How to Start an LLC in Tennessee (TN LLC 2022)


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How to Start an LLC in Tennessee: If you’re interested in setting up an LLC in Tennessee, 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. Tennessee laws make it easy to establish your LLC in Tennessee. On this page, You’ll find all the steps that must be taken to ensure that your Tennessee LLC has been correctly established. We recommend you read the whole article very carefully word by word, don’t miss anything 🙂

Tennessee LLC

How to Start an LLC in Tennessee

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 Tennessee, you mainly have to file your Certificate of Formation with the State and pay a filing fee of $300. There are some more steps to follow to get your LLC established in Tennessee. The following steps explain everything you need to create your LLC in Tennessee in 2022. Let’s get started! It is always recommended to hire a professional LLC formation service in Tennessee to set up your LLC.

Step 1: Decide a Name for Your Tennessee LLC

Tennessee name your llc

The very first step while forming an LLC in Tennessee 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.

Tennessee LLC Naming Guidelines

There are a few specific requirements all the LLCs in Tennessee 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 Tennessee 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 Tennessee 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 –
Tennessee Business Entity Search – Online Name Search
Name Reservation Form – PDF
Tennessee LLC Name Search – Instructions
Corporate Filings
312 Rosa L. Parks Avenue
6th Floor, William R. Snodgrass Tower
Nashville, Tennessee 37243

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 4 months. To keep the name, you have to file a name reservation application and pay $20 to reserve your name with the Tennessee 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 Tennessee Secretary of State by submitting an Application to Register Trade Name in Tennessee along with the filing fee of $15.

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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 Tennessee

Tennessee registered agent

The second step to forming a Tennessee 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 Tennessee. Hence, hiring a competent Tennesee Registered Agent for your LLC is necessary. 

Make sure your registered agent is a resident of Tennessee or has a physical street address. Their business address or the principal address should be in Tennessee. 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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These LLC formation services are recommended registered agent services as they are authorized to conduct business in Tennessee. Some LLC formation services offer standalone Tennessee 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 Tennessee 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 Tennessee 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 Tennessee.

Registered Agent Consent Application

In Tennessee, 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 $20 should be paid for it. For more information on the same, read our guide on Tennessee Registered Agent.

Step 3: File Articles of Organization in Tennessee

Tennessee certificate of formation

The third and most important step in forming a Tennessee LLC is to file the Articles of Organization. This Tennessee Articles of Organization is a legal document needed to officially register your business with the Secretary of State. It costs $300 (by mail and online) to file your formation certificate in Tennessee. (Read more on LLC cost in Tennessee).

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 Tennessee LLC, one should know about the rules and regulations thoroughly. Also if you are expanding your existing business (an LLC) to Tennessee then you need to register as a Tennessee Foreign LLC.

How to File Online

Go to the Secretary of State Online Service. You will get the online service page. It does not need you to log in or subscribe to the portal. You can directly start filing your LLC by clicking on the “Online Filing” button below. Read more about the Tennessee Articles of Organization for online registration.

How to File by Mail

If you prefer filing real-life forms for your Tennessee 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:

Corporate Filings
312 Rosa L. Parks Avenue
6th Floor, William R. Snodgrass Tower
Nashville, Tennessee 37243

Processing Time: It takes 24 hours to get an LLC in Tennessee if you file it online. For the mail filing, it takes 3 to 5 business days to get an LLC. By paying an additional fee, it can be expedited.

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Step 4: Create Your Tennessee LLC Operating Agreement

Tennessee 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 Tennessee 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 Tennessee, 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 Tennessee LLC later. Hence, having an operating agreement may not be necessary but it is definitely ideal.

Recommended: You can get operating agreement templates at only $29 with TailorBrands. You don’t need to worry about drafting it as they will take care of it on your behalf. We recommend using –

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Step 5: Filing a Tennessee LLC EIN

Tennessee 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 Tennessee LLC requires following specific rules and regulations. On the other side, EIN for Tennessee 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 Tennessee 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 live chat with expert support for any help you need.


