File the Articles of Dissolution
When you are ready to dissolve your LLC, follow the steps in our Arizona LLC Dissolution Guide.
Forming a foreign LLC allows your company to operate as one entity in multiple states. If you have an existing LLC and want to do business in Arizona, you will need to register as a foreign LLC. This can be done by mail.
Register as a Foreign LLC in Arizona
File by Mail with the Arizona Corporations Commission
Download all 4 PDFs to register a foreign LLC in Arizona:
- Application for Registration of Foreign LLC
- Statutory Agent Acceptance Form
- Cover Sheet
- Manager - or - Member Structure Attachment - Arizona LLC
You will also need a Certificate of Good Standing from the state the LLC was formed in.
Fee: $150 (Nonrefundable)