How long have you been dreaming about owning your own business in Oklahoma? Months? Years? Whether it’s a coffee shop, plumbing repair business, or boutique clothing gallery, you’ll need to work your way through a few steps to ensure everything is done by the book. Yes, paperwork can be tedious, but the Sooner State isn’t unique in requiring start-ups to fill out some documents in order to legally launch a business.
But don’t get anxious thinking that there’s a long and complicated list of items to get through. In fact, if you’re choosing to form a limited liability company (vs. a partnership or corporation), you’ll probably have no trouble moving through these must-do actions. Below you’ll find detailed steps to help file your business name, create Articles of Organization, obtain an Employer Identification Number and designate a registered agent, among other tasks.
For those ready to kick off their dream of entrepreneurship, follow these action items:
How is an LLC formed in Oklahoma?
Most start-ups will opt to legally structure as an LLC because it requires fewer formalities than, say, a corporation while providing you protection from business-related debts and potential lawsuits.
As far as forming an LLC in Oklahoma, the process is pretty straightforward:
1. Name the company
Did the perfect name for your business come to you while you were taking a shower? Having a beer with a friend? Camping under the starry night sky? However it came to be, you’re probably eager to make it officially yours.
To do so, you’ll need to first ensure the name is still available in Oklahoma. Don’t worry if it’s not; there are some workarounds to improve your chances of getting the name you want. Here’s what you need to know:
- According to the laws in Oklahoma, your LLC’s name is required to include one of the following:
- Limited Liability Company
- Limited Company
Looking for brevity? You can abbreviate the word “Company” as “Co.” and the word “Limited” as “Ltd.”
- Your LLC’s name must be distinguishable from others on file with the Oklahoma Secretary of State. A quick check in the business name database will let you know if it’s taken. Is your name unique? Great. You can reserve an Application for Reservation of Name for just $10.
- If the name you’ve filed for your limited liability company feels too formal for real-world applications, you can also choose a trade name. To register this less-formal name, often referred to as a “doing business as” (DBA), you’ll need to fill out a Trade Name Report with the Oklahoma Secretary of State. You can do this by mail or online, but either way, the filing fee is $25.
2. Pick a registered agent
When filling out certain forms, you’ll note a place to list your registered agent. This person or business entity is charged with being available to accept important paperwork on behalf of your LLC.
3. File Articles of Organization with the State of Oklahoma
Don’t let the formal name intimidate you. Articles of Organization require little more than basic information, including the name, address, and email of your LLC; the terms of its existence (a term of years, a fixed date or perpetual); and the signature of a manager, member of LLC representative.
You can file by mail or online through the Oklahoma Secretary of State’s Entity Filing site. Either way, you’ll need to pay the $100 filing fee.
4. Create an operating agreement
Among the required pieces to launch your LLC, you’ll also have an optional piece: the operating agreement.
It’s understandable that you’d want to skip tasks that aren’t mandatory. After all, you’re probably incredibly busy. But this document (which is primarily for internal purposes only), helps flesh out important details, such as the rights, powers, duties, and responsibilities of everyone involved with your limited liability company.
The operating agreement serves to ensure your LLC is governed by the rules YOU set rather than default rules created by the State of Oklahoma.
If you’re not familiar with what goes into an operating agreement, just do a quick Google search. There are plenty of articles and templates to help you work up a simple piece.
5. Obtain an EIN
Getting an Employer Identification Number (EIN) is not only simple but also free. You’ll need an EIN if any of the following apply to your LLC:
- Your business is a one-member LLC but it will have employees
- Your business is a one-member LLC and will be taxed as a corporation instead of a sole proprietorship
- Your business has more than one member
Be sure to read through the directions before submitting your application on the IRS website as you’ll need to complete it in one session.
6. File an Annual Certificate
Every state has its own rules for filing annual or biannual reports and in Oklahoma, you’ll be filing an annual certificate. To avoid late penalties, you’ll want to ensure you file your annual certificate each year before the anniversary date of the creation of your LLC.
Like most forms, you can file online with the Oklahoma Secretary of State or mail in your annual certificate. Whichever way you decide to file, be sure to include the $25 fee.
