Guide to starting an LLC in Michigan
To start a Michigan LLC, you’ll pay $50 to file the LLC Articles of Organization.
This form gets filed with the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). And once it’s approved, your LLC officially goes into existence.
However, there are other steps to starting a Limited Liability Company (LLC) in Michigan. For example: searching your business name and hiring a Registered Agent (aka Resident Agent).
We break down the Michigan LLC process step-by-step with pro-tips that we’ve learned over the years. The process is pretty simple, and we can help you start a Michigan LLC today.
1. Search your LLC Name
Before filing any LLC paperwork, you’ll want to make sure your desired business name is available in the state. Our step-by-step Michigan LLC Name lesson explains how to search your business name in Michigan.
You can do this by using the Business Entity Database. You can search for your business name to compare it against existing businesses registered in Michigan. You need to do this because two businesses in the state can’t have the same name.
Next, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the naming requirements in Michigan.
Section 450.4204 of the Michigan LLC Act has a few rules and requirements for naming Limited Liability Companies that you need to know.
LLC Designator: Michigan law requires that your LLC have a proper designator at the end of its name.
Acceptable LLC designators in Michigan include:
- Limited Liability Company
Note: Most people choose “LLC”.
Your LLC name cannot include a designator that makes it sound like a different type of legal entity. For example, your name cannot use the words or abbreviations Corporation, Corp., Inc., Incorporated, Limited Partnership, LP, L.P., or Trust.
2. Choose a Michigan Registered Agent
Once you have an LLC name, the next step is to choose a Michigan Registered Agent.
A Michigan Registered Agent is a person or company who accepts legal mail (called Service of Process) and state notices on behalf of your Michigan LLC.
Note: In Michigan, the official name is Resident Agent, however, the term Registered Agent is more commonly used. They both mean the same thing.
You have three options for who can be the Registered Agent:
- Friend or family member
- Registered Agent Service
The Registered Agent for your LLC must have a physical street address in Michigan. PO Boxes aren’t allowed.
If you, a friend, or family member will be your LLC Registered Agent, they should be comfortable having their name and address listed on public records.
If you don’t have an address in Michigan, or you prefer more privacy, you can hire a Registered Agent Service for your LLC.
We recommend Northwest Registered Agent
Our favorite Registered Agent service is Northwest Registered Agent ($125 per year).
They’ll scan any mail sent to your LLC and upload it to your online account. Northwest has excellent customer service and they’ve been in business for more than 20 years.
3. File Michigan Articles of Organization
To form an LLC, you’ll need to file the Michigan LLC Articles of Organization with the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA).
The filing fee is $50. This is a one-time fee to create your LLC.
Filing methods: You can file the Articles of Organization online or by mail.
We recommend filing online as it’s easier to complete and has a faster approval time.
The online filing system is called the Corporation Online Filing System.
Alternatively, if you prefer to file by mail, you can download the Articles of Organization (Form CSCL/CD-700) and then send it to the Michigan Corporations Division with a check or money order.
Mailing address: Send your completed Articles of Organization and your $50 filing fee to:
Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs
Michigan Corporations Division
PO Box 30054
Lansing, MI 48909
LLC approval time: The approval time for a Michigan LLC is usually 10 business days (about 2 weeks). Please see How long does it take to get an LLC in Michigan to check for any delays.
4. Create your LLC Operating Agreement
A Michigan LLC Operating Agreement is a written contract that establishes who owns the LLC and how much of the LLC each Member owns.
Operating Agreements can also explain:
- how taxes are paid
- how profits are distributed
- how the LLC is managed
- and the business purpose of the LLC
We recommend that both Single-Member LLCs and Multi-Member LLCs have an Operating Agreement.
In case of a lawsuit, LLC Operating Agreements can help prove that your Michigan LLC is being run properly as a separate legal business entity.
You don’t need to send your Michigan LLC’s Operating Agreement to any state or federal agency. It also doesn’t need to be notarized. Just keep a copy with your LLC’s business records and make sure all Members have a copy.
Your Operating Agreement can be flexible. You can make changes as needed, as long as all of the Members agree.
5. Get an EIN for your Michigan LLC
The next step is to get an Michigan EIN Number (Federal Employer Identification Number) from the IRS for your LLC.
Your EIN Number is used to:
- identify your LLC for tax purposes
- open a business bank account
And if applicable, to:
- handle employee payroll
- get a business credit card or loan
- apply for business licenses and permits
Wait for your LLC to be approved before applying for your EIN. If your LLC is rejected by the state, you’ll need to get a new EIN (and cancel the old EIN).
Getting a Federal Tax ID Number is completely free. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issues Federal Tax ID Numbers at no charge.
US Citizens and US Residents: If you have a SSN (Social Security Number) or ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number), we recommend applying for an EIN online. We have step-by-step instructions here: Apply for EIN online.
Non-US Residents: If you don’t have an SSN or ITIN, you can still get an EIN for your LLC. You just can’t apply online. Instead, you need to apply by mail or fax. We have step-by-step instructions here: How to get an EIN without an SSN or ITIN.
6. File your Michigan LLC Annual Report
All Michigan LLCs must file a Michigan Annual Report (aka Annual Statement) every year.
The Annual Statement filing fee is $25 per year, and is due by February 15th every year.
You can file online or file by mail.
