How to Start an LLC in South Dakota (SD LLC 2022)


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How to Start an LLC in South Dakota: If you’re interested in setting up a South Dakota LLC, you’ve come to the right place. Having an LLC not only protects your personal assets but also is less complicated than other business structures. South Dakota laws make it easy to establish your LLC in South Dakota. On this page, You’ll find all the steps that must be taken to ensure that your South Dakota LLC has been correctly established. We recommend you read the whole article very carefully word by word, don’t miss anything đŸ™‚

south dakota llc

How to Start an LLC in South Dakota

An LLC or a Limited Liability Company is a hybrid business entity combining a corporation’s characteristics with a partnership or sole proprietorship. It separates your personal assets from your business assets, thus giving you personal asset protection.

If you wish to start an LLC in South Dakota, you mainly have to file your Certificate of Formation with the State and pay a filing fee of $150. There are some more steps to follow to get your LLC established in South Dakota. The following steps explain everything you need to create your LLC in South Dakota in 2022. Let’s get started! It is always recommended to hire a professional LLC formation service in South Dakota to set up your LLC.

Step 1: Decide a Name for Your South Dakota LLC

South Dakota name your llc

The very first step while forming an LLC in South Dakota is to give a proper name to your LLC. Before you name your business, you must know that the name should be easy to remember, available in the state, and follows all the LLC naming guidelines.

South Dakota LLC Naming Guidelines

There are a few specific requirements all the LLCs in South Dakota have to follow while naming their Company. Some of the most important requirements are as follows:

  • Your business name should be available and no other existing business in South Dakota can have the same name. Perform a name search from the below-mentioned source to be sure your name isn’t taken already.
  • “Limited Liability Company”, “LLC”, and “L.L.C.” – any one of these has to be used as a suffix in your business name.
  • You cannot use any name for your business that is confusing or misleading. Terms such as “Treasury”, “State Department”, “FBI”, “CIA”, etc. shouldn’t be included.
  • Terms like “Bank“, “University“, “Attorney“, “Doctor“, etc can be added only after the additional requirements by South Dakota State Government are fulfilled.
  • (Optional) It’s better to name your business something for which your desired domain is available.
Important Links –Submit Offline Form to –
South Dakota Business Entity Search – Online Name Search
Name Reservation Form – PDF
Name Availability Standards – Guidelines
South Dakota LLC Name Search – Instructions
Secretary of State
Capitol Building
500 East Capitol Avenue
Pierre, SD 57501-5070

Reserve Business Name for Future

If you do not wish to file your LLC right now but want to hold the name you have decided, then you can reserve your LLC name for 120 days. To keep the name, you have to file a name reservation application and pay $25 to reserve your name with the South Dakota Secretary of State.

Doing Business As (DBA) or Trade Name

Once you have a legal name for your LLC, you can register it. However, it is not mandatory. You can, instead, use DBA, Fictitious Name, or Trade Name. In that case, you must register your name with the South Dakota Secretary of State by submitting an Application to Register a Trade Name in South Dakota along with the filing fee of $10.

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TailorBrands offer DIY website templates and incredible logo designs. If you plan to get a website then it is wise to have a “.com” domain for your business but these days you can also use other TLDs like “.company”, “.xyz” etc. With TailorBrands, you can get everything you need at an affordable price.

Do I have to include LLC in my company email/domain?

It is not legally mandatory to use the word LLC in your domain name or email. If you want you can use it. However, it is recommended not to use LLC in the domain name. A domain name should be short and easy to remember.

Step 2: Assign a Registered Agent in South Dakota

South Dakota registered agent

The second step to forming a South Dakota LLC is to appoint a Registered Agent. A registered agent is a person or business entity that will act or work on your LLC’s behalf. This person or business will receive important tax forms, legal documents, all notices of lawsuits, and other official government correspondence in South Dakota. Hence, hiring a competent South Dakota Registered Agent for your LLC is necessary. 

Make sure your registered agent is a resident of South Dakota or has a physical street address. Their business address or the principal address should be in South Dakota. Most LLC formation companies also provide registered agent services. Below are two great LLC setup services, even if you buy their cheapest plan (normally $49/year) you also get registered agent service and other services at a reasonable price.

LLC Service

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$299 + State Fees

  • Turnaround in a few days

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These LLC formation services are recommended registered agent services as they are authorized to conduct business in South Dakota. Some LLC formation services offer standalone South Dakota registered agent services. You can purchase only Registered Agent services from them without purchasing any other LLC formation services.

Who Can Be a Registered Agent?

