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Embarking on the entrepreneurial journey in Oklahoma can be an invigorating and rewarding experience. However, the process of registering your business may seem overwhelming, especially if you’re new to the field. Nevertheless, with the right guidance and access to resources, you can streamline the business registration process in Oklahoma, making it a straightforward and hassle-free endeavor.
In this blog post, our goal is to provide you with a comprehensive guide that will facilitate the registration of your business in Oklahoma. Additionally, we will share valuable tips and resources that will simplify the process for you. Whether you’re embarking on a new business venture or registering an existing one, this guide will take you through the process in seven simple steps.
We understand that business registration can still pose challenges, and that’s why we have compiled a list of some of the top business registration services, such as ZenBusiness, that can assist you throughout the process. So, without further delay, let’s dive in and help you register your business in Oklahoma!
How to Register Your Business in Oklahoma in 7 Simple Steps
Registering your business in Oklahoma is a smooth process when you have the right guidance. Just follow these 7 straightforward steps to promptly set up your Oklahoma-based business and start making your entrepreneurial dreams a reality.
Step 1: Choose Your Business Structure
The appropriate selection of a business structure in Oklahoma relies on the type of business you intend to establish and your plans for growth. We have already mentioned the various incorporated and unincorporated business options available in Oklahoma. Now, let’s take a closer look at each of these choices and how they function.
Keep in mind that if you opt for a structure that requires incorporation, such as the ones listed below, you will need to register your business with the Oklahoma Secretary of State.
A sole proprietorship is the simplest business structure in Oklahoma, where the owner and the business are legally regarded as the same entity. This implies that the owner assumes personal responsibility for the business’s debts and liabilities. Setting up a sole proprietorship is uncomplicated and involves minimal legal and administrative requirements. In Oklahoma, you’re not required to register your sole proprietorship with the state, but you may need to obtain local permits or licenses.
A general partnership is a business owned by two or more individuals who share in the profits and losses. Each partner bears personal liability for the business’s debts and legal obligations. In Oklahoma, you do not need to register a general partnership with the state, but you may need to file an “Oklahoma Assumed Name Certificate” (DBA) in the county where your business operates.
Limited Partnership (LP)
In Oklahoma, a limited partnership consists of one or more general partners responsible for managing the business and having unlimited personal liability, along with one or more limited partners who provide capital but have limited liability. To establish an LP in Oklahoma, you must file a “Certificate of Limited Partnership” with the Oklahoma Secretary of State.
An LLC is a flexible business structure that combines the liability protection of a corporation with the tax benefits and simplicity of a partnership. In Oklahoma, you need to file an “Articles of Organization Limited Liability Company” with the Oklahoma Secretary of State and create an Operating Agreement to outline the company’s management and ownership structure.
A corporation is a separate legal entity from its owners (shareholders) that offers limited liability protection. There are two types of corporations in Oklahoma:
To establish a corporation in Oklahoma, you must file a “Certificate of Incorporation” with the Oklahoma Secretary of State, specifying whether it’s a for-profit or nonprofit corporation. Corporations involve additional formalities, including creating bylaws, issuing stock, and holding regular board and shareholder meetings.
Select the business structure in Oklahoma that best suits your needs, considering factors such as liability protection, taxation, and management requirements. Consult a legal or business professional for guidance if you require assistance in making this decision.
Step 2: Select a Unique Business Name
Oklahoma has its own set of rules and regulations for naming your business. When naming your business in Oklahoma, you have three options: registering a legal entity name, obtaining a trademark, or registering a legal name and operating under a different one. It’s important to review Oklahoma’s specific requirements.
Similar to the process of incorporating your business, the choice of naming method in Oklahoma will depend on the unique needs and circumstances of your entity.
To ensure the exclusivity of your business name, you may consider following all three routes. Alternatively, you can choose one of the three options. While not mandatory, it often makes sense to use the same name for each registration method.
Let’s explore each naming option available in Oklahoma:
Legal Entity Name
In Oklahoma, businesses must register a legal entity name, which serves as the official identifier used by the state. The entity name must be distinct, ensuring that no other business shares the same name as yours.
