How to Form an LLC in California – CA Secretary of State

The California Articles of Organization Limited Liability Company (LLC-1) is the document a domestically formed entity must use to register its Limited Liability Company with the California Secretary of State. Similarly, foreign Limited Liability Companies must submit the California Application to Register a Foreign Limited Liability Company (LLC-5)along with a Certificate of Good Standing. The Filing Fee for either submission will be $70.00, which may be remitted utilizing a check made payable to "Secretary of State." A successful filing will result in one copy of the filed form mailed back. If you wish this copy to be Certified, you must request this and pay an additional $5.00 Certification Fee. Additional copies will cost $1.00 for the first page and $0.50 for each page after that. Each copy requiring Certification will need its own payment. You may drop off these forms in person if you wish to expedite the processing, provided you furnish a separate payment for the $15.00 handling charge. Generally speaking, it will take five to ten business days for these documents to be reviewed and processed in the order they are received however, a drop off will be viewed before any others received that day.


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Form a Domestic LLC in California – Articles of Organization (Form LLC – 1)

Form a Domestic LLC in California – Articles of Organization (Form LLC – 1)

The California Secretary of State Articles of Organization Limited Liability Company (LLC-1) is the form required by the California Secretary of State to properly register a domestic Limited Liability Company. This of course does not circumvent requirements of other interested entities such as a jurisdictions tax boards or obtaining a business license however, this form […]

Form a Foreign LLC in California – Application to Register a Foreign Limited Liability Company (LLC-5)

Form a Foreign LLC in California – Application to Register a Foreign Limited Liability Company (LLC-5)

The California Application to Register a Foreign Limited Liability Company (LLC-5) must be submitted to the California Secretary of State along with a Certificate of Good Standing (dated within six months of the application date) by the filing entity’s home jurisdiction. These two documents will act in conjuncture to form and register the foreign Limited […]

How to Form

Step 1 – To form and register a Limited Liability Company in the State of California, you must first Name it. This Name must be unique and contain terms to indicate the status of the company (i.e. LLC, L.L.C., Ltd Liability Company, Ltd Liability Co., Limited Liability Company, etc.). In an effort to find a unique Name, you may check with the California Secretary of State Business Search page (http://kepler.sos.ca.gov) to search for entities bearing similar names. A Foreign Limited Liability Companies may use this link to see if its Name is available by searching this database for the Name listed on its Certificate of Good Standing. Any entity may Reserve a Name by submitting a “Name Reservation Request” and a $10.00 payment to the California Secretary of State prior to this process, but this is optional and not mandatory.

Step 2 – When you have gathered all necessary documents, you must complete a California Articles of Organization (LLC-1) then send it in with a payment to the Secretary of State. If you are a foreign Limited Liability Company, you must fill out a California Application to Register a Foreign Limited Liability Company (LLC-5) then submit it to the Secretary of State with a Certificate of Good Standing or Certificate of Existence. In either case, you may either mail this package in or you may drop it off. All drop offs are considered expedited filings and will bear an additional $15.00 Fee. The Fee for filing a California Articles of Organization Limited Liability Company (LLC-1) or California Application to Register a Foreign Limited Liability Company (LLC-5) is $70.00. You will receive one copy of the filed documents. You may have this certified for an additional $5.00 (Certification Fee). If you wish additional copies, you must pay the Copy Fee of $1.00 for the first page and $0.50 for every page after the first page. Note: Each Certified Copy requested in addition to the original paperwork filed paperwork sent back is the Certification Fee plus the Copy Fee. All checks must be made payable to “Secretary of State.”

Step 3 – You may Mail or Drop off either the California Certificate of Organization Limited Liability Company (LLC-1) or the California Application to Register a Foreign Limited Liability Company (LLC-5), with the appropriate documentation and Full Payment for all applicable fees.

Mail To:

Secretary of State
Business Entities Filings
P.O. Box 944228
Sacramento, CA 94244-2280

Drop Off To:

Secretary of State
Sacramento Office
1500 11th Street
Sacramento, CA 95814

After Formation

There will be quite a few tasks to perform and fulfill after filing your documents. These are some suggestions:

Organizational Meeting: Develop and implement an Operating Agreement. The State of California does not require a filing of the Operating Agreement (regarding issues ranging from the rights and duties of Members or Managers to Dissolution Procedures) however, it is highly recommended to develop one during the first Organizational Meeting.

Additional Filings: Obtain the proper paperwork and business licenses for the jurisdiction the Limited Liability Company will operate in. Forming and Registering a Limited Liability Company in the eyes of the California Secretary of State is only one of the steps in satisfying one of the interested governing entities. Make sure that all proper permissions have been obtained. For instance, you will need a Federal Employer Identification Number.

Future Filings: If the Limited Liability Company is a domestic one (formed in California), complete and file the California Statement of Information (Form LLC-12) within 90 days of submitting the California Certificate of Organization Limited Liability Company (LLC-1). All Limited Liability Companies, may need to pay a minimum $800.00 yearly tax to the California Franchise Tax Boards. Make sure all follow up Filings and Fees are paid for. If unfamiliar with such follow ups, then consult a California Attorney or California Accountant before submitting forming and registering the Limited Liability Company. You may find more information regarding this here: http://www.sos.ca.gov/business-programs/business-entities/statements. In some cases, you may be able to file this information online.

For More Information, you may write to:

Document Filing Support
P.O. Box 944228
Sacramento, CA 94244–2280

or visit: http://www.sos.ca.gov/business-programs

You may also visit, in person, or call:

1500 11th Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 657–5448
Office Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

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