What are Articles of Organization?

Business man signing articles of organization.

The Articles of Organization is the LLC formation document you file to officially form a limited liability company (LLC).

The Articles of Organization is also known as a Certificate of Organization or a Certificate of Formation.

In this guide, we’ll give you the tools to understand what the Articles of Organization is and how to file it.

Short on time? Have someone file the Articles of Organization for you. Visit our Best LLC Services review to learn more.

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How to File the Articles of Organization

Ready to form your LLC? While every state will have its own requirements for filing the Articles of Organization, there are three general steps that you can expect to follow to make your LLC official: 

  • Find your state’s Articles of Organization
  • Complete the Articles of Organization
  • Submit the Articles of Organization

Find Your State’s Articles of Organization

The first step to filing your Articles of Organization is finding your state’s LLC formation documents. We provide links to the Secretary of State documents for all 50 states in our Articles of Organization guides.

You can find your state's documents here:

Complete the Articles of Organization

Once you’ve located the necessary documents to form an LLC in your state, completing the form is your next step. While the formation document’s content and requirements will vary state-by-state, there is some information you can expect to include, such as:

  • your business's name
  • your registered agent’s name and address
  • the business's physical address
  • your LLC’s management structure

Choosing a Business Name

It’s no secret that choosing a great name for your business is crucial to its success. Arguably more important is ensuring that the business name you choose follows the legal requirements of your state. 

To get started, visit our guide on how to name an LLC and follow up with an LLC name search in your state.

It's important to make sure there's a good web domain available for your business. Even if you don't plan on creating a business website right away, it's important to secure your name before someone else does.

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Choosing a Registered Agent

registered agent receives tax and legal documents (like service of process) on behalf of your business. This role can be filled by a business entity, individual, or, in some cases, the LLC owner themselves. 

Registered agents must:

  • be 18 years or older
  • be a resident of the LLC state
  • be available at the address provided during regular business hours

Using a registered agent service is an easy way to protect your privacy and time. You can learn more by visiting our guide to the best registered agent services

Get a year of registered agent services when you use ZenBusiness to form your LLC.

Establishing Your LLC’s Management Structure

One of the advantages of forming an LLC as opposed to other business structures is management flexibility. LLCs can be managed in one of two ways: member-managed or manager-managed. In a member-managed LLC, the owners or “members” oversee the company’s daily operations, while a manager-managed LLC has a hired manager that takes on this role. 

Not sure what management structure is right for your LLC? Visit our LLC Management 101 guide to learn more.

Submit Your Articles of Organization

The process of submitting your Articles of Organization will vary depending on the state you’re located in.

Many states allow you to submit filings in person, online, or by mail — visit our How to Start an LLC guide and select your state to learn more about your state’s requirements.

Hire a Service to File LLC Articles Organization

One of the greatest benefits of forming an LLC over other business structures is how simple LLCs are to form and maintain. For this reason, filing the Articles of Organization yourself is entirely possible and may save you money. 

If you prefer to hire an experienced professional to ensure your formation documents are filed correctly, however, you might want to consider one of these Best LLC Services

These services are online, low-cost alternatives to forming your business on your own. Therefore, they can save you time and stress — especially if you are uncomfortable or unfamiliar with filing this type of paperwork.

After You've Filed Your LLC Formation Documents

Officially forming your LLC is cause for celebration, but your work isn’t over quite yet. There are a few steps to complete after forming your LLC to ensure your business starts off on the right foot.

Create an Operating Agreement

An operating agreement is a document that outlines important information such as your LLC’s management and operating structure, distributions, and more. While operating agreements aren’t a requirement in every state, we recommend that every LLC create an operating agreement after filing their formation documents. 

You can use TRUiC’s free operating agreement template to get started.

Get an EIN

Whether you plan to hire employees or not, obtaining an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS is an important step once you’ve officially formed your LLC. What is an EIN? Essentially, an EIN is a social security number for your business that allows the IRS to identify your LLC for tax purposes. 

Beyond taxes, having an EIN benefits your LLC in several ways such as allowing you to open a business bank account, boost business credit, and even protect you from identity theft. The best part — you can get an EIN for your business for free.