What is an Oklahoma registered agent?
Every U.S. state will ask you to name a registered agent on some of the forms. This person or entity must have agreed to accept important documents on behalf of your limited liability company.
Do I really need a registered agent in Oklahoma?
Yes, a registered agent is required on some of the paperwork you’ll need to file when forming your LLC.
Can I be my own registered agent in Oklahoma?
Yes, you can serve as your own registered agent in Oklahoma.
Who can be a registered agent in Oklahoma?
Curious what the rules are for serving as a registered agent in Oklahoma? They’re essentially the same thing in every state:
- If it’s an individual, the person has to be at least 18.
- Whether a business entity or individual, a street address in Oklahoma is required. This can be an office, home, or business. (No post office boxes are allowed.)
- The person or business serving as your registered agent must be able to accept document deliveries Monday through Friday during regular business hours.
Why would a company choose to work with a registered agent service?
Are you contemplating the idea of serving as your own registered agent to save a few bucks? It’s understandable, but before you commit to a DIY role, consider the following advantages to paying someone else to do it:
- Local options. Have you set up an office, storefront, or residence in Oklahoma yet? If not, you can’t fulfill the requirements to be your own registered agent. Luckily, there are plenty of commercial registered agents in the state with an Oklahoma street address.
- Availability. Can you commit to staying in one building from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday? Chances are, as a new business owner, you’ll be very busy at off-site meetings. You may need to train employees, choose vendors, and oversee the work of contractors. Paying a commercial registered agent will free up your schedule so you can take care of business.
- Privacy. It’s common practice for uniformed law enforcement to deliver important paperwork to LLCs, especially when legal documents are involved. Granted, not every delivery will include lawsuit filings, but how will witnesses know the difference? It’s vital that you consider the consequences of your neighbors, employees, and/or customers seeing law enforcement show up at your office, business, or home. Opting for a commercial registered agent will help ensure privacy.
- Experience. Still on the fence about whether to be your own registered agent? How about weighing in on your familiarity with state and federal deadlines and compliance regulations? It’s highly likely that most commercial registered agents will have more experience than you do on these matters.
- Time savings. Even if you’re experienced with the necessary paperwork that’s required for your LLC, do you have the time to take care of it? For less than $100, it’s probably worth hiring a registered agent to take the responsibility off your plate.
List of Oklahoma registered agent services
If you’re convinced a commercial registered agent is a way to go, here are a few in Oklahoma to consider:
- Incfile.com: Incfile.com can help entrepreneurs file their LLC formation paperwork and serve as the company’s registered agent. The online company offers a host of beneficial business services that includes filing reports and other necessary documents with the state. The first year is free. After that, it’s $119 a year.
- Northwest Registered Agent: For $125 a year, Northwest Registered Agent offers an online portal, real-time updates when mail is received, and pricing that remains the same each year. The company offers its services in several states and has years of experience in the field. Additional business services are also offered.
- Swyft Filings: Swyft Filings offers registered agent services that start at $149 a year. Users get an online dashboard, report and filing reminders, and secure document storage for this fee. In addition, the company has a buffet of other business services available when you have a need.
How much does a registered agent service cost in Oklahoma?
Registered agents in Oklahoma tend to charge anywhere from $49 to $125.
How does an owner select a registered agent in Oklahoma?
After you’ve compared prices, services, and reviews, choose an Oklahoma registered agent and simply fill in the information they provide on any forms that require it to launch your LLC.
Can a company change its registered agent?
Changing your registered agent in Oklahoma is a simple process. Just fill out the Change or Designation of Registered Agent and/or Registered Office on the Oklahoma Secretary of State website (or you can do it in person or by mail) and pay the $25 filing fee.
What’s a resident agent?
In Oklahoma, you may hear a resident agent referred to as an agent for service of process.
What’s a commercial registered agent?
When filling out the forms for your LLC, you may be asked if your registered agent is commercial or noncommercial. If you’re paying someone to be your registered agent, choose commercial. If you’re doing it yourself, choose noncommercial.