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A quick guide to forming an LLC in California

If you are planning to start a business in California, you may be interested in the limited liability company structure. An LLC is one of the most popular forms of businesses because of the liability and tax advantages. Whether you want to start a single- or multiple-member LLC, you may have several questions about the process.

Thankfully, forming an LLC is easy as long as you follow the right tips and seek legal counsel. Here are some necessary steps to starting an LLC in California:

Select a name

Your LLC may not contain any of the following words:

  • Bank
  • Insurance company
  • Insurer
  • Corporation
  • Incorporated
  • Trust
  • Trustee

Additionally, your business name must not be misleading or too similar to another business name in the records of the California Secretary of State. You can search the business name database and then reserve your desired name. Reserving a name comes with a $10 fee.

Submit articles of organization

To officially create a California LLC, you must file Form LLC-1, Articles of Organization. This document must include:

  • The company name
  • The purpose of the company
  • The company address
  • Management details

The fee for filing this document is $70.

Choose an agent

You must appoint an agent for your LLC. This person accepts legal papers if your LLC is ever a defendant in a lawsuit. The agent must live in California. 

Submit a Statement of Information form

You must file Form LLC-12 within 90 days of submitting your Articles of Organization. This document must contain the following details:

  • The LLC name
  • The file number from the California Secretary of State
  • The name and address of the agent
  • The address of the executive office
  • The names and addresses of any CEOs, managers or members
  • An email address
  • A description of the principal business activity

The fee for submitting this form is $20.

This is just a basic guide to starting an LLC. Forming a business comes with many other responsibilities, such as paying state taxes and complying with regulations.

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