Open a Business Bank Account

Separating personal assets from your LLC is crucial to maintaining your corporate veil. To do this, you need to open separate business banking and credit card accounts in order to keep your assets such as your home, car, and other valuables protected.

Recommended: Finding the right bank for your startup is easy with our guide to the best business banks for entrepreneurs and startups.

Get Licenses and Permits

Determining the business licenses and permits your LLC is required to obtain on a federal and state level will ensure your business is operating legally — helping you avoid fines and penalties. Federal license and permit requirements are typically dependent on the type of business activities your LLC is engaged in. 

At the state level, business licensing and permits will vary state by state. Additionally, you’ll need to check with your county and city to ensure that you’re meeting all requirements on a local level as well.

Move forward with the confidence of knowing you have all the required licenses and permits by hiring a business license service.

Brand Your LLC

A good place to start branding your business is by creating a logo. Logos are used on everything from merchandise to social media and can promote your marketing campaigns. Create a unique logo for your LLC with TRUiC’s free logo maker. 

Next, you’ll want to focus on fine-tuning your business’s web presence by developing a well-crafted, user-friendly website that accurately represents your brand. 

Recommended: Using a website builder takes the guesswork out of creating a great website. 

Read our review on the best website builders to get started.

Articles of Organization FAQ

What are Articles of Organization in an LLC?

The Articles of Organization for an LLC are the formation documents that are filed with the state to officially start an LLC. Otherwise known as a Certificate of Formation or Certificate Organization.

How do you write an Article of Organization for an LLC?

The first step to completing the Articles of Organization for an LLC is to find the formation documents online, typically on your state’s Secretary of State website. Every state will have varying requirements to complete the Articles of Organization, but there are a few things you can expect to need for this filing: 

  • Your business name
  • Your registered agent’s name and address
  • Your LLC’s management structure

Alternatively, you can bypass completing the Articles of Organization yourself by hiring an LLC formation service to complete your filing for you.

Do LLCs have Articles of Organization?

To start an LLC, you must file the Articles of Organization (otherwise known as a Certificate of Formation or Certificate of Organization). Comparatively, corporations file the Articles of Incorporation instead.

What is included in the Articles of Organization?

The requirements for filling out the Articles of Organization will vary depending on the state you’re located in; however, there are a few things you can expect to include regardless of your location: 

What are LLC organizational documents?

The organizational documents required to form an LLC are the Articles of Organization, otherwise known as the Certificate of Formation or Certificate of Organization — depending on the state you’re located in.

Is Certificate of Organization the same as Articles of Organization?

Yes. Both the Articles of Organization and Certificate of Organization are LLC formation documents. The name of the documents required to form an LLC varies by state.

What type of organization is an LLC?

A limited liability company (LLC) is a formal legal business structure that provides personal asset protection for LLC owners as well as additional tax benefits and increased credibility. It is also the simplest formal business structure to start and maintain compared to others such as corporations.

What are LLC membership certificates?

LLC membership certificates are documentation of the percentage or units of ownership for each owner or “member” similar to stock ownership in a corporation.

Why did my LLC get rejected?

Your LLC Articles of Organization may be rejected for a number of reasons; however, the most common reason for LLC rejection is filing the forms out incorrectly or leaving out important information.

We recommend learning more about hiring one of these Best LLC Services.

Does a sole member LLC need Articles of Organization?

Yes. Every LLC, including single-member and multi-member LLCs, needs to file the Articles of Organization or their state’s equivalent in order to legally form their business.

Sole proprietorships, an informal business structure that offers no personal liability protection, do not need to file Articles of Organization.

What is the difference between Articles of Incorporation and Articles of Organization?

Articles of Incorporation are the formation documents corporations file in order to legally form their business. 

Articles of Organization are the formation documents limited liability companies (LLCs) file to legally form their business. 

Learn more about starting a corporation or starting an LLC by visiting our guides.

What should I know before starting an LLC?

Before officially forming your LLC, there are a few things you should know: 

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