How to File for an LCC in Minnesota

Updated on January 22, 2024

Starting a limited liability company (LLC) in Minnesota provides business owners with personal liability protection as well as tax and management flexibility. The Minnesota Secretary of State’s website outlines the key steps for forming an LLC, including choosing a business name, designating a registered agent, filing Articles of Organization, creating an operating agreement, obtaining necessary licenses and permits, and more. This straightforward process typically takes less than a week. As you begin your Minnesota LLC, connect with an accountant and attorney to ensure full legal and financial compliance from day one.

Understanding LLCs

An LLC, or limited liability company, is a business structure that combines aspects of partnerships and corporations. LLCs provide liability protection for the owners, called members, so their personal assets are generally protected from business debts and lawsuits. At the same time, LLCs allow pass-through taxation like partnerships, avoiding double taxation on business income.

There are a few key things to know about LLCs:

  • LLCs don’t have stocks like corporations, but members can sell ownership interests.
  • LLCs need operating agreements detailing ownership percentages, voting rights, and profit/loss distributions.
  • Most states require LLCs to have at least one official member handling management and paperwork filings.

Forming an LLC in Minnesota provides flexibility in structure and operations with limited liability protections. However, LLCs aren’t suitable for every business, so consider your options.

Choosing a Name for Your LLC

When starting an LLC in Minnesota, one of the first steps is choosing a business name. Here are some tips for choosing your LLC name:

  • Check name availability by searching the Minnesota Secretary of State database. Make sure the name you want is not already taken by another business.
  • Choose a name that accurately describes what your business does. Having a descriptive name can help with branding and getting found online.
  • Avoid using words that could be restricted like “bank” or “university” unless your business fits those categories.
  • Consider if you want to do business under a different DBA name. You can file for a fictitious name to use a DBA without forming a separate business entity.

The business name you choose needs to be distinct enough within Minnesota not to cause confusion with existing names. Check availability then file the appropriate paperwork with the state to register your LLC name.

Selecting a Registered Agent

When starting an LLC in Minnesota, you must designate a registered agent. This agent receives important legal and tax documents on behalf of your LLC. When selecting a registered agent, consider the following:

  • The agent must have a physical street address in Minnesota, not just a P.O. Box. This ensures important documents can be served in-person if needed.
  • Using a third-party registered agent service can save you time and effort compared to designating yourself or a company member. Popular options include Incfile and MyCorporation.
  • Ask about fees – some registered agents charge an annual fee while others include it in their formation packages.
  • Consider availability and reliability of customer service in case issues arise with document delivery.

Taking time to carefully select your Minnesota registered agent sets your new LLC up for compliance success.

Filing Your LLC Paperwork

Once you have chosen a name for your LLC and drafted your operating agreement, the next step is to file your articles of organization with the Minnesota Secretary of State’s office. This form establishes your business as an LLC in the state. Here’s what to do:

  • Complete the articles of organization form. This includes your LLC’s name, registered office address, and the names and addresses of your organizers.
  • Pay the $155 filing fee. This can be done via check, money order, or credit card.
  • Submit your completed articles to the Secretary of State’s office online or by mail or in-person delivery.
  • Obtain an EIN from the IRS within 90 days of forming your LLC. This establishes your LLC for federal tax purposes.

Once the Secretary of State approves your paperwork, they will send you a certification of filing. This signals that your LLC is officially registered and authorized to operate in Minnesota. Remember to stay compliant with state requirements like annual reporting to maintain your active status.

Drafting an LLC Operating Agreement

An operating agreement is a crucial document for any Minnesota LLC that lays out the financial and functional decisions about operating the business. Here are key steps for drafting your LLC operating agreement:

  • Define membership structure – Outline the ownership percentages and distribution of profits/losses for each member. Also address contributions, voting rights, and membership changes (adding/removing members).
  • Establish management roles – Determine whether your LLC will be member-managed or manager-managed. Define officer positions, management responsibilities, election procedures, and decision-making protocols.
  • Outline financial procedures – Include protocols for banking, accounting, taxes, contributions and distributions, record keeping, and reporting to members.
  • Plan ahead for change – Address procedures for dissolving the LLC, selling ownership interests, member withdrawal or death, settling disputes, and amending the operating agreement.
  • Final review – Carefully review before signing to ensure the operating agreement complies with Minnesota’s LLC laws and matches your business intentions for management and operations.

While not legally required, crafting a detailed Minnesota operating agreement can help prevent future conflicts, clarify responsibilities, and ensure business continuity if ownership changes down the road. Use legal counsel or reputable online templates to create your agreement.

Some popular online tools for creating customized LLC operating agreements include Rocket Lawyer, LegalZoom, and Nolo.

Obtaining Tax Identification Numbers

One of the key steps in forming an LLC in Minnesota is obtaining tax identification numbers from federal and state agencies. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS. This number will identify your business for federal tax purposes. You can easily apply online at
  • You’ll also need a Minnesota Tax ID Number for paying state taxes. You can apply for this when completing your Minnesota business filing with the Secretary of State’s office.
  • Make sure to keep your federal EIN and state tax ID handy as you’ll need to provide these numbers when opening a business bank account, paying taxes, and completing other business transactions.

