Starting an LLC in California
Figuring out how to form an LLC in California can be confusing and the stakes are high. This is your business. You want to get it right.
We form California LLCs every day. There are plenty of other companies out there claiming to do the same, so what sets us apart?
We’re glad you asked.
- We list our California business address wherever we can on your formation documents. This keeps your home address off the public record and spares you decades of junk mail.
- We’re affordable. We charge just $139 plus state fees to form your LLC. But that doesn’t mean we’re cheap. Our Sacramento office is staffed with locals who know all the ins and outs of forming an LLC in California. You’re forming an LLC in California, why not hire Californians?
- We’re fast. We’ll file your formation documents the same day we receive your order.
- We care. We want to see California’s entrepreneurs succeed. Call us and you’ll reach an actual human on the other end of the line — one who can walk you through the maze of paperwork and regulations in California.
Two California LLC Formation Options:
1. Hire Us for LLC Formation – $139 Plus State Fees
Figuring out how to form a California LLC is time-consuming. We’re already experts. Hire us to form your California LLC for $139 plus California state fees, and we’ll file your documents the same day we get your order. Plus, you’ll get a year of California registered agent service.
It’s always been our goal to provide clients with the fastest, easiest, most affordable LLC package on the market. You’re forming a California LLC, so why hire some big corporation on the East Coast? We’re Californians, and we’re experts at forming California LLCs.
- Articles of Organization, filled out and filed on your behalf
- Customized template for operating agreement
- One year of California Registered Agent Service
- Annual compliance reminders
- A California business address
- Secure client account to store important documents
For $139 plus state fees, we’ll prepare and submit your California Articles of Organization the same day you order. You also get free custom business documents, one year of California Registered Agent Service, ongoing compliance reminders, and access to our stellar customer support team.
2. Do-It-Yourself California LLC Formation – $39
We get it – some people are just DIYers. We have an option for you, too.
When you form an LLC in California, you’ll need to declare a registered agent. Hire us for registered agent service ($39/year) and you’ll get access to our full suite of helpful tools through your client account. That includes the California Articles of Organization forms plus a guide for how to complete them. Use our tips and file yourself. Just sign up for our California Registered Agent Service and you’ll see the tools in your client account.
California LLC FAQs
Forming an LLC in California can seem like a daunting task, especially if you’re going it alone. Our office is full of California LLC experts. Here are some of the questions we hear most often about LLC formation in California.
How do I start an LLC in California?
How much does it cost to form an LLC in California?
Can I use my home address as my business address?
What’s the LLC tax in California?
Do I need an operating agreement for my California LLC?
Does a single-member LLC pay the California Franchise Tax?
How do you amend Articles of Organization in California?
How do you dissolve a California LLC?
How do you register a foreign LLC in California?
Not sure if a California LLC is the right business structure for you? Choosing an entity type is an important decision. Check out our California Business FAQs to learn more.
Choose a California Registered Agent
To form an LLC yourself in California, you need to first designate a registered agent. Your registered agent must be available during normal business hours at a physical address in California. The purpose of a registered agent is to accept legal mail on your behalf, so it’s important to designate a reliable California registered agent.
If you hire us, we’ll accept any legal mail you receive and upload it to a secure account where you can access it immediately.
Fill out California Articles of Organization
If you have your California registered agent’s information, you’re ready to fill out your Articles of Organization. If you hire us for LLC formation, we’ll fill out and file these forms for you. If you hire us as your registered agent, you’ll have access to these forms in your client account, and you’ll get step-by-step instructions that explain how to fill out your paperwork correctly.
The California Articles of Organization will ask for your LLC’s name and California business address. The business address line can be tricky, especially if you don’t work from a commercial building. If you list your home address as your business address, your home address will become prat of the public record and you’ll probably get a ton of junk mail. Hire us and we’ll let you use our business address.
You’ll also have to provide your registered agent’s information and specify if your LLC will be managed by members or managers.
File your Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State
Once you’ve filled out your CA Articles of Organization, you need to deliver them to the CA Secretary of State, along with the correct filing fee. You can file online, by mail, or by dropping your documents off in person in Sacramento.
The state fees are included in our California LLC formation price. If you hire us, we’ll submit your Articles of Organization on your behalf.
Maintain Legal Compliance
California LLCs are required to file biennial reports. In California, this form is called the Statement of Information. If you forget to file and miss your grace period, you’ll be charged a late fee of $250. Yikes. If you continue to be delinquent in filing your Statement of Information, the California Secretary of State has the power to administratively dissolve your LLC.
At California Registered Agents, we make it nearly impossible to forget to file your Statement of Information. Your secure account will show you exactly when your biennial report is due. We’ll also email you reminders.
The standard filing fee for California Articles of Organization is $70. However, you’re also required to submit an Initial Statement of Information within 90 days of forming your LLC, so you might as well do it at the same time. That costs another $20.
There’s no rule against using your home address as your business address for your California LLC, but there are several drawbacks to doing so. Check out our Business Address Guide to understand the possible consequences of listing your home address on the California Articles of Organization (spoiler alert: it has to do with privacy).
If you hire us for registered agent service, we’ll provide a business address for you to use, which can help you keep your home address off the public record.
All California LLCs have to pay the California Franchise Tax. It’s a flat fee of $800. You’ll owe the California Franchise Tax every year until you dissolve your LLC.
The California Franchise Tax will be due on the 15th day of the fourth month from your LLC’s formation date.
In addition to the California Franchise Tax, there’s also an LLC fee for any California LLCs making more than $250,000. It starts at $900 and goes up to $11,790.
Yes, you need an operating agreement for your California LLC. You don’t actually have to file it with the government and they’re not going to check to make sure you have one. However, when you open a business bank account for your California LLC, the bank is going to ask to see it.
If you hire us, we’ll provide you with a customized template to help you draft your operating agreement.
Yes. All LLCs – regardless of size – have to pay the California franchise tax. The only way to get around it is to operate as a sole proprietor, and that leaves you exposed to personal liability.
To make changes to your original Articles of Organization in California, you have to file the Limited Liability Company Certificate of Amendment form with the California SOS. You can use the LLC Certificate of Amendment form to change your California LLC’s name and how it’s managed. It costs $30 to file. To change your registered agent, business address, or managers and members, you’ll have to use the Statement of Information form.
To dissolve or cancel a California LLC, you have to file the right LLC dissolution form with the California SOS. There are three different dissolution forms, and the one(s) your LLC will need to use depend on a few different factors.
If all of your members have unanimously voted to dissolve, you’ll need to file the Certificate of Cancellation (Form LLC 4/7). If the decision to dissolve was not unanimous, you’ll need to file the Certificate of Dissolution (Form LLC-3). If your California LLC is less than a year old and meets a few other requirements, you may be eligible to file the Short Form Certificate of Cancellation (Form LLC 4/8).
Whatever form you file, you’ll need to be sure your company is active with the California SOS – LLCs that are suspended must reinstate before dissolving.
To register a foreign LLC in California, you’ll need to get a California registered agent, obtain a Certificate of Good Standing from your home state, and file the Application to Register a Foreign LLC. You can do that yourself or hire us to do it — you’ll need a California registered agent anyways.