Oklahoma has ranked in the top best states to start a business by major publications in recent years. The solid business environment, low cost of living, and central location make it a great place to start a business. Most think that starting an LLC in Oklahoma is a complex and challenging process. This guide breaks down the steps to get an LLC up and running in no time.
What are the benefits of an LLC?
- LLCs provide liability protection for business owners, meaning that the owners’ assets will not be at risk.
- Easy to set up and manage
- One person may form an LLC
When do you need to form an LLC?
If you are exploring starting a business or perhaps you are already in business as a sole proprietor it is a good idea to form an LLC. If you are operating a business without an LLC you could be placing yourself and your personal assets at risk.
While it is not required to form an LLC before starting a business the benefits include accounting and tax standardization, limited liability risk right away, and it will be easier to stay organized since all of your business-related expenses will be tied to one business bank account.
Step 1: Choose your company name
The first step in starting an LLC is to select a business name. It is essential to choose a business name that is unique from existing entities.
Perform an Oklahoma business name search
The Oklahoma Secretary of State maintains a database of business entities registered in the state that is free for the public to search.
Visit sos.Oklahoma.gov to begin a search.
Your Oklahoma corporation must contain the words Limited Liability Company or include the abbreviation L.L.C. or LLC. Prefixes, suffixes, and plural versions of an existing entity name do not make it unique.
One great way to come up with unique business names is to use a business name generator.
Perform a trademark search
Perform a trademark search before selecting your Oklahoma business name. To protect yourself, avoid using a trademarked or similar name to an existing business.
Find out if your proposed business name is available by conducting a trademark search online at the US Patent & Trademark Office.
If you want to use the same name as another state or country, check with that jurisdiction to make sure the name is available.
Determine if you want to use a DBA name
A DBA is a registered “Doing Business As” name and can be used instead of the legal LLC business entity name.
A DBA allows you to have a name for your business that reflects what it does or who its customers are. Business owners use their company’s DBA names on checks, orders, contracts, and correspondence when doing business.
Some of the main benefits of a DBA:
- Flexibility: If you have your LLC established, you can use DBA names instead of creating separate entities for each new venture.
- Branding: A DBA name is easier to brand and identify for customers.
- Expansion: It is easy to file DBAs in different geographical locations to target other customers and appear hyper-focused in your marketing.
You do not need to operate under a DBA if you use your Oklahoma business name for all business purposes. However, using a DBA name will not affect your Oklahoma LLC name registration.
Register the domain name
Once you decide on a business name, check to make sure that the domain name is available. Sites like Namechk can show you which domain extensions are available for your business name.
Although .com domain names are ideal, as the internet ages extensions like .net, .co, and .biz are becoming more commonplace
Register social media profiles
It is vital to have a solid social media presence in today’s business environment. Be sure to register for your business name on the different social media platforms ahead of time so that no one can sign up for them.
Reserve Oklahoma business name
If you have a name selected for your Oklahoma LLC but are not quite ready to file, you should submit a name reservation form to lock the name in place for 60 days. The Name Reservation form can be downloaded and filed online through the Secretary of State online services portal.
Step 2: Register Oklahoma LLC
After choosing a name, start the registration process online at the Oklahoma Secretary of State site.
Registering your LLC in Oklahoma is a fairly straightforward and quick process:
Select a registered agent
A registered agent is an individual point of contact for the state-designated to receive official correspondence from the state.
A registered agent is required for an Oklahoma LLC. If you are not personally going to be your Oklahoma LLC’s registered agent, find a substitute Oklahoma resident or company to serve in this role.
Be sure that the registered agent’s address is included in all your business documents and correspondence if you intend to use a different registered office.
Oklahoma registered agent requirements
An Oklahoma registered agent:
- must be over the age of 18
- have a physical street address in the state of Oklahoma
- be available during normal business hours
Fill out an Oklahoma Articles of Organization
Once a registered agent has been selected, the next step to filing an Oklahoma LLC is to fill out an Articles of Organization form.
The Certificate of Formation contains the following elements:
- Name of LLC: Fill out the business entity’s name and be sure to include the words “Limited Liability Company” or the abbreviation “L.L.C. or LLC.”
- Street Address: Fill out the street address of where the principal place of business will be located
- Email Address: Enter the email address of the primary contact of the business
- Name and Address of Registered Agent: Fill out the registered agent’s name and email that will be responsible for business correspondence.
