How to Start an LLC in Michigan
If you want to start your own business in Michigan, one of the best ways to do so is by creating a Michigan LLC. Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) are a business entity designed for startups and small- and medium-sized businesses. Michigan LLCs give you many of the protections and advantages of larger corporations without all the rules, regulations and compliance issues common to larger business entities.
Located near the Great Lakes in the U.S. Midwest, Michigan (and Detroit in particular) has had a tough few years. But as its major cities have started to revitalize, Michigan has once again become an attractive place to form a business. Michigan is home to several great cities, including Detroit, Grand Rapids, Lansing and Ann Arbor.
Although the state is synonymous with the automobile industry, it is also home to several other major sectors, including technology, mining, aerospace, military manufacturing, furniture and food products. Michigan also has nearly 65,000 inland bodies of water, and no resident is further than 85 miles from a Great Lake. Any businesses that can take advantage of water sports, tourism and related areas will do well here.
Briefly, here are the benefits of filing an LLC in Michigan:
- Limit your personal liability and keep personal assets separate from your business liability and debts
- Enjoy quick and simple filing, management, compliance, regulations and administration
- Benefit from easy tax filing and potential advantages for tax treatment
Learn more about the benefits of the LLC business structure here.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to get an LLC in Michigan, as well as any special requirements or regulations you’ll need to consider.
Six Quick Steps for Starting an LLC in Michigan
We’ve got lots of useful information on starting a business in MI. On this page, you’ll find the basic steps of how to form a Michigan LLC, with more in-depth content throughout the rest of our guide.
STEP 1: Gather Information for Your Members
First, you need to gather basic information about your LLC, including the names and addresses of the managers or members. The LLC members are typically the people who own and run the business. They are also the ones who can take profits out of the business to pay themselves.
STEP 2: Search for and Choose a Unique Business Name for Your Michigan LLC
You will need a distinctive and original name for your Michigan LLC that’s not used by any other business in MI. To find out if another company is using your chosen business name, carry out a Michigan business entity name search on the MI Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs website
There are a few rules you’ll need to follow when choosing an LLC name. You can find out more in our guide to searching for and naming your Michigan LLC.
Learn about Michigan LLC business naming rules.
STEP 3: Provide an Official Address for Your MI LLC
Every Michigan LLC must have a designated street address. That could be your home address (if you’re running the company from your residence), your company’s office building or any physical address of your preference. The address can be outside the state of Michigan and can be a P.O. Box.
STEP 4: Assign a Resident Agent for Your Michigan LLC
Every MI LLC must have a “Registered Agent,” known in Michigan as a “Resident Agent” when it is formed. This is an official position; the Registered Agent is someone who receives official legal and tax correspondence and has responsibility for filing reports with the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.
This position can be filled by you, another manager in the business or a dedicated Registered Agent service. Your MI Resident Agent must have a physical street address in Michigan and must be present to receive important documents for your company during business hours.
At Incfile, all of our packages include a Michigan Registered Agent service that is free for the first year and just $119 per year afterward. We also have a dashboard where you can log in and easily view any document your Registered Agent has received on your behalf.
Learn more about Michigan Registered Agents.
STEP 5: Get an Employee Identification Number (EIN) From the Internal Revenue Service
You will need an EIN to identify your business to the IRS. You use this number when filing and paying taxes or when submitting payroll information and payments for your employees. You can obtain one directly from the IRS, or we can get one for you as part of the Michigan LLC business formation process.
STEP 6: File Michigan LLC Forms — Articles of Organization — With the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs
In many states, the Secretary of State is the body responsible for registering and managing LLCs, whereas in Michigan, it's the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. Once you've gathered all the information for your Michigan LLC, you’ll need to file a formal document with the state. This document is known as your “Articles of Organization,” and filing the document creates your Michigan LLC. Here’s what is typically included:
- Your business name and address
- Details of your Resident Agent
- Purpose of your business
- Name of the incorporator
You can file your Michigan LLC Articles of Organization online, mail in a form or have Incfile do it on your behalf. There is a fee to file and start an LLC in Michigan, but you only need to file your Articles of Organization once.
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Special Types of LLCs in Michigan
A regular Michigan LLC is suitable for most business needs, but you also have a few other options to incorporate a special type of LLC.
Some states, including Michigan, allow certain occupations to form “Professional LLCs.” These types of businesses typically have special requirements and licensing. Here’s what Michigan says about professional LLCs:
“A professional limited liability company, as the name implies, is a company made up of licensed persons who have been legally authorized to provide a professional service. Professional limited liability companies must consist of at least one member who is licensed in each professional service being offered. If there is more than one member, they must all be licensed to provide the services of the company. Those professions which must form as a professional service limited liability company are dentists, osteopathic physicians, physicians, surgeons, doctors of divinity or other clergy and attorneys at law.”
What to Do After Forming Your Michigan LLC
Want to know your next steps after creating a new LLC in Michigan? We’ve got you covered. Here’s our guide to understanding your ongoing requirements, setting up new bank accounts, protecting your business name, getting accounting in place and more.
Learn More About Michigan LLCs
You’ll find plenty more insight and guidance for Michigan business owners on the other pages of this guide, including:
How to search the business registry of the MI Secretary of State/Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs and find the right name. Includes information on naming rules, fictitious names, reserving a Michigan LLC name and more.
How to appoint a Michigan Registered Agent to your new LLC or change to a different Registered Agent. Includes information on rules for Resident Agents and how to search for one in Michigan.
How to understand the various fees you’ll need to pay and the requirements you’ll need to meet for both federal and state rules. Includes details about Employer Identification Numbers (EINs), Michigan and federal business licenses, Michigan annual reports and more.
How to understand the various taxes you will need to pay to the federal and state government. Includes details of federal taxes like income and self-employment, plus Michigan taxes like sales tax and income tax.
More Information From the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs
The MI Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs has plenty of information on forming and running a business in Michigan. Here are a few additional resources you may find helpful: