What Are Articles of Organization?

When structuring your business, you must follow each entity’s formation requirements, such as registering with your state, obtaining licenses and permits, and filing paperwork. If you decide to structure your business as a limited liability company (LLC), you must file articles of organization. What are articles of organization?

What are articles of organization?

Articles of organization are legal documents you must file with your state to structure as a limited liability company. Without these LLC formation documents, you cannot legally establish a limited liability company. You can either form a single- or multi-member LLC by filing articles of organization.

Your state might refer to its articles of organization as a certificate of organization or a certificate of formation. You do not file articles of organization with the federal government.

Do not confuse articles of organization with articles of incorporation. Although similar documents, the articles of incorporation are necessary to form S corporation or C Corp.

Articles of organization establish each LLC member’s control, liability, and responsibilities in the company. Your business’s filed LLC formation document is essentially a charter that allows your business to exist legally. The document prompts you for personal information, such as member names and the name of your business.

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Parts of the articles of organization

There is no standard articles of organization template. But, most states provide fillable articles of organization documents. You can find information about your state’s articles of organization form by going to your state government’s website.

Although states vary in what they ask on the formation document, most states ask the same basic information. Common information requested on the articles of organization documents includes:

  • Name and address of the LLC
  • Names and addresses of LLC members
  • Name and address of the appointed agent (i.e., the person to receive official documents)
  • Description of your business (e.g., business industry, business purpose, etc.)
  • Date of application

Your state might require more detailed information. Be sure to check with your state to find out what information you must include when filing articles of organization.

How to file articles of organization

If your state has a fillable PDF for its articles of organization template, filing is relatively straightforward. Generally, you can submit articles of organization by mailing, faxing, or uploading your completed document to your state government. Send your documentation to the state you form your LLC in.

You must pay your state a fee to file articles of organization. Articles of organization fees vary from state to state.

When completing your articles of organization, consider consulting a small business lawyer. They can verify that you answer all the necessary information on the form. If you have any questions, you can also reach out to your state.

After filing articles of organization, your state will notify you of acceptance or rejection, typically within a few weeks.

Filing articles of organization aren’t your only requirement for forming an LLC. You may also need to publish an announcement in your local newspaper. If you establish a multi-member LLC, consider adopting a co-founder, or operating, agreement.

Whether you structure as an LLC or choose a different business entity, you need a reliable accounting system. Patriot’s online accounting software makes it easy to track your business’s incoming and outgoing money. Get your free trial today!

This article has been updated from its original publication date of October 11, 2018.

This is not intended as legal advice; for more information, please click here.

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