This research is supported by you, our readers, through our independently chosen links, which earn us a commission. Learn More
Concrete jungle where dreams are made of, New York attracts lots of new entrepreneurs and experienced business sharks.
And guess what?
Starting an LLC in New York and running a business is much easier than it seems!
And this article will walk you right through all the steps to your first New York-based company!
Step #1: Pick a Name
Starting an LLC in New York — or any other state, for that matter — begins with a name. You probably have a couple of names in mind, but things can get tricky because you need to choose a name following state laws; otherwise, your business might not get approved.
Here’s how you do this:
- Choose a unique name. Make sure that your business name isn’t already taken. To do this, go to the New York Department of State Entity Search. Enter your business name in the search bar and tweak the filters, and the database will show you if the name you’ve chosen is free, taken, or on hold by someone else.
- Spell it right. If you use a foreign name, make sure you spell it right, so people won’t misinterpret it. This is especially important if your business name has any special characters, such as diacritical marks.
- Avoid restricted words. Words such as FBI, Treasury, State Department, etc., can confuse your entity with governmental structures and are prohibited. Some words, such as “doctor” or “attorney,” may require additional paperwork and an additional licensed specialist to be a part of your company.
- Add a designator. The New York state law requires all LLC to include a designator in the company’s name. You can use “LLC’, “L.L.C.” or write a whole phrase.
- Reserve a domain name. Remember that your business name will become your domain name, so it’s advisable to conduct a domain name search to see if it’s available.
If you haven’t come up with a business name yet, don’t worry:
You can pick one of the online LLC formation services, and they will go through all the iterations of this process for you.
Step #2: Appoint a Registered Agent
The next thing you want to do to open an LLC in NY is select a registered agent. A registered agent is a company or a person that will handle all your business and legal documentation. It should also have a physical address and be a New York resident.
You can be your registered agent — just use a PO box and create a business e-mail — but we recommend that you pick one of our selection of reliable registered agent services that will do all the job for you and notify you about the important deadlines.
Step #3: Fill In the Paperwork
Now, you need to fill in the necessary paperwork. To start an LLC in NY, you typically need two documents:
- Articles of Organization (also called the Certificate of Formation). This document makes your business official and visible to the state. New York Department of State allows filling the Articles online, or printing them out, filling them in with the black pen, and mailing it to the Secretary of State.
- Operating Agreement. The Operating Agreement provides the State with detailed info about each member, their percentage of shares, voting rights, and responsibilities. It also gives information about what happens if you decide to dissolve the business or if one of the members decides to leave or dies.
You also will need to pay the New York state filing fee, which is $200.
Note that state fees are non-refundable, so try to fill in the paperwork correctly. If unsure, you can try one of the online incorporation services we’ve reviewed. These services feature skilled teams that will help you with the documents and make the turnaround time faster for an additional fee.
Step #4: Obtain Other Regulatory Documents
Along with essential documents, forming an LLC in NY requires you to obtain a couple more papers:
- EIN (Employer Identification Number). This number is necessary for opening a corporate bank account and paying taxes. The IRS will use the EIN as a tax identification number, so to keep your business in good standing with the state, make sure you have it.
- Business licenses. If you’re planning to open a law firm, a restaurant, a beauty salon, or medical practice, you will need a permit from the state to do that. Note that you should renew licenses each year.
Again, you can get your EIN and business licenses through an online LLC formation service or via a good attorney who will ensure that there are no mistakes.
Step #5: Publish your LLC
One of the crucial steps you need to take to start an LLC in NY is its publication.
To do this, you need to reach out to two different newspapers within 120 days of its effective date and publish a copy of your Articles of Organization or a notice about the LLC formation.
And here comes the tricky part:
- you should choose one weekly and one daily newspaper and publish your notice for six successive weeks;
- the newspapers must be approved by the local county clerk of the county you designate in your LLC or where your registered agent is located;
- each newspaper should provide you with an affidavit of publication, which you should submit to the Secretary of State along with the Certificate of Publication and a check that confirms your filing fee payment.
The cost of publication varies significantly from county to county. For example, in Albany, it is only $150, whereas if you need to publish in Manhattan or the Bronx, it will cost you more than $1,000.
Failure to publish the LLC within the 120-day timeframe will lose you a certificate of good standing and the ability to sue in NY courts (although your company can still be sued).
Step #6: Stay Compliant
Finally, after you opened an LLC in NY, published it, and are happily running a business, the only need you have left to do is to stay compliant with the state.
Compliance elongates your certificate of good standing, which is basically your business reputation, and might be an advantage in attracting investors and vendors.
And here’s how you stay compliant:
- Pay the annual state fee. The fee varies depending on your previous tax year's gross income and can be as low as $25 or as high as $4,500. You must pay the fee by filing the IT-204-LL form and submitting it to the New York Department of Taxation and Finance within 60 days after the end of your LLC’s tax year.
- File in income tax reports. The state regards every multi-member LLC as a partnership. Thus, to file a tax report, you should submit Form 1065 for the partnership tax return.
- Submit biennial reports. Every two years, you need to file a report for the New York Secretary of State and pay a $9 filing fee along with it. Don’t miss your deadline; otherwise, the late fee might cost you up to $250.
And the best part, of course, is that a lot of modern formation services can do this job for you and keep you updated about the deadlines.
What is the state filing fee for New York?
A non-refundable state filing fee for New York is $200.
Can I open an LLC in New York as a non-resident?
Yes, you can. Just make sure that a registered agent service of your choice is also located in New York.
Although opening a business in New York has a few unique things to consider along the way, it’s not that hard and opens a great market to your customers.
To start, pick a name for your business. Then, fill in the needed paperwork, and send it to the Secretary of State along with the state fee payment confirmation. After that, publish your LLC and let the state know about it, and keep your business compliant.
If you have enough time and skills, you can fill in the paperwork yourself or choose one of the business formation services online to save time and ensure the proper filing.
Are you planning to start a business in New York? Which county will you choose? Answer below!
Hours of Research