Starting an LLC in Arizona
An Arizona Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a business structure that offers personal liability protection in case of a lawsuit. In the event your Arizona LLC is sued, your personal assets (like your home, vehicles, and bank accounts) will be protected.
You can use an LLC in Arizona to run a business or you can use your LLC to purchase assets, such as real estate, vehicles, boats, and aircraft.
1. LLC Name
Before filing your LLC formation paperwork (called “Articles of Organization”) with the Arizona Corporation Commission (AZCC), you’ll need to search your Arizona LLC Name in the state’s database to make sure your desired business name is available for use.
Your LLC name must be unique and distinguishable when compared to existing businesses registered in the state.
Search your business name: Arizona Business Entity Search Page
Limited Liability Company Designators
As per the Arizona LLC Act section 29-3112, your LLC name must end with a proper designator. The following are the only ones that are allowed:
- LLC (most common)
- Limited Company
- Limited Liability Company
Your Arizona LLC name cannot include a designator that makes it sound like a different type of business structure:
- Non Profit
- Non Profit Corporation
- Professional LLC
2. LLC Statutory Agent
As per section 29-3115 of the Arizona LLC Act, you need to list an Arizona Statutory Agent in your LLC’s Articles of Organization.
An Arizona Statutory Agent is a person or company who agrees to receive notices, legal mail, and court documents in the event your LLC is involved in a court case.
Most states use the term “Registered Agent”, however, Arizona and a few other states call them “Statutory Agents” or “Resident Agents”. They all mean the same thing. The official term in Arizona is “Statutory Agent“.
Your Arizona Statutory Agent must have a physical street address located in the state where Service of Process and other documents can be received.
Who can be your LLC’s Arizona Statutory Agent?
Note: As we mention in our Arizona Statutory Agent lesson, who you choose will have an impact on your privacy and whether your LLC will need to meet the newspaper publication requirement.
In Arizona, you have 3 options for who can be your LLC’s Registered Agent:
- You can be your own Registered Agent
- You can ask a friend or family member
- Or you can hire a Registered Agent Service. Hiring a Registered Agent Service is a good idea if you want to keep your address off public records or if you don’t have an address in Arizona.
If you want to hire a company to start your LLC in Arizona, we recommend Northwest Registered Agent. Northwest has excellent customer service and they’ve been in business for more than 20 years. If you hire them to form your LLC, Northwest will also be your Registered Agent.
Any mail that is sent to your LLC will be scanned and uploaded to your online account. Hiring Northwest can also help keep your address off of public records and protect your privacy.
3. LLC Articles of Organization
The Arizona LLC Articles of Organization (Form L010) is the document that creates your LLC. The Arizona Corporation Commission approves new LLCs for the state.
Method of filing: You can file your Articles of Organization with the Corporations Division of the Arizona Corporation Commission online or by mail.
Arizona LLC filing fee: $50
(Learn more about all the Arizona LLC Costs)
We recommend the expedited online filing ($85) since there is less paperwork and the approval time is only 1 day.
Note: Filing times may take longer due to the current global situation and government delays. Please see how long does it take to get an LLC in Arizona.
File your LLC online: Arizona Corporation Commission: eCorp registration
File your LLC by mail: Along with your Articles of Organization, you must also mail 3 additional documents:
- AZCC Cover Sheet
- Statutory Agent Acceptance Form
- Membership Attachment (Member-Managed or Manager-Managed)
- Related article: Member-managed vs Manager-managed LLC
Prepare a check or money order and make it payable to the “Arizona Corporation Commission”. If you send $50, approval time is 14-16 business days. If you send $85, approval time is 7-9 business days.
Mail your documents to:
Arizona Corporation Commission
1300 West Washington Street
Phoenix, Arizona 85007
LLC approval documents: After your Arizona LLC is approved, you’ll receive the following LLC formation documents:
- Approval Letter
- Notice of Publication
Approved Articles of Organization: The Arizona Corporation Commission doesn’t send you a copy of your approved Articles of Organization. You’ll need to download this (for free) from their database.
We’ll walk you through the whole process in our free, step-by-step lesson on how to file Arizona Articles of Organization.
4. LLC Operating Agreement
An Arizona Operating Agreement is a written contract among the LLC Members that spells out who owns the LLC and how much of the LLC they own. This contract will also document how your LLC is managed, how profits are split, how taxes are paid, and more.
Having an Operating Agreement for your Arizona LLC helps prove that the company is a separate business entity from the LLC owners. This helps maintain the personal asset protection provided by your LLC and is very beneficial to have if you ever end up in court.
Internal Document: An Operating Agreement is an “internal document”. Meaning, you don’t have to send a copy to any government agency. You just need to keep a copy of the document with your LLC business records and give a copy to any other LLC Members, if applicable.
