Filing the Articles of Organization is Simple!
Step 1: Get Your Articles of Organization Forms
You can download and submit your Tennessee Articles of Organization as a hard copy, OR you can file online. For this first step, choose your preferred method below.
OPTION 1: Access the Tennessee Secretary of State’s online services. Select “Start Now,” then select “Limited Liability Company” from the dropdown.
- OR -
OPTION 2: Download the Articles of Organization PDF from the Tennessee Secretary of State’s website. This form will need to be mailed or submitted in person to the Secretary of State.
Step 2: Fill Out the Articles of Organization
In this step, we will help you complete the Tennessee Articles of Organization form.
You will need to know the following information to complete the form:
- Entity Name
- Name Consent (if applicable)
- Additional Designation (if applicable)
- Registered Agent Name and Registered Office Address
- Fiscal Year Close Month
- Effective Date
- Governing Authority Type
- Number of Members
- Principal Office Address and Mailing Address
- Designation Confirmation
- Obligated Member Entity Information (if applicable)
- Business Prohibition (if applicable)
- Other Provisions
Having a creative and smart business name is important but not as important as having a legally correct name.
When you choose a name for your business, you have to make sure the name:
- meets Tennessee naming guidelines.
- is not already in use by another business in Tennessee.
Follow the Tennessee Naming Guidelines:
- Your name must include the phrase “limited liability company,” one of its abbreviations (LLC or L.L.C.), or words or abbreviations of the same meaning in a different language.
- Your name cannot contain the word "corporation" or "incorporated" or an abbreviation of either.
- Your name cannot falsely imply that your LLC is organized as, affiliated with, or sponsored by any fraternal, veterans', service, religious, charitable, or professional organization.
- Your name cannot include words that could confuse your LLC with a government agency (FBI, Treasury, State Department, etc.).
- In some states, certain restricted words (e.g., Bank, Attorney, University) may require additional paperwork and a licensed individual to be part of your LLC.
- Your name cannot imply that the LLC is organized for any unlawful purpose or one not outlined in its articles of organization.
- Your name must be distinguishable from any existing business in the state. This includes Tennessee reserved names.
Check Name Availability:
Is your name available in Tennessee? Make sure the name you want isn't already taken by doing a name search on the Tennessee Secretary of State website.
To learn more about naming your business, including best practices and creative branding, visit our How to Name a Business in Tennessee guide.
Not sure what to name your business? Check out our Business Name Generator.
Register Your Domain Name:
We recommend checking 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 to prevent others from acquiring it.
An LLC in Tennessee can use a name that isn’t distinguishable from an existing business name under certain circumstances. If your LLC meets the criteria to use a non-distinguishable name, check the box in this section and attach the required application form.
If your LLC has an additional designation (such as a bank, an insurance company, a PLLC, a series LLC, etc.), make a note of that here.
A registered agent accepts and sends legal documents on your LLC’s behalf. When you register your Tennessee LLC, you are required to list your registered agent and your registered office.
Your registered agent can be anyone 18 years or older that lives in Tennessee. Your registered agent must always be available at the registered office during regular business hours. Your registered office address cannot be a P.O. box.
To learn more about choosing a Tennessee registered agent, read our How to Choose a Tennessee Registered Agent guide.
To learn more about what a registered agent does and how to choose one, read our What Is a Registered Agent guide.
Fiscal Year Close Month
Enter the month that concludes the LLC’s fiscal year. If left blank, it will be set as December by default.
If you would like the Articles of Organization to become effective on a future date, rather than upon filing, list it here.
You must state whether members or managers will manage your LLC.
To learn everything you need to know about choosing your management structure, read our Management by Members or Managers guide.
Number of Members
List the number of members of the LLC as of the filing date.
Indicate whether the LLC’s existence is perpetual or if there is a specific planned dissolution date.
Principal Office Address and Mailing Address
Enter the street address, city, state, and zip code of the principal executive office of the LLC and the county in which the office is located. Then, enter the complete mailing address of the LLC if it is different than the principal office address.
If your LLC has an additional designation, check off the applicable structure (Nonprofit LLC, Professional LLC, or Series LLC).
Obligated Member Entity (If Applicable)
Check this box if the LLC will be registered as an Obligated Member Entity (OME). You will also have to include a list of obligated members and their signatures.
Business Prohibition (If Applicable)
Check this box if the LLC is being formed in Tennessee but is prohibited from doing business in the state.
Here you can include additional information about the LLC, such as the names of its managers or its business purpose.
Keep in mind that a business purpose that involves licensing, tax-exemption, or tax-deductible status requires specific language from the IRS or a professional license.
Step 3: File the Articles of Organization
To register your LLC, you will need to file the Articles of Organization with the Tennessee Secretary of State.
The filing fee is $50 per member, with a minimum of $300 and a maximum of $3,000.
There are two ways to file your Articles of Organization:
- Complete the form online.
- Submit a hard copy by mail or in person.
OPTION 1: Access the Tennessee Secretary of State’s online services. Select “Start Now,” then select “Limited Liability Company” from the dropdown. Fill in the required fields and submit.
- OR -
OPTION 2: Download and mail in the Articles of Organization PDF to the Tennessee Secretary of State or submit it in person.
State Filing Cost: $300+, payable to the Tennessee Secretary of State.
6th floor - Snodgrass Tower
Attn: Corporate Filing
312 Rosa L. Parks Ave.
Nashville, TN 37243
Create an Operating Agreement
A Tennessee LLC operating agreement is a legal document that outlines the ownership structure and member roles of your LLC.
In Tennessee, you aren't required to have an operating agreement to officially form an LLC, but it's still a good idea to have one. You can start your operating agreement before, during, or after you file your Articles of Organization.
Your operating agreement will be kept in your LLC's private business records; you do not file it with the state.
Use our free operating agreement tool to draft a customized operating agreement for your LLC.
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 Best Banks for Small Business review.
Get Licenses and Permits
When you are registering an LLC, you need to determine if your business needs any licenses or permits to remain compliant. On the federal level, there are a handful of business activities that require licenses or permits.
Find out how to obtain necessary licenses and permits for your business or have a professional service do it for you:
- Federal: Use the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) guide to federal business licenses and permits.
- State: Apply for or learn more about licenses, permits, and registration with Tennessee's Department of Revenue Registration and Licensing website.
- Local: Contact your local county clerk and ask about local licenses and permits.
Brand Your Business
The strongest and most memorable businesses are built on a solid brand. When developing your brand, think about what your business stands for. Customers and clients are looking for companies that have a compelling brand, as much as they are shopping for high-quality products and services.
Creating a logo for your business is vital for increasing brand awareness. You can design your own unique logo using our Free Logo Generator. Our free tool can help you design your own unique logo for your new business idea.