How to Start an L.L.C. in Tennessee?

How to Start an L.L.C. in Tennessee

Before starting a business, one must decide which business entity is best. An L.L.C. is a business-friendly and popular choice in Tennessee. L.L.C. is a typical business structure in the United States, accounting for over a third of all businesses nationwide. A significant benefit of running an L.L.C. is that it provides limited liability to business owners by shielding them from legal and financial responsibility and many business debts. The owners of an L.L.C. are known as “members”. You can form an L.L.C. in Tennessee through the Tennessee Secretary of State. To start operating an L.L.C., you must register with the Secretary of State and pay L.L.C. formation fees.

Steps to Start an L.L.C. in Tennessee

Name your Tennessee L.L.C.

Before you register your L.L.C., you need to choose a name to include in the articles of organization. The name of the L.L.C. must comply with the naming requirements, which are as follows:

  1. The name of the L.L.C. must include words such as Limited Liability Company, L.L.C. or L.L.C.
  2. The name of the L.L.C. must be unique and not the same as an existing business in the State. A search can be conducted on the Secretary of State’s website to determine whether a business name is in use.
  3. The name of the L.L.C. cannot use words used by government agencies such as the State Department, C.I.A., F.B.I., Treasury, etc.
  4. A few restricted words, such as bank, attorney, lawyer, credit union, etc., may require more documentation and license paperwork.

Additional considerations:

  • URL availability: Even if you think you’ll not need a webpage, at least reserve an option to have one in the future by buying a domain name. Ensuring the URL is available before you register your L.L.C. name is good.
  • Reserve your name: If you are concerned that someone else might take your name, you can reserve the name for up to 120 days by paying a small fee.

Choose a registered agent

Appointment of a registered agent is mandatory for an L.L.C. A registered agent can be either a person or an entity authorized to accept service of processes and other official legal documents and notices on behalf of your L.L.C. The registered agent offers a registered agent service and can be a person or an entity. A registered agent has to qualify for the following criteria:

  1. It must provide registered agent services.
  2. It must have an address in Tennessee.
  3. It must be on-site and available to accept documents during regular business hours.
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Prepare and file Articles of Organization

Articles of Organization are the document that establishes an L.L.C. formally by laying out basic information about it. One has to prepare the articles of organization and file them with the Tennessee Secretary of State to register Tennessee L.L.C. properly. It includes filing a simple online form and submitting it. It can also be sent by mail. Usually, the following information is provided to prepare the certification of formation:

  1. Name of the L.L.C.
  2. An additional designation for the L.L.C.’s name if it is a professional L.L.C., series L.L.C. or bank.
  3. Name consent if the L.L.C.’s name is similar to an existing name in Tennessee.
  4. Name and address of the L.L.C.’s principal office
  5. Name and address of the registered agent of L.L.C.
  6. The effective date of articles is not effective upon filing.
  7. A reason why you formed the L.L.C.
  8. The L.L.C.’s duration or time period over which the L.L.C. will exist.
  9. The last month of L.L.C.’s fiscal year
  10. Management structure
  11. Signature of the person forming the L.L.C. on the articles
  12. Number of L.L.C. members on the date of filing
  13. To designate if the L.L.C. is a professional L.L.C., a non-profit L.L.C. or a series L.L.C.
  14. To designate whether the L.L.C. is an obligated member entity where the members are personally liable for the L.L.C.’s debts.

On filing the articles, the secretary will review the filing. Once it approves the L.L.C., it becomes a legal business entity.

Receive a certificate from the State

On filing the certificate of formation, the secretary of State reviews the filing, and if the approval is granted, the L.L.C. becomes a legal business entity. The State issues a certificate confirming the L.L.C. formally comes into existence after the L.L.C.’s formation documents are filed and approved. This certificate allows the L.L.C. to obtain an Employer Identification Number (E.I.N.), obtain business licenses and open a business bank account.

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Create an Operating Agreement

It is a document outlining the way an L.L.C. conducts business. It is not mandatory to have an operating agreement. Still, it is highly advisable as it is helpful for various reasons, such as settling disputes arising over financial agreements and other potential litigation. Without an operating agreement, the courts make determinations based on state law, which might not necessarily be in the L.L.C.’s and its members’ best interest. The operating agreement includes the following:

  1. Name and principal address of the L.L.C.
  2. Duration of the L.L.C.
  3. Information about the Certificate of Organization
  4. Name and address of the registered agent
  5. Purpose of the Business
  6. Process in which profits and losses will be divided
  7. Members and their contributions
  8. Procedure for incoming and outgoing members
  9. Indemnification and liability clauses
  10. Management of the L.L.C.

Get an Employer Identification Number (E.I.N.)

E.I.N. is a nine-digit number assigned by the Internal Revenue Service to identify L.L.C.s for tax purposes. An E.I.N. can be obtained either by mail or online through the I.R.S. E.I.N. serves the following purpose:

  1. Open a business bank account
  2. To hire employees
  3. To file and manage taxes at the State as well as the federal level.

Steps to be taken after the formation of the L.L.C.

Registration of an L.L.C. gives a legal foundation to conduct business. All Tennessee L.L.C.s must file an annual report to keep the L.L.C. compliant and active on the State’s website. Periodic reports, also known as the annual report, must be filed by the Tennessee L.L.C.s with the Tennessee Secretary of State each year. It can also be filed online at the Secretary of State website. Periodic return becomes due during the three months beginning the first day of the anniversary month when the L.L.C. was formed. It includes quarterly tax payments.

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A registered L.L.C. must also do the following:

  1. Obtain permits or licenses essential to operate your business. The permits include health department permits, zoning permits, home occupation permits, professional licenses, etc.
  2. Register the business with the State’s tax agency.
  3. Open a business bank account.
  4. Apply for a business credit card.
  5. Purchase insurance for the L.L.C.
  6. Protect the name and logo along with the trademark.


In this blog, we have seen the requirements to start an L.L.C. in Wisconsin. From choosing a name for the L.L.C. to obtaining an employer identification number, all are simple steps that must be followed to ensure that your L.L.C. in Wisconsin is legally compliant. 


  1. How much does it cost to start an L.L.C. in Tennessee?

    It costs $300 to form an L.L.C. in Tennessee.

  2. Is L.L.C. free in Tennessee?

    No, Tennessee charges $50 for each existing L.L.C. member with a minimum fee of $300 and a maximum charge of $3000.

  3. Do you have to pay for an L.L.C. every year in Tennessee?

    Yes, Tennessee requires an L.L.C. to file an annual report and pay a yearly franchise tax.

  4. Is Tennessee a good state to start an L.L.C.?

    Yes, Tennessee is a good state to start an L.L.C. as there is no state income tax on L.L.C.s. Further, there is asset protection and limited liability for the members, so they are safe from personal liabilities.

  5. How long does it take an L.L.C. to process in Tennessee?

    The processing of an L.L.C. in Tennessee takes about 2-3 weeks.

  6. How are L.L.C.s taxed in Tennessee?

    L.L.C.s in Tennessee are taxed as pass-through entities.

  7. Do L.L.C.s pay taxes in Tennessee?

    Yes, L.L.C.s in Tennessee pay franchise tax and an excise tax on most L.L.C.s.

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