File online: Go to the state’s online filing page, enter your CID (Customer ID Number) and PIN to login. Then complete your LLC’s Annual Statement online and make your $25 payment. If you can’t find your CID and PIN, you can recover them.
File by mail: The state will mail a pre-filled Annual Statement Form to your Resident Agent each year. If any information has changed, you can update it here. Then sign the form, and prepare a $25 check or money order payable to “State of Michigan”.
Mail your Annual Statement and payment to:
Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs
Corporations, Securities & Commercial Licensing Bureau
PO Box 30057
Lansing, MI 48909
After your Limited Liability Company is formed
After your Michigan LLC is formed, there are some final steps to consider.
LLC business bank account
You’ll want to open an LLC business bank account for your LLC. This makes accounting and record-keeping much easier for your business finances.
Having a separate business bank account also maintains your personal liability protection by keeping your business finances separate from your personal finances.
Business credit card
The bank will give you a debit card after opening a business bank account. However, you may also want to get a business credit card to earn rewards. This is also helpful in keeping business expenses separate from personal expenses.
Website and domain name
You can check if your business name is available as a domain name. You can search your domain name with GoDaddy below.
Find a domain name
Michigan business licenses and permits
Depending on where your LLC is located, and what industry you’re in, your LLC may need to get a Michigan business license as well as local business permits. For example, if you sell products in Michigan, you may need to collect sales tax and have a sales tax license.
You can research the requirements yourself or hire a company, like IncFile to take care of it for you.
If you’d rather not use your mobile or home phone number for your business, you can get a business phone number from Phone.com.
Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA)
If you have any questions about starting an LLC in Michigan, you can contact LARA.
Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs
Monday through Friday from 8am to 5pm Eastern Time
Michigan LLC Frequently Asked Questions
It costs $50 to start an LLC in Michigan. This is the fee paid to file the LLC Articles of Organization.
The Articles of Organization and $50 filing fee are sent to the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). And once the paperwork is approved by the state, your LLC goes into existence.
Note: LARA is a sub-department within the Michigan Commercial Licensing Bureau.
If you have an LLC formed in another state, but you want to do business in Michigan, you’ll need to register that out-of-state LLC in Michigan. This is known as a Foreign LLC. You can find Foreign LLC fees on this page: Foreign LLC fees by state.
Yes, you can file your LLC online in Michigan. The Articles of Organization filing fee is $50.
We have step-by-step instructions for online filings.
It takes about 10 business days (2 weeks) to get an LLC online in Michigan. This is the time it takes for the state to process your Articles of Organization filing.
You can get an LLC in Michigan by filing online or by mail. We recommend the online filing as the approval time is faster.
The first benefit of an LLC is protecting your personal assets. Meaning, if your business is sued, your personal assets – like your home, cars, and bank accounts – are protected.
This protection applies to all LLC owners (called LLC Members). It doesn’t matter if you have a Single-Member LLC or Multi-Member LLC. All of the LLC owners are protected from the business debts and liabilities of the business.
This type of protection wouldn’t apply if you operate as a Sole Proprietorship or Partnership. With these types of informal business structures, the owners aren’t protected in the event of a lawsuit. For that reason, Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) are a much more common business structure than a Sole Proprietorship or Partnership.
Another benefit is LLC pass-through taxation. This means the LLC itself doesn’t pay federal income taxes. Instead, the profits “pass through” to the LLC Members. And the Members report and pay the taxes on their personal tax return.
And Michigan LLC taxes are very similar, since the state honors the federal tax treatment of LLCs. To learn more, please see How are LLCs taxed.
We recommend having a Michigan LLC Operating Agreement.
An Operating Agreement is an “internal document”, meaning you just need to keep a copy for yourself and give a copy to any other LLC Members.
You don’t need to send your Operating Agreement to the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. You also don’t need to send it to the IRS.
Operating Agreements may be required when you open a business bank account. We recommend calling the bank ahead of time to see which documents you’ll need.
Whether or not you need a business license will depend on where your LLC is located and what industry it’s in. There’s also a chance you might not need a business license at all.
Please see our business license information above for details.
If you are a state-licensed professional (such as an accountant, lawyer, or doctor), you can’t form a regular LLC. Instead, you need to form a PLLC, aka a Professional Limited Liability Company.
Yes, you’re required to have a Michigan Resident Agent for your LLC.
A Resident Agent is a person or company who accepts legal documents (called Service of Process) and state notices for your LLC. Resident Agents are required to have a physical address in the state of Michigan (called a Registered Office address).
You, a friend, or family member can also be the Resident Agent for your LLC. That person just needs to be a resident of the state of Michigan, and have a physical street address in the state.
If you, a friend, or family member don’t have a physical street address in Michigan, you’ll need to look into Registered Agent Services. The company we recommend is Northwest Registered Agent.
Note: The technical name for a Registered Agent in Michigan is “Resident Agent”, however, they mean the same thing.
The annual fee for a Michigan LLC is called the Annual Report (aka the Annual Statement). This costs $25 per year and it must be paid for the life of your LLC.
Michigan LLC Act
Michigan LARA: LLC Forms
Michigan LARA: Entrepreneur’s Guide
Michigan LARA: Business License Search
Michigan LARA: Limited Liability Companies
Michigan Small Business Development Center (SBDC)
Michigan LARA: Corporations Division Publications
Michigan SBDC: Guide to Starting a Small Business