Setting up your business as a limited liability company can help you protect your personal assets. You can also enjoy some tax and legal advantages.
The process of forming an LLC in Arizona has a few extra requirements compared to other states, such as publishing a Notice of LLC Formation in a local newspaper. Even so, the process is straightforward and fairly easy.
I've recently registered my own LLC and I’ve written this detailed guide with 6 easy steps to set up your new Arizona business.
6 Steps to Start an LLC in Arizona
1. Name Your LLC
To start filing the documents needed to form your Arizona LLC, you first need to select a business name.
Your business name should meet Arizona’s naming requirements for LLCs:
- Your business name must clearly indicate that it’s an LLC, by including the words Limited Liability Company, LLC, or L.L.C.
- Your name should be distinct from other existing businesses in Arizona. You can check whether your chosen name is in use by searching the Arizona Corporation Commission’s business name database.
- Including certain restricted words such as "bank," "credit union," and "attorney" will require you to complete additional licensing and paperwork.
- Your name can’t include words used by government agencies, such as "treasury," "FBI," or "state department."
Once you’ve settled on a name for your business, secure the domain name for your website.
If you’d like to guarantee your chosen name stays available until you formally register your LLC, you can reserve it for 120 days by filing an Application to Reserve Limited Liability Company Name with the Arizona Corporation Commission. You can submit this form either online for a $45 fee, or by direct mail for a $10 fee.
2. Appoint a Statutory Agent
Arizona’s state laws require every LLC to appoint a statutory agent, referred to as a registered agent in most other U.S. states.
A statutory agent is a person (which could be yourself or an employee) or entity authorized to receive legal documents and notices on behalf of your business.
Your chosen statutory agent can either be an entity that provides statutory agent services, or a person. In either case, they must have an address within Arizona and be available to accept documents during regular business hours.
Finally, to make it official, they must accept the role in writing by filling out the Statutory Agent Acceptance form with the Articles of Organization.
3. File Your Articles of Organization
You need to prepare and file the Articles of Organization with the Arizona Corporation Commission. This is a document that lays out various basic information about your LLC.
You will typically need to fill out the following information about your new business:
- Your LLC’s name and business address
- Whether your LLC is a regular LLC or a professional one – and if it’s a professional one, a description of the services offered
- Your statutory agent’s name and address
- Your LLC’s management structure
- The signature of your LLC’s organizer
You can complete and file your articles online or by obtaining a copy of the Articles of Organization form on the Arizona Corporation Commission website and submitting it by direct mail. The filing fee for your articles is $50.
In Arizona, it’s vital that you include the Statutory Agent Acceptance form with your submission – this is the form that officially establishes your chosen statutory agent in writing.
4. Receive a Certification From The State
Once your submitted Articles of Organization have been reviewed and approved, the state will send you a certificate confirming that your LLC legally exists.
The approval time to receive your certificate in Arizona depends on whether you file your articles online or by direct mail. Direct mail filing approvals typically take 4-5 weeks. Online filing approvals only take 1-2 business days once your statutory agent accepts their role by email.
This certificate from the state allows your LLC to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN), business licenses, and a business bank account.
5. Write an Operating Agreement
An operating agreement typically consists of basic information about your business, its management structure, and the rights and responsibilities of its managers and members.
In Arizona, LLCs aren’t legally required to have an operating agreement, but it’s highly recommended. It can help you settle legal disputes you may encounter in the future. Without an operating agreement, the courts make their decision on how to proceed solely based on state law, rather than considering the interests of your LLC as detailed in this document.
By having an operating agreement in place, you also help preserve your personal liability by showing that your LLC is its own business entity. In the event of any financial or legal difficulties for your company, you minimize your personal risk, and will not be held personally responsible – only your LLC will.
6. Meet Your Publication Requirements
Most Arizona counties require new LLCs to publish a Notice of LLC Formation within 60 days after their articles are approved by the Arizona Corporations Commission. If you fail to meet this requirement, your LLC may be subject to being legally dissolved.
You need to publish this notice in a newspaper in circulation in the county in which your LLC does business, for three consecutive publications – for example, three consecutive days in a daily newspaper.
Keep in mind, however, if your LLC is based in Maricopa or Pima counties, you won’t need to follow this process. The Corporations Commission will publish LLCs in these counties on its website instead.
The Next Steps After Forming an LLC in Arizona
Once you’ve officially registered your Arizona LLC, it’s worth taking a few extra steps toward getting your business ready to open.
1. Set Up Your Payment System
Before you can truly kickstart your Arizona business, you need to have a bulletproof payment system in place.
Pay.com is a service payment provider that gives your business a reliable way to receive payments from your customers. You can accept all major credit and debit cards, digital wallets, and many other payment methods.
Our advanced developer API gives you the option to seamlessly integrate Pay.com into your website. We also have user-friendly no-code solutions if you choose to go the less technical route.
One of Pay.com’s key benefits is the Pay Dashboard. This is a central hub that offers you a clear overview of all your payments and transactions in one place. Using the Dashboard, you can analyze your LLC’s revenue for any period of time, and create custom reports and analysis of customer data.
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2. Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN)
If your LLC has more than one member, or if you plan to hire more employees, you need to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN). You can obtain one from the IRS, online or by direct mail.
Single-member LLCs can skip this step. However, it’s still worth having an EIN for several reasons. It can help you keep your personal finances separate from your business finances, allow you to open a business bank account for your LLC, and gives you the option to hire employees in the future.
3. Obtain Arizona Licenses and Permits
Before you can start legally doing business in Arizona, you may need certain licenses and permits. However, this will vary depending on the type of business you operate. Here are some common examples of licenses and permits that Arizona businesses may need to seek out:
- Zoning permits
- Health department permits
- Professional licenses
- Seller’s permit (Arizona TPT license)
The Bottom Line
Setting up an LLC in Arizona is a straightforward process once you understand the steps involved, especially when you compare this with the more involved process in other U.S. states.
Once you’ve set up your Arizona business as an LLC, you can start enjoying all the benefits this brings. This includes protecting your personal assets in the event of debts and lawsuits – all without adding extensive corporate taxes or operational overhead.
With Pay.com, your business can quickly and easily start accepting multiple payment methods, including credit cards and digital wallets. We are completely transparent about our fees, and we always offer industry-leading rates.
Leave the payments to us, and spend your time optimizing other aspects of your new Arizona LLC.