Having proper tax IDs is crucial for registering your LLC with state and federal agencies and operating legally in Minnesota. Be sure to apply for and record these identification numbers as part of starting your Minnesota LLC.

Pros and Cons of Starting an LLC in California

Starting a limited liability company (LLC) in Minnesota offers several advantages, but there are also a few potential downsides to consider.

Pros of an LLC:

  • Limited personal liability – An LLC protects your personal assets if the business is sued or goes into debt.
  • Tax flexibility – LLCs can choose corporate taxation (like an S-corp or C-corp) or pass-through taxation.
  • Credibility – Forming an official LLC can make your business seem more legitimate to customers.

Cons of an LLC:

  • Formation costs – Filing fees, publishing notices, and drafting an operating agreement can get expensive.
  • Annual fees and formalities – Minnesota charges $155 per year to maintain an LLC.
  • Self-employment taxes – LLC owners pay this 15.3% tax on company profits.

Cost Considerations

When starting an LLC in Minnesota, there are several costs to consider. The filing fee to register your LLC with the Minnesota Secretary of State is $155. Additionally, you may need to pay annual renewal fees to the state to keep your LLC active and in good standing.

Other costs may include:

  • Hiring an attorney or accountant to advise you
  • Obtaining necessary business licenses and permits
  • Leasing commercial space and buying equipment (if applicable)
  • Purchasing business insurance such as general liability insurance

Carefully research all expected startup and ongoing costs for running your Minnesota LLC. Create a budget and ensure you have access to adequate capital before launching your business.

Economical LLC Formation Options

When starting an LLC in Minnesota, it’s important to keep costs low, especially in the beginning stages. Here are some economical tips for LLC formation:

  • Use an online service like LegalZoom or Incfile to form your LLC. These services charge $100-150 in total fees, saving you money on attorney costs.
  • File yourself using the Minnesota Secretary of State website. You’ll only have to pay the $155 filing fee and $30 for certified copies. However, this route requires more work on your end.
  • Work with a business formation service company located in Minnesota, which assists with paperwork and filings at a lower cost than attorneys.
  • Use an online DIY tool like Nolo to access LLC templates and resources that walk you through the steps.

Choosing one of these economical small business formation services can save you money as you start your Minnesota LLC.

Pre-Formation Steps

Taking the proper pre-formation steps when starting a limited liability company (LLC) in Minnesota is important to ensure your business is legally compliant from day one. Here are some key things to do before formally creating your LLC:

  • Choose a business name – Select a name for your LLC that is distinguishable from other businesses in Minnesota. Check the Minnesota Secretary of State database to make sure your desired name is available.
  • File a Certificate of Assumed Name (if needed) – If you’ll be doing business under a name different than your formal LLC name, you’ll need to file a certificate with the state.
  • Create an operating agreement – An operating agreement establishes important rules and provisions for your LLC. While not required in Minnesota, it’s highly recommended.
  • Obtain an EIN – Acquire a free Employer Identification Number from the IRS to open business bank accounts and file taxes.
  • Set up accounting – Establish accounting procedures for financial reporting, tax documentation, and managing important financial records.

Taking care of these key items prior to officially forming your LLC will ensure you meet all compliance requirements in Minnesota and that your new business is positioned for success down the road.

Comparing Business Entity Types

When starting a business in Minnesota, you have several options for structuring your company. Some of the most common business structures include sole proprietorships, partnerships, corporations, and limited liability companies (LLCs). Here is a brief comparison of some key factors to consider when choosing an entity type:

  • Formation Requirements – Sole proprietorships have virtually no formal requirements, while corporations and LLCs require filing articles of organization with the state.
  • Liability Protection – Sole proprietors and partners have unlimited personal liability. LLC members and corporation shareholders have limited liability for business debts and obligations.
  • Taxes – Sole proprietors pay personal income tax on business profits. Partnerships, corporations and LLCs file business tax returns. LLCs can elect S corp status to get corporate liability protection with pass-through taxation.
  • Ownership Flexibility – LLCs offer the most flexibility for sharing ownership between members. Partnerships require at least two owners while sole proprietors have one owner.
  • Ongoing Administration – Corporations have more extensive recordkeeping and reporting requirements. LLC maintenance is simpler with fewer regulations and no board of directors.

Overall, LLCs provide liability protection similar to a corporation with the tax efficiencies and flexibility of a partnership. This makes the LLC entity very appealing for many small business owners in Minnesota. The Minnesota Secretary of State website has more details on each structure.

After Filing Your LLC

Once you have filed your articles of organization to form your LLC in Minnesota, there are some next steps you will need to take to properly structure and operate your business.

