What is an LLC Articles of Organization for?
The Articles of Organization is the document that you’ll file with the Secretary of State’s office (or similar division) in the state where you are forming your LLC.
Note: Depending on the state, the LLC Articles of Organization may also be called a Certificate of Organization or Certificate of Formation… but they all do the same thing: they register your LLC with the state.
Included in the Articles of Organization are:
- your LLC name
- your LLC’s Registered Agent
- your LLC’s business address
- the effective date of your LLC
- the duration of your LLC
- and whether your LLC is Member-managed or Manager-managed
Some states ask for a few other items, but the above is pretty standard in most states.
Articles of Organization Filing Fee
Along with filing the Articles of Organization with your Secretary of State, you also need to submit an LLC filing fee. The average LLC filing fee is about $132 in the U.S., with the range of fees being $40 on the low end to $500 on the high end.
The Articles of Organization fee is paid with a debit or credit card if you form your LLC online, or the fee is paid with a check or money order if you form your LLC by mail.
Note: Just because some states have cheaper LLC filing fees than others does not mean that these are the best states. To learn what the best state is for your LLC, please see this video.
Who signs the Articles of Organization?
The person who signs the Articles of Organization is known as the LLC Organizer. The Organizer is the person who registers the LLC with the Secretary of State. They may be an owner (called Member) or they may simply just be the Organizer and not a Member (think of an attorney or an LLC filing company).
Most people who follow our free LLC guides tend to sign their own Articles of Organization and act as the LLC Organizer (as well as the LLC Member).
How to file Articles of Organization
These days, most states have an online filing system, so you can actually form your LLC online and submit your LLC’s Articles of Organization electronically. Alternatively you can complete the Articles of Organization by hand, then print and mail to the state for processing.
Our free LLC guides linked above will provide you with the forms and online filing instructions.
Most states will process and approve your LLC filing in about 1 week (or sometimes even a few business days).
Once you receive back your stamped and approved Articles of Organization (or Certificate of Organization), your LLC is officially in existence and you can begin conducting business in the state.
How to get LLC Articles of Organization
It’s best to use the form provided by your state unless you have an attorney draft your Articles of Organization. Reason why: if you use a generic template, you’ll likely be missing an item required by state statute (and your LLC filing could be rejected).
However, as an example, you can see an Articles of Organization template below.
Articles of Organization Template:
LLC Articles of Organization template (free download)
Note: We recommend using the Articles of Organization provided by your state. Click here for all LLC filing forms by state. The above form is just used as a reference.
When to file Articles of Organization?
You should file your LLC’s Articles of Organization when you are ready to form your LLC.
You cannot back-date an Articles of Organization. Meaning, you can’t start operating your business and form an LLC later, but date it the same date when you started business activities.
You can forward-date your Articles of Organization though. However, most states will not let you forward-date your LLC filing more than 90 days. This can be helpful if you’re forming your LLC towards the end of year (October through December), but you don’t need to use your LLC right away. If that’s the case, we recommend forward dating your LLC to January 1st of the following year. This will save you the trouble of filing any unnecessary taxes for a few months of little to no LLC/business activity.
Matt holds a Bachelor's Degree in business from Drexel University with a concentration in business law. He performs extensive research and analysis to convert state laws into simple instructions anyone can follow to form their LLC - all for free! Read more about Matt Horwitz and LLC University.