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How to Form an LLC in Arizona
How to form an LLC in Arizona ← you are here
This Quick Start Guide is a brief overview of how to form an LLC in the Arizona.
Arizona LLC Costs:
Arizona LLC formation: $50 (regular) or $85 (expedited)
Arizona LLC annual report: none
(check out Northwest vs LegalZoom)
Hi there, my name is Matt Horwitz and I’m the founder of LLC University®.
We’ve put together a free guide on how to form an LLC in Arizona. We hope you find it helpful!
To form an LLC in Arizona, you can either follow the Detailed Lessons above (step-by-step instructions), or you can follow our Quick Start Guide below on this page (a brief overview of all the steps).
If this is your first time setting up an LLC in Arizona, we recommend that you follow the Detailed Lessons above. Please make sure to follow them in order.
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 Arizona LLC to run a business or you can use your LLC to purchase assets, such as real estate, vehicles, boats, and aircraft.
How to use our Arizona LLC instructions:
- follow the Quick Start Guide on this page (a brief overview), or
- follow the Detailed Lessons above (step-by-step instructions)
Northwest ($39 + state fee) or LegalZoom ($149 + state fee)
(check out Northwest vs LegalZoom)
1. Arizona LLC Name
• Before filing your Arizona LLC’s Articles of Organization with the Arizona Corporation Commission (AZCC), you’ll need to search the state’s database to make sure your desired LLC name is available for use.
• Your Arizona LLC name must be unique and distinguishable when compared to existing businesses registered in the state.
• Search your LLC name using the Arizona Business Entity Search Page:
• LLC Designator: As per the Arizona LLC Act section 29-602, your LLC name must end with a proper designator. The following are the only ones that are allowed:
- Limited Company
- Limited Liability Company
Tip: If you’re not sure which designator to use, “LLC” is the most common. It’s also the easiest to recognize.
• Your Arizona LLC name cannot include a designator that makes it sounds like a different type of legal entity:
- Non Profit
- Non Profit Corporation
• Far too many people rush the LLC formation process and then later want to change their Arizona LLC name. While you can change your LLC name later (by filing an amendment), the process can be a major pain. You’ll need to change your LLC name with the IRS, the bank, and the Arizona Department of Revenue. For this reason, we recommend reading how to come up with a good business name so you don’t have to change your LLC name later.
2. Arizona LLC Statutory Agent
• The AZCC requires you to list a 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 (called Service of Process) in the event your LLC is sued or 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 (PO Boxes are not allowed) 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 as your LLC’s Statutory Agent will have an impact your privacy as well as whether or not you’ll need to meet the newspaper publication requirements.)
In Arizona, you have 3 options for who can be your LLC’s Statutory Agent:
Option #1 is for you to be your LLC’s Statutory Agent.
Option #2 is for a friend or family member to be your LLC’s Statutory Agent.
Option #3 is to hire a Commercial Statutory Agent. Hiring a Commercial Statutory Agent is a good idea if you want to keep your address off public records or if you don’t have an address in Arizona.
• Commercial Statutory Agent: If you want to hire a Commercial Statutory Agent in Arizona, we recommend Northwest Registered Agent ($125 per year).
Northwest has great customer service and has been in the business for over 20 years. Any mail that is sent to your LLC will be scanned by them and uploaded to your online account. They’ll also let you use their office address throughout your LLC filing in order to keep your address off of public records (and to avoid the newspaper publication requirement).
3. Arizona LLC Articles of Organization
• Arizona LLC filing form: Articles of Organization (Form L010)
• Arizona LLC filing fee: $50 or $85, depending on how fast you want your LLC approved.
• Method of filing: You can form an LLC in Arizona online or by mail.
• Our recommendation: We prefer the online filing as the approval time is a little bit faster and the process is easier to complete.
• File your LLC by mail: Along with your Articles of Organization, you must also mail to the state 3 additional documents:
Then prepare a check or money order (for $50 or $85) and make it payable to the “Arizona Corporation Commission”. Mail your documents to: Arizona Corporation Commission, 1300 West Washington Street, Phoenix, Arizona 85007.
• File your LLC online: https://ecorp.azcc.gov/AzAccount/Register
• Approval times: Both the online filing and mail filing have similar approval times, however the online filing is quicker by a few days (since you don’t have to wait for mail time). Regular filings ($50) take 22 business days for AZCC approval. Expedited filings ($85) take 9 business days.
• Arizona LLC approval: Once your Arizona LLC is approved, you’ll receive the following 2 documents (by mail or email, depending on how you formed your LLC) from the AZCC:
- Approval Letter
- Notice of Publication
• Regardless of whether you form your Arizona LLC online or by mail, the AZCC doesn’t send you a copy of your Articles of Organization. You’ll need to download this (for free) from their database. Search your LLC name on eCorp, click “Document History” (bottom of page), and then click “Articles of Organization”.
4. Arizona LLC Operating Agreement
• An Arizona LLC 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. Your Arizona LLC’s Operating Agreement will also document how your LLC is managed, how profits are split, how taxes are paid, and more.
• An Operating Agreement should be put in place for both Single-Member LLCs and Multi-Member LLCs located in Arizona.
• Having an Operating Agreement for your Arizona LLC helps prove that the company is a separate legal entity from its 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 LLC Operating Agreement is an “internal document”, meaning, you don’t have to send a copy to the AZCC, the Department of Revenue, the IRS, or any other government agency. Just need to keep a copy of the Operating Agreement with your LLC business records and give a copy to any other LLC Member, if applicable.