Download an Arizona LLC Operating Agreement: We provide free Operating Agreement templates that you can download here: Arizona LLC Operating Agreement.
5. Apply for an EIN for your LLC
An EIN (Employer Identification Number) is obtained from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) after your Arizona LLC is approved by the AZCC.
An EIN is also called an EIN Number, FEIN, Federal Employer Identification Number, or a Federal Tax Identification Number. They all mean the same thing.
Think of your Arizona LLC’s EIN Number as its “social security number”. It helps identify your LLC to the IRS for tax and filing purposes.
Your Arizona LLC’s EIN will also be used when you open an LLC bank account, register your LLC for taxes, and process employee payroll (if applicable).
How is an Arizona LLC taxed: The IRS doesn’t have a specific tax classification for LLCs. Instead, an Arizona LLC can be taxed 4 different ways with the IRS. 2 of these occur by default when you get your LLC’s EIN. And 2 require you to make a special election (file a form after you get your LLC’s EIN).
We recommend reading how is an LLC taxed before applying for your EIN.
Wait for LLC approval: Don’t apply for an EIN until your Arizona LLC is approved by the AZCC.
An EIN is free ($0): The IRS will issue an EIN to your LLC at no cost.
Note: If you are forming a 2-Member husband and wife LLC in Arizona you can elect a special type of taxation called a Qualified Joint Venture. This allows a 2-Member husband and wife LLC to be treated as a Sole Proprietorship instead of a Partnership for tax purposes.
How to apply for an EIN
There are 3 ways to apply for an EIN for your Arizona LLC:
- If you have an SSN or ITIN, you can apply for an EIN online
- If you apply for an EIN online and you get an error message, you’ll need to apply for an EIN with Form SS-4 instead
- If you don’t have an SSN or ITIN, you can still get an EIN for your LLC by following these instructions: how to get an EIN without an SSN or ITIN
6. LLC Annual Report
No LLC Annual Report in Arizona: Unlike most states that require LLCs to file an Annual Report and pay an annual fee, the AZCC doesn’t require any Arizona LLC Annual Reports.
However, that doesn’t mean you don’t have to pay taxes or meet obligations with the Arizona Department of Revenue (details a few sections below).
7. Newspaper Publication Requirement
Arizona is 1 of only 3 states that require LLCs to publish an ad in the newspaper after they are formed.
Although this is somewhat antiquated (since the original purpose was to “notify the public”), it is still a state requirement for most LLCs in Arizona.
Within 60 days of your Arizona LLC being approved, you must publish an ad in a newspaper for 3 “runs” (publications). 3 runs usually take about 1-2 weeks, depending on the newspaper.
The newspaper must be located in the same county where your Arizona LLC Statutory Agent has a physical street address.
We have instructions and a list of approved Arizona newspapers here: Arizona LLC publication requirement
Exception for LLCs located in Maricopa or Pima county: If the physical street address of your Statutory Agent is in Maricopa or Pima county, you don’t have to publish an ad in the newspaper.
8. Business Licenses & Permits
Your LLC may need an Arizona Business License. Arizona has three types of business licenses for LLCs. Some, none, or all of them may apply to your Arizona LLC:
- Transaction Privilege Tax (TPT)
- Local Business License
- Regulatory (Professional/Special) License
Transaction Privilege Tax
Commonly referred to as a sales tax (although it really isn’t), the Transaction Privilege Tax (TPT) is a tax on sellers for the privilege of doing business in Arizona. The amount of tax varies by the location of your LLC. Additional info is below in the next section.
Local Business License
Arizona doesn’t impose a state business license, however, your LLC may need a local business license from the county, city, or town it is located or does business in. Furthermore, you may also need a permit depending on your business activities.
We recommend contacting your county, city, and/or town for more information.
The Arizona Commerce Authority has two helpful directories:
Regulatory or Professional License
Your LLC will need this license if it offers professional services (law, medicine, accounting, etc.) or does business in a regulated industry (firearms, mining, drilling, etc.)
The Arizona Commerce Authority has more information on how to obtain a Regulatory (Professional/Special) License, as well as other licenses and permits your Arizona LLC may need: Arizona Commerce Authority: Business Licensing
The Arizona Commerce Authority also has a checklist to help to make setting up your LLC and getting the required licenses and permits a little bit easier: Arizona Commerce Authority: I am ready to start my business in Arizona
If you don’t want to make the calls and do the research to determine your licensing requirements, we recommend using IncFile.
9. LLC Taxes
The below is a general overview and doesn’t include all the taxes you may be responsible for. Arizona LLC Taxes vary widely and depend on many factors, such as how your LLC is taxed, where it’s located, who the owners are, if there are employees, and your industry. Other types of taxes in Arizona include (but are not limited to) payroll taxes, unemployment taxes, and industry-specific taxes.
