How to Start an LLC in Utah (2024 Guide)
Wondering how to start an LLC in Utah? We’ve got you covered.
To get started, you'll need to pick a suitable business name, choose a registered agent, and file your Certificate of Organization with the Utah Department of Commerce ($54 processing fee).
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How to Form an LLC in Utah in 6 Steps
In order to form your LLC in Utah, there are certain steps you’ll need to complete:
- Name Your Utah LLC
- Choose a Registered Agent
- File the Certificate of Organization
- Create an Operating Agreement
- Get an EIN
- File a Beneficial Ownership Information Report
Step 1: Name Your Utah LLC
Before you get started, you will need to pick a suitable name for your Utah LLC.
This will need to comply with all applicable naming requirements under Utah law and be both succinct and memorable, as this will make it easily searchable by your potential clients.
1. Important Naming Guidelines for Utah LLCs:
- Your name must include the phrase “limited liability company,” “limited company,” “L.L.C.,” or “L.C.”
- Your name cannot include words associated with other business entities (e.g., limited partnership, incorporated, etc.).
- Your name cannot include words that could imply that your LLC is affiliated with a government body (e.g., State, Treasury, etc.).
- Your name needs to be distinguishable from all other business names registered with the Utah Department of Commerce.
- Your name must contain the abbreviation “L3C” or “l3c” if you are a low-profit limited liability company.
Keep in mind that certain restricted words cannot be included in your LLC name unless you have received prior written approval from the appropriate state or federal agency. Examples of such words include:
- College, University, Institute, and Institution require approval from the Utah Division of Consumer Protection.
- Olympic, Olympiad, and similar words require approval from the United States Olympic Committee.
- Bank, Banking, and similar words require approval from the Utah Department of Financial Institutions.
For more information, we recommend having a look at the Utah Department of Commerce’s Business Name Conventions and Policies guidelines page.
2. Is the name available in Utah?
To check whether your desired name has already been taken by another business entity in Utah, you can perform a name search on the Division of Corporations and Commercial Code website.
If you’re not going to start your LLC right away, it might be a good idea to consider reserving your name for up to 120 days. You can do this by filing an Application for Reservation of a Business Name and paying the $22 filing fee.
For more information, you can have a look at our Utah LLC Name Search guide.
3. Is the URL available?
You should check online to see if your business name is available as a web domain. Even if you don’t plan to make a business website right away, this is an extremely important step as it will prevent others from acquiring it, potentially saving you both time and money in the long term.
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Once you have verified your name is available, you may now select a professional service to complete the LLC formation process for you.
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If you need additional information before getting started, you can have a look at our in-depth comparison of the Best LLC Services in 2024 instead.
FAQ: Naming a Utah LLC
LLC is short for “limited liability company.” It is a simple business structure that offers more flexibility than a traditional corporation while still providing legal protection for your personal assets. Read our What is a Limited Liability Company guide for more information.
Or, watch our two-minute video: What is an LLC?
You must follow the Utah LLC naming guidelines when choosing a name for your LLC:
- Include the phrase "limited liability company" or one of its abbreviations (LLC or L.L.C.).
- Do not use words that could confuse your business with a government agency (FBI, State Department, CIA, etc.).
- Receive the proper licensing when using the words such as lawyer or doctor.
If you are having trouble coming up with a name for your LLC, use our LLC Name Generator. That will not only find a unique name for your business but an available URL to match.
Most LLCs do not need a DBA, known as an assumed name in Utah. The name of the LLC can serve as your company’s brand name and you can accept checks and other payments under that name as well. However, you may wish to register a DBA if you would like to conduct business under another name.
To learn more about DBAs in your state, read our How to File a DBA guide.
Step 2: Choose a Registered Agent in Utah
After you find the right name for your LLC, you will need to nominate a Utah registered agent. This is a necessary step in your Certificate of Organization, which is the document used to file and register your LLC with the Department of Commerce.
