Resources to register your business.

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Take the right steps to register your business.

Now that we have defined the most common business structures, it’s time to register your business. Your location and business structure determine your next steps.

For most small businesses, registering your business is as simple as registering your business name with state and local governments.

We have complied a list of counties and states to assist in moving forward with forming your business.

Resources for Your State

A few more tips for registering your small business.

Get a registered agent

If your business is an LLC, corporation, partnership, or nonprofit corporation, you'll need a registered agent in your state before you file.

A registered agent receives official papers and legal documents on behalf of your company. The registered agent must be located in the state where you register.

Many business owners prefer to use a registered agent service rather than do this role themselves.

File state documents and fees

In most cases, the total cost to register your business will be less than $300, but fees vary depending on your state and business structure.

The information you’ll need typically includes:

  • Business name
  • Business location
  • Ownership, management structure, or directors
  • Registered agent information
  • Number and value of shares (if you’re a corporation)

The documents you need — and what goes in them — will vary based on your state and business structure.

Business structure Document Description
LLC
Articles of organization
Articles of organization is a simple document that describes the basics of your LLC. It includes business information like the company name, address, member names, and the registered agent.
LLC
LLC operating agreement
An operating agreement describes the structure of your company’s financial and functional decisions. It defines how key business decisions are made, as well as each member’s duties, powers, and responsibilities. It’s widely recommended to create one to protect yourself and your business, even if your state doesn’t mandate it.
Limited Partnership
Certificate of limited partnership
This simple document describes the basics of your limited partnership. It notifies the state of the partnership’s existence and contains basic business information like the company name, address, and partner names. Not all states require it, and some states call it by a different name.
Limited Partnership
Limited partnership agreement
A limited partnership agreement is an internally binding document between all partners that defines how business decisions get made, each partner’s duties, powers, and responsibilities. It’s widely recommended to create one to protect yourself and your business, even if your state doesn’t mandate it.
Limited Liability Partnership
Certificate of limited liability partnership
This simple document describes the basics of your limited liability partnership. It notifies the state of the partnership’s existence and contains basic business information like the company name, address, and partner names. Not all states require it, and some states call it by a different name.
Limited Liability Partnership
Limited liability partnership agreement
A limited liability partnership agreement is an internally binding document between all partners that defines how business decisions get made, each partner’s duties, powers, and responsibilities. It’s widely recommended to create one to protect yourself and your business, even if your state doesn’t mandate it.
Corporation (any kind)
Articles of incorporation
The articles of incorporation — or a certificate of incorporation — is a comprehensive legal document that lays out the basic outline of your business. It’s required by every state when you incorporate. The most common information included is the company name, business purpose, number of shares offered, value of shares, directors, and officers.
Corporation (any kind)
Bylaws or resolutions
Bylaws (called resolutions for nonprofits) are the internal governance documents of a corporation. They define how key business decisions are made, as well as officer and shareholders’ duties, powers, and responsibilities. It’s widely recommended to create one to protect yourself and your business, even if your state doesn’t mandate it.

Stay up to date with registration requirements

Some states require you to provide reports soon after registering depending on your business structure.

You may need to file additional documentation with your state tax board or franchise tax board. These filings are typically referred to as Initial Reports or Tax Board registration, and most often need to be filed within 30-90 days after you register with the state.

Check with your local tax office or franchise tax board, if it applies to you.

Need help? Get free, live support from a BSC agent.

Connect with a small, black business advisor today. Let us help you through every step of registering your business with local agencies.

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