- Term of Existence: You may choose perpetual, set number of years, or a future expiration date
File the Oklahoma Articles of Organization
The Articles of Organization can be filed online or through the mail after the form is filled out.
To file online visit the Oklahoma Secretary of State portal and create an account and you will be able to submit the articles electronically.
To file by mail send the articles of organization to the following address:
Oklahoma Secretary of State
421 N.W. 13th, Suite 210
Oklahoma City, OK 73103
Step 3: Next steps after filing Oklahoma LLC
Apply for an EIN
The IRS requires each LLC to have its own unique employer identification number. The Internal Revenue Service website can generate a federal tax identification number.
Start a business bank account
A business bank account is required for LLCs to start conducting business. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you start a low-risk bank account to start receiving income and paying any start-up expenses.
After the LLC has been established, your business bank account will be used for payroll, payment of bills, a deposit of earnings from your business, and any other financial transactions your business may have.
Apply for a business license and permits
If you are planning on selling goods or services in the state of Oklahoma, be sure to check out the Oklahoma Commerce site to check for county license requirements.
Prepare an LLC operating agreement
An operating agreement is a contract between the LLC owners that lays out the financial and functional decisions of how an Oklahoma LLC will be managed by its owners. An operating agreement is needed if there are multiple business owners of an Oklahoma LLC.
An operating agreement can be as simple or in-depth as desired, but it is important to have one in writing before starting any significant operations within the business.
File Oklahoma Annual Certificate
An annual certificate form is required for businesses in Oklahoma to stay in good standing with the state.
There is no fee to file and you can file through the Oklahoma Secretary of State website.
How much does it cost to file an Oklahoma LLC?
The state filing fee for an Oklahoma domestic LLC filing is $100. The Foreign LLC filing fee is $300. The Cost to file an Oklahoma Name Reservation cost is $10.
Recommended LLC formation services
- Northwest Registered Agent: Started as a registered agent service but expanded into business formations and offered additional professional services like mail forwarding and virtual business address services.
- ZenBusiness: Another recommended online business formation platform that can help set up an LLC in Arizona. They offer a full suite of services for new business owners, including operating agreements, business websites, domain names, and more.
- Incfile: A top online incorporation service provider in the market that offers various business filing services like LLC formation, Registered Agent, State Filings, and Compliance Filings.
Oklahoma LLC FAQs
What is the difference between a foreign and domestic Oklahoma LLC?
– Domestic LLC
Domestic LLCs are entities that are based and operate in Oklahoma. A Domestic Articles of Organization form is required for domestic entities.
– Foreign LLC
A Foreign Professional LLC Application for Registration must be filed by businesses that intend to transact business in Oklahoma while being based in another state. In addition, foreign entities must file a Foreign LLC Application for Registration form with the Oklahoma Secretary of State.
How many small businesses does Oklahoma have?
Oklahoma has over 350,000 small businesses according to the most recent data from the U.S. Small Business Office of Advocacy.
Below are some of the most popular industries for small businesses in Oklahoma:
Industry / Small Business Employment
– Health Care and Social Assistance — 114,160
– Accommodation and Food Services — 94,885
– Retail Trade — 67,474
– Construction — 52,137
How many businesses are filed in Oklahoma each year?
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, business formations in Oklahoma have been steadily increasing in recent years which resulted in 58,268 new business applications filed in the last year.
Below is a chart that has shown continued growth of businesses that are filed in Oklahoma each year:
Year / New Oklahoma Businesses Formed
– 2020 — 45,265
– 2019 — 40,763
– 2018 — 39,608
– 2017 — 35,569
What is the processing time to file an Oklahoma LLC?
Oklahoma LLCs take between 2 to 10 business days to process depending on if they were filed online or by mail.
What is an Oklahoma Certificate of good standing?
An Oklahoma certificate of good standing is a certificate issued by the Oklahoma Secretary of state. The certificate of good standing is used to affirm that indicates the company complies with the terms and conditions that formed it and reaffirm the information from the certificate of formation.
How do I get my Oklahoma LLC back in good standing?
If you have missed an annual certificate filing and have not paid the annual fee, your LLC may show as ‘Expired” on the Secretary of State website. In these situations, you will need to file a reinstatement form for every year that is past due.
How do I file a nonprofit organization in Oklahoma?
Nonprofit organizations must file a Non Profit Certificate of Incorporation form with the secretary of state.
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