How to Start an LLC in Arizona | BetterLegal
Are you considering setting up an LLC in Arizona? BetterLegal has developed a complete yet concise guide to help you through the process through our years of experience. The five critical steps to properly set up an LLC in Arizona in order are:
Prepare by choosing a Name and Registered Agent
File Articles of Organization with the State of Arizona
Apply for an EIN with the IRS
Obtain an Operating Agreement
Handle Ongoing Arizona Compliance and Maintenance
An LLC (Limited Liability Company) is a fairly new business structure which combines the best aspects of two older structures. Corporations have existed since before the US existed, but require heavy maintenance such as quarterly meetings with officially recorded minutes, board approval and distribution of ownership, and more. On the other side of the spectrum is a sole proprietorship (or partnership if more than one person) that possesses tax benefits, but doesn't provide the owners with liability protection.
Combining the liability protection of a corporation and the tax benefits of a partnership, LLCs were created and slowly adopted by all 50 states between 1977-1998. This means that, as the owner of an LLC, you are not personally liable for any debts or obligations of the business. This can be a crucial safeguard for a sole proprietor, as transitioning to an LLC protects your personal assets, such as your home or savings, in the event that the business is sued or faces financial difficulties.
In addition to liability protection, an LLC helps establish credibility for your business. When you officially register your business as an LLC, you are signaling to the public that you are a professional and legitimate operation. This is especially important for a sole owner of a business as customers have more options than ever and are more likely to choose a company that feels more trustworthy. Any credibility you can build with your future customers is extremely important.
The first step in setting up an LLC in Arizona is choosing a name for your business. The name you choose will represent your company and be used on all official documents, so it's essential to take the time to carefully consider your options.
It may seem tempting to have a very specialized name like "Irene's Arizona Ice Cream." However, if you're still iterating on your business offering or may expand, a somewhat generalized name may work in your favor. Don't fret too much as you can always change a Arizona LLC's name or use a nickname by filing a Arizona DBA. More on those post-formation options can be found under Step 5: Changes and Maintenance.
It's important to choose a name that is unique and not already in use by another business. You can use the Arizona Secretary of State's name check service to verify the availability of your desired LLC name. If you are having trouble accessing the name check service, you can also call the Arizona Secretary of State. Call (602) 542-3026 for assistance..
When choosing a name for your LLC, it's important to keep the following guidelines in mind: LLC name must contain one of the following designators: LC, L.C., LLC, L.L.C., Limited Company, and LImited Liability Company. LLC name must not include a designator that are for other types of business structure: Inc., Incorporated, Corp., Corporation, LP, LLP, Nonprofit, Non Profit Corporation, Professional LLC, PLLC.
When choosing a name, it's also important to consider available domain names and social handles. One of our early customers owned austineventcollective.com as well as austineventcollective across every social platform. Unfortunately, someone in Texas already had a registered "Austin Event Collective LLC" and rejected her filing.
If you’re not ready to file, it is possible to reserve your Arizona LLC's name before officially registering your LLC with the Arizona Secretary of State. Please note that this is an additional and separate cost from officially filing your LLC and only holds the name, so you have to decide whether reserving a name for a few months is a better option than simply setting your Effective Start Date for the future (more on this in Step 2).
The next step in setting up an LLC in Arizona is choosing a registered agent. This person or entity will be responsible for receiving official mail from the State of Arizona and legal documents on behalf of your business.
The Registered Agent for your LLC in Arizona must have a physical street address in Arizona. PO Box address can be used as a mailing address and must be in Arizona.
It's worth noting that this information is considered a public record and may be accessed by anyone. This means that anyone can view the names and addresses of the managers or members of your LLC by requesting a copy of your Articles of Organization from the Arizona Secretary of State. If you are concerned about privacy, you may want to consider using a third party to act as a registered agent for your LLC rather than using your own personal information. This step helps protect your operator's and owner's privacy and shield your personal information from public view.
There are countless options for Registered Agent Service, but we believe BetterLegal provides the best value. Click here to sign up.
