LLC Cost in Tennessee

Tennessee LLCs are relatively inexpensive — especially when you consider that an LLC can protect your personal assets and help grow your business. That’s why forming an LLC is the best choice for most small businesses. 

The cost to form an LLC in Tennessee starts at $300. This covers the primary cost of officially registering your LLC with the state.

Read our LLC Cost in Tennessee guide below to learn more about LLC costs and other fees associated with all Tennessee businesses.

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You can form an LLC yourself and save a little money or use a professional service and save a lot of time. 

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How Much Is an LLC in Tennessee?

Tennessee LLC Filing Fee: $300+

To form an LLC in Tennessee, you'll need to file the Articles of Organization (Form SS-4270) with the Secretary of State’s Business Services Division. The Tennessee Secretary of State charges $50 per LLC member to process and record this document online, by mail, or in person. The minimum fee is $300 and the maximum fee is $3,000.

You can complete this process yourself with our How to Start an LLC guide or use an LLC formation service.

Registered Agent Fee

Every Tennessee LLC must appoint a registered agent. Your Tennessee registered agent must be a resident of Tennessee and must be available to receive service of process during normal business hours at a designated street address.

You can be your own registered agent in Tennessee, or you can use a registered agent service for a minimal cost.

Recommended: Get free registered agent services for one year when you form an LLC with Northwest ($29 plus state fees).

Tennessee Franchise and Excise Tax: $100+

LLCs are required to pay both franchise and excise taxes in order to conduct business and remain legitimate in the state of Tennessee. 

The franchise tax rate is 0.25% of your LLC’s net worth; however, there is a minimum fee of $100 per year. 

The excise tax rate is 6.5% of your Tennessee LLC’s taxable income.

Tennessee Annual Report Fee: $300+

Tennessee requires LLCs to file an annual report with the Secretary of State each year. The filing fee for this is $50 per LLC member. There is a minimum fee of $300, and a maximum fee of $3,000. An additional $20 will need to be paid if any change is made concerning your LLC’s registered agent. 

Cost to Form a Foreign LLC in Tennessee: $300+

LLCs registered in another state that want to expand into the state of Tennessee must register as a foreign LLC in Tennessee.

The cost for registering a Tennessee foreign LLC is $50 per member, with a minimum fee of $300 and a maximum fee of $3,000. You can register a foreign LLC in Tennessee by filing an Application for Certificate of Authority (Form SS-4233).

Business Licenses and Permits

Your business might need federal, state, and local permits/licenses to legally operate in Tennessee, depending on your industry and geographical location. This is true whether you form an LLC or any other type of business structure.

Learn more about state and local licensing in our Tennessee business license guide.

Other Tennessee Business Filing Fees

There are fees associated with other, optional business filings in Tennessee.

LLC Name Reservation

You can reserve a business name for your LLC for up to 120 days by filing an Application for Name Reservation (Form SS-9425) and paying the $20 fee. Your application can be submitted online, by mail, or in person. 

"Doing Business As" (DBA) Name

When an LLC is registered with the state, the LLC’s name is also officially registered. Some business owners choose to also file for a DBA name, known as an assumed name in Tennessee.

You can file an Application for Registration of Assumed Limited Liability Company Name (Form SS-4230) through the Tennessee Secretary of State website and pay the $20 filing fee to create a name other than your legal LLC business name.

Learn more in our Tennessee DBA guide.

Certified Document Copies 

You can get certified copies of your Tennessee business documents by filing Form SS-4461 and paying $20 per set of copies.

Certificate of Existence

Also known as a Tennessee Certificate of Good Standing, you can obtain this document by ordering through the Secretary of State and paying the $20 fee. 

A Certificate of Existence is often required by banks and lenders.

Recommended: Learn more about LLC formation services in our Best LLC Services review.

How to Start an LLC in Tennessee

Forming an LLC yourself is easy; just follow the five steps below.

Five Basic Steps to Start an LLC in Tennessee

Step 1: Name Your Tennessee LLC

Step 2: Choose a Registered Agent

Step 3: File a Articles of Organization

Step 4: Create an Operating Agreement

Step 5: Get an EIN 

Step 1: Name Your Tennessee LLC

When you name your Tennessee LLC, you’ll need to choose a name that:

  1. Is available for use in the state of Tennessee
  2. Meets Tennessee's naming requirements
  3. Is available as a web domain

Check web domain (URL) availability with GoDaddy:

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Not sure what to name your business? Check out our free LLC name generator.