• Download an Arizona LLC Operating Agreement: We provide free Arizona LLC Operating Agreement templates that you can download on this page: Arizona LLC Operating Agreement
5. Apply for an EIN for your Arizona LLC
• An EIN (Employer Identification Number) is obtained from the 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 ID Number. They all mean the same thing.
• It’s helpful to 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 and instead, an Arizona LLC can be taxed 4 different ways with the IRS; 2 of which occur by default (they occur simply by obtaining your LLC’s EIN), and 2 require a special election be made (a form must be filed after you obtain 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.
• Husband and wife LLC: 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.
• EIN Responsible Party: This will be the IRS’s “contact person” when you apply for your Arizona LLC’s EIN. If you have a Single-Member LLC, you will be the Responsible Party. If you have a Multi-Member LLC, any LLC Member can be the Responsible Party. For more information, please see EIN Responsible Party for LLC.
• 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. Arizona 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 Arizona LLCs to file any Annual Reports.
• Again, there are no annual fees or reports that need to be filed with AZCC, 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 as your LLC’s Known Place of Business.
• Once your ad has run, the newspaper will send you proof/verification; a document called an Affidavit of Publication. Although it’s optional, it’s best practice to then record that Affidavit of Publication with the AZCC. This is free. We have instructions here: Arizona LLC publication requirement
• Approved newspapers: Here is a list of approved Arizona LLC newspapers from the AZCC.
• Most* Arizona LLCs: If your LLC’s Known Place of Business is in Pima or Maricopa county, you don’t have to publish an ad in the newspaper. If your LLC’s Known Place of Business is in any other county, then you must publish an ad in the newspaper. The reason for this is House Bill 2447 and changes that went into effect in 2017: LLCs in Pima and Maricopa county are published on the AZCC website, therefore fulfilling the statutory requirement and making publishing an ad in the newspaper no longer required.
8. Arizona Business License & Permit
• Arizona has three types of business licenses. 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. The Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) keeps a directory of counties, cities and towns here: https://www.azcommerce.com/small-business/quick-links/citytown-offices
• 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 ACA has more information on how to obtain a Regulatory (Professional/Special) License, as well as other licenses and permits your Arizona LLC may need: https://www.azcommerce.com/small-business/quick-links/business-licensing/
• The ACA also has a checklist to help to make setting up your LLC and getting the required licenses and permits a little bit easier: https://www.azcommerce.com/small-business/categories/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. Arizona LLC Taxes
• Income tax: 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. Exceptions to this are if you elect to have your LLC taxed as a Corporation (C-Corp or S-Corp).
• The IRS doesn’t have an “LLC tax classification”; therefore, LLCs are taxed based on the number of Members they have.
• Single-Member LLC: 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 LLC: 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.
• 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 Partnership Income Tax Return (Form 165): Applies to Multi-Member LLCs. For most, it’s due by March 15th each year.
• Arizona Corporation Income Tax Return (Form 120): Applies to LLCs taxed as a C-Corporation. Tax rate is currently 4.9%. 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): Applies to LLCs taxed as an S-Corporation. Tax rate is currently 4.9%. For most, this is due by March 15th each year.
• Estimated Taxes: 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 Transaction Privilege Tax and get a TPT License.
• Need help with sales tax/TPT? If you need help with your sales tax filings, we recommend using TaxJar.
• Reseller Certificate: If your Arizona 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/vendor with your LLC’s Reseller Certificate. After your get your TPT License Number, you can then complete Form 5000A (Arizona Resale Certificate).
• Other taxes: The above is a general overview and doesn’t include all the taxes you may be responsible for. 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.
• We recommend working with an accountant: We recommend working with an accountant in Arizona to make sure you properly file your federal, state, and local taxes.
10. Arizona LLC Bank Account
• Once the IRS has issued an EIN Number to your Arizona LLC, you can open a business checking account.
• It’s best practice to have a business checking account for your Arizona LLC in order to maintain your personal liability protection. Using a personal bank account for your LLC is called “commingling of assets” and this can lead to personal liability issues if you end up in court.
• Having a separate business bank account for your Arizona LLC 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)
• Required Arizona LLC paperwork: In order to open a business bank account for your Arizona LLC, you’ll likely need to have the following:
- Articles of Organization (stamped and approved)
- Approval Letter from AZCC
- EIN Confirmation Letter from the IRS
- Photo ID (driver’s license and/or passport)
- Operating Agreement (usually not needed, but good to bring anyway)
Note: Call the bank ahead of time and double-check what documents are required.
• For more details: Please see the following article: business bank account for an LLC.
• LLC Members: If you have a Multi-Member Arizona LLC, all Members that want to be on the bank account should be present when opening the account.
• Debit card and credit cards: Most banks will provide a business debit card on the spot after the bank account is opened. If not, they’ll usually mail the debit card within 1 to 2 weeks.
• If you want to get a business credit card, we recommend browsing cards at www.creditcards.com
• 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
11. Arizona Business Phone Number
Instead of giving out your cell phone number (or home telephone number), it might be a good idea to get a separate business phone number for your Arizona LLC.
We recommend getting a phone number from Phone.com. They have the most affordable plans and good customer service.
You can get a local Arizona telephone number or you can get a “1-800” number for your business. Phone.com lets you setup call forwarding to any number you like, create pre-recorded messages, and you can get your voicemails sent right to your email.
Getting a separate phone number for your Arizona LLC is also a good idea if you’d like to keep your actual phone number off of those annoying “public record” websites.
Arizona State Agencies
Arizona Department of Revenue (DOR)
Phone: 602-255-3381 (8am to 5pm)