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.
2. Is the name available in New York? Make sure the name you want isn't already taken by doing a name search on the State of New York 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
In New York the Secretary Of State acts as the registered agent by default.
This means the Secretary of State will forward the following to your LLC's principal address:
- All formation documents
- Any service of process your LLC gets
However, if you file online you may choose a registered agent, other than the Secretary of State. Learn more about - What is a Registered Agent?
Why would you use a Registered Agent Service in New York?
New York requires newly formed LLC's to publish a notice of formation in the local newspapers, which can be around $1,500 or more if the principle address is in New York City. A registered agent service located outside the city will allow an LLC to use their address as the principle address; greatly reducing the cost of publication.
After the publishing requirements are met you can change the location of your principal office to anywhere in New York State, without any further publishing requirements.
To register your LLC, you will need to file the Articles of Organization with the State of New York. This can be done online or by mail.
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.
If you’re expanding your existing LLC to the State of New York, you need to form a Foreign LLC.
What is New York's LLC publication requirement? New York requires that within 120 days of formation all LLCs publish a copy of the articles of organization or a notice related to the formation of the LLC in two newspapers (one weekly and one daily).
Can I pick any newspapers I want? No. The newspapers must be approved by the local county clerk of the county you designate in your Articles of Organization. After publication, the printer or publisher of each newspaper will provide you with an affidavit of publication.
Where do I file my Certificate of Publication? You must submit your Certificate of Publication along with your affidavits of publication to the New York Department of State, Division of Corporations, One Commerce Plaza, 99 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12231.
Read our full guide for New York publication requirements to learn how many small businesses handle them.
File Certificate of Publication with New York
File a Certificate of Publication with the New York Division of Corporations, State Records and Uniform Commercial Code
New York City has notoriously high fees for newspaper publishing, ranging from $1,500 - $2,000. One way around this is to get a registered agent service located outside the city. This allows you to use their address as your LLC’s principal office.
Recommended: Northwest Registered Agent Service is located in Albany, where typical newspaper publishing fees range from $80 - $100.
Fee: $50 payable to the Department of State (Nonrefundable)
In New York, all LLCs are required to have an operating agreement. This may be a verbal or written agreement.
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.
Depending on the nature of your business, you may be required to register for one or more forms of state tax:
- If you are selling a physical product, you'll typically need to register for a sellers permit with the New York Department of Taxation and Finance.
- If you have employees in New York, you will need to register for Unemployment Insurance Tax and Employee Withholding Tax with the New York Department of Labor.
- If your business falls within a specific industry, additional state taxes may apply.
- If your business makes any taxable sales you must apply for a Certificate of Authority.
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: Use the State of New York's License Center.
- 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 New York, businesses with one or more employees, including LLC members and corporate officers, 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
Find out more information from the New York State Department of Labor.
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 New York . You can get free assistance in the following areas:
- Business Planning
- Sales & Marketing
- Research Assistance
- Financial Planning
- Legal Assistance
- Product Development
New York requires LLCs to file a biennial report with the New York Department of State. This form can be submitted online.
File your Biennial Report
File Online with the State of New York
Fee: $9 (Nonrefundable)
Due Date: Due by the end of the Month in which the LLC was formed. If you formed an LLC on March 15th, then your biennial report is due every two years by March 31st.
Late Filings: New York will classify late-filing LLCs as “delinquent,” resulting in loss of certain rights and privileges. Your LLC could eventually be dissolved or revoked.
New York LLCs are required to pay an Annual Filing Fee.
Pay Annual Filing Fee
Pay by Mail with the State of New York
Fee: $25 payable to the Department of Taxation and Finance (Nonrefundable)
Tax Calculation: Based on LLC income and ranges from $25 to $4,500
Due Date: You must file form IT-204-LL within 30 days of its tax year.
Late Filing: $100 for late filings, plus interest the balance owed.
Discover more about the New York LLC Annual Filing Fee
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, known in New York as a Certificate of Status, 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 a Certificate of Status by mail.
Order a Certificate of Good Standing
Request a Certificate by Mail from the Department of State
Fee: $25 payable to the Department of State (Nonrefundable)
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 New York 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 New York, you will need to register as a foreign LLC. This can be done by mail.
Register as a Foreign LLC in New York
File Online with the New York Department of State
Fee: $250 payable to the Department of State (Nonrefundable)