How to Start an LLC in Michigan

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Guide to starting an LLC in Michigan

How to start an LLCTo 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.

Need to save time? Hire a company to form your LLC:
Northwest ($39 + state fee) or LegalZoom ($149 + state fee)

(check out Northwest vs LegalZoom)

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.

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:

  • LLC
  • L.L.C.
  • LC
  • L.C.
  • 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.

Our step-by-step Michigan LLC Name lesson explains how to search your business name in Michigan.

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:

  • You
  • 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 LLC and upload it to your online account. Northwest has excellent customer service and they’ve been in business for more than 20 years.

Special offer: If you hire Northwest to form your LLC ($39 + state fee), they’ll include their Registered Agent service free for the 1st year.

(Check out our Northwest Registered Agent review to learn more)

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 have step-by-step instructions on this page: Michigan Articles of Organization.

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.

Need to save time? Hire a company to form your LLC:
Northwest ($39 + state fee) or LegalZoom ($149 + state fee)

(check out Northwest vs LegalZoom)

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.

Download a free LLC Operating Agreement:
Member-managed: Google DocWordPDF
Manager-managed: Google DocWord

5. Get an EIN for your Michigan LLC

The next step is to get an 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
Corporations Division
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


Powered by GoDaddy

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.

Business phone

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
Corporations Division
517-241-6470
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.

Matt Horwitz


Matt Horwitz
Founder & Educator, LLC University®
Matt Horwitz has been the leading expert on LLC education for the past decade. He founded LLC University in 2010 after realizing people needed simple and actionable instructions to start an LLC that other companies weren't offering. He's cited by Entrepreneur Magazine, Yahoo Finance, and the US Chamber of Commerce, and was featured by CNBC and InventRight.
 
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.

50 comments on “Michigan LLC”

Disclaimer: Nothing on this page shall be interpreted as legal or tax advice. Rules and regulations vary by location. They also change over time and are specific to your situation. Furthermore, this comment section is provided so people can share their thoughts and experience. Please consult a licensed professional if you have legal or tax questions.

  1. Without question, the best site assistant we have located online! Streamline and easy to follow directions & links! We’ll make sure to spread the word!

    Reply
    • William, what a great comment to receive :) We always appreciate the love and thank you for spreading the word!

      Reply
  2. Hi Matt,
    Does the Operating Agreement legally establish “member” or “managing member” designation for signing contracts.
    If “managing member” is used would members name be designated instead of “all of its members” in the “Members Provision – Management” (Michigan LLC).
    Thank you for providing this great site and valuable information.

    Reply
  3. Thank you so much for this info! I submitted my AOO but I didn’t write “perpetual” for the duration and believe I may get rejected. Will I have to pay the filing fee again to resubmit if I get rejected? (Michigan)

    Reply
    • Hi Kay, if you look at Article 3 of the Articles of Organization, it actually says “The duration of the limited liability company if other than perpetual is”… meaning, you only need to enter something if you DON’T want your LLC to have a perpetual existence. So, by leaving it blank, you essentially told the state to give your LLC a perpetual existence. You should be all good!

      Reply
      • Thank you for your reply! That was my line of thinking too but I was looking at Michigan’s “rejected filings registry” and so many of them were rejected for leaving Article 3 blank so I wasn’t sure :/

        Reply
  4. Hi Matt,

    If I designate myself as the resident agent of my LLC, should I file a registration of agent document to Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs? Thanks.

    Reply
    • Hi Ling, no, you don’t need to submit that form if you’re acting as the Registered Agent for your LLC. Hope that helps.

      Reply
  5. Great step by step guide! This was very helpful. Tip! Please update your LARA links since all of them seem to be unlisted since the LARA update not too long ago. Other than that, fantastic work! Thanks again!

    Reply
    • Matt, thanks for the heads up! LARA has made a series of changes, so the links have changed a few times over now ;) We just updated the page though… everything is correct now. Thanks for your note, and thanks for the feedback!

      Reply
  6. If I buy two income properties outside of Michigan what tax will I pay in MI. I am a MI resident but live in Scottsdale AZ, can I form a single member LLC and have everything sent to my AZ address or must I have an address in MI?

    Reply
    • If you’re forming an LLC in Michigan, you’ll need a Registered Agent (Article IV) with an address in Michigan. You can’t use a Arizona address here. Regarding taxes, we cannot answer this as taxes vary so widely among businesses. You’ll need to speak with an accountant regarding your tax obligations.

      Reply
  7. Thank you so much! You answered all my questions and got me headed in the right direction! By far the best LLC information source that I found after well over an hour on the internet! Thanks again!

    Reply
  8. Question. the person that file for the LLC do that mean they’re the owner of the business or company?

    Reply
    • Nope. I believe you’re referring to the signature at the bottom of page 1 of the Michigan LLC Articles of Organization. That role is known as the LLC Organizer. An LLC Organizer may be an LLC Member (owner), but they don’t automatically become an LLC Member by organizing the LLC.

      Reply
  9. I’m so thankful to have stumbled onto your site! You not only saved me money, but you saved me money. Did I mention that you saved me money?!?! Seriously though, thank you so very much for putting this information out there! Starting up a new business can be so expensive and you allowed me to put that extra $300 to $400 I just saved into much better use! I’m sincerely grateful for your help!