Some additional guidelines in Arizona for Registered Agents: The Statutory Agent is NOT a general agent for the company. A Statutory Agent can be an individual, or an Arizona corporation or LLC, or a foreign corporation or LLC that is authorized to transact business in Arizona. A corporation or LLC cannot be its own Statutory Agent – it must appoint someone apart from itself. If the statutory agent is an individual, the person must be 18 years old or older, and must be a permanent, full-time resident of the State of Arizona, and must have a permanent, full-time physical or street address in the State of Arizona. The mailing address, if any, of that individual statutory agent must also be in Arizona. The Statutory Agent ("SA") must officially accept the appointment by accessing their email and following instructions in that email. The SA has 7 days after you pay and submit this document in which to accept via email. If AZ does not receive the auto-confirmation that the SA has accepted, the document will be rejected automatically, on the 8th day.
BetterLegal has helped tens of thousands of business owners across the US set up their LLC. Sign up today to start yours!
Once you have chosen a name and registered agent for your LLC, you'll need to file the Articles of Organization with the Arizona Secretary of State for a fee of $50 which is non-refundable and provide a digital, scanned, or wet signature of the organizer and registered agent.
Online - Go to this link https://ecorp.azcc.gov/AzAccount/Register , create an eCorp account, and fill out the online form.
If filing online, you may use a credit card.
If filing by mail, you may use a check.
The turnaround time for LLC formation in Arizona is advertised by the Secretary of State as ten (10) to fifteen (15) business days from the date of submission. Keep in mind that this can take longer based on state examiner’s workload at the time of filing. BetterLegal's internal experience with Arizona is twenty-four (24) to forty-eight (48) business hours from the date of registered agent appointment confirmation, as long as the filing request was received during BetterLegal's operating hours (Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. EST). Also, take note that the State of Arizona requires that the registered agent confirms their appointment directly with the state, through an email sent by the Secretary of State. Hence, if you appointed a registered agent other than BetterLegal, please make sure that you inform your registered agent about this appointment confirmation. Otherwise, you may avail of BetterLegal's registered agent service to ensure the timely acceptance of the appointment. Without this confirmation, BetterLegal's filing will be automatically rejected by the state. The state provides an expedited review of the LLC application for a minimal fee of $35. The turnaround is 1 business day for online filing and 7-9 business days for mail filing.
Please note that the Secretary of State's office in Arizona is closed on weekends and state holidays. The office is open from 8:00am to 5:00pm, Monday through Friday.
Also note, that you should not apply for an EIN (Step 3) until Arizona has approved and delivered your Articles of Organization in case your LLC's name is rejected.
If you want to set a future "start date" for your LLC, this the date when you submitted your LLC application or a future effective date that may not be more than ninety (90) days from the date of filing. in the State of Arizona.
In Arizona, you're required to provide Statutory (Registered) Agent Address, Principal Address, Principals (managers) address" If you want your address information to be private rather than public record, make sure your Registered Agent allows for all addresses. BetterLegal's $90/year service provides full privacy.
State's Mailing Address: Mailing address can be the same as Registered Agent Address. It can be a PO Box or PMB.
The Manager's Information section of your LLC's Articles of Organization may include the names and addresses of the managers or members of your LLC. Here is extra information Arizona will want to know about your Managers:
Management Type - Is your LLC manager-managed or member-managed?
Manager's Name - It may be an individual or non-individual manager. Members and managers may be individuals, partnerships, corporations, and any other type of legal entity. However, for non-individual managers, there must be an authorized representative to sign the LLC's articles of organization.
Manager's Address - This may be a business or post office box address, especially if privacy concerns are an issue. Note that a document on file with the secretary of state is a public record that is subject to public access and disclosure.
After the Articles of Organization has been filed and accepted by the Arizona Secretary of State, the LLC is officially formed. Here's what Arizona will provide back to you based on your method of submission: If filed online, by email or portal. If filed by mail, approved documents will be mailed to the return address.
The official deliverables will include: the following documents: 1) Approved Letter 2) Approved copy of the submitted Articles of Organization filing.
You should keep a copy of the Articles of Organization for your records and use it to open a bank account, apply for business licenses, and conduct other business.
If your filing is rejected, you'll receive information from the Arizona Secretary of State explaining the reason for the rejection. You can then make the necessary corrections and resubmit your documents. You need to refile, fees are non-refundable
Obtaining an Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a crucial step in starting an LLC in Arizona because banks require it to open a business bank account and the IRS requires it to pay taxes. So if you plan on making money, you'll need one. You don't need to employ anyone to need an EIN, it's simply a poor name choice by the IRS for what is essentially your LLC's Social Security Number or Tax ID.