A person who is above 18 years of age and has a physical address in the state of South Dakota can be a Registered Agent. A Registered Agent can be an independent person or can be a business entity. One who is responsible for handling all the legal documents.

Can I Be My Own Registered Agent?

Yes, you can be your own registered agent if you are a resident of the state of South Dakota and you are above 18 years of age. To become a registered agent you must have the authority to conduct any type of business in South Dakota.

Registered Agent Consent Application

In South Dakota, there is no separate Consent Letter to be produced to the Secretary of State. At the time of change of Registered Agent (or the name or address), the new Registered Agent has to sign the consent letter. It comes with the Application form to Change the Registered Agent. The filing fee of $10 should be paid for it. For more information on the same, read our guide on South Dakota Registered Agent.

Step 3: File Articles of Organization in South Dakota

South Dakota certificate of formation

The third and most important step in forming a South Dakota LLC is to file the Certificate of Formation. This South Dakota Articles of Organization is a legal document needed to officially register your business with the Secretary of State. It costs $150 (online and $165 by mail) to file your formation certificate in South Dakota. (Read more on LLC cost in South Dakota).

The Certificate of Formation includes details like the name of the LLC, registered agent’s name, address, employees’ details, and structure of the company (member-managed or manager-managed). Before hiring employees in South Dakota LLC, one should know about the rules and regulations thoroughly. Also if you are expanding your existing business (an LLC) to South Dakota then you need to register as a South Dakota Foreign LLC.

How to File Online

Go to the Secretary of State Online Service. You will get the online service page. It does not require logging in or signing up to file your LLC online. You can directly start filing your LLC by clicking on the “Online Filing” button below. Read more about the South Dakota Articles of Organization for online registration.

How to File by Mail

If you prefer filing real-life forms for your South Dakota LLC registration, then you can download Domestic LLC Formation Form. Read the form thoroughly, fill it out, and mail it to the following address,

Mailing Address:

Secretary of State Office
500 E Capitol Ave
Pierre, SD 57501

Processing Time: It takes no time (immediately) to get a South Dakota LLC if you file it online. For the mail filing, it takes 1 to 2 business days to get an LLC. By paying an additional fee, it can be expedited.

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Step 4: Create Your South Dakota LLC Operating Agreement

South Dakota operating agreement

Moving on to the fourth step, filing your operating agreement. An operating agreement is a document that legally outlines the proprietorship and operating procedures of your LLC. This document is vital as it ensures that all business owners are on the same page regarding how they operate, thus reducing future conflicts.

When it comes to filing a South Dakota LLC Operating Agreement, the state does not require you to have a comprehensive operating agreement, but it is ideal to have one that contains all the details of your business operation. Like South Dakota, there are other states that do not have a mandatory rule to file operating agreements. But, this document would be useful if you decide to dissolve South Dakota LLC later. Hence, having an operating agreement may not be necessary but it is definitely ideal.

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Step 5: Filing a South Dakota LLC EIN

South Dakota file EIN for llc

The Employer Identification Number or, simply, the E.I.N. is a nine-digit number given by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to make it easier to identify the type of business for tax purposes and taxes in general. The EIN is necessary for any active business or any form of business for that matter. 

EIN is needed when the LLC hires employees. Hiring employees in South Dakota LLC requires following specific rules and regulations. On the other side, EIN for South Dakota foreign LLC should be obtained if your LLC is based in other states.

To obtain EIN (aka FEIN) one has to fill up a form (Online or by mail) and submit it to the IRS. Enter details of your LLC, and finally complete the form and send it to the address given. You can also get an EIN Assistant who can help you with the process.

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

Fax: (855) 641-6935 | Fee: Free

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Note: You don’t need a Social Security number when getting an EIN. You can proceed to fill out I.R.S. Form SS-4 and leave section 7b blank. You must then call the IRS at (267) 941-1099 to complete your application. Agents or employees will help you with that.


Congratulation, you are now done with all the necessary steps to form your South Dakota LLC. If you do it yourself, it should take you a long time to properly understand and do all the steps.

However, if you use TailorBrands, it should take fewer hours, and you always have a live chat with expert support for any help you need.


After Starting Your South Dakota LLC

After forming your LLC, there are still some things that you will need. Take note of the following:

This page has provided you with steps to LLC formation and filing processes. You now have to remember upcoming filing deadlines and filing fees or filing costs, including fees for late filings to make sure your LLC is up-to-date.

