Last Updated: June 3, 2024, 7:52 am by TRUiC Team

How to Start a Corporation in Louisiana

In Louisiana, opening a corporation involves filing the Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State, coming up with corporate bylaws, and finding some individuals to act as the initial board of directors.

We’ll show you how to start a corporation in Louisiana yourself.

Or, simply use a professional service:

four point six out of five Northwest ($29 + state fee)

Learn how to start a corporation in Louisiana

It's Easy to Incorporate in Louisiana

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Step 1Name Your Louisiana Corporation
Step 2Choose a Registered Agent
Step 3Hold an Organizational Meeting
Step 4File the Articles of Incorporation
Step 5Get an EIN

For a look at corporation formation in every state, check out our other How to Start a Corporation guides.

Not sure if a corporation is right for you? Check out our LLC vs. Corporation guide to help you make your decision.

Step 1: Name Your Louisiana Corporation

Choosing a business name is the first step in starting a corporation.

1. Louisiana naming guidelines:

  • All corporate names must feature one of the following: incorporated, corporation, company, limited, corp, inc, co, or ltd
  • Your name cannot imply that the corporation is organized for any unlawful purpose or one not outlined in its articles of organization. It also cannot contain any words “that consists of or comprises immoral, deceptive, or scandalous matter.”
  • Your name cannot falsely suggest that your corporation is a charity, nonprofit, or government organization. 
  • Your name cannot include the phrase "doing business as" or any abbreviation of that phrase, such as "d/b/a."
  • Your name cannot include the words “casualty,” "redevelopment corporation," or "electrical cooperative."

Read the Louisiana state statute regarding corporation naming guidelines for more information.

 2. Is my corporation name available in Louisiana?

Your Louisiana corporation name must be unique and distinguishable from other business names in Louisiana. Use the Louisiana Secretary of State’s Business Search Portal to determine if your desired business name is available.

3. Is the URL available?

Before registering your Louisiana corporation, you’ll need to check if a good URL is available for your business name. It’s important to secure your URL right away.

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Step 2: Choose a Louisiana Registered Agent

You must appoint a Louisiana registered agent when registering your corporation with the Secretary of State.

A registered agent is an individual or entity appointed to receive service of process, government correspondence, and compliance documents on behalf of a business.

Your registered agent can be an individual, business entity, or professional registered agent service. Any member of the corporation or individual can serve as your Louisiana registered agent as long as the person:

  • is 18 years or older
  • has a physical address in the state where business activity is conducted
  • is available (in person) during normal business hours

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Recommended: Northwest offers one year of free registered agent services with their corporation formation package ($29 + State Fees).

Step 3: Hold an Organizational Meeting

Before you officially file the Articles of Incorporation in Step 4, you will need to hold an organizational meeting to complete the following tasks:

  • Fill out and execute the Articles of Incorporation
  • Create and approve bylaws
  • Select your initial director(s)
  • Determine your share structure
  • Execute an Incorporator’s Statement

Create and Approve Corporate Bylaws

Bylaws are the rules that determine how your organization will be governed and run. For detailed instructions on creating your bylaws, read our corporate bylaws guide.

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Ready to get started? These bylaws templates can be customized to suit the needs of your incorporated business.

Appoint Initial Directors

You must appoint at least one director who will oversee your Louisiana corporation until the first shareholder meeting.

A corporate director is in charge of the adoption, amendment, and repeal of operational bylaws as well as the election, supervision, and removal of officers.

After forming the corporation, the incorporator(s) — or initial director(s), if named on the formation documents — should call an organizational meeting. During this initial meeting, either the incorporator(s) will elect the board of directors or the initial director(s) will appoint the officers. 

Choose a Share Structure and Strategy

A share of stock is the unit of ownership of a corporation. Each share of stock represents a percentage of ownership of the company. For example, if a corporation issues one share of stock the shareholder (stock owner) would then own 100% of the corporation. 

