If you are forming a California LLC, then this page’s content would be vital. As you learn how to start an LLC, you will realize that the bulk of your initial work and cost comprises filing an article of organization, which we will elaborate on this page.
On this page, you’ll learn about the following:
What is an Article of Organization?
An Article of Organization, also known as an LLC certificate in some states, is a document filed with the secretary of state to form an LLC.
Each state has a different requirement to fill out a form. An Article of Organization usually includes the following:
- The name of the LLC,
- the effective date of the LLC,
- the company’s principal office,
- the business purpose,
- the duration of the business,
- a copy of the LLC’s name registration certificate, and
- the name and address of the registered agent, organizers, and
- at least one member of the company.
Note that the certification of formation is a legal requirement, not to mention, the core of your LLC formation. It even makes up the bulk of your LLC cost. Without it, you have no LLC. So, take the time to complete and file this certificate.
How to File an California Article of Organization
These are the simple steps to follow in filing an Article of Organization in California.
Step 1: Find Forms Online
Go to the California Secretary of State to download the article of organization form for your LLC or to log into the online service.
Step 2: Fill Out Form
You must attach a copy of your Name Reservation to your filled-out Article of Organization form when filing. You also need to nominate a registered agent. Here are 3 of the best LLC services on our list.
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Step 3: File Formation Certificates
Article of Organization Online Registration
Time needed: 10 minutes.
To register your California LLC online, one has to go to the California Secretary of State Official Website. The online registration process is easy and takes around 10 minutes to complete. The online payment must be done through VISA or MasterCard. Below is the step-by-step process explained.
- Visit the official website of California Secretary of State Online Services.
You will get the information regarding the filing fees and franchise tax to be paid to start a foreign LLC in California.
- Hit “Start”
Hit the “Start” button below to start the process of registering your California foreign LLC. As you will hit the ‘Start’ button you will be directed to the next Privacy and Terms page. Read the Privacy Warning carefully before you accept the terms and conditions. Hit the ‘I Accept’ button and move on.
- Add your LLC name and identifier
You will be directed to the registration form page on the website. There are 7 pages to fill up by the LLC. The first page is about the purpose of the LLC.
- Business Address
On the next page, you will have to enter the information about your business address. Enter the initial and mailing address. Make sure that the address is correct and from California.
- Service of Process
Proceed to the next page where you will have to enter the details of ‘Service of Process’. Whether your agent is an individual or a corporation, details should be given under the specific option.
- Management Structure
On the next page, specify your Management, whether your LLC is a single-member or multiple-members.
- Organizer information
The next page is about the Organizer of your LLC. Enter the name of the organizer, address, and pin code. Also, specify the date of filing.
- Review submission
Once this page is done, the next page will be the review page. Review carefully what information you have entered. If there is anything you want to include or change, you can go back and edit the form.
Finally, you will be landed on the Payment page. Enter the payment amount, method, and other information. Hit the submit button to complete the payment and registration process.
Filing California Article of Organization by Mail
If you prefer to send the article of organization by mail, then follow the instructions below:
- Download the article of organization form.
- Fill up the form thoroughly with all the required information
- Get two copies of the Article of organization form.
- Get the certificate of name reservation. Attach with the article of organization forms.
- Send all the documents to the following address, Secretary of State, Business Entities Filings, P.O. Box 944228, Sacramento, CA 94244.
- You can drop the forms at the counter or send them in-person at 1500 11th St. Sacramento, CA 95814, (Mon-Fri. 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
Cost of Filing a California Formation Certificate
The cost of Filing California LLC is given below. A fixed amount of Franchise Tax should be paid annually along with the formation fee. Whether to file online (recommended) or by mail or in-person. The filing cost is,
- Online filing: $70
- By Mail: $70 + $5 for each certified copy
- In-person: $70 + $15 counter charge
Where Can You Find Your California LLC Articles of Organization
In California, you’ll need to file your LLC articles of organization with the Secretary of State. While you don’t need to include a physical address, you’ll need to include a mailing address if you intend to sell products or provide services to the public. The state requires all business entities to have a street address in order to do business in the state. However, you’re not required to include a physical address if you don’t plan to conduct any business in the state.
The California Secretary of State also provides a free PDF version of the Articles of Organization. You can either mail the form to the Secretary of State’s office or submit it online. To complete your form, be sure to include the phrase “limited liability company” or its abbreviation. If you have a registered agent, they can sign the documents and mail them to you. The Secretary of States can only accept legal documents sent through the mail if they contain the phrase “limited liability company”.
If you don’t want to wait for the state to process your application, you can file the necessary paperwork online. The California Secretary of State’s website provides a PDF version of the Articles of Organization. To apply for a business license, you can also apply for a business license. In addition to the California LLC Articles of Organization, you’ll need to file the operating agreement. These documents are similar to those of a corporation. They provide important information about the management of your business, including the rights of the members to admit other members, and conditions of dissolution. While this document is not legally binding, it is still a good idea to keep it on hand.
An Article of Organization is a legal document that will officially make your LLC into existence. This document is needed specifically for California in forming an LLC business structure.
The application form for the Article of Organization needs to include the LLC name, date of establishment, the company’s registered office, business purpose, how long the business will exist, and a copy of the LLC’s name registration certificate.
Filing by mail or in person is neither highly recommended nor required; waiting an extra week for your LLC to be approved isn’t that bad. The LLC approval you send in will be returned by mail. Online filing, meanwhile, is more convenient as you won’t have to stay in a queue.