Start a Business in Tennessee

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!

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This guide on starting your business in Tennessee 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 Tennessee, click here.
Structure Paperwork Cost Time

Tennessee Limited Liability Company

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  • Form SS-4270: Articles of Organization Limited Liability Company
  • Operating Agreement
  • IRS Form SS-4: Obtain an EIN
  • Form RV-F1300501: Tennessee Department of Revenue Application for Registration
  • Formation: $50 per member in existence on the date of the filing, with a minimum fee of $300 and a maximum fee of $3,000
  • Formation: ~4 business days by mail. ~2 days online. Immediately in-person.

Tennessee Corporation

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  • Form SS-4417: Charter For-Profit Corporation
  • Bylaws
  • IRS Form SS-4: Obtain an EIN
  • Form 2553: S-Corp Election, if desired
  • Form RV-F1300501: Tennessee Department of Revenue Application for Registration
  • Incorporation: $100
  • Incorporation: ~4 business days by mail. ~2 days online. Immediately in-person.

Tennessee Nonprofit

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  • Form SS-4418: Charter Nonprofit Corporation
  • Bylaws
  • IRS Form SS-4: Obtain an EIN
  • IRS Form 1023: 501(c) Tax Exempt Application
  • IRS Determination Letter
  • Form RV-F1300501: Tennessee Department of Revenue Application for Registration
  • Form RV-F1306901: Application for Registration - Sales and Use Tax Exempt Entities
  • URS Charitable Registration, if applicable
  • Charitable Registration: Form SS-6001: Application for Registration of a Charitable Organization and Form SS-6002: Summary of Financial Activities of a Charitable Organization OR Form SS-6042: Exemption Request
  • Incorporation: $100
  • 501(c): $275 or $600 IRS fee
  • Tennessee charitable registration: $50 ($0 if exempt)
  • Incorporation: ~4 business days by mail. ~2 days online. Immediately in-person.
  • 501(c): 2 weeks to 3 months

Top 5 Tips on Registering a Business in Tennessee

  1. The fees for an LLC are steep - most of the time it is $300 up front then $300 per year. In addition, the state language to calculate the formation fee for an LLC can be confusing. Put simply, if your LLC has six or fewer members (owners), then the fee will be $300.
  2. Tennessee offers a consolidated registration application for new business state tax registration. This is a great convenience - not all states do.
  3. In Tennessee, you can form a single-owner corporation. This owner acts as both president and secretary of the board.
  4. A quick vocabulary tip: what most states call the "articles of incorporation" to create a corporation, Tennessee calls a "charter for a for-profit corporation".
  5. Corporations and LLCs must file an annual report with the Tennessee Secretary of State.

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!

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