    ~Shawna

    Reply
    • Hey Shawna! Thanks for such a lovely comment! I’m glad to hear we were able to help you form your LLC and that you got to keep those dollars in your pocket ;)

      Reply
  10. This was definitely some beneficial information. I bookmarked this page for future reference. Thank you so much!!

    Reply
    • Hi Karynthia, thank you for the compliment! We are glad you found our lessons helpful. Comments like yours makes all our hard work worth it :) Thanks again.

      Reply
  11. Hello Matt, thank you very much for company registration guidance, i followed your recommendation accordingly and below are the document Northwest registered agent are going to provide me
    Online Federal Tax ID w/SSN filing
    Registered Agent Service in Michigan
    Expedited Michigan Form a Company filing
    How To Start An LLC – Deluxe Package bundle
    Is there another document required for my company before i stat working on website and company logos etc ?

    Reply
  12. This is the best!!! Concise and to the point… and Free too!!! I love it!! Thank you so much!

    Reply
  13. This website is a fantastic resource!! I will be forming an LLC in the next couple of weeks, and the costs through some of the services just didn’t seem right. Your website answered my questions and I will be able to save several hundred dollars, which will go into establishing MY business, not growing someone else’s!

    Reply
    • Hey John, thanks so much! I’m happy to hear we were able to save you hundreds of dollars :)

      Reply
  14. Hi Matt, Just got back the approved Articles of Organization I filed with the state of Michigan after using this website. This website was so helpful!!! I have one question about my LLC name after I looked at the papers sent back from the state. On the Articles of Organization under Article I, I had put a comma in the name of my company before “LLC”. The state returned the Articles of Organization as “FILED” with a stamp at the top. The stamp in the third line says “ID: My Business Name LLC” (not my real business name of course, just for this question) with no comma before the “LLC”. Did the state drop the comma before “LLC”? Did they change my business name? Or can I proceed with my business name as I planned: “My Business Name, LLC”

    Reply
    • Hey Alice, congratulations! You can proceed with your business name as planned (My Business Name, LLC). The state didn’t change your LLC name, they are just “normalizing” their records for their database. If you look at the Michigan LLC Act, Section 450.4204 (1), you’ll see “with or without periods or other punctuation“. Hope that helps!

      Reply
  15. Hi! Thanks so much for this excellent resource. Question for you: I would like to set up an LLC for a condo I will be buying and renting out. The condo (and rent payer) is located in Colorado. I (rent collector) am located in Michigan. Are there legal requirements for where I should set up the LLC? Should I set it up as a Michigan LLC or a Colorado LLC?

    Reply
    • Hey Denise! You’re very welcome :) Where to form your LLC is based on where you’re “doing business”. Since your property will be located in Colorado and you’re collecting rents there, you’ll be doing business in Colorado and a Colorado LLC is likely the way to go. Hope that helps.

      Reply
  16. Matt,

    You are a miracle! I happened across your video on YouTube and have had every question answered. I am starting my own production company on January 1st, and was feeling a bit anxious about it. Paranoid is more like it. I didn’t want to forget to do something, and have it adversely affect my down the line.

    I spoke with someone at Northwest yesterday, and I believe I’m gonna go with them. It’s a load off of my mind. Thanks!

    Ann

    Reply
    • Hi Ann, thank you! I know the feeling. Very natural when you’re starting out. It fades away over time ;) Glad you had a nice conversation with them. I think they have great customer service. Happy New Year!

      Reply
  17. I have been looking for a site that would completely explain everything and your site is awesome. I have one question, I am looking at starting my own road side produce stand selling fresh produce and fresh eggs, do I need to have a business plan in place or is everything that you have provided here enough to submit and get my business off the ground legally? Thank you.

    Reply
    • Thanks Kim! Glad you’re finding it helpful. Nope, you don’t need a business plan in order to start your LLC. Hope that helps.

      Reply
  18. Hi Matt,
    I am an indian citizen. I wish to start an LLC in Troy Michigan. Do I need to have a physical address in michigan, for the same? Can I have an LLC formed without any physical address in the US? However I would like to start a business which could generate revenue in US without having a physical address in US. e.g A job placement consultancy. Can this be possible in Troy?

    Reply
  19. Hi Thank you for all the information. I want to know whether I could use my Resident Agent’s address and contact information on my business website. Thanks.

    Reply
  20. This guide is super comprehensive and much appreciated. The question i have is, are all these steps kept up to date? I see comments and answers above from earlier this year (2020) all the way back to 2017. So i am assuming the answer is yes, what appears on this page reflects all current legal and procedural necessities and leaves out nothing that is crucial/basic.

    Thought it was worth checking anyway, before i continue organizing my plan (to form an LLC in Michigan).

    Thanks again!

    Reply
  21. Hi Matt
    I want to start my new LLc. can you do it for me?
    please send me the information so we can start.

    Thanks

    Reply

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How to form a US LLC

Non-US residents: If you want to form an LLC in the US, we recommend hiring doola.

doola specializes in forming US LLCs for international entrepreneurs.

They'll form your LLC, open your business bank account, and help with taxes. doola also has excellent customer service.

Hope that helps!

Matt Horwitz founder of LLC University
Matt Horwitz
Founder & Educator
LLC University®