Step 1) Verify & Secure Your Utah LLC's Name
To secure and register your brand name it must 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 and if there are potential trademark issues conduct another quick search using the TESS System through the U.S. Patent Office.
Your LLC name should contain the words ‘Limited Liability Company’ or ‘Limited Company’. Abbreviations like ‘LLC’ or ‘L.L.C’ are also acceptable. If you only want to reserve the name but are not yet ready to form the business entity, file an Application for Reservation of Business Name that’s good for 120 days through the state’s One Stop Service.
Filing Fee: $22
Remember, this isn’t optional in Utah-- 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) Get An EIN
An EIN, or Employer Identification Number is required by both Utah and the federal government. It’s a nine-digit number that’s used to track business activity and makes it possible to open a business bank account, legally hire employees, and much more.
Almost every transaction your business engages in will require an EIN. That said, you can get one quickly, easily and free of charge by applying online through the IRS Website.
IMPORTANT NOTE: If your LLC is going to be taxed as an S-Corp, be sure to complete IRS Form 2553 and mail it in to the IRS right away once you have your EIN.
Step 3) Appoint A Registered Agent
A Utah Registered Agent must be an individual resident of Utah or a domestic/foreign business entity registered with the Utah Division of Corporations. They must also have a physical street address (other than a PO Box).
They’re an official representative of your brand who receives and helps handle/process all official documentation like state filings, tax forms, court or legal notices, etc.
You can hire an outside professional and expect to pay up to $160/year, or get a Utah Registered Agent free of charge when you start an LLC through a service like IncFile. LLC filing services like this handle this along with much more depending on your startup package.
You may also serve as your own registered agent, as long as you have a Utah street address and are comfortable with your address being publicly posted on the state’s business registration website.
Keep in mind that you will also be the sole person responsible for keeping your state business filings up to date if you serve as your own registered agent.
Step 4) File Certificate Of Organization
Once you’ve verified your brand name with the state, you can then file a Certificate of Organization online or through the mail with the Division of Corporations to legally form your Utah LLC. It declares the basics of your business including:
- Name and address of the LLC along with ownership information.
- Name and address of the LLC’s Registered Agent.
- Name and address of the organizers (must not be a member or manager).
- Although not publicly-posted, you will also need the phone number, SSN, and birthdate of any owners of your LLC when filing so be sure to have that information available.
Filing Fee: $70
Step 5) Setup A Business Bank Account
Now that you’ve got your EIN in tow and your members’ roles all sorted, it’s time to set up a business bank account.
Even if you’re running an LLC yourself without employees, this is still a necessary step — mixing personal and professional expenses never goes well. Plus, as soon as you open your business bank account, you’ll be able to start:
- Protecting your personal assets
- Taking advantage of waived fees and other perks of business banking
- Properly managing your finances in preparation for tax time
Remember to use your EIN, not your social security number, to open your business bank account. This way it’ll be completely separate from your personal finances.
Step 6) Draft An Operating Agreement
An Operating Agreement is a must for any LLC, and banks often require one before establishing a signature card with a new business.
While it’s not mandatory to have one in Utah, creating it organizes the internal affairs of your business. An Operating Agreement sets an internal arrangement about financial and managerial responsibilities for LLC members, and clarifies their rights and options. It also serves to protect the organization’s limited liability status.
You can create your LLC’s own document now with the help of an online Operating Agreement tool which can be easily customized to fit your specific needs.
Step 7) Handle Utah Business Taxes & Licensing
If you have employees, sales tax, or an S-Corp, you will want a CPA to help you with your tax compliance. However, if you want to handle those matters on your own, begin your research with the Utah State Tax Commission. Everything you need to know and then some can be found there if you aren’t working on this with a professional.
Bookmark the Salt Lake City district office of the Small Business Administration and the state’s Business Services page, because they’re likely going to be go-to sources. If you need additional help, there’s a Business License Service we recommend.
They determine everything required on Federal, State, County and Municipal levels, get the forms, and provide step-by-step filing instructions.
Need Help Forming an LLC?
If you'd like help forming an LLC in Utah, feel free to read our reviews of the two most popular services available.
- IncFile LLC Formation Review: Pricing starts at $49 + state fee. Best for basic & quick LLC formation.
- LegalZoom LLC Formation Review: Pricing starts at $79 + state fee. Best if you're looking for the most popular LLC service available.
Note that this guide on how to form an LLC in Utah isn’t a legal document or legal advice. It’s for informational purposes and the information above is subject to change. For specific legal questions regarding Utah LLC formation, please consult with a business attorney. We recommend Melling Law.