How to Start an LLC in Oklahoma: Step by Step

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LLC Oklahoma flag flying in front of rising sun.

Estimated reading time: 15 minutes

Creating an LLC in Oklahoma is a smart idea. In fact, the capital city of the Sooner State ranks very high for entrepreneurs looking to start a business.

Not only does Oklahoma City rank in the top five across the nation in terms of low cost of doing business, but the city also boasts low energy costs, as well as reasonable local and state taxes.

In addition, the state offers a number of incentives to small business employers who choose to start or expand a business in Oklahoma.

So, let’s dive into how to start an LLC in Oklahoma step by step.

Choose a Business Entity for Your LLC in OK

To understand how to start a business in Oklahoma, you need to understand entity formation.  Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) and Corporations are the most popular business types.

Business formation is important because it sets your company apart as a professional company and not just a hobby.

Corporation

A corporation is a legal entity created separately from those who own and operate it. A corporation’s debts and taxes are separate from its owners, thereby offering the greatest personal liability protection of all business structures. The two most common types of corporations are S and C corporations.

Limited Liability Company

LLCs are the most popular business structure, blending the aspects of corporations, partnerships, and sole proprietorships into a simple and flexible business entity. Like corporations, LLC formation protects the owner’s personal assets and also shields them from personal liability similar to a corporation. They also possess the “pass-through” tax benefits of a partnership.

There are two types of LLCs. LLC run by just own person (single-member LLC) and LLCs run by multiple people (multi-member LLCs)

Starting a LLC in OK can be difficult and confusing, especially as a first time business owner. But with a company like Inc Authority in your corner, you’ll not only have your LLC formed for you, but you’ll also get expert guidance beyond business formation, so you never have to wonder or worry about what to do next!

What About DBAs?

DBAs (which stands for “doing business as”) grant business owners the ability to conduct business under an assumed name. A DBA is also referred to as a fictitious business name and is an authorization by the state for your business to operate under an assumed name. 

For sole proprietors and owners of LLCs, DBAs offer an affordable way to gain legal recognition for the secondary name of your choice.

  • Sole proprietors: For sole proprietors starting a new business, DBAs are a budget-conscious way to gain legal status and work under a creative company name.
  • LLC owners: If the name on your LLC paperwork and your business name differ, DBAs offer the opportunity to operate as an LLC under a different legal name.

A DBA provides privileges like the ability to open a bank account, create enforceable contracts and establish federal employer tax status (getting an EIN). It’s possible to file multiple DBAs, allowing a single LLC to operate different businesses under the same legal umbrella. If you’re starting a business or expanding your LLC in OK, get the proper legal recognition early on to start off on the right legal footing. 

Our entity-setup service is 100% free.
We’ll waive our service charges, labor costs, and overhead. You only pay the state fees and postage, which are mandatory regardless of who incorporates for you. Start now for free!

Oklahoma State Filing Fee

The cost to start an Oklahoma limited liability company (LLC) is only $100. This fee is paid to the Oklahoma Secretary of State when filing the LLC’s Articles of Organization. When you compare this cost to Massachusetts’ $500 filing fee, you’ll realize how lucky you are to be in such an affordable state.

You also might want to file what most states call a Certificate of Good Standing. This certificate is used to say that a company is authorized and incorporated to conduct business in a certain state. It demonstrates two important things:

  1. The company has been in existence from the time of incorporation; and
  2. that no action is currently being undertaken in order to remove the company from the register.

You can order by fax, mail, email, phone, in person, or online, but we recommend online.

Oklahoma State Filing Fee:$100
Oklahoma State Filing Time:3 – 4 business days
Certificate of Good Standing$20

Oklahoma Secretary of State Address:
Colcord Center
421 NW 13th St, Suite 210/220
Oklahoma City, OK 73103

Create a Business Name

Forming an LLC in OK requires you to figure out your corporation or LLC name and reserve that name. Name reservation is actually one of the biggest decisions you’ll make. It may not seem as important as choosing the type of business entity, but it is. As a matter of fact, many legal issues can arise from choosing the wrong name for your business startup.

  • Under Oklahoma law, an LLC name must include the words “Limited Liability Company” or “Limited Company,” or the abbreviations “LLC,” “LC,” L.L.C.,” or L.C.” The word “Limited” may be abbreviated as “Ltd.,” and the word “Company” may be abbreviated as “Co.”
  • Your LLC’s name must be distinguishable from the names of other business entities already on file with the Oklahoma Secretary of State. You can conduct an Oklahoma business name search via the Oklahoma Secretary of State’s business name database.
  • You can reserve a name for 60 days by filing an Application for Reservation Name with the Oklahoma Secretary of State. This reservation can be filed through the Oklahoma Secretary of State’s entity filing site or by mail. The cost is $10.

Oklahoma LLC Registration  

Let’s take a look at how to register a business in Oklahoma, including payables such as the cost, government fees, and so on.

Filing an Oklahoma Articles of Organization

An Oklahoma LLC is created by filing an Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State. The articles must include the following:

  • the LLC’s name
  • the street address of the LLC’ s principal place of business
  • the LLC’s email address
  • the LLC’s term of existence–perpetual or a term of years or fixed date, and
  • the signature of a member, manager, or representative

The articles can be filed online through the Oklahoma Secretary of State’s entity filing site or by postal mail. The filing fee is $100.

The information below is necessary to complete the form:

  1. Entity Name
  2. Location of LLC Office
  3. Service of Process Address
  4. Registered Agent
  5. Management Structure
  6. Effective and Dissolution Dates

Operating Agreement

Oklahoma does not require LLCs to have operating agreements, but it is highly advisable to have one. An operating agreement helps protect your limited liability status, prevent financial and managerial misunderstandings, and ensure that you decide on the rules governing your business instead of state law by default.

In addition, your operating agreement outlines the structure and purpose of your company as determined by your LLC members and will bind all the members of your LLC.

Issues that should be defined by your LLC Operating Agreement include:

  • Member powers
  • Rules for meetings
  • Members’ voting rights
  • How your LLC will be managed
  • Guidelines for losses and profits
  • Buyout provisions

Once the operating agreement has been adopted, it will provide protection for the members of your LLC. When the members of your LLC have agreed on the terms of your operating agreement and have signed the document, you should keep the agreement in a secure location.

Inc Authority can remind you to do or do for you if you choose to have us handle the paperwork.

Get Your Employer Identification Number or EIN

The next step you’ll want to tackle is getting your EIN or Tax ID number (TIN). This number is like your business’s social security number, separating you from your business. This protects you from fraud and identity theft.

Additionally, an EIN is required by your bank to open a Business Checking Account, file tax returns, obtain payroll services and credit cards, and pay for any LLC cost that OK laws require.

To apply for your EIN, you’ll need to complete form SS-4, which can be found on the IRS website.

Assign a Registered Agent for your LLC in OK

There are an estimated 38 million home-based businesses in the U.S., so if you’re thinking about starting a business in your home, you’re definitely not alone.

But did you know that all businesses are required by law to have an address where they can accept service of legal documents (like a service of process) from the state or government agencies during normal business days and hours? Without an office, that would be your street address or P.O. box.

As you can imagine, that’s not always possible (or advisable) with a home-based or foreign-filed business. That’s where a registered agent comes in.

A registered agent is a responsible third-party in the same state as your business who receives official government notifications (usually tax forms and notice of lawsuits) on behalf of your LLC in OK.

Even if you aren’t planning on starting a home-based business or foreign LLC, having a registered agent is still advisable because it will:

  • Limit third party access to your personal information
  • Ensure that you never miss important documents
  • Protect the privacy of owners
  • Eliminate junk mail
  • Ensure you’re never served with legal papers in front of your clients
  • And more!

Setting up a Registered Agent Service

It is important to note that every Oklahoma LLC must have an agent for service of process in the state. This is an individual or business entity that agrees to accept legal papers on the LLC’s behalf if it is sued. The registered agent may be one of the following:

  1. An Oklahoma resident
  2. An Oklahoma LLC itself  
  3. A domestic or foreign business entity authorized to do business in Oklahoma. The registered agent must have a physical street address in Oklahoma.

While it is possible to act as your own registered agent, it is not advisable. That’s why most companies hire a third-party (a professional service) to act as their registered agent.

Why not let Inc Authority act as your registered agent. We’ll be the buffer between your business’ legal matters and your physical place of business. That way, anyone trying to locate you, or the LLC must first come through us.

Learn more about our registered agent services here.

Filing an Annual Certificate

All Oklahoma LLCs and foreign LLCs authorized to do business in the state must file an annual certificate with the Oklahoma Secretary of State. The annual certificate must be filed each year by the anniversary date of your LLC. Please note that there are penalties for late filings. You can file the report online through the Oklahoma Secretary of State Entity Filing webpage or by mail. The fee for filing the annual certificate is $25.

Open a Business Bank Account

To keep your personal and business expenses separate and to stay in good standing with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), you need to open a business bank account for your LLC or corporation.

Setting up a separate bank account for your company makes it easier to for you do business, manage a cash balance, complete, and file your income tax returns with the Oklahoma Department of Revenue, deduct business expenses for taxes, conduct proper accounting, and execute employee payroll. Bank accounts also provide better protection in the event of legal action.

Additionally, business bank accounts create historical relevance through the relationship established with the bank, and can create unrestricted access to long-term funding options, business credit cards, and other financial solutions.

Types of Business Bank Accounts

Not all business bank accounts are created equal. That’s why it’s important to distinguish between the good, the bad, and the best business bank accounts.

Checking Accounts

A business checking is the most common type of business bank account and the first one you’ll want to open for your business. This because business check accounts allow you to: 

  • Accept deposits (over-the-counter cash, checks, credit card, and electronic deposits). 
  • Pay for business-related expenditures (payroll, taxes, business insurance, vendors, lenders, and everything imaginable that you’ll need to operate your business). 
  • Keep detailed records of all expenses and income.
  • Protect your money. This account is Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insured, meaning you’re covered up to $250,000 by the federal government should anything happen to the bank or your money.
  • Support dual signatures. If you have a partnership or employees, you may wish to make it required that two signatures be present whenever a withdrawal or deposit is made.

Savings Accounts

This one should come as no surprise. A business savings account (like a personal savings accounts) lets you safely save money in a bank.  You don’t need this right away though, only when you have an abundance of capital sitting in your business checking account, will you need to open a savings account. It allows you to: 

  • Make saving money a habit. The most successful companies (think blue chips like Wal-Mart, Amazon, General Mills, Hershey’s, and General Electric) all have solid reserves of capital.
  • Protect your business during a cash-crunch. Incidentally, 80% of businesses fail because of cash flow problems.
  • Save money so that you don’t have to take out expensive business loans.
  • Maintain liquidity. With a business savings account, you can liquidate assets to buy equipment, purchase real estate, and make other big purchases for your business. 
  • Build business credit. Yes, having a business savings account can actually help you establish and build business credit.

Business Certificate of Deposits

A business certificate of deposit (CD) is a term account that offers maximum security and a guaranteed rate of return. You agree to lend your business’s money to the bank for a set period of time at an agreed-upon interest rate. The interest rates are usually higher than you’d receive from a business savings account or interest-bearing business checking account. 

Here are the main features of a business certificate of deposit:

  • It pays out 1% or more in interest. Some CDs pay over 2% in interest
  • You cannot liquidate the account until the term expires. This means you can’t spend the money. 
  • The longer the term, the higher the interest rate.
  • Different banks offer different term limits. Some CD terms are for a week, months, or even years.

Money Market Accounts

This is a lesser-known type of business a bank account and isn’t for every business owner. You’ll want this type of account if you have a lot of money saved, want higher interest rates than a business savings account or interest-bearing business checking account, but still want some access to your money.

Here are the main features of a business money market account:

  • Six withdrawals per month. 
  • Deposit money anytime.
  • Deposit as much money as you like.
  • Higher interest rates (currently between .1% and 1.6% APY)
  • Require a minimum balance.
  • Penalties if you withdraw more than six times in a month. Ask your banker what the penalty is if you withdraw more than six times.

How to Open a Business Bank Account

Opening a business bank account is as simple as gathering some information together and completing an application. Here are the steps to open a business checking account:

  1. Do your due diligence. Research different banks and discover what each one offers. Then decide which one will work best for your business type. An easy way to do this research is to check out some of our business bank reviews.
  2. Get a tax ID number. You can get one free EIN from the IRS. If you think you already have one, here’s how to look up an EIN.
  3. Gather your business formation documents (for LLCs and Corporations).
  4. Gather your business license or business name filing paperwork.
  5. Call the bank and find out what other items you’ll need to open a business bank account. Every bank has different requirements, so make sure you check with them first before attempting to open a business bank account. Sometimes this information will be listed on the bank’s website.
  6. Go in person or online to complete all necessary paperwork and submit your business documents.

At Inc Authority, we make getting a business bank account easy. How so? Well, when you form your business with us, you gain access to a free Bank of America business checking account. So, don’t wait! Form your LLC in OK today!

Tax and Regulatory Requirements

Specific tax and regulatory requirements apply to your Oklahoma LLC, which include the following:

EIN: If your LLC has more than one member, it must obtain its own IRS Employer Identification Number (EIN) — even if it has no employees. If you form a one-member LLC, you must obtain an EIN only if it will have employees or you elect to have it taxed as a corporation instead of a sole proprietorship. You may obtain an EIN by completing an online EIN application on the IRS website. There is no filing fee.

Business Licenses: Depending on its type of business and where it is located, your LLC may need to obtain other local and state business licenses. For local licenses, check with the clerk for the city where the LLC’s primary place of business is located (or county if it is in an unincorporated area). For state license information, consult the Business Licensing & Operating Requirements site on the Oklahoma Department of Commerce website.

Tax Commission: If you have employees or will be selling goods and collecting sales tax, you’ll need to register with the Oklahoma Tax Commission (OTC). Depending on the tax involved, you can register online using the Oklahoma Taxpayer Access Point (TAP) site.

Getting Started with Your Oklahoma LLC

Forming a professional LLC or corporation in Oklahoma is an exciting opportunity, but like starting any business it can be overwhelming. Why not let the business experts at Inc Authority do all the heavy lifting for you?

We’ll form your LLC or corporation, run a business name check, get your EIN, and make sure you have all the licenses and permits needed to run your business. We can also advise you on the things you need to pay, such as LLC cost, OK state fees, and other payables.

Not to mention we offer a ton of free management and report tools to help make running your business as simple as possible. Please contact us or visit our website today to get started!

GET STARTED

Incorporating is the most powerful thing you can do to legitimize your business. And at IncAuthority.com, our setup LLC services are 100% free. Always. So, don’t wait. Form your free LLC today and enjoy the protection due to you and your business under the law.