After Starting Your Tennessee 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 Tennessee LLC

Forming an LLC in Tennessee 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 Tennessee LLC. LLCs have pass-through taxation. Hence, your Tennessee 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 Tennessee,

Fees/TaxAmount to be Paid
Name Reservation Fee$20
Articles of Organization Fee$300
Franchise Tax0.25% ($100 minimum)
LLC Annual Fee$50 per member
Sales Tax7%
Excise Tax6.5%

In Tennessee, 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 4 months without registering your LLC. It can be renewed by paying $20.

In Tennessee, an Annual Report has to be produced every year. It costs $50 per member of the LLC. Also, the State of Tennessee requires the Franchise Tax each year. The amount of FT depends on the LLC’s revenue. The amount is a minimum of $100 (0.25%). Read our guide on LLC costs in Tennessee for more information.

Tennessee Foreign LLC

If you are interested in forming a Foreign LLC in Tennessee then you need to file the Certificate of Foreign LLC to the Tennessee 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 Tennessee SOS to form your foreign LLC in Tennessee. To know more in detail, check out our guide on Tennessee Foreign LLC.

Reasons to Start an LLC in Tennessee

The number of filings that the state of Tennessee is making every year is increasing year by year, and the reason is various attractive incentive programs. These programs offer various business funding options and a reduction in tax liabilities. Read more on Tennessee’s classification of LLC tax. The government has started many incentive programs that the LLC startups are attracted to the state and establish their entity. Some of them are mentioned below.

Tennessee Economic Development Incentive Program 

Any entrepreneur tries to implement different business changes and look for a different kinds of assistance to make their business sustainable and set its pace in the growth phase. That is why to fulfill the demand of Tennessee LLC for sustainable growth. The government has launched different programs for the development of the LLC. They are:-

  • There is a fast-track infrastructure program under which assistance is provided by the government to form an infrastructure for their business. Some financial assistance and tax advantages are included in this program.
  • Amid the creation of jobs, the Tennessee government provides a tax credit to the LLC to keep creating such opportunities in the future.
  • Fasttrack Job Training Assistance Program is a specially launched scheme by the government in which the government provides job training for jobs to the youth. This training will help them learn the skills that are required for working in the professional sector.
  • A sales tax exemption program under which the companies qualified will be provided a rebate on the sales tax or be exempted from paying any amount.

Valley Incentive Program 

If you want to start an LLC in Tennessee, you can also enroll your business in a valley incentive program. In this program, different types of bonuses will be provided to companies based on their field and their idea of starting a business. The investment credit program is one of them. This is a performance-based incentive based on the company’s development or those who are planning for further development. In this, a business can get a profit of 10-20% on their annual power consumption for 5-10 years straight.

Loan Funds 

The loan fund scheme also targets the new startups in the state. The main objective of this program is to leverage the capital of the company through the investment so that the business can focus on job creation and expansion. An LLC in Tennessee can get a loan of up to $3 million under this scheme, repayment of which can be done in flexible terms of 5 to 20 years.

Leading Businesses Operating In Tennessee

The knowledge of the top businesses of Tennessee is important to know if you want to form an LLC in Tennessee. The reason behind this is that this knowledge will help you understand the business environment of the state better.

Advanced manufacturing

The biggest contributor to the state’s GDP is advanced manufacturing, with a total of around $49.22 billion.  There is a huge production house of state-of-the-art cooking in the state that is producing firearms. Along with that, the automotive industry is also huge. The main reason why manufacturing is preferred in Tennessee is the low business cost and skilled labor.

The top brand names in the state are General Motors assembly and Volkswagen manufacturing unit the state.

Service Sector

There is a list of services that are contributing a huge amount to the GDP of the state.  The main two out of them are the educational services and health care. There are more than 70 institutions present in the state in which easy students can get admission easily. Along with that, a health care industry in the state is producing high-quality services for people living in the state.