Shares can be structured into classes. Each class, termed a share class, holds different rights and privileges. You can have multiple classes and each class can hold any number of shares.

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Authorized Shares: the number of shares the corporation is allowed to issue.
Issued Shares: the total number of shares actually issued to shareholders.
Share Class: a group of shares that has a unique set of rights and privileges.

The Articles of Incorporation form issued by the Louisiana Secretary of State may only be used to start a corporation with one share class. If the corporation needs a multiple share class structure, you must compose your own Articles of Incorporation.

Create and Execute an Incorporator’s Statement

The incorporator(s) should sign an Incorporator’s Statement with complete names and addresses of each initial director and store it in the corporate records book. 

This document names the initial director(s) that will serve until the board of directors is elected during the first shareholder’s meeting. It should be stored with the rest of your corporate records.

Step 4: File the Louisiana Articles of Incorporation

You will need to file the Louisiana Articles of Incorporation to set up a corporation in Louisiana. You can file online, by mail or fax, or in-person with the Secretary of State. The filing cost is $75.

This document will cover the basics of your corporation, including:

  • Corporate name, street address, and statement of purpose
  • Corporate registered agent name, signature, and street address
  • The number of authorized shares the corporation is allowed to issue
  • Corporate director(s) name(s) and address(es)
  • Incorporator(s) name(s) and address(es)
  • The duration of the corporation

The Articles of Incorporation form issued by the Louisiana Secretary of State may only be used to start a corporation with one share class. If the corporation needs a multiple share class structure, you must compose your own Articles of Incorporation.

File the Louisiana Articles of Incorporation

Option 1: File Online With GeauxBiz

File Online

- OR -

Option 2: File the Articles of Incorporation by Mail

Download Form

Filing Cost: $75

Mailing Address:
Louisiana Secretary of State
Commercial Division
P.O. Box 94125
Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9125

Step 5: Get an EIN for Your Louisiana Corporation

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is used by the federal government to identify a business entity. It is essentially a Social Security number for the company. An EIN is needed:

  • To open a bank account for the company
  • For federal and state tax purposes
  • To hire employees

Get an EIN

Option 1: Request an EIN from the IRS

Apply Online

- OR -

Option 2: Apply for an EIN by Mail or Fax

Download Form

Mail to:
Internal Revenue Service
Attn: EIN Operation
Cincinnati, OH 45999

Fax: (855) 641-6935

Fee: Free

Running Your Corporation

It is very important to adhere to the formalities of running a corporation. Read our How to Run a Corporation guide to learn more.

Taxes, Annual Reports, & Licensing

Louisiana State Corporation Tax Requirements

Depending on the nature of your business, you may be required to register for one or more forms of state tax:

Louisiana Sales Tax

If you’re selling a product, you’ll typically need to register for a seller's permit through the Louisiana Department of Revenue's website. This allows a business to collect sales tax.

Louisiana Employer Taxes

If you hire employees, you will need to register for Louisiana employer taxes through the Louisiana Workforce Commission’s website. This includes Employee Withholding Tax, Unemployment Insurance Tax, and Disability Insurance.

Louisiana Corporation Licenses and Permits

To operate your corporation in Louisiana, you must comply with federal, state, and local government regulations. For example, restaurants likely need health permits, building permits, signage permits, etc.

Learn more in our Louisiana Business License guide.

File the Louisiana Annual Report

You must file the Louisiana Annual Report each year on or before the anniversary date of the filing of your corporation’s Articles of Incorporation. You must file online with Louisiana's geauxBIZ website

To file online, you have to create an account with geauxBIZ. Then, after clicking “Getting Started,” select “File an Amendment” and file your annual report. The filing fee is $30.

Corporate Dissolution & Louisiana Good Standing

How to Get a Louisiana Certificate of Good Standing

A Certificate of Good Standing verifies that your Louisiana corporation was legally formed and has been properly maintained. 

