Why Form a Limited Liability Company (LLC)?

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Forming an LLC in Tennessee

Located in the southeastern U.S. and bordered by eight other states, Tennessee has beautiful geography and vibrant cities. The state boasts a diverse economy, with major sectors including tourism, manufacturing, agriculture, chemicals, electrical and transportation equipment.

Tennessee has some major tourist attractions including Graceland, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Appalachian Trail, Jack Daniel’s distillery, Dollywood and more. Whether you want to take advantage of the rich tourism industry or you’re interested in another sector, Tennessee is a great place to be an entrepreneur.

If you want to start your own business in Tennessee, one of the best ways to do so is by forming a Tennessee LLC with the secretary of state. Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) are a business entity designed for startups and small- and medium-sized businesses. Tennessee 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. 

Briefly, the benefits of starting a Tennessee LLC include:

  • Separating and limiting your personal liability from your business liability and debts
  • Quick and simple filing, management, compliance, regulations and administration of your Tennessee LLC
  • Easy tax filing and potential advantages for tax treatment

Learn more about the benefits of the LLC business structure here.

Six Quick Steps to Starting an LLC in Tennessee

This guide has plenty of information on creating a Tennessee LLC, but you can break down the basics of forming a business in TN into just a few simple steps.

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 Tennessee LLC

You will need a distinctive and original name for your Tennessee LLC that’s not used by any other business in TN. To find out if another company is using your chosen business name, carry out a Tennessee business entity name search on the TN Secretary of State 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 Tennessee LLC.

Learn about Tennessee LLC business naming rules.

STEP 3: Provide an Official Address for Your TN LLC

Every Tennessee 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 Tennessee, but it cannot be a P.O. Box.

STEP 4: Assign a Registered Agent for Your Tennessee LLC

Every TN LLC must have a “Registered Agent.” 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 Tennessee Secretary of State. 

This position can be filled by you, another manager in the business or a dedicated Registered Agent service. Your TN Registered Agent must have a physical street address in Tennessee and must be present to receive important documents for your company during business hours. 

At Incfile, all of our packages include a Tennessee 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 Tennessee 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 Tennessee LLC business formation process.

STEP 6: File Articles of Organization With the Tennessee Secretary of State

Once you've gathered all the information for your Tennessee LLC, you’ll need to file a formal document with the TN Secretary of State. This document is known as your “Articles of Organization,” and filing the document creates your Tennessee LLC. Here’s what is typically included:

  • Your business name and address
  • Details of your Registered Agent
  • How the business is managed
  • Purpose of your business
  • Name of the incorporator

You can file your Tennessee 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 Tennessee. You only need to file your Articles of Organization once. 

Form Your LLC Now

Review Information From the Tennessee Secretary of State

The TN Secretary of State has plenty of information on LLC formation in Tennessee, including the following resources:

Special Types of Tennessee LLCs

A regular Tennessee LLC is suitable for most business needs, but you also have a few other options to incorporate a special type of LLC.

Start a Series LLC in Tennessee

In Tennessee, you also have the option to set up a “Series LLC” — these are specialized LLCs designed to allow you to manage multiple separate LLCs under one master, umbrella LLC. These can be very useful if you don’t want to set up a separate Tennessee LLC for every individual business you run. 

Decide if a Tennessee Series LLC is right for your new business.

Form a Professional Tennessee LLC

Some states, including Tennessee, allow certain occupations to form “Professional LLCs.” These types of businesses typically have special requirements and licensing. While many states define the types of professions that can form professional LLCs, Tennessee does not.

Form a Foreign LLC in Tennessee

If your business is already operating in another state and expanding to Tennessee, you’ll need to form a foreign LLC. 

More information on Tennessee filing and licensing requirements here

What to Do After Setting up Your Tennessee LLC

Want to know your next steps after creating a new LLC in Tennessee? 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. 

Detailed Information for Your Tennessee LLC

You’ll find plenty more insight and guidance on the other pages of this guide, including:

Naming Your Tennessee LLC

How to search the Tennessee business registry of the TN Secretary of State and find the right name. Includes information on naming rules, fictitious names, reserving a Tennessee LLC name and more.

Tennessee Registered Agents for Your LLC

How to appoint a Tennessee Registered Agent to your new LLC or change to a different Registered Agent. Includes information on Registered Agent rules and searching for Tennessee Registered Agents.

Fees and Requirements for Your Tennessee LLC

How to understand the various fees you’ll need to pay and the requirements you’ll need to meet for both federal and Tennessee rules. Includes details of Employee Identification Numbers (EINs), Tennessee and federal business licenses, Tennessee annual reports and more.

Federal, State, Sales and Other Taxes for Your Tennessee LLC

How to understand the various taxes you will need to pay to the federal and Tennessee government. Includes details of federal taxes like income and self-employment, and Tennessee taxes like sales tax and income tax.

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

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
$308 5 Business Days 1 Business Day

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.

Annual Report

Frequency: Annually

Due Dates:  Calender Year: April 1st.
Fiscal Year: 1st day of 4th month following close of fiscal year.

Filing Fee:$308

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