How to File the LLC Articles of Organization

Woman smiling while looking at her articles of organization.

The Articles of Organization is the form you fill-in and file with the state in order to form your LLC. It is also known as the:

  • Certificate of Organization
  • Certificate of Formation

We will give you three easy steps for filing your LLC Articles of Organization with your state.

Once you have successfully filed your Articles or Organization, your limited liability company will be official.


Filing the Articles of Organization Is Simple!

Step 1: Find Your State’s Articles of Organization Forms Online

Each state has its own form and process for filing the Articles of Organization.

For easy step-by-step instructions for filing the Articles of Organization, choose your state from the drop-down list below.

Step 2: Fill Out The Articles Of Organization

To fill out the Articles of Organization form you will usually need to know:

  • Your Business Name
  • Your Registered Agent's Name And Address
  • Your LLC's Management Structure

Business Name

Having a creative and smart business name is important but not as important as having a legally correct name.

The most common reason for rejection during the LLC filing process is having a legally incorrect business name.

To learn more about naming rules for LLCs in your state, visit our How to Name a Business guide and choose your state.

Registered Agent

A registered agent accepts and sends legal documents on your LLC’s behalf. In some states, a registered agent is called a statutory agent, resident agent, or agent for service of process.

Most states require you to appoint a registered agent when you form a limited liability company (LLC).

To learn more about registered agents and for free step-by-step guides on choosing a registered agent in your state, read our What is a Registered Agent guide.

LLC Management Structure

Many states require that you state whether your LLC will be managed by members or by managers.

Member managed LLCs usually have less members and those members are willing to be involved with day-to-day operations of the business.

Manager managed LLCs usually have a relatively large number of members and those members aren’t willing to be involved with day-to-day operations of the business.

To learn more, read our Management by Members or Managers article.

Step 3: File the Articles of Organization

Some general requirements for filing the Articles of Organization are:

  • Paying A Fee
  • Getting Your Document Notarized 
  • Filing Oniine Or By Mail

Some states have low fees and others charge as much as $500 for filing the Articles of Organization. Processing times vary widely and some states offer expedited handling.

For easy step-by-step instructions for filing the Articles of Organization in your state, choose your state from the drop-down list above.

For help filing your Articles of Organization, consider hiring an LLC formation company. For a small fee, companies like ZenBusiness can make filing your Articles of Organization even easier.

Follow These Steps After Your LLC Is Officially Formed

Create an Operating Agreement

An LLC operating agreement is a legal document that outlines the ownership structure and member roles of your LLC.

Although most states don’t require you to have an operating agreement in order to form an LLC, it's still a good idea to have one.

For more information read our article, What is an LLC Operating Agreement?

Get An Ein

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is like a social security number for your LLC. You will need an EIN if you want to hire employees or open business bank accounts.

You can get your EIN for free through the IRS website, via fax, or by mail. If you would like to learn more about EINs and how they can benefit your LLC, read our What is an EIN article.

Open a Business Bank Account

Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential to protect your business' corporate veil. 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.

For reviews on some of our most trusted business banks, visit our 5 Best Business Bank Accounts for Entrepreneurs reviews on Startupsavant.com.

Get Licenses and Permits

When you are registering an LLC, you need to determine if your business needs any licenses or permits in order to remain compliant. On the federal level, there are a handful of business activities that require licenses and/or permits.

On the state and local levels, business license requirements vary depending on your state of formation, as well as on county and city laws.

To get a head start on business licensing for your LLC, read our licensing guide.

Articles of Organization FAQ

Are the Articles of Organization public record?

Yes, the Articles of Organization is public record. There are ways to keep things more private though. The Articles of Organization require the name and address (no P.O Boxes) of your registered agent. Some business owners choose to use a registered agent service so that their private information is not made public. 

To learn more about using a registered agent service, read our Should I Use a Registered Agent Service article. 

In some states, listing members’ names and addresses is optional. We suggest learning more about this requirement on our step-by-step LLC formation guides. Just choose your state from this drop-down list.

Where are the Articles of Organization filed?

The Articles of Organization are filed in the state where you plan to do business. Most states offer online, mail-in, and in-person filing. 

For you state’s filing instructions, choose your state from the drop-down list above.

Do the Articles of Organization need to be notarized?

Some states require that you have your Articles of Organization documents notarized. For your state’s notarization requirements, choose your state from the drop-down list above.

When do the Articles of Organization expire?

Articles of Organization don’t expire. Your LLC can be dissolved though if you don’t maintain it properly. To learn more about dissolution and maintaining your LLC, read our Maintain Your LLC guide.

Are the Articles of Organization a business license?

The Articles of Organization is not a business license. Articles of Organization is the document that when properly filed and recorded, makes your LLC an official business entity with the state.

To get a head start on business licensing for your LLC, search your state on our Business Licenses page.

Is the Operating Agreement the same as the Articles of Organization?

An LLC operating agreement is a legal document that outlines the ownership structure and member roles of your LLC. It is not legally required in most states and it not recorded. The operating agreement is something you file in your own LLC records rather than with the state.

The Articles of Organization is a legal document that is filed with the state. The information it contains varies by state. When you successfully file your Articles of Organization, you officially form your LLC.

What are the other names for the Articles or Organization?

In some states the Articles of Organization is referred to as the Certificate of Organization or the Certificate of Formation.

What should be included in the Articles of Organization?

The information contained in the Articles of Organization vary by state. To learn exactly what is required in your state, choose your state from the drop-down in this article.

Do you need the Articles of Organization for an LLC?

The Articles of Organization, in some form, is required in every state. The information requested on the document can vary by state and so can the name. Other names for the Articles of Organization include the Certificate of Organization or the Certificate of Formation.

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