You are responsible for paying income tax to the federal government (IRS) as well as to the state of Arizona (Department of Revenue).
Federal income taxes
By default, LLCs are “pass-through” entities, meaning that the LLC doesn’t pay its own taxes, but rather, the profits or losses “flow through” to the owners and the owners have the responsibility of reporting and paying federal taxes.
The IRS doesn’t have an “LLC tax classification”; therefore, LLCs are taxed based on the number of Members they have.
Single-Member LLCs are taxed like a Sole Proprietorship. Most will list their LLC’s income on a Schedule C as a part of their personal 1040 federal tax return.
Multi-Member LLCs are taxed like a Partnership. The LLC files an informational return (Form 1065), but the LLC doesn’t pay taxes. Instead, the LLC issues a K-1 to each Member (showing their portion of profits) and then each Member lists that income as a part of their personal 1040 federal tax return.
State income taxes
Arizona Resident Personal Income Tax Return (Form 140)
Applies to all LLCs whose Members are residents. For most people, this is due by April 15th each year.
- Arizona Department of Revenue: Category – Individual
- Arizona Department of Revenue: Individual Income Tax Forms
- Arizona Department of Revenue: Individual Income Tax Highlights
- Arizona Department of Revenue: Form 140 – Resident Personal Income Tax Form (Fillable)
Arizona Partnership Income Tax Return (Form 165)
This applies to Multi-Member LLCs. For most, it’s due by March 15th each year.
Arizona Corporation Income Tax Return (Form 120)
This applies to LLCs taxed as a C-Corporation. For most, this is due by April 15th each year. However, this type of taxation is not very common.
Arizona S-Corporation Income Tax Return (Form 120S)
This applies to LLCs taxed as an S-Corporation. For most, this is due by March 15th each year.
Depending on how your LLC is taxed and what your tax liability is, there is a good chance you may need to file quarterly estimated tax payments.
Transaction Privilege Tax (TPT)
All LLCs engaged in selling retail goods or engaging in certain services need to pay a Transaction Privilege Tax.
You can get your TPT license here:
Arizona Department of Revenue: Transaction Privilege Tax
Tip: Save time by hiring an expert. We recommend using TaxJar. They'll help you register for, collect, and pay sales tax.
If your LLC will buy goods from other businesses for the purposes of resale and/or manufacturing, you can avoid paying Transaction Privilege Tax by presenting the seller or vendor with your LLC’s Reseller Certificate. After you get your TPT License Number, you can then download and complete the Arizona Resale Certificate (Form 5000A).
We recommend working with an accountant: We recommend working with an accountant in Arizona to make sure you properly file all required taxes.
10. LLC Business Bank Account
Once the IRS has issued an EIN Number to your Arizona LLC, you can open a business checking account with your bank or credit union.
It’s best practice to have a business checking account for your LLC to maintain your personal liability protection. This keeps your business finances separate from your personal finances. Using a personal bank account for your LLC is called “commingling of assets” and this can lead to personal liability issues.
Having a separate LLC bank account in Arizona also makes record-keeping easier for accounting and tax purposes.
Since banks in Arizona all have their own rules and regulations, we recommend calling a few banks to determine the following:
- minimum initial deposit
- minimum balance requirements
- monthly maintenance fees (if any)
Note: Call the bank ahead of time and double-check what documents are required, as well.
Debit card: The bank will give you a debit card when you open the account.
Credit card: You can also get a business credit card to earn points, miles, and other rewards.
For more details: Please see the following article: Business Bank Account for an LLC.
Non-U.S. residents: If you are a non-US resident that has formed an LLC in Arizona, you can still open a U.S. business bank account. Please see this lesson: opening an LLC bank account for non-US residents
Arizona State Agencies
Arizona Corporation Commission (AZCC)
Arizona Department of Revenue (DOR)
Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES)
Arizona Department of Economic Security
Arizona Department of Economic Security: Contact Us
602-542-4791 (8am to 5pm)
How to Start an LLC in Arizona FAQs
You may also need to pay for municipal or industry-specific licenses and permits, or get a state sales tax permit. The costs of business licenses and permits vary widely by municipality. Reach out to your local municipality if you have any questions about your LLC’s unique needs.
If you have an LLC formed in another state, but you want to conduct business in Arizona, you’ll need to register that out-of-state LLC in Arizona. This is known as a Foreign LLC registration.
You can find Foreign LLC fees on this page: Foreign LLC fees by state.
The exception to this is for Statutory Agent addresses located in Maricopa or Pima counties.
Learn more about the requirements and fees in our lesson on Arizona LLC Publication Requirements.