Online Filing vs Paper Filing
How to form an LLC in Louisiana
This Quick Start Guide is a brief overview of how to form an LLC in Louisiana.
Louisiana LLC costs:
LLC formation cost: $100 (one-time fee)
LLC annual report: $35 (every year)
(check out Northwest vs LegalZoom)
In this lesson, we will discuss filing your Articles of Organization with the state. This is the document that officially forms your Louisiana LLC.
You can file your Articles of Organization by doing an online filing or a paper filing. In both cases, the state fee is $100.
If you do the online filing, the processing time is 1-2 business days.
If you do the paper filing, the processing time is 3-7 business days. If you need to expedite your paper filing, you can pay an additional $30 (for 1 business day processing).
Although the online filing seems better because it has a faster approval time, we actually recommend the paper filing (unless you’re in these parishes) as it has the least amount of hoops to jump through.
Northwest ($39 + state fee) or LegalZoom ($149 + state fee)
(check out Northwest vs LegalZoom)
Louisiana LLC: Online Filing vs. Paper Filing
Because we teach LLC formation in all 50 states, we see some weird stuff. We call this weird stuff “quirks”, unique or confusing steps specific to certain states.
Some states have no quirks, some states have a couple of quirks, and a few states have a lot of quirks.
Louisiana falls into that latter category; a lot of quirks! And the purpose of explaining Louisiana’s quirks is to help you decide between the online filing and the paper filing. Each one has pros and cons.
LLC Articles of Organization (Online Filing)
Note: geauxBIZ (pronounced “go biz”) is the name of Louisiana’s online filing system.
The pros of an LLC online filing are that you don’t need to get your forms notarized (which you do in the paper filing) and you don’t need to pay for expedited processing (the standard approval time is 1-2 business days).
The cons of an LLC online filing are:
1. geauxBIZ requires that you enter your Federal Tax ID Number (EIN) in order to complete your online filing.
This is completely backwards! You should really form your LLC first, wait for it to be approved, and then apply for your EIN with the IRS. If you do it the other way around (like the state requires), you could very easily end up with an EIN attached to the wrong LLC.
Note: a name not being available is the #1 reason for a rejected filing. If your LLC is rejected, you’d have to cancel your EIN with the IRS and go through the online filing all over again.
But geauxBIZ doesn’t really care about removing this major quirk… instead, they created a complicated “work around”.
They ask that you reserve an LLC name first for $25. This helps guarantee that your LLC filing will be approved. Then you have to wait 24 hours for the Name Reservation to be approved. After it’s approved, then you apply for an EIN from the IRS. Then once you have your EIN, go back to geauxBIZ and “convert” your Name Reservation to an Articles of Organization filing.
Good news: The $25 is credited back to you when you pay for your Articles of Organization.
2. geauxBIZ was launched in early 2016. There are still glitches and bugs. It’s also confusing, poorly designed, and it takes a long time to go through the online filing.
3. geauxBIZ is an “all-in-one” filing system, meaning, as well as forming an LLC with the Secretary of State, you are also registering your LLC with the Department of Revenue and the Workforce Commission (if you have employees).
Usually this is a positive thing, but these extra registration steps complicate the filing process. The online filing is really long and asks many confusing and tax-specific questions (that most people do not know how to answer).
If you do choose to file online, we recommend doing it alongside your tax professional. At the very least, you should have them on the phone while you are doing the filing. If you need help finding a tax professional, we recommend using Thumbtack or Yelp.
Overall, we feel the cons of an online filing are worse than the cons of a paper filing. The online filing is really confusing and can take a long time to complete.
LLC Articles of Organization (Paper Filing)
The pros of an LLC paper filing are that the overall process is much easier than the online filing. You also don’t have to reserve an LLC name or get your EIN before your LLC is approved.
The cons of an LLC paper filing are:
1. Your Registered Agent must sign your Initial Report (a document that needs to be filed with your Articles of Organization).
• If you, or a friend or family member are your LLC’s Registered Agent, then getting a signature is easy.
• If you hired a Commercial Registered Agent (like Northwest Registered Agent), they will provide you with pre-signed forms.
2. Your documents must be notarized. The first is your signature in the Articles of Organization. The second is yours and the Registered Agent’s signature in the Initial Report.
• If you are your LLC’s Registered Agent, it’s simple, you just need to get both of your signatures notarized.
• If a friend or family member is your LLC’s Registered Agent, you just need to bring them with you to the notary.
• If you hired a Commercial Registered Agent, they will provide you with a notarized Initial Report.
3. The approval time for a regular paper filing (without paying for expedited) is 3-7 business days. This is a pretty decent approval time. If you need your LLC approved faster though, you have the option of paying an extra $30 for 1 business day processing.
4. Again, if your LLC is located in any of these parishes, you can’t do a paper filing (it’ll be rejected). You must file online.
Overall, we feel the cons of a paper filing are not that bad.
Which option is best for you?
Here are your options and cost summary:
A. Regular paper filing (3-7 business days approval) costs $100.
B. Expedited paper filing (1-2 business days approval) costs $130.
C. Online filing (1-2 business days approval) costs $100.
Note: there is no expedited option for online filing since it’s already fast.
How to choose:
• If you are okay waiting 3-7 business days, choose option A.
• If you want to avoid the online filing, but have your LLC approved faster than 3-7 business days, choose option B.
• If you don’t mind the headaches of the online filing, choose option C.
• If you are not very “tech comfortable”, choose option A or B.
Once you’ve decided on your preferred filing method, please proceed to that lesson:
Louisiana Secretary of State Contact Info
If you have any questions, you can contact the Louisiana Secretary of State at 225-925-4704. You can also post your questions in the comment section below.