What is a registered agent? A registered agent is an individual or business entity responsible for receiving important tax forms, legal documents, notice of lawsuits, and official government correspondence on behalf of your business. You can think of your registered agent as your business’s primary point of contact with the state.
Who can be a registered agent? A registered agent must be a resident of Utah or a corporation that is authorized to transact business in the state of Utah. This means that you can elect to act as your own registered agent, appoint a different LLC member, use a professional registered agent service, or hire a business attorney.
FAQ: Nominating a Registered Agent
You can choose to act as your own registered agent, appoint a member of your LLC, work with a business attorney, or hire a professional registered agent service.
We recommend avoiding acting as your own registered agent as a small business owner as the address you’ll use will become publicly available. It will also make the possibility of losing important legal notifications (e.g., service of process, etc.) more likely.
Read more about being your own registered agent.
Using a professional registered agent service is an affordable way to manage government filings for your LLC. For most businesses, the advantages of using a professional service significantly outweigh the annual costs.
Keep in mind that several LLC formation services offer a registered agent service completely free of charge for the first year post-formation.
Step 3: File the Utah LLC Certificate of Organization
To register your Utah LLC, you'll need to file the Certificate of Organization with the Utah Department of Commerce. You can do this either online or via mail.
Before filing, you will need to make sure that you have completed your Certificate of Organization correctly. This is quite brief and requires you to fill in the following information:
- Your LLC’s name and principal office address (needs to be a street address)
- The name and full address of your registered agent
- The signature of your LLC’s organizer
- The legal names and addresses of all members and/or managers (optional)
- The duration of your LLC (optional)
- Your LLC’s purpose (optional)
File the Certificate of Organization
OPTION 1: File Online With the State of UtahFile Online
- OR -
OPTION 2: File by MailDownload Form
State Filing Cost: $54 payable to the State of Utah (Nonrefundable)
Utah Division of Corporations & Commercial Code
P.O. Box 146705
Salt Lake City, UT 84114
For help with completing the form, visit our Utah Certificate of Organization guide.
Note: If you're expanding your existing business to the state of Utah, you'll need to register as a foreign limited liability company (LLC).
FAQ: Filing Utah LLC Documents
If you’re filing your Certificate of Organization online, it will be processed instantly, and your LLC will be registered within 24 hours.
Filings carried out by mail can have significantly longer processing times, although an expedited service can be purchased for a one to two-business-day turnaround (+$129).
An LLC is referred to as a "domestic LLC" when it conducts business in the state where it was formed. A foreign LLC must be formed when an existing LLC wishes to expand its business to another state.
Read our What Is a Foreign LLC article to learn more.
The cost of filing your Certificate of Organization with the Department of Commerce is $54, regardless of whether you file online or via mail.
Having said that, your total LLC formation cost may be higher depending on your choices (e.g., whether you use a business attorney, formation service, reserve a name, etc.).
To learn more, read our guide on the cost to form a Utah LLC.
Step 4: Create a Utah LLC Operating Agreement
An operating agreement is not required for a Utah LLC, 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? A comprehensive operating agreement 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 Utah LLC operating agreement guide.
FAQ: Creating a Utah LLC Operating Agreement
No. The Utah LLC operating agreement is an internal document that you should keep on file for future reference. However, many other states do legally require LLCs to have an operating agreement in place.
Step 5: Get an EIN for Your Utah LLC
You can get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS for free. It is used to identify business entities and keep track of businesses’ tax reporting. It is essentially a Social Security number (SSN) for the company.
Why do I need an EIN? An EIN number 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.
FOR INTERNATIONAL APPLICANTS: You do not need an SSN to get an EIN. Learn more here.
Get an EIN
Option 1: Request an EIN from the IRS
- OR -
Option 2: Apply for an EIN by Mail or Fax
Internal Revenue Service
Attn: EIN Operation
Cincinnati, OH 45999
Fax: (855) 641-6935
FAQ: Getting an EIN
A Social Security number is not required to get an EIN. You can simply fill out IRS Form SS-4 and leave section 7b blank. Then call the IRS at (267) 941-1099 to complete your application. Learn more about applying as an international applicant.
