Starting an LLC in South Dakota is Easy
You can form a South Dakota LLC online by registering the Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State. The cost of setting up an LLC in South Dakota is $150 online or $165 for paper filing.
Follow our How to Start an LLC in South Dakota guide below to get started.
Step 1: Create A Name For Your South Dakota 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 South Dakota guidelines:
- it contains the words limited liability company, limited company, LLC, or L.L.C.
- it doesn't contain restricted words or phrases (these often include words like bank, attorney, and university) without approval
- it's distinguishable from any other entity or trade name registered in South Dakota
- full list of South Dakota naming guidelines
Next, do a South Dakota LLC name search with the Secretary of State to find out if your name is available in South Dakota.
If your business name is available and meets guidelines, you’ll be able to register it when you file your 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 South Dakota Registered Agent
When you file your Articles of Organization, you'll need to list a registered agent.
A registered agent's job is to accept legal documents like service of process and tax notices for your LLC.
Your registered agent can be a person or a registered agent service. You can act as your own registered agent, but many business owners choose to use a registered agent service.
Here are a few things to think about before you decide to act as your own registered agent:
- You’ll need to be available during normal (9 am - 5 pm) business hours at the address you provide
- If you run your business from home, you’ll have to make your personal address public
- You could be served with a lawsuit in front of your family or coworkers
Step 3: File the SD Articles Of Organization
It’s time to officially form your LLC by filing your Articles of Organization with the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.
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 the form:
- Entity Name
- Business Purpose
- Designated Office
- Registered Agent Name and Registered Office Address
- Organizers’ Names and Addresses
- Governing Authority Type (LLC Management Structure)
- Owner Liability
For more detailed help with completing the form, visit our South Dakota Articles of Organization guide.
Mail Your Articles of Organization:
Send the form and payment (payable to the Secretary of State) to:
Secretary of State Office
500 E Capitol Ave
Pierre, SD 57501
How long does it take to get an LLC approved? LLC processing is immediate after payment is received online, or 1 to 2 business days by mail.
Step 4: Create an LLC Operating Agreement
Creating a South Dakota 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 South Dakota 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 5: Get an EIN
An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is like a Social Security number (SSN) for your company. The IRS and the state of South Dakota will 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
The best way to get an EIN for your LLC in South Dakota is by using the free online application on the IRS website.
Read our Get an EIN guide for instructions.
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 South Dakota Business Licenses and Permits. For help, visit our How to Get a South Dakota Business License guide. There are also business license services that can help.
- File Your South Dakota LLC Annual Report. File online with the South Dakota Secretary of State by November 15th each year after the first year of formation.