How to Incorporate in Louisiana

If you’re looking to incorporate in Louisiana, you’re in the right place. This guide will help you file formation documents, get tax identification numbers, and set up your company records.

Paperwork Cost Time
  • Transmittal Information cover form
  • Form 399: Articles of Incorporation for Louisiana Business
  • Form 341: Domestic Business Corporation Initial Report
  • Bylaws
  • IRS Form SS-4: Obtain an EIN
  • Form 2553: S-Corp Election, if desired
  • Form R-16019: Application for Louisiana Revenue Account Number
  • Incorporation: $75 + optional $30-$50 expedite fee
  • Incorporation: ~1 week. ~24 hours for $30 expedite fee. While-you-wait with in-person filing for $50 expedite fee.
  1. Choose a Corporate Structure

    Incorporating means starting a corporation. If you want to form an LLC, please see "How to Form an LLC in Louisiana".

    Is your corporation for-profit or not-for-profit? If you are starting a nonprofit, please see "How to Start a Non-Profit Organization in Louisiana".

    C-Corp and S-Corp refer to taxation with the IRS, not to legal structures. Your corporation is taxed as a C-Corp unless you file an election to be taxed as an S-Corp (explained below).

  2. Check Name Availability

    The legal name of your corporation may not conflict with any other registered name. Check availability of your desired name by conducting a name search.

    Name Search: Louisiana Secretary of State - Commercial Division
    Name Reservation: Optional
    Suffix Requirements: Must contain the word "corporation", "incorporated", "company", or "limited," or the abbreviation, with or without punctuation, "corp.", "inc.", "co.", or "ltd.". A corporate name may include words in any language but must be written in English letters or characters. 
    Louisiana RS &sect1-401
  3. Appoint a Registered Agent

    Before you officially file to create your Louisiana LLC, you will need to decide who your Louisiana registered agent will be. A registered agent is a business's legal appointee to receive notice of lawsuit and other legal or government notices.

    State law requires every LLC to have a registered agent. The registered agent is designated when you file Louisiana articles of organization with the Louisiana Secretary of State - Commercial Division.

    Our reliable registered agent service fulfills this requirement. You get:

    • Same-day documents from our local office in Lafayette
    • Immediate online access to state forms with our address and, where required, our signature
    • Annual fees from $89 to $99 per state with no additional charges

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  4. File Louisiana Articles of Incorporation

    File the articles of incorporation to create your corporation.

    Agency:Louisiana Secretary of State - Commercial Division
    Form:

    Articles of Incorporation Louisiana Business

    Filing Method:

    Mail, fax, in-person, or online

    Agency Fee:

    $75 + optional $30-$50 expedite fee

    Turnaround:

    ~1 week. ~24 hours for $30 expedite fee. While-you-wait with in-person filing for $50 expedite fee.

    Law:

    Louisiana RS §1-202

    Notes:

    When filing by mail, include:

    • Transmittal Information cover form
    • Form 399: Articles of Incorporation for Louisiana Business
    • Form 341: Domestic Business Corporation Initial Report
    • Notarized signature
    • Filing fee
    Fact Checked:6/16/17
  5. File

    Not required



    Corporations no longer file initial reports.

    More information: Louisiana Secretary of State - Commercial Division
  6. Establish Bylaws & Corporate Records

    Your corporation must keep correct and complete books and records.

    Draft bylaws (potentially using a template) which is the governing document for the corporation. The bylaws of a corporation may contain any provision for managing the business and regulating the affairs of the corporation that is not inconsistent with law or with the articles of incorporation (C.R.S. 7-102-106). You will review and ratify the bylaws at your first board of directors meeting.

    A corporation shall keep as permanent records minutes of all meetings of its shareholders and board of directors, a record of all actions taken by the shareholders or board of directors without a meeting, a record of all actions taken by a committee of the board of directors in place of the board of directors on behalf of the corporation, and a record of all waivers of notices of meetings of shareholders and of the board of directors or any committee of the board of directors (C.R.S. 7-116-101).

    Your filed articles of incorporation and bylaws are the first documents for your corporate records. Your corporation will generate many other official records such as:

    • Meeting minutes
    • Shareholder resolutions
    • EIN verification letter
    • Amendments and other filings made to the corporation over its lifetime

    Organizations need a secure, centralized tool for managing and accessing sensitive records. Our Records Manager software offers a simple, efficient way for corporations to store records, track officers, directors, and shareholders, and customize meeting notifications.

