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