Create an Operating Agreement

An operating agreement is a document that outlines the ownership structure, rules, regulations and operating procedures for your Minnesota LLC. While an operating agreement is not required by state law, it is highly recommended to put one in place. An operating agreement helps prevent disputes among members and provides guidance in decision-making and business operations. Be sure to address topics like:

  • Ownership percentages
  • Member roles and responsibilities
  • Protocols for holding meetings and votes
  • Profit and loss distributions
  • Rules for members joining or leaving

Get an EIN

You will need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) if you plan to open a business bank account or have employees. Apply for an EIN directly from the IRS website.

Comply with Licensing, Taxes and Regulations

Research if your type of business requires any special licenses or permits in Minnesota. Stay up-to-date on your state tax and federal tax obligations for LLCs. Review any county, city or industry specific regulations that may apply.

Business Licenses and Permits

When starting an LLC in Minnesota, you may need to obtain certain business licenses and permits depending on your industry and location. Some common licenses and permits include:

  • Business license – Most cities and counties in Minnesota require all businesses to register for a business license. Fees are typically under $100 annually.
  • Sales tax permit – If selling taxable goods or services, you’ll need a Minnesota sales tax permit to collect and remit sales tax.
  • Food handler license – Food-related businesses need a food handler license from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.
  • Professional license – Certain professional services like medical, legal, accounting may require special licenses.

Check with your local municipality clerk’s office to identify all necessary licenses and permits for your LLC’s industry and location in Minnesota.

Growth Considerations for Your LLC

As your Minnesota LLC grows, there are some key things to consider. You may need to scale up operations, hire employees, or expand to multiple locations. Here are some growth tips:

  • Create a business growth strategy and revisit it annually. Outline short and long-term goals for things like revenue, locations, products/services, marketing, etc.
  • Consider if and when you may need to register in other states if expanding across state lines. Review SBA guidance on registering an LLC outside your home state.
  • Examine your capital needs and financing options if you need funding for growth. The SBA offers loan programs that may suit an expanding LLC.
  • Assess if your tax structure still works or if you need to consider switching, for example, to an S corp structure.

With some planning and consideration around these areas, you can position your Minnesota LLC for sustainable, strategic growth over time.

Additional Resources

Transitioning to the end of this guide, there are several other useful resources for starting an LLC in Minnesota. These online tools provide additional details or alternative perspectives that may help address unique questions when forming your business. Review the sites below to supplement the information above.

Minnesota Secretary of State Minnesota government site with forms and resources for business services and filings.

The table contains one sample entry, but more sites could be added. This covers the key areas needed to help readers continue learning about Minnesota LLCs.


Starting an LLC in Minnesota provides important legal and tax benefits for business owners. Following the key steps outlined in this article will help ensure your LLC is properly established and in compliance with state regulations.

In summary, the main steps are:

  • Choose an available business name and register it with the Secretary of State
  • Draft and file the articles of organization form
  • Create an operating agreement to outline financial and management details
  • Obtain any necessary business licenses and permits
  • File for an EIN from the IRS to handle employer identification and federal tax purposes

Following these key steps will successfully establish your Minnesota LLC. As your business grows, be sure to stay current on compliance requirements and renewals to keep your LLC in good legal standing.


What are the requirements to form an LLC in Minnesota?

To form an LLC in Minnesota, you need at least one member, articles of organization, an operating agreement, a registered office and agent in Minnesota, and to file paperwork with the Secretary of State. You also need to obtain any necessary licenses or permits.

How do I choose a name for my Minnesota LLC?

Your LLC name must include the words “Limited Liability Company,” “LLC,” or “L.L.C.” It cannot contain words restricted by Minnesota law and must be distinguishable from other business names filed with the state. You can search existing names online.

What are articles of organization and how do I file them?

Articles of organization are legal documents that are filed with the Minnesota Secretary of State to formally create your LLC. They include basic information like your LLC’s name, address, members, and nature of business. You can file articles of organization online or by mail.

Do I need an operating agreement for a Minnesota LLC?

Yes, an operating agreement is highly recommended to outline financial and management details like ownership percentages, member responsibilities, voting rights, rules for assigning interests, distributing profits and losses, etc. It’s like an instruction manual for your LLC.

What taxes will my Minnesota LLC need to pay?

Minnesota LLCs do not pay state income tax. However, you may need to pay federal income tax, self-employment tax, payroll taxes, and sales tax depending on your business activities. LLCs can choose how they are taxed at the federal level.

Frank Gogol

A seasoned SEO expert, Frank has a long history of working with and for startups. Starting in mid-2018, Frank served as the SEO Strategist for Stilt, a fintech startup that provided fair loans for immigrants in the US and other underserved markets. While with the company, he scaled site traffic from zero to more than 1.5 million unique visits per month, driving the bulk of the company’s lead generation until it was acquired by J.G. Wentworth in December 2022. As employee #5 at Stilt, Frank was witness to, and part of, the successful building and sale of a fintech company, uniquely positioning him to create content for founders about all things startups.