Starting a Michigan LLC, step-by-step
Starting a Michigan LLC costs $50. And it takes 10 days to get an LLC in Michigan.
Here are the 5 steps to forming an LLC in Michigan:
- Choose an LLC Name
- Select a Registered Agent
- File Articles of Organization
- Create an Operating Agreement
- Get an EIN
If you want to form your LLC yourself, follow our free guide below.
If you want someone to take care of it for you, we recommend hiring Northwest Registered Agent
(We recommend Northwest. We've reviewed all the top companies in the industry. And Northwest is our #1 pick for prices, customer support, and address privacy. Check out Northwest vs LegalZoom to learn more.)
How much does it cost to start an LLC in Michigan?
It costs $50 to start an LLC in Michigan.
And then it costs $25 per year.
What are these fees for?
- The $50 is to file the Articles of Organization – the document that creates an LLC.
- The $25 per year is for your Annual Report – a mandatory filing that keeps your LLC in good standing.
To learn more about LLC Costs, see LLC Costs in Michigan.
Veterans: You can form an LLC for free in Michigan. Please read Michigan Veteran LLC for instructions.
How long does it take to get an LLC in Michigan?
If you file your LLC by mail, it will be approved in 10 business days (plus mail time).
But if you file online, your LLC will be approved in 10 business days.
Please see How long does it take to get an LLC in Michigan to check for any delays.
Here are the steps to forming an LLC in Michigan
1. Search your LLC Name
Search your Michigan LLC Name to make sure it’s available in the state.
You need to do this because two businesses in the state can’t have the same name.
First, search your business name and compare it to existing businesses in Michigan. You can make sure the LLC Name you want is unique from existing businesses using the Business Entity Search.
Second, familiarize yourself with the naming rules in Michigan (so your Michigan LLC gets approved).
We’ll explain both in more detail here: Michigan LLC Name.
2. Choose a Michigan LLC Registered Agent
The next step is to choose a Michigan Registered Agent.
A Michigan LLC Registered Agent is a person or company who accepts legal mail and state notices on behalf of your Michigan Limited Liability Company.
Note: In Michigan, a Registered Agent is also called a Resident Agent. We may use either term.
Who can be an LLC Resident Agent in Michigan?
You have 3 options for who can be the Resident Agent:
- A friend or family member
- A Registered Agent Service
Michigan law requires that all LLC Registered Agents have a physical street address in Michigan. PO Boxes aren’t allowed.
And the Resident Agent’s name and address will be listed on public records.
If you don’t have an address in Michigan, or you want more privacy, you can hire a Registered Agent Service for your LLC.
Maine Registered Agent Services keep physical street addresses in Louisiana to meet state requirements – and our recommendation will also keep your information off public records.
We recommend Northwest Registered Agent
Our favorite feature about Northwest is they’ll let you use their office address throughout your LLC filing. This way, you can keep your address off public records.
They’ll also scan any mail sent to your LLC and upload it to your online account.
Northwest has excellent customer service, and they’re who we trust to be our own Registered Agent.
3. File Michigan LLC Articles of Organization
To start an LLC, you need to file the Michigan Articles of Organization.
This gets filed with the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA).
The Michigan Articles of Organization costs $50 if you file online.
This is a one-time fee to create your LLC.
If you want to file this yourself, see our step-by-step guide: Michigan LLC Articles of Organization.
Or, you can hire a company to do it for you.
4. Create a Michigan LLC Operating Agreement
A Michigan LLC Operating Agreement serves as a “companion” document to the Articles of Organization.
The Articles of Organization creates your LLC, and the Operating Agreement shows who owns the LLC.
Additionally, some banks require an Operating Agreement when you open an LLC bank account.
And having an Operating Agreement will be very helpful if you ever end up in court. Reason being, it helps prove that your LLC is being run properly.
That’s why we recommend that all LLCs have an Operating Agreement – including Single-Member LLCs.
Furthermore, an Operating Agreement is an “internal document“. Meaning, you don’t need to file it with the state or the IRS (Internal Revenue Service). Just keep a copy with your business records.
You can download a free template below.
Then, learn how to fill it out by watching our step-by-step Michigan Operating Agreement video.
5. Get an EIN for your LLC
The next step is to get a Michigan LLC EIN Number from the IRS for your LLC.
Note: An EIN Number is also called a Federal Tax ID Number or Federal Employer Identification Number.
An EIN Number is used to:
- identify your LLC for tax purposes
- open a business bank account
- apply for business licenses and permits
How much does an EIN cost?
Getting an EIN Number from the IRS is completely free.
How long does it take to get an EIN?
If you apply online, it takes 15 minutes.
If you apply by mail or fax, it can take 1-3 months.
How can I get an EIN?
US Citizens/US Residents: If you have an SSN or ITIN, you can apply for an EIN online. Follow these instructions: Apply for an EIN online.
Non-US Residents: You can’t get an EIN online, but you can still get one by fax or by mail. Follow these instructions: How to get an EIN without an SSN or ITIN.
What do I do after my LLC is approved?
After your Michigan LLC is approved, there are some additional steps.
Open an LLC business bank account
You’ll want to open a 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. This is because it keeps your business entity finances separate from your personal finances.