  7. Appoint Initial Directors

    The initial directors serve on the board until the annual meeting of shareholders (when directors are elected to the board). If the initial directors are not named in the articles of incorporation, they are appointed by the incorporator. The incorporator documents and signs this action for the corporate records.

  8. Hold Organizational Meeting

    Hold the organizational meeting of the incorporators or initial directors. Keep minutes of this meeting.

    The following state laws apply unless overridden by the organizational documents, where permissible.

    Directors Officers
    • Number: Number fixed in articles of incorporation or bylaws.
    • Qualifications: None.
    • Quorum: Majority of the directors.
    • President, Secretary, and Treasurer required. One person can be any two of these.
  9. Issue Stock Certificates

    The owners may be issued stock certificates to serve as proof of ownership in the corporation. Remember to hold the first annual meeting of the shareholders (the owners of the corporation) according to bylaws and keep minutes of this meeting.

    The following state laws apply unless overridden by the organizational documents, where permissible.

    Shareholders Annual Shareholder Meeting
    • Qualifications: N/A
    • Stock Certificate: Required.
    • Voting Trusts Allowed: Yes.
    • Required: Yes.
    • Action by written consent: Allowed if by all shareholders entitled to vote on the action.
  10. Get a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN)

    Your corporation must obtain an EIN regardless of whether it will hire employees.

    Submit to: Internal Revenue Service
    http://www.irs.gov/
    Form: IRS Form SS-4
    Guidance: IRS Pub 1635: Understanding Your EIN
    Filing Method: Mail, phone, fax, or apply online with the IRS
    Fee: $0
    Turnaround: Immediately online
    Notes: The IRS website is only available during certain hours. Print your EIN before closing your session.
  11. Get Louisiana State Tax Identification Numbers/Accounts

    Louisiana offers a consolidated state tax registration application.


    Agency:Louisiana Department of Revenue
    Form:Form R-16019: Application for Louisiana Revenue Account Number
    Filing Method:Mail or online
    Agency Fee:$0
    Turnaround:~3 business days online or ~4-6 weeks by mail
    Fact Checked:5/12/20
  12. Consider Electing S-Corp Taxation

    By default, your corporation is taxed as a C-Corporation. Some corporations, especially smaller ones, benefit from electing S-Corp tax treatment:

    • C-Corps suffer from double taxation: the corporation pays taxes on profits then members pay taxes on their distributions. If profits exceed $250,000 per owner, you provide employee benefits, or you will re-invest most of your profit in the business, you may benefit from the low tax rates on retained earnings under C-Corp treatment.
    • S-Corp treatment avoids double-taxation. It is generally the best choice for small businesses. To accomplish this, file Form 2553: S-Corp Election with the IRS.
  13. Obtain Business Licenses & Permits

    To run your business legally, you must obtain applicable licenses and permits. The easiest way to navigate the wide range of federal, state, and local requirements is to search by your business type and locality using the Small Business Administration Business License & Permit look-up tool.


    Louisiana Business License

    Not required



    General Business License licensure is not required on the State level in Louisiana.

    Louisiana does not have a general business license at the state level, but local licenses are often required.

  14. Ongoing Filings to Maintain Your Corporation

    You must file federal and state tax returns.

    Many states also require business entities to file an annual report to maintain good standing with the secretary of state. If an annual report is required for corporations formed in Louisiana, view the table below.


    Louisiana Corporation Annual Report Requirements:

    Agency:Louisiana Secretary of State - Commercial Division
    Form:

    Find your company record to print your form.

    Filing Method:

    Mail or online.

    Agency Fee:

    $30 + $5 fee to pay by credit card.

    Due:

    File an annual report every year by your registration anniversary. So if you incorporated on February 14th, then your annual report is due by February 14th.

    Law:

    Louisiana Laws § 12:205.1. and Louisiana Laws § 12:309.

    Original Ink:Not required
    Notarize:Not required
    Penalties:

    No late fee. Your business can be dissolved or revoked at 3 years late.

    Notes:
    • Online annual report filings cannot be made more than 30 days prior to the due date.
    • An officer, director, manager, member, partner, or agent can file.
    • Original signatures are required if you file by mail.
    Fact Checked:1/11/21

    For more details, see our Louisiana annual report information center page.

    You will need to demonstrate your company’s good standing to banks, customers, and other state agencies. After all the work involved in forming your Louisiana corporation, don’t let a missed annual report filing cause your new business to fall out of compliance.

    Tracking and filing annual reports on your own can be time consuming and lead to accidental lapses. Protect your corporation’s good standing with Managed Annual Report Service, which tracks and automatically files reports on time, every time, so you can focus on your business.

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