Start a Business in Michigan

This guide on starting your business in Michigan provides step-by-step instructions on the paperwork to file formation documents, obtain tax IDs, and set up company records.

how to start a business

Step-By-Step Startup

Below is an overview of the paperwork, cost, and time to form each of the most popular business structures. Simply click on the link for your desired structure to view detailed step-by-step instructions.

  • If you have not decided whether you want to form an LLC, corporation, or other business structure, click here.
  • If wish to form your business in a different state than Michigan, click here.
Structure Paperwork Cost Time

Michigan Limited Liability Company

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  • Form CSCL/CD-700: Articles of Organization for use by Domestic Limited Liability Companies
  • Operating Agreement
  • IRS Form SS-4: Obtain an EIN
  • Form 518: Registration for Business Taxes
  • Formation: $50 + optional $50-1,000 expedite service
  • Formation: ~5-7 business days with returned documents in ~4 weeks. ~24 hours for $50. Same day for $100. 2 hours for $500. 1 hour for $1,000.

Michigan Corporation

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  • Form CSCL/CD-500: Articles of Incorporation for use by Domestic Profit Corporations
  • Bylaws
  • IRS Form SS-4: Obtain an EIN
  • Form 2553: S-Corp Election, if desired
  • Form 518: Registration for Business Taxes
  • Incorporation: $60 for up to 60,000 authorized shares + optional $50-1,000 expedite service
  • Incorporation: ~5-7 business days with returned documents in ~4 weeks when filing by mail or in-person. ~2 business days filing through MICH-ELF fax. ~24 hours for $50. Same day for $100. 2 hours for $500. 1 hour for $1,000.

Michigan Nonprofit

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  • Form CSCL/CD-502: Articles of Incorporation for use by Domestic Nonprofit Corporations or Form CSCL/CD-503: Articles of Incorporation for use by Ecclesiastical Corporations
  • Bylaws
  • IRS Form SS-4: Apply for EIN
  • IRS Form 1023: Application for 501(c)(3) Exemption
  • IRS Determination Letter
  • Form 518: Registration for Business Taxes
  • Form 3372: Michigan Sales and Use Tax Certificate of Exemption
  • URS Charitable Registration, if applicable
  • Michigan Initial Solicitation Registration Form
  • Incorporation: $20 + optional $50-1,000 expedite service
  • 501(c): $400 or $850 IRS fee
  • Incorporation: ~5-7 business days with returned documents in ~4 weeks. ~24 hours for $50. Same day for $100. 2 hours for $500. 1 hour for $1,000.
  • 501(c): 2 weeks to 3 months

Top 5 Tips on Registering a Business in Michigan

  1. Michigan requires one of a short list of corporate designators in your LLC or corporate name.
  2. Prepare for acronyms. LARA is the department that oversees corporate filings in Michigan. MICH-ELF is their online and fax-filing system.
  3. After you file formation documents, the original will be returned to your registered office address, unless you specify otherwise.
  4. If you're in a hurry to get set up, Michigan can accommodate you. The state offers expedite service up to 1 hour processing for $1,000.
  5. Register with the Department of Treasury for Sales Tax, Use Tax, Income Tax Withholding, Corporate Income Tax, Flow Through Withholding, Unemployment Insurance Tax. Mail your application at least six weeks but not more than six months, before you intend to start your business to allow your registration to be processed.


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Incorporation Service

Your specialist works with you 1-on-1 to form your LLC, corporation, or other business structure. We prepare and file most formations in just one business day!

Start My Business

Incorporation Service

Your specialist works with you 1-on-1 to form your LLC, corporation, or other business structure. We prepare and file most formations in just one business day!

This page was last fact-checked January 22, 2014.