Cost of South Dakota LLC

Forming an LLC in South Dakota is no doubt more cost-effective than other structures of a business. There are some fees and charges one has to bear to form a South Dakota LLC. LLCs have pass-through taxation. Hence, your South Dakota LLC won’t bring you a massive tax burden. Here are some of the fees and taxes are needed to be paid while forming an LLC in South Dakota,

Fees/TaxAmount to be Paid
Name Reservation Fee (online)$25
Certificate of Formation Fee$165 (by mail and $150 online)
LLC Annual Fee$50
Sales Tax4.5%

In South Dakota, an LLC name reservation is not mandatory. You can register your LLC name at the time of registering your LLC. If you wish to hold the name for some time without registering your LLC, then you can do that online. Your LLC name will be reserved for 120 days without registering your LLC. It can be done by paying $25.

In South Dakota, an Annual Report has to be produced every year. It costs $50. Also, the State of South Dakota requires LLCs to pay a Sales Tax of 4.5% every year to the state. Read our guide on LLC costs in South Dakota for more information.

South Dakota Foreign LLC

If you are interested in forming a Foreign LLC in South Dakota then you need to file the Certificate of Foreign LLC to the South Dakota Secretary of State. Foreign LLCs allow you to operate your business in more than one state. Along with the Certificate of Foreign LLC, you need to submit some more documents like the Certificate of Good Standing, etc. to the South Dakota SOS to form your foreign LLC in South Dakota. To know more in detail, check out our guide on South Dakota Foreign LLC.

Reasons to Start an LLC in South Dakota

If an entrepreneur is looking forward to starting an LLC and looking for the best incentive programs, they should choose to go for LLC in South Dakota. The main reason for that is a reduction in different tax liabilities and diverse business funding options. Read more on South Dakota’s classification of LLC tax. There are several benefits that the state is offering to the new start-ups that are discussed below.

Privacy of the trust documents 

Many trust documents are signed and preserved by the state government when a new LLC is built. They ought to be kept private, but all the states cannot provide the same level of privacy and protection to those documents. Still, some states like South Dakota where the rules regarding privacy are the best in the states. Here the documents are not required to be submitted publically.

Only the information filed in front of the court during the starting of South Dakota LLC, which has proceedings to modify, can be sealed.

South Dakota Reinvestment payment Program 

When a business is thinking of upgrading their business or relocating it from one place to another, then they can take the help of a reinvestment program. In this program, a business entity can get a reinvestment incentive from the government. The amount of less than or equal to the payment LLC will be paying as sales and use tax for the particular reinvestment project is provided. The Board of Economic Development is openly taking the application of relocation of LLCs.

Variety Benefits Program of South Dakota

If entrepreneurs start an LLC in South Dakota, then they get eligible for various types of benefit programs offered by the government. Some of them are discussed in detail below.

  • The first incentive is related to job applications and hiring. An LLC hires a candidate who belongs to a high–need category or belongs to high-demanding areas. The government will bear half the cost of hiring that particular employee.
  • Those start-ups are thinking of purchasing new machinery for their business. The government issued tax-exempt bonds, which an entity should file if they want to get credit out of their money-incentive project.
  • A fixed amount of working capital is required by an LLC to keep its business running. The South Dakota WORKS program can provide this capital under which the cost of payrolls, start-up, and construction of buildings can be covered.

Top Businesses in South Dakota

Before an entrepreneur forms an LLC in South Dakota, it is advised that they should learn the details about the state’s economy. They should go through the top businesses formed in the state and their contribution to the state. An overview of it is discussed below in brief.

Finance and Service sector

Most of the population of the state is working in the service sector of the state. The service sectors mainly include financial services like taxation and advisory, tour and travel services, educational services, and healthcare. The service sector has helped in generating employment in the state after the great depression and is now accountable for contributing around $8.2 billion to the state.

The state’s agriculture focuses on corn, rye, wheat, flaxseed, and soybean. Apart from these crops, there is a flourishing industry of high-quality wool production in the state. People have high-quality machinery that they use for the rearing of wool and later sell them.

Also, there is a small fisheries market in the state which is established near the Missouri River. The overall contribution of the agriculture sector to the GDP of South Dakota is nearly $5 billion.

Manufacturing industry

State manufacturing is dependent only on raw agricultural materials. The primary industry that is found in the state is wool processing and its textiles. Other than that, there are businesses of wooden products and furniture making and food processing. There are a few numbers of an industry that makes computers or light machinery in the state. The total income of the manufacturing sector of the state is $4.52 billion.

There is a huge scope of small businesses in the state due to its small size. Some of the best ideas that are working well in the state are:-

  • Cattle Ranch
  • Account Consultancy
  • Well water drilling 

South Dakota LLC Formation Review

Time needed: 5 minutes.

Just to recap, here are the easy steps again when forming an LLC in South Dakota. Click on the steps in this list to read the full detail.