You can request a Certificate of Good Standing in Louisiana online, by mail, by fax, or in person. To make an online request, search the online business entity database for your corporation and then follow the appropriate links. 

There is no hard copy order form, but you may submit your written request to the Secretary of State. The fee is $15, plus an additional $1/page for faxes and expedited processing fees for walk-in customers.

Request a Certificate of Good Standing

Option 1: Request a Certificate Online With the Secretary of State

Request Online

- OR -

Option 2: Request a Certificate by Mail, by Fax, or In Person

Read Instructions

Fee: $15+

Mailing Address:
Secretary of State
P.O. Box 94125 
Baton Rouge, LA 70804

Office Address:
8585 Archives Avenue 
Baton Rouge, LA 70809
Hours: Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Fax: (225) 932-5313

How to Dissolve a Corporation in Louisiana

If at any point you would like to permanently stop doing business, or close your business, it is important to officially dissolve your corporation. Failure to do so in a timely fashion can result in tax liabilities, penalties, or even legal trouble.

There are five main steps to close your Louisiana corporation:

  • Stop doing business
  • Hold a board meeting, vote on dissolution, and record the meeting in the corporation minutes
  • File the proper dissolution documents with the Louisiana Secretary of State
  • Close your federal and state business tax accounts with the IRS and Louisiana Department of Revenue
  • Close your business bank accounts

File Dissolution Documents

There are two options for filing dissolution documents for a Louisiana corporation: the simplified Articles of Termination or a long-form dissolution document.

Simplified Articles of Termination
If your corporation has ceased doing business, has no outstanding debts, and doesn’t own any immovable property, you can file the Simplified Articles of Termination with the Secretary of State. You can either submit a hard copy or file online. The fee is $75.

Long-Form Dissolution
If your corporation has outstanding debts or owns immovable property, you must file a long-form dissolution document. There is no official form for this. The Louisiana Secretary of State’s office instead suggests you consult an attorney and the relevant state statutes to determine the proper steps you must take.

Is a Corporation Right For You?

An LLC provides limited liability protection without corporate complexity.
Find out if an LLC is the right structure for you.

LLC vs. Corporation | Form an LLC

Steps After Forming a Corporation

After forming a corporation, you’ll want to protect your personal and business assets and build credit.

Taking these steps will set your business up for success:

Form a Corporation with Northwest for $29 Plus State Fees

Louisiana Corporation FAQ

In order to start your Louisiana corporation, you can file online, in person, by mail, or by fax for $75.

To estimate the true total cost of starting up, make sure to factor in the fee of hiring a professional registered agent service (if applicable).

See our Best Registered Agent Services article to help find the perfect choice for you.

There are various key differences present between LLCs and corporations, such as the taxation they are liable to pay, the regulations that they must abide by to remain compliant, and how simple they are to run.

The most important difference between the two is that corporations are more appealing to investors. This is because their issuance of stocks presents investors with growth opportunities.

See our What is Venture Capital Investing article for more information on this.

You can expect it to take between three and five business days for your Article of Incorporation to be processed. The following expedited options are also available:

  • Same-day processing: $50
  • 24-hour processing: $30

Once this process is completed your corporation will be officially created. You can then have a look at our How to Run a Corporation article for more information on how you’ll need to operate. 

No, forming a corporation is not difficult. However, since it may require more time, effort, and money than other entities (such as LLCs), it can seem difficult in comparison. 

In fact, this could not be further from the truth, and the process only involves a few simple steps.

To see an elaboration of these steps, make sure to refer to our How to Start a Corporation in Louisiana article. 

While LLCs are only slightly easier to start than corporations, they are definitely more affordable and manageable to maintain. 

This is because LLCs are not exposed to nearly the same level of federal scrutiny and strict management procedures that corporations are. 

To discover more about the difference between these two business entities, see our LLC vs Corporation article.

Louisiana Corporation Quick Links