Get Michigan business licenses and permits
Good news, Michigan doesn’t have a state-level general business license.
However, the state does require special licensing for some industries through LARA’s Corporations and Commercial Licensing Bureau.
And depending on where your LLC is located, you may need a local business license or permit.
For example, if you want to start a daycare, you may need a business license from the city or county.
You can learn more on our Michigan LLC Business License page.
File your Michigan LLC Annual Report
All Michigan LLCs must file an Annual Report every year.
The Annual Report keeps your LLC in good standing with the state.
Note: In Michigan, the official name for an Annual Report is actually the Annual Statement. They both mean the same thing, so we will keep it simple and call it the “Annual Report”.
How much does a Michigan LLC Annual Report cost?
The Annual Report filing fee is $25 per year.
When is the Annual Report due?
Your LLC Annual Report is due by February 15th, every year.
When is my first Annual Report due?
Michigan uses your LLC’s Date of Organization to decide when your first Annual Report is due. Your Date of Organization is the date your LLC was approved.
If your LLC’s Date of Organization is between January 1 and September 30, your first Annual Report will be due by February 15 of the following year.
For example, if your LLC was approved on January 23, 2023, your first Annual Report is due by February 15, 2024.
If your LLC’s Date of Organization is between October 1st and December 31st, your first Annual Report will be due by February 15 two years later.
For example, if your LLC was approved on November 3, 2023, your first Annual Report is due by February 15, 2025.
How do I file my LLC Annual Report?
You can file your LLC’s Annual Report online or by mail. We recommend the online filing because it’s easier to complete.
Follow our step-by-step guide here: Michigan LLC Annual Report.
File and pay taxes
LLCs don’t pay federal taxes. Instead, the LLC Members pay the taxes for the LLC.
Said another way, the owners pay taxes for the LLC as a part of their personal tax return.
How will my LLC be taxed?
By default, a Michigan LLC is taxed by the IRS based on the number of owners your LLC has:
- A Single-Member LLC is taxed like a Sole Proprietorship.
- A Multi-Member LLC is taxed like a Partnership.
Alternatively, you can ask the IRS to tax your LLC like a C-Corporation or S-Corporation.
Besides federal taxes, there are also state and local income taxes – and sales tax. Learn more in Michigan LLC Taxes.
How to Start an LLC in Michigan FAQs
Can I start an LLC online in Michigan?
Yes, you can file your LLC online in Michigan. The Articles of Organization filing fee is $50.
When you start your LLC online, it will be approved in 10 business days.
What are the benefits of an LLC?
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.
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 popular business structure.
Another benefit is LLC pass-through taxation. Pass through taxation means the LLC itself doesn’t pay federal income taxes. Instead, the profits “pass through” to the LLC Members. And the Members pay the taxes on their personal tax return.
And Michigan state income taxes are very similar, since the state honors the federal tax treatment of your LLC.
To learn more, please see How are LLCs taxed.
Is Michigan a good state to start an LLC?
Whether Michigan is a good state to start an LLC depends on where you live – and where you’re doing business.
Meaning, if you live in or do business in Michigan, then you should start your LLC in Michigan. While many websites talk about tax rates and advantages of certain states, none of that applies if it’s not the state where you live and do business.
For example, if you form an LLC in Delaware, but live in and conduct business in Michigan, you’ll also need to register your Delaware LLC in Michigan (and pay extra fees). And you’ll end up paying Michigan taxes anyway. This ends up leading to more costs and more headaches with no advantages.
In summary, if you live in and conduct business in Michigan, then yes, Michigan is a good state to start a business. If you don’t live in and do business in Michigan, then no, Michigan isn’t a good state to start a business.
Real estate exception: If you’re purchasing real estate outside of Michigan, you should form your LLC in the state where the property is located.
For more information, please see Best State to Form an LLC.
What is the difference between a Domestic LLC, a Foreign LLC, and a PLLC?
The main differences between Domestic LLCs, Foreign LLCs, and Professional LLCs are where they are formed and their business purpose.
A Domestic Limited Liability Company is an LLC that is formed in its “home state”, meaning, where the business owner lives and does business.
For example, if you live in and do business in Michigan, you would form your Domestic LLC in Michigan.
A Foreign Limited Liability Company is an LLC that is formed in a state that isn’t its home state. In this case, the term “foreign” simply means that the LLC is foreign to its “home state”.
For example, if you live in and do business in Michigan, you would form your Domestic LLC in Michigan. If you later expand into Ohio, you would register your existing Michigan LLC as a Foreign LLC in Ohio.
Said another way, LLCs are created at the state-level.
And if you want your LLC to do business in two separate states, you have to form or register an LLC in both states.
This works by forming a Domestic LLC in your home state, and a Foreign LLC in the other state.
What is a PLLC?
A Professional Limited Liability Company (PLLC) is a type of LLC formed for the purpose of providing “professional services”.
In this case, “professional” refers to business types that require special permissions (like a license, registration, or certification from the state) in order to do business legally.
For example, architects, attorneys, and social work counselors, doctors, and veterinarians often form their business practices as PLLCs.
You can read more about PLLCs, their availability, and their stricter requirements in: What’s a Professional LLC?
And for more information on Foreign and Domestic LLCs, please see: