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CALIFORNIA

Why Form a Limited Liability Company (LLC)?


$49 + State Fee & 1st Year FREE Registered Agent

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Registered Agents and Your California LLC

Every LLC — whether it’s registered in the state of California or elsewhere — needs to have a “Registered Agent.” A registered agent is a person or business you choose who can accept legal notices for your Limited Liability Company (LLC) on your behalf. If you choose a person to be your registered agent, they must reside in California. If you choose a business as your registered agent, they must be able to conduct business in California.

What Type of Legal Notices Might a California Registered Agent Receive?

A registered agent may receive, on behalf of your LLC:

  • Correspondence from the California Secretary of State
  • Service of process notices (e.g. if your LLC is sued or required to appear in court)
  • Official state and federal government correspondence and notifications
  • Tax forms and requests to complete permits, company filings and reports

If you don’t have a physical presence in the state where you’re registered, you do need an agent to accept important documents on behalf of your business. Please note that a secretary of state does need the address of your registered agent and it needs to be a street address, not a PO Box.

A registered agent might also be known as a “Corporate Agent,” "Resident Agent," “Agent for Service of Process” or "Statutory Agent."

Acting As Your Own Registered Agent

If you permanently reside in the state of California, you can choose to be your own registered agent, however you may decide not to be, for several reasons:

  • You should always have someone on hand to receive important documents for your business. If you’re not always available, consider using a third-party service like Incfile.
  • The registered agent’s name and address is part of the public record and available through the California Secretary of State's website. If you would prefer your name and address isn’t published, you might choose a registered agent service.
  • If you change your business address, you don’t need to file additional documentation with the secretary of state for the new address of your registered agent.

If You Don’t Have a Registered Agent for Your California LLC

There can be significant issues if you fail to provide a registered agent, these include:

  • Not having the information you need — if your business is sued and you don’t know about it, you could lose to a default judgement in your absence.
  • Failing to meet filing deadlines — California LLCs need to file certain documents with the secretary of state. This could mean you face fines and penalties.
  • Losing your status as an LLC — a registered agent “proves” to the state that your business exists. Without it, you could lose your business entity protections and your LLC may be dissolved.

Incfile Will Provide a Registered Agent for California on Behalf of Your LLC

Here at Incfile, we have an expert registered agent service. We provide the first year of this service completely for free if you choose to form your LLC with us. After the first year, it’s only $99 for subsequent years — a small price for your peace of mind. Here’s what our service provides:

  • An always available registered agent service that can receive correspondence, documents, and legal proceedings on your behalf
  • A digital dashboard where you can access, store, and retrieve any information we’ve received for your business
  • Email notification whenever we receive documents for your business
  • Automatic forwarding of all correspondence, documentation, and information directly to you

Only $49 + State Free To Launch Your Business

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What are the fees and requirements to form a business in California?

Filing Time and Price

The state charges this amount to file a new business entity. This fee goes directly to the Secretary of State.

State Fee State Filing Time Expedited Filing Time
$100 18 Business Days 10-12 Business Days

Compliance Requirements

This report is mandatory and must be filed within the specified time frame in order for the entity to remain in good standing with the state. Failure to file this report can lead to the company being revoked or administratively dissolved.

Statement of Information

Frequency: Biennially

Due Date: During six-month period ending on last day of anniversary month of incorporation or qualification.

Filing Free: $20

Important:The initial Statement of Information filing is due within 90 days of the entity formation date.

 

California Franchise Tax

Frequency: Annually

Franchise Tax Fee: $800 (minimum)
$800 payment for the LLC Franchise Tax is due by 15th day of the 4th month after your LLC is filed. The month your LLC is filed counts as Month 1, regardless if you file on the 1st of the month, the last of the month, or any day of the month, really. This means that if you were to file your LLC on March 22nd, then you must pay the $800 fee no later than June 15th (in this example, March is Month 1, April is Month 2, May is Month 3, and June is Month 4). Then, every year after your first payment $800 LLC Franchise Tax will be due by April 15th. You pay the $800 LLC Franchise Tax using Form 3522 called the LLC Tax Voucher.
(We do not assist in the filing of the Franchise Tax Report)

Learn more about starting a business in California

Additional resources, guides, and articles for better decision making.

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