All LLCs with employees, or any LLC with more than one member, must have an EIN. This is required by the IRS.
Learn why we recommend always getting an EIN and how to get one for free in our Do I Need an EIN for an LLC guide.
When you get an EIN, you will be informed of the different tax classification options that are available. Most LLCs elect the default tax status.
However, some LLCs can reduce their federal tax obligation by choosing the S corporation (S corp) status. To learn more, read our LLC vs. S Corp guide.
Step 6: File a Beneficial Ownership Information Report
Beginning January 2024, LLC owners will need to file a Beneficial Ownership Information (BOI) Report with the US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). Existing LLCs can file their report any time between January 1, 2024, and January 1, 2025, while new LLCs will need to file their report within 90 days of formation.
This contains similar information to that of your Articles of Organization, such as your LLC name and member information, and can be filed online for free. Failure to file an accurate report on time can result in a $500 per day fine.
Note: There are certain filing exemptions, such as for large companies (i.e., more than 20 full-time employees), tax-exempt entities, and publicly traded companies.
Considering Using an LLC Formation Service?
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Maintain Your Utah LLC
After you’ve successfully formed your LLC, there are a couple of steps you’ll need to periodically take in order to maintain it, including:
- Filing the annual report
- Sorting out your taxes
We’ve broken down how to complete each of these steps in greater detail below.
File the Annual Report
Under the Utah Division of Corporations & Commercial Code, all LLCs are required to file an Annual Report online in order to maintain their good standing within the state. This form will keep the Secretary of State updated on your LLC’s basic information – most of which can be found in your operating agreement.
This report is due each year on the anniversary of the date on which your LLC was formed in addition to a filing fee of $13. You can use the Utah Business Database to find out the anniversary date for your LLC.
Note: Late filings incur a $30 penalty fee and eventually result in your LLC being administratively dissolved depending on how late you file an annual renewal.
Sort Out Your Taxes
Regardless of where your LLC is registered, you will be required to pay certain federal taxes. This includes corporation and employer taxes (for LLCs filing as a C corporation) and federal income tax and self-employment taxes (for LLCs taxed as pass-through entities).
In addition, there are a number of different taxes you’ll be required to pay at a local and state level, which can vary depending on the nature of your business.
Below are some of the most common taxes in Utah:
Income taxes are the group of charges imposed directly on the earnings of individuals and entities from business activity based in Utah. In addition to your federal tax obligations, there are two main state income taxes for LLC owners to be aware of:
- Personal Income Tax: The individual members of LLCs with a default taxation structure are subject to a flat statewide income tax rate of 4.65% on the distributions they take from the business’s overall profits.
- Corporate Franchise & Income Tax: This is a flat rate of 4.85% imposed on the total taxable incomes of LLCs that have elected to be treated as corporations for tax purposes. These LLCs are subject to a minimum privilege tax of $100 that is payable regardless of how much money they earn. Note that LLCs organized as S corps are exempt from this minimum privilege tax.
You can file your LLC income tax return quickly and easily online using Utah’s Taxpayer Access Point (TAP).
Sales and Use Taxes
Sales and use taxes in Utah are set at a base rate of 4.85% but can increase by up to 2.95% when local rates are factored in as well. While the total rate your business will need to collect and remit varies by jurisdiction, the average combined sales and use tax rate is around 7.2%.
It’s your business’s responsibility as a seller to collect this tax from transactions involving the sale or use of tangible personal property and certain services within the state before remitting it to the Utah Tax Commission using the TAP platform.
Note: To be able to collect sales and use tax, your LLC must first register for a Seller’s Permit through the OneStop Business Registration section of the Utah State Tax Division website.
Steps After LLC Formation
After forming your LLC, you will need to get a business bank account and website, sort all required business licensing, and get business insurance, among other things.
Visit our After Forming an LLC guide to learn more.