An EIN is a unique nine-digit number assigned by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to identify a business for tax purposes and formatted as 12-3456789. EINs are free to get from the Internal Revenue Service's website, but can be tricky if you're not careful when answering their questions.
An EIN is a Tax ID for the federal government, it is not your Tax ID for the State of Arizona.
Here are some key points to keep in mind when obtaining an EIN for your LLC:
It's important to note that the EIN is for tax purposes only and does not give any rights or privileges to the holder.
The turnaround time for an EIN is instant and the fee is $0. However, the IRS’ website that generates EINs only works normal business hours EST, so it’s a good idea to plan ahead if getting this item is time sensitive. Also note, that you should not apply for an EIN until Arizona has approved and delivered your Articles of Organization in case your desired business name is rejected.
An operating agreement is an important document for any LLC, as it lays out the rights and responsibilities of the members (owners), as well as the management structure of the LLC. It's not a mandatory document filed with the State of Arizona, but it's highly recommended to have notarized as it can help prevent disputes and misunderstandings among members later on.
While it's your preference to decide whether the Arizona LLC is manager-managed or member-managed, BetterLegal prefers to set up LLCs as manager-managed since an individual can be both a manager and a member. If a manager/member wants to become passive at a later stage of the company and the Operating Agreement is set up as member-managed, then it opens up a can of worms that could have been avoided by retaining the separation of duties from the beginning.
Here are some key points to keep in mind when creating an Operating Agreement for your LLC:
This is an important document for a Arizona Limited Liability Company and is too often overlooked or skimped on. If setting up a single-member LLC, be wary of professionals that charge hundreds or thousands of dollars for a single-page document. We have seen attorneys charge $3500 for a simple document providing zero ability for supporting multiple owners in the future. While you may start as a sole owner, that may not always be the case. It's best to plan ahead during these early phases before the grind of entrepreneurship sets in.
We've also seen instances where an individual helping with the business early on later claims ownership upon the business' later success. Never refer to someone paid or unpaid as a "partner" in public, especially if you don't have a signed and notarized Operating Agreement in place.
If you're setting up your Arizona LLC on your own and need an Operating Agreement, BetterLegal can provide one for a reasonable fee.
The Operating Agreement should be reviewed periodically and updated to ensure that it accurately reflects the current state of the Arizona LLC.
BetterLegal has helped tens of thousands of business owners across the US set up their LLC. Sign up today to start yours!
As an LLC in Arizona, you'll need to comply with certain Arizona regulations.
This includes, but not limited to:
Can I file an LLC in Arizona myself?
You can file an LLC in Arizona yourself by visiting the Arizona Secretary of State's website and submitting the necessary paperwork and fees. The process involves filling out the Articles of Organization and paying a filing fee. Additionally, you will need to choose a unique name for your LLC and appoint a registered agent for your business. Once you have completed the necessary steps and paid the filing fee, you can submit your application to the state for review and approval.
How much does it cost to file an LLC in Arizona?
The cost to file an LLC in Arizona is $50. This fee is for filing the Articles of Organization with the state and is non-refundable. You may also need to pay additional fees for obtaining a registered agent or for expediting the processing of your application.
Can you file an LLC in Arizona for free?
No, there is a fee to file an LLC in Arizona. The fee for filing an LLC is $50 and is non-refundable. You may also need to pay additional fees for obtaining a registered agent or for expediting the processing of your application.
How fast can you get an LLC in Arizona?
The turnaround time for LLC formation in Arizona is advertised by the Secretary of State as ten (10) to fifteen (15) business days from the date of submission. . This turnaround can take longer based on state examiner’s workload at the time of filing.
Can I file for an LLC in Arizona Online?
Yes, you can file for an LLC in Arizona online through the Arizona Secretary of State's website. The process involves filling out the Articles of Organization, choosing a unique name for your LLC, and appointing a registered agent. Once you have completed the necessary steps and paid the filing fee, you can submit your application to the state for review and approval.
What is the minimum number of members in a Arizona LLC?
The minimum number of members in an LLC is one. An LLC can have any number of members, and the members can be individuals or other entities such as corporations or other LLCs.
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