Utah entrepreneurs, if you’re ready to set up a business in the state, you’re in the right place. We’ve created a complete resource to help business owners legally establish a company in the state of Utah.
There are a series of steps that must be taken to get a company off the ground. From naming the company and picking a registered agent to file LLC formation documents, the state has a laundry list of things every entrepreneur must complete before selling any kind of product or service.
The terms ‘registered agent’ and ‘LLC formation documents’ might be new to you. A registered agent is a person or company that accepts documents on behalf of your company. LLC formation documents are specific forms that the state requests of all companies to open in the state.
We’ll explain how to set up a Utah LLC, including how to select a registered agent, in this helpful guide.
How is an LLC formed in Utah?
In Utah, you can form an LLC by following these steps:
1. Name the company
The company name that you select must be unique, which is to say that no other company in the state can have the same name. To check a name’s availability, run a quick search on the Utah Division of Corporations website.
Now is also a good time to check into the availability of a company domain name. Often, the domain name and the company name match. If the company name is available but the domain name isn’t, does that change things for you? It’s important to work through these scenarios before you officially select a company name.
The state also has a few other rules when it comes to selecting a company name. The rules include:
- The name must have “Limited Liability Company” or “LLC” in the name.
- The name can’t refer to or imply any connection with the government. No company name can include any kind of government reference either, like the FBI or IRS.
- There are some names that may need additional approval from state officials. Each state is different with its approval process. In Utah, the only names that may trigger more investigation are names that make claims. A company named “Corporate Lawyers and Legal Services,” for example, may need to show how they can provide those services.
2. Pick a registered agent
One of the first decisions you’ll make as an owner is to select a registered agent for your company. A registered agent is a person or company that receives documents on behalf of your business. The documents are often confidential, so select a registered agent with care.
Commonly, the owner serves as the company’s registered agent, but another person or a company can be selected. We’ll explore who can and can’t be a registered agent in the State of Utah later.
3. File the Certificate of Organization
To officially form a Utah LLC, the owner must file a Certificate of Organization. These documents are the only legal way to establish a business in the state. They’re not difficult to fill out, especially if you’ve worked through the steps above.
Entrepreneurs can find the necessary documents on the Utah Department of Commerce Division of Corporations website. Be prepared to provide the company name and address, the registered agent’s name and address, a list of managing members, a list of products or services, the start date of the company, and the end date of the company (if applicable). A signature is also required before it’s submitted.
The forms can be submitted online or they can be downloaded and mailed in.
There is a $70 filing fee.
The State of Utah will take two days to process the document if it’s submitted electronically and up to a week if it’s mailed in.
Once approved, a business is officially formed in the State of Utah.
4. Create a company operating agreement
The State of Utah doesn’t require LLCs to create an operating agreement, but that doesn’t mean this is something you should ignore. An operating agreement provides clear direction on how the company runs, who’s in charge, and how profits and losses are managed.
The document, which should be finalized before opening to the public, can prevent power struggles or corporate problems in the future.
To create this document, entrepreneurs can speak with their lawyer to have the document drawn up, or there are templates online that can provide DIY owners with some guidance.
5. Obtain an EIN
Another item on your checklist should be to get an EIN or an employer identification number. An EIN is a nine-digit number that the IRS issues. You can go to the IRS website and obtain an EIN instantly by answering a few questions. The whole process takes about five minutes.
This is an important step that shouldn’t be skipped. Every business owner needs an EIN to:
- Hire and pay employees
- Open business bank accounts
- File and pay taxes
6. File an annual renewal
Every Utah LLC must file an annual renewal, which is that state’s equivalent of an annual report. The report is filed with the Utah Divisions of Corporations and there’s a $20 filing fee. The state usually sends a reminder notice to LLCs within 60 days of their company’s renewal date.
What is a Utah registered agent?
A registered agent agrees to receive legal paperwork on behalf of your company. Think of this person as a point of contact for the business. If tax forms, court documents, or paperwork that’s served during a lawsuit needs to be delivered, the registered agent will receive these kinds of notices.
Do I really need a registered agent in Utah?
Yes. The State of Utah requires every LLC to list a registered agent on its LLC formation documents and continually maintain that contact as long as the company is in business.
Can I be my own registered agent in Utah?
Yes. As the owner, you can elect yourself. It’s common for an owner to serve as a company’s registered agent. However, the owner can select another trusted person like an employee or a friend. Another company, like a registered agent service, can also be appointed to the position.
Who can be a registered agent in Utah?
In Utah, a registered agent can be any adult or company with a physical address and daytime availability. Whether it’s a person or a company, the choice is up to the owner, but the state must have a street address to send correspondence to. A P.O. box will not suffice.
Since documents are delivered during the day, the registered agent must be available during regular business hours to accept notices that may be sent via registered mail or delivered in person.
Why would a company choose to work with a registered agent service?
The role of a registered agent isn’t difficult, so you might be wondering why hiring a registered agent service is necessary. A registered agent service will accept notices for your company and notify you of any deliveries. Some business owners swear by these services. Here are a few reasons why:
- Convenience. A registered agent should be available during regular business hours to receive documents as needed. For owners who travel for work or aren’t in the office much, daytime availability is a challenge. As a result, paying a registered service agent is easier and more convenient.
- Peace of mind. Employees can make mistakes and misplace confidential documents, but a registered agent service is in business specifically to handle this kind of thing. It gives owners peace of mind knowing that a company is managing this aspect of the company.
- Privacy. Registered agents will receive court documents in the event your company is sued. To avoid you or another employee from “being served” in front of customers, having documents delivered off site provides an additional layer of privacy.
List of Utah registered agent services
For those looking for a registered agent service, a quick Google search will provide a list of choices. In addition, LLC organizers can reach out to the secretary of state’s office, which usually has a list of options on file.
To get you started, here are several registered agent services in Utah that you can explore:
- 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 Utah?
For basic services, a registered agent service will cost about $50 a year. For more advanced features, the price will climb upwards of $100-200 annually.
The price depends on the features you want. If you’re just looking for a company to accept documents and notify you when something comes in, the cost is fairly minimal at about $50 a year. If you’re looking for a company that can help you file reports with the state, that’s when the price goes up.
Many companies will offer a discount if you agree to a multi-year contract. For example, if you sign up for two or three years of service, you can likely save 20% of the annual cost.
How does an owner select a registered agent in Utah?
The owner selects a registered agent by filing the person or company name and address with the state. The first place a registered agent is listed is on LLC formation documents.
Can a company change its registered agent?
Yes. Updates can be made to an LLCs registered agent at any time. In Utah, a change form must be filed with the Utah Department of Commerce. A $15 fee is charged to file this document with the state.
What’s a statutory agent?
A registered agent has several different names, depending on the state. Utah uses the term registered agent, but other states like Arizona, for example, use the term statutory agent. The name ‘service of process agent’ and ‘resident agent’ is also used, though registered agent is most commonly used.
What’s a commercial registered agent?
A commercial agent is a registered agent service. If your company hires out this service, you have a commercial registered agent. If it’s not outsourced, it’s considered a non-commercial agent.