Step 2: Choose a Registered Agent

Tennessee LLCs are required to appoint a registered agent to receive service of process.

Business owners can hire a registered agent service or appoint any Tennessee resident that is 18 years or older and is available during normal business hours at a specified address to receive service of process.

Recommended: Northwest offers one full year of registered agent services with their $29 (plus state fees) LLC formation package.

Step 3: File a Tennessee Articles of Organization

To form an LLC in Tennessee, you must file your Articles of Organization with the Tennessee Secretary of State. This can be done online or by filing Form SS-4270 by mail or in person.

For a closer look at the filing process, check out our Tennessee Certificate of Formation guide.

Step 4: Create an LLC Operating Agreement

Operating agreements are not required for Tennessee LLCs, but it is still a good practice to have one.

An operating agreement outlines the ownership and operating procedures of an LLC, ensuring that all members are on the same page and reducing the risk of conflict down the line.

Learn more in our Tennessee LLC Operating Agreement guide.

Step 5: Get an EIN

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a nine-digit number issued by the IRS to identify businesses for tax purposes. Think of an EIN as a Social Security number for your LLC.

To learn how to get an EIN for free, visit our How to Get an EIN Number guide.

LLC Cost in Tennessee FAQ

What is the cheapest way to start an LLC in Tennessee?

The cheapest way to start an LLC in Tennessee is to handle the registration process individually. In order to do this, you will need to follow these steps:

  1. Name your LLC
  2. Choose a registered agent: This can be a registered agent service or an individual.
  3. File the Tennessee Articles of Organization: The filing fee for this is $50 per LLC member, with a minimum $300 fee and a maximum $3,000 fee. 
  4. Create an LLC operating agreement: This is usually not a legal requirement, but it is highly recommended.
  5. Get an EIN: This is basically your business’s Social Security number (SSN).

How much does an LLC cost per year in Tennessee?

All Tennessee LLCs are required to file an annual report. The fee for this is $50 per member, with a minimum total fee of $300. The maximum fee that can be paid is $3,000. 

Tennessee LLCs are also required to pay franchise and excise tax at the following rates every year:

  • Franchise tax: 0.25% of LLC’s net worth (minimum fee of $100).
  • Excise tax: 6.5% of LLC’s taxable income. 

For a more in-depth analysis, see our How Much Does an LLC Cost? article. 

How much does an LLC license cost in Tennessee?

An LLC is not a business license, but a business entity. Forming an LLC in Tennessee costs between $300 and $3000, depending on the number of members of your LLC. There are also annual report fees that will also need to be paid in order to maintain your LLC, which also cost between $300 and $3,000 each year. 

Moreover, Tennessee LLCs are required to pay both franchise and excise tax:

  • Franchise tax: 0.25% of LLC’s net worth (minimum fee of $100)
  • Excise tax: 6.5% of LLC’s taxable income

You may be required to pay additional fees if you choose to pay for a  registered agent service, an LLC formation service, or an LLC attorney.

See our How to Start an LLC in Tennessee for more information on registering your business as an LLC.

Do LLCs pay taxes in Tennessee?

Yes, LLCs are a “pass-through” tax entity. This means that the LLCs profits are “passed through” directly to its owner(s), who then pay income taxes independently. 

This is advantageous compared to a corporation’s tax structure because it means that LLC members are not taxed twice. 

Having said that, readers should keep in mind that LLCs are very flexible when it comes to how they can be taxed, and — depending on the specifics — they can choose to be taxed as a pass-through entity, a C corp, and an S corp. 

For more information, see our How Is an LLC Taxed guide. 

What are the tax benefits of an LLC?

The tax benefits of an LLC will depend on how you choose to be taxed, as well as on whether you are operating as a single or multi-member LLC. 

Generally speaking, LLCs can choose to be taxed in several different ways, including:

  • As a sole proprietorship or general partnership
  • As a C corporation
  • As an S corporation

See our Single-Member LLC Taxes guide for a detailed overview of the tax benefits of having an LLC as a small business. 

Do I need to open a business bank account for my LLC?

Even though you do not necessarily “need” to open a bank account for your LLC, this is generally highly recommended for several reasons. 

For one, having a separate bank account can allow you to maintain your LLC’s corporate veil — meaning that you will not risk losing your limited personal liability under the law. A business bank account also offers financial benefits, including the ability to build business credit more quickly and access to larger business loans. 

Interested in opening a business bank account? See our review of the best banks for startups in 2024.