  1. Name your South Dakota LLC

    The first thing you must do is to choose a company name, which should be unique, easy to find, and available in the state.
    name your llc

  2. Choose a Registered Agent

    In South Dakota, it is mandatory to select a registered agent for your LLC. Get a professional Registered Agent from LLC formation services like NorthWest Registered Agent to get things done hassle-free.
    registered agent

  3. File a Formation Certificate

    Filing a formation certificate is necessary when forming an LLC in South Dakota. Depending on the state, it could be called any of the following: Certificate of Formation, Articles of Organization, or Certificate of Organization.
    articles of organization

  4. Create an Operating Agreement

    An operating agreement is not a strict requirement in South Dakota but something encouraged when you start an LLC to avoid future conflicts.
    operating agreement

  5. Get an EIN

    The Employer Identification Number (EIN), also called Federal Tax Identification Number, serves to identify a business entity like a social security number but for a company.
    file EIN for llc

How Fast Can I Form an LLC in South Dakota

The online filing of LLC in South Dakota will be completed instantly after the payment is received. In-person filing may take about 1 to 2 business days.

There are several ways to form an LLC in South Dakota. One of the most common is to designate a single member to run the business. Another option is to hire a professional manager who acts on behalf of the members. In either case, there are several steps you need to take to create your LLC.

Regardless of your preferred method, you need to submit your articles of organization with the Secretary of State. Once your articles of organization have been accepted by the Secretary of State, they will designate a registered agent. This will allow you to get the LLC up and running in a shorter amount of time than it would take to complete a regular business.

If you choose to use a registered agent, you’ll have someone who can remind you of important dates and file your annual reports for you. Choosing the right agent can mean the difference between the success and failure of your new business. Make sure you choose someone with experience and knowledge.

Your operating agreement is an important document. It spells out the rules and regulations for your business, and describes its purpose. It’s also important to choose a name that appeals to potential customers while still meeting state requirements. Try brainstorming names that sound appealing and are descriptive. You should keep in mind that some names may already be taken by another business, so you should be careful.

If you’re thinking of starting your own business in South Dakota, you’ll have to form an LLC. The Secretary of State’s Business Services website can help you create your company. It costs $150 to form an LLC online and $165 to file by mail. You can also file articles of organization on paper. However, paper filings will take longer. Furthermore, all information you enter in your articles of organization will be public record.

After you’ve formed an LLC, you’ll need to pay a filing fee and file an annual report. This is a legal requirement to stay in compliance with state laws. This filing fee can vary from state to state, so you’ll want to make sure you plan ahead for it.

You’ll also need to pay to register the name you choose. Some states require a license or permit to operate in certain industries, and you may need additional documentation. While most states do not require a name reservation, it’s a good idea to perform an online search to ensure the name is available before you start the registration process.

The Secretary of State website makes the process easy and quick. Several online forms allow you to file documents in minutes. Once you’ve completed all the paperwork, the Secretary of State will send you a notice of approval. It should take between three and five business days to process. If you file your paperwork online, it will be processed immediately.

F.A.Qs

Can I file an LLC in South Dakota by myself?

If you are a resident of South Dakota, then you can file your LLC by yourself. However, it is always worth having a professional than doing it yourself to handle legal complexities, paperwork, and other documentation.

What is the cost of forming an LLC in South Dakota in a year?

Apart from the formation fee of $150 (domestic LLC) and $765 (foreign LLC), LLC costs in South Dakota include $50 for Annual Reports every year. LLCs are liable to pay sales tax of 4.5% every year.

How long does it take to get an LLC in South Dakota?

It takes no time (immediately) to get a South Dakota LLC if you file it online. For the mail filing, it takes 1 to 2 business days to get an LLC. If you hire a professional LLC service, then it might take less than that. We recommend TailorBrands which has impeccable turnaround time.

How to renew my LLC in South Dakota?

Every year all the LLCs have to submit an Annual Report and pay $50 to the South Dakota Secretary of State and renew the LLC. It is mandatory to renew your LLC every year.

What is the tax structure for an LLC in South Dakota?

Generally, for the LLCs, it is a default tax structure. Once you will obtain the EIN, you will get the various tax structure options to select. Sometimes LLCs choose S Corp to reduce federal tax burdens. Read more on the South Dakota Classification of LLC Tax.

In Conclusion

LLCs are easier to establish than other business structures. Small businesses, especially start-ups can easily start their LLCs in South Dakota at a bare minimum cost. LLCs have a ‘pass-through taxation’ advantage for which they are excluded from certain taxes. The formation of limited liability companies requires much lesser documents and legal processes. Share your queries with us, and leave a comment below.

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