It is estimated that around 335,000 people are currently working in the state’s service sector that is contributing around $36.44 billion in revenue.

Entertainment businesses

The state is known for a well-established place for different music production houses and television setups. The major media companies present in the state are Ingram Entertainment, Scripps Networks Interactive, and Viacom. The entertainment sector’s total contribution is around $17.79 billion, of which $10 billion is the Nashville industry’s share.

There are some people who are looking for some small investment businesses in the state. they are mentioned below.

  • Recruiting agency
  • Social media management businesses
  • Music tutoring
  • Business planning business 

Tennessee LLC Formation Review

Time needed: 5 minutes.

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

  1. Name your Tennessee 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 Tennessee, it is mandatory to select a registered agent for your LLC. Get a professional Registered Agent from LLC formation services to get things done hassle-free.
    registered agent

  3. File a Formation Certificate

    Filing a formation certificate is necessary when forming an LLC in Tennessee. 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 Tennessee 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 Tennessee

Filing for the LLC in Tennessee can take up to 3 to 5 business days by mail. For the online process, it may be completed within 24 hours.

Getting started with an LLC in Tennessee is quick and simple. The state offers a competitive corporate tax rate, no personal income tax and a pro-business environment. Those who are unsure about forming an LLC should consult an accountant or tax professional for more information. Using an LLC is a smart way to separate personal assets from your business assets. Keeping your finances separate can provide tax deductions and allow you to offer business only financial services.

A Tennessee LLC can be formed for as little as $39. You’ll need to fill out Articles of Organization and pay a filing fee. If you want to go the paper route, you can mail or drop off the paperwork at the Tennessee Department of Revenue. The state also accepts online registration.

You’ll also need to name a registered agent. The agent is the one who will receive official government mail and legal notices on your behalf. They also receive and file documents on your behalf. You’ll also need an employer identification number. This will be used to register your business with the IRS. This number mimics the functions of a Social Security number, and is required if you want to hire employees. You can obtain this number online or from your bank.

If you’re looking for a business name in Tennessee, you’ll want to check out the state’s name search tool. The website can show you the availability of names and help you choose a name that fits your business. You can reserve a name for as little as $20. You’ll also want to purchase a website domain name, if you don’t already have one.

The state also has a smart start program that connects new business owners with mentors, funding and resources. The state also offers an introductory business plan, which will help you develop strategies and attract investors. You can also get started with a business credit card to build your credit history. This can help you in the future when you are seeking financial funding.

You can also reserve a website address with the state for a nominal fee. However, you should make sure that the URL you choose has not already been reserved by someone else. If you choose a name that is already taken, you may be unable to use it.

You’ll also need to file an annual report. These reports are due on the 15th day of the fourth month after the close of your business’s books. If you fail to file an annual report, you may find yourself disbanded. Similarly, you may have to pay an excise tax. The fees for an annual report are the same as the initial filing fee.

Having an LLC is a great way to separate your personal assets from your business assets, but you’ll need to know about the laws governing your business before you go registering. Choosing an LLC will not only save you money in the long run, but it will also help protect your personal assets in the event of a lawsuit.

F.A.Qs

Can I file an LLC in Tennessee by myself?

If you are a resident of Tennessee, 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 Tennessee in a year?

Apart from the formation fee of $300 (domestic LLC) and $300 (foreign LLC), LLC costs in Tennessee include $50 per member for Annual Reports every year. LLCs are liable to pay sales tax of 7% every year. Tenessee Franchise Tax is 0.25% (Min $100) and excise tax is 6.5%.

How long does it take to get an LLC in Tennessee?

It takes 24 hours to get an LLC in Tennessee if you file it online. For the mail filing, it takes 3 to 5 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 Tennessee?

Every year all the LLCs have to submit an Annual Report and pay $50 per member to the Tennessee 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 Tennessee?

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 Tennessee Classification of LLC Tax.

In Conclusion

LLCs are easier to establish than other business structures. Small businesses, especially start-ups can easily start an LLC in Tennessee 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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