How Much Does It Cost to Start an LLC in Tennessee?

Legal business registration — and keeping your business in good standing — involves some costs. Some of these payments are made to the Tennessee SOS, while others are due to the federal or other state government entity. We’ve summarized the most common requirements and fees here.

Note that Tennessee business license or permit fees might need to be paid when you first form your business, on an ongoing schedule or on an ad hoc basis. Find more details below.

Initial Tennessee LLC Fees

When you first start your business, you’ll need to file as an LLC with the Secretary of State and pay a filing fee. Here are the current Tennessee LLC fees and filing times:

State Fee State Filing Time Expedited Filing Time
$308* 3 Weeks 1 Business Day
State Fee $308*
State Filing Time 3 Weeks
Expedited Filing Time 1 Business Day

*includes online processing fees

When you form your LLC through Incfile, we'll collect this fee from you and forward it to the Tennessee SOS when we file your formation paperwork.

Incfile can file your formation paperwork for you for free — just pay the Tennessee LLC filing fee
Tennessee allows you to form your LLC more quickly by paying a rush fee

Employer Identification Number

Every LLC should have a unique Employer Identification Number (EIN), which you can get from the IRS at no cost. You'll need it when filing taxes, opening a business bank account and paying employees. Incfile can also obtain one on your behalf.

Foreign LLCs

When you want to do business in a state other than the one where your business is based, you must create a foreign LLC.

Tennessee Foreign LLC Registration

Before you can bring an arm of your business from another state into Tennessee, you must request Tennessee Foreign Qualification. This means the state gives you permission to conduct business there.

To request registration of a Tennessee Foreign LLC, you must complete an Application for Certificate of Authority: Limited Liability Company form and pay a filing fee of $50.00 per member (minimum fee = $300, maximum fee = $3,000). The state may have additional requirements so contact the Tennessee SOS for more information.

Foreign Qualification to Operate in Another State

If you plan to expand your Tennessee LLC into another state, you’ll first need Foreign Qualification or a Certificate of Authority from that state. This is necessary if you'll have a physical presence, employees or banking in that state.

This process will probably entail completing an application and paying a filing fee. Each state has its own requirements, so before you move forward, compare state filing times and state filing fees to be better prepared. Then contact the state government entity that administers business (usually the Secretary of State) to confirm their requirements and get specific instructions.

If you need assistance, Incfile provides complete Foreign Qualification service for all states.

Tennessee Annual Report Requirements

Most states — including Tennessee — require businesses to file an annual (or other periodic) report with the Secretary of State. When you file your annual report, you'll need to pay a filing fee of $50 per member, with a minimum fee of $300 and a maximum fee of $3,000. Here are the Tennessee annual report filing requirements:

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*

*includes online processing fees

Tennessee Business License and Permit Requirements

As a business owner, you must make sure you have the proper state, federal or local business licenses to operate your LLC. Some of the associated fees only need to be paid once, while others are ongoing charges.

Permits and licenses vary based on:

1

Your industry (e.g., restaurants will need health permits)

2

Your location (state, county or city) (e.g., a license to conduct business from the city of Knoxville)

3

Your business type (e.g., healthcare providers must meet HIPAA requirements)

Remember that operating your business without the required Tennessee business license can expose you to risks and fines from federal, state and local governments.

You can research these permits and licenses yourself or use Incfile’s Business License Research package, which includes:

  • A complete report on all the licenses, permits and tax registrations your LLC will need
  • The application forms you'll need to file with the state, regional and federal licensing authorities

Operating Agreements

Tennessee does not require LLCs to have Operating Agreements.

An Operating Agreement is a business document that covers how the business will be run, how managers and members are chosen, rights and duties of members and several other key areas.

A Tennessee LLC Operating Agreement can be extremely helpful in making sure you’re organized and prepared for any future events that may affect your business.

Incfile can draft a general Operating Agreement template when you form your business.

You can make changes to the template based on your specific requirements and preferences.

Other Potential Tennessee LLC Fees or Requirements

There are several other fees or requirements you may need to pay or meet during the life of your LLC. These ad hoc fees will only be payable in specific circumstances, which we’ve listed below.

Obtaining an Assumed Name or DBA

If you want to establish a Tennessee DBA (assumed name), you must file a form with the Secretary of State and pay a filing fee of $20.

Incfile can file your Assumed Name or DBA forms on your behalf

Changing the Registered Agent

Your LLC needs a Tennessee Registered Agent, which must be appointed when you first form your LLC. You can also switch to a new Registered Agent later by filing a form and paying a fee of $20.

Choose Incfile to serve as your Registered Agent.

It’s free for the first year if you form with us and $119 a year after.

Reserving a Name for Your LLC

If you don’t want to form your business right away, you can reserve a name for four months with the Secretary of State. You'll need to pay a small fee of $20 to do this. First, perform a Tennessee business search and learn about naming rules to ensure the name you choose meets all state requirements.

Amending Certain Facts About Your LLC

Your business formation documents state certain facts about your business when it's formed. Over time, these facts might change. If they do, you'll need to file an Articles of Amendment form and pay a fee of $20. You can do this yourself or have Incfile complete the filing on your behalf.

Areas you might want to file Articles of Amendment for include:

  • Adding, removing or changing LLC member or manager
  • Changing the business address of your LLC
  • Altering the stated business activities of your LLC

Getting a Tennessee Certificate of Good Standing

Some organizations will request that you prove your LLC’s compliance with laws and tax requirements. In most states, this proof is provided with a Certificate of Good Standing. In Tennessee, it's a Certificate of Existence. If you need to prove you have met your commitments, you'll need to request a Certificate of Existence from the Tennessee SOS and pay a fee of $30.

Incfile can obtain a Tennessee Certificate of Good Standing on your behalf

The fees listed above detail all the charges that a standard LLC will be required to pay. In some unusual circumstances, there may be other one-off, periodic or ad hoc fees not listed above.

Of course, your LLC will also need to pay self-employment, payroll, federal, state and sales taxes. More information about taxes can be found on the Tennessee Business Tax page.

FAQs About Tennessee LLC Fees

What Happens to the State Fees I'm Charged When Forming My LLC?

We charge you this fee at cost and then pay the fee to the Secretary of State on your behalf when forming your Tennessee business.

Where Do I Get Business Licenses and Permits for My LLC?

It depends on various factors, including:

  • The type of business you run
  • Where you're located
  • Federal, state and local regulations
  • Governing organizations in your industry

Many new businesses need a business license, and you may be required to have additional licenses and permits. Our Business License Research package can take the guesswork out of it for you and help you learn what your LLC needs to be compliant.

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