How to Start an LLC in New York
LLCs are the most popular structure for small businesses in New York. That's because starting and running a limited liability company (LLC) is very simple and offers important benefits.
LLCs can protect your personal assets (car, house, savings) if something happens to your business. LLCs also offer credibility and options to save on taxes.
It’s easy to form an LLC in New York online yourself. Just follow these steps:
- Name Your LLC
- Choose a Registered Agent
- File the NY Articles of Organization
- Create an LLC Operating Agreement
- Get an EIN
Starting a New York LLC is Easy
You can form a New York LLC online by filing the NY Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State. The cost to start an LLC in New York is $200.
Follow our How to Start an LLC in New York guide below to get started.
Step 1: Create a Name for Your New York LLC
Before you register your LLC, you'll need to come up with a name. Your business name needs to be catchy for branding purposes and legitimate for legal purposes.
We go into depth on this topic in our LLC naming guide. We’ll go over the basics below.
Naming Your LLC
First, brainstorm some possibilities. Use our LLC name generator to get the ideas flowing.
Next, make sure your name meets New York guidelines:
- it contains the words limited liability company, limited company, LLC or L.L.C.
- it doesn't contain words like academy, bank, lawyer, mortgage, university, or doctor
- it must be distinguishable from any other entity or trade name registered in New York
- full list of New York naming guidelines
Next, do a New York LLC name search with the Secretary of State to find out if your name is available in New York.
If your business name is available and meets guidelines, you’ll be able to register it when you file your New York Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State.
Is the URL available? Before you commit 100% to a name, check to see if there’s a good web domain available.
We recommend buying your domain right away because even if launching a business website isn’t on your radar right now, it will be soon.
Step 2: Appoint a Registered Agent
In New York, the Secretary of State acts as the statutory agent for service of process (also known as a registered agent) for all New York LLCs by default. In addition, you can choose to designate a registered agent of your own.
A registered agent's job is to accept legal documents like service of process and tax notices for your LLC.
If you choose to designate a registered agent, the Secretary of State will still act as the first point of contact for service of process.
Registered Agents and NY LLC Publication Requirements
In New York, you must publish notices that you've formed an LLC (see step 4). These notices need to be published in a newspaper in the county of your LLC's principal address or registered agent's address. Some counties have high publication costs.
When you appoint a registered agent service to act as your registered agent, their address and county are used to determine where the LLC formation notice needs to be published.
We recommend using a registered agent service to keep publication costs low and to keep your address private.
Recommended: Most registered agent services offer a year of registered agent service free when you form an LLC with them.
Step 3: File Articles Of Organization
It’s time to officially form your LLC by filing your Articles of Organization with the NY Secretary of State.
Recommended: Now is a good time to decide if your LLC will be member-managed vs manager-managed.
You'll need to know the following information to complete each Article:
- Entity Name
- Location of LLC Office
- Service of Process Address
- Registered Agent
- Management Structure
- Effective and Dissolution Dates
For more detailed help with completing the form, visit our New York Articles of Organization guide.
Mail, Fax, or Deliver Your Articles of Organization:
Fax the form and payment (payable to the Secretary of State) to (518) 474-1418 with a Credit Card/Debit Card Authorization form or submit it to the address below:
Department of State Division of Corporations
State Records and Uniform Commercial Code
One Commerce Plaza 99 Washington Ave.
Albany, NY 12231
How long does it take to get an LLC approved? Your filing will be processed instantly if done online or in three to five business days if done via hard copy, but this can be expedited by paying a fee.
Step 4: Publishing Notice of Articles of Organization
New LLCs must publish a notice of formation in two county newspapers for six weeks within six months of formation. One must be a daily paper and one must be a weekly, and both must be located in the county of your principal address (or registered agent).
For a list of approved newspapers in every county, check out our NY LLC Publication Requirements guide.
You'll need to file the Certificate of Publication along with an Affidavit of Publication provided by the newspaper with the New York State Department of State once you've finished meeting the publication requirement.
Filing Fee: $50
Looking for more details on the publication requirement? Check out our New York LLC Publication Requirements guide.
Step 5: Create A New York LLC Operating Agreement
Creating a New York LLC operating agreement is the only way to legally lock down your LLC’s management and ownership structure. Having this document in place will give you something to return to if a dispute or lawsuit arises.
Even single-member LLCs benefit from having an operating agreement.
Your operating agreement should outline the following:
- Each member’s responsibilities
- How new members will be admitted
- How existing members may transfer or terminate their membership
- How profits and dividends will be distributed
You can add as many provisions as you want, as long as they don't conflict with New York business law. Take a look at our What is an Operating Agreement guide to learn more.
Download a template or create a custom Free Operating Agreement using our tool.
Step 6: Get an EIN
The Employer Identification Number (EIN), Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN), or Federal Tax Identification Number (FTIN), is essentially a Social Security number (SSN) for your company. State and federal agencies use this number to track your business activity.
Your EIN will come in handy when it’s time to:
- Open a business bank account
- File Federal and State taxes
- Hire employees
We think the best way to get an EIN for your LLC in New York is by using the free online application on the IRS website. We prefer this method because it's the most efficient, but you can apply by phone, fax, or mail. You can read through our How to Get an EIN guide to find out how.
Steps After Forming an LLC
After forming your LLC, it's important to:
- Open a Business Bank Account. A business bank account legally separates personal finances from business finances. This separation is required to maintain your LLC's corporate veil (your limited liability protection).
- Research New York Business Licenses and Permits. For help, visit our How to Get a New York Business License guide. There are also business license services that can help.
- File Your New York LLC Biennial Report. File online with the New York Department of State every two years by the end of the month in which the LLC was formed.
Need Help Forming an LLC?
Read our Best LLC Services review to learn more about pricing and packages.