Step 1) Verify & Secure Your Brand Name
To secure and register your brand name it should be unique, not too similar to another registered name, and shouldn’t contain any restricted wording.
To check, conduct a Business Entity Search through the state.
Keep in mind your LLC name should contain words like ‘Limited Liability Company’ or ‘Limited Company’. Abbreviations for these words like ‘L.C.’ or ‘L.L.C.’ are also acceptable. If needed, an Application for Reservation of Name can be submitted to the OK Sec. of State that's good for up to 60 days.
Filing Fee: $10
Remember, this isn’t optional in Oklahoma -- it’s mandatory.
Quick Note: Before you commit 100% to a name, you may also want to check that there’s a decent URL available for your business. Use Weebly to search your options. If there’s a quality domain name for purchase, we advise buying it right away. Even if launching a business website isn’t on your radar right now, it’s going to be soon, and you might as well nail down a domain name that’ll make it easy for customers to find you!
Step 2) Appoint A Registered Agent
An Oklahoma Registered Agent is a mandatory requirement. They act as a representative of your business whose job it is to receive and help process all important documents, especially state filings. Some basic criteria includes:
- Must be an Oklahoma resident;
- Must be a registered Oklahoma LLC itself and;
- Must be authorized to transact and operate business in Oklahoma.
You can hire an outside professional service and expect to pay up to $160/year, or get a Registered Agent free of charge when you start an LLC through filing services like IncFile. They handle this and more depending on your startup package.
Step 3) File Certificate Of Incorporation
Head over to the Oklahoma Business Forms page and choose the right Certificate of Incorporation form.
This certificate will need to be submitted through mail or using the Sec. of State's Entity Filing System. It's an official declarative document for the public record that discloses the basics of your new LLC including:
- Oklahoma LLC name and address,
- Complete name of Oklahoma registered agent and address,
- Term of existence of your Oklahoma LLC.
LLC Filing Fee: $100
Step 4) Get An EIN
An EIN, or Employer Identification Number, is required in Oklahoma for all businesses in the state.
It's a federal 9-series identification number that enables the IRS to monitor your business activities. It's like a social security number for businesses. You can also use it to open a business bank account and legally hire employees.
There are several ways to obtain an EIN, but the most convenient (and FREE) way is to submit an online application through the IRS Website.
Step 5) Open A Business Bank Account
Since you’re here in this guide right now, chances are it’s your first time establishing an LLC so you're probably not aware of everything involved in the business-side of banking.Where you build your brand's financial foundation is important – fees, withdrawal/deposit limits, accessibility, location, credit/debit incentives, online banking options, etc. Don’t just wing this or assume you should set up shop where you personally bank.
Where you build your brand's financial foundation is important – fees, withdrawal/deposit limits, accessibility, location, credit/debit incentives, online banking options, etc. Don’t just wing this or assume you should set up shop where you personally bank.
If you’re interested, this article takes a good look at Business Checking Accounts and what makes them appealing for smaller or startup businesses. Shop around!
Step 6) Draft An Operating Agreement
An LLC is one of the most flexible business entities you can form and operate.
That said, its flexibility can be both an advantage and a disadvantage, which is why it's wise to create an Operating Agreement. Do you have to have one? No, the state doesn't mandate it, but it adds protection for you, your LLC status, and all owners/managers involved.
Now, along with the legal protection and laying out rights & responsibilities, you can also detail operational rules. If this document isn't in place, the rules running the show are default Oklahoma rules. This may or may not be a good thing if there's a dispute. See why it's important?
To get started, consider checking out this savvy list of Operating Agreement Tools which you can customize yourself.
Step 7) Keep Track Of Taxes And Finances
To be honest, with this step the ideal move you can make is to hire a professional or do plenty of research on your own. Regardless, don't jump into the marketplace without ensuring you're 100% compliant with all relevant agencies and setup for success!
To get started bookmark the OK Tax Commission, and the Oklahoma City District office of the Small Business Administration because they’re likely going to be go-to sources along the way. If you need help, consider professional Business License Research packages that can quickly handle the leg work for you.
Need Help Forming an LLC?
If you'd like help forming an LLC in Oklahoma, feel free to read our reviews of the two most popular services.