Oklahoma’s naming laws include guidelines regarding company suffixes (e.g., LLC, LP, or Corp) and require the name to accurately reflect the type of business being registered. You can check name availability using the online database provided by the Oklahoma Secretary of State.
In Oklahoma, a trademark serves as a form of intellectual property protection for a business name or logo at a national level. To safeguard your name or logo, it’s essential to conduct a trademark search in the USPTO database to ensure it’s not already registered.
Once your trademark is registered, it grants exclusive rights and prevents others from using the same or similar name or logo for similar goods or services, providing nationwide protection. However, obtaining a trademark does not automatically grant unrestricted usage of the name or logo in all circumstances.
Doing Business As (DBA)
In Oklahoma, you have the option to register your business under an official name and operate under a different one. This is known as a Doing Business As (DBA) name. To establish a DBA, you need to file an Assumed Name Certificate (DBA) with the county clerk’s office in the county where your business is located. While federal trademark laws apply to these names, there is no requirement for a DBA to be unique at the state level.
By understanding and considering these naming options, you can successfully register your business name in Oklahoma and protect your brand identity.
Step 3: Consider Taxes and Other Costs in Oklahoma
Here are the taxes that Oklahoma LLCs are required to pay:
Annual Report Filing Fee
Oklahoma LLCs are required to file an annual report with the Oklahoma Secretary of State. The filing fee is $25. The annual report is due on the anniversary date of the LLC’s formation.
- Income tax: By default, single-member Oklahoma LLCs are taxed as Sole Proprietorships by the IRS, and by default, multi-member Oklahoma LLCs are taxed as Partnerships by the IRS. However, LLCs can elect to be taxed as C-Corps or S-Corps. C-Corps are taxed at the corporate rate of 21%, while S-Corps are taxed at the individual rate of the LLC members.
- Employer payroll taxes: All employers must withhold federal taxes from their employee’s wages. You’ll withhold 7.65 percent of their taxable wages, and your employees will also be responsible for 7.65 percent, totaling the current federal tax rate of 15.3 percent.
- Self-employment taxes: If you’re a single-member LLC and you’re the only employee, you will be responsible for paying self-employment taxes. Self-employment taxes are a combination of Social Security and Medicare taxes. The self-employment tax rate is 15.3%.
- Income tax: Oklahoma does have a state income tax. The state income tax rate ranges from 0.25% to 4.75%. LLCs with default tax or S-corp status pay Oklahoma’s individual graduated income tax rate and the state’s Pass-Through Entity Tax of 4%. LLCs with C-corp status pay Oklahoma’s 4% corporate income tax rate and the state’s franchise tax that maxes out at $20,000 and is assessed at the rate of $1.25 per $1,000.00.
- Sales tax: Oklahoma has a flat sales tax of 4.5 percent. Local municipalities may impose their own sales taxes as well, in addition to the state’s flat rate.
- Franchise tax: Oklahoma does have a franchise tax, but LLCs are exempt from paying it.
- Property tax: Oklahoma assesses property taxes on real estate and personal property. The property tax rate varies depending on the location of the property.
It’s important to note that these are just some of the taxes that Oklahoma LLCs may be required to pay. The specific taxes that your LLC will be required to pay will depend on your business structure, income, and expenses. You should consult with a tax professional to determine the specific taxes that your LLC will be required to pay.
Business owners in Oklahoma can streamline their registration process by leveraging online services like ZenBusiness. ZenBusiness offers a range of solutions to assist entrepreneurs, including submitting filings with the Secretary of State, obtaining an Employer Identification Number (EIN), and creating an operating agreement. Moreover, ongoing compliance support is provided to ensure businesses maintain their good standing within the state.
Step 4: Register and Acquire Licenses and Permits in Oklahoma
To ensure compliance with legal requirements and operate your business smoothly in Oklahoma, it’s necessary to apply for various licenses and permits. Here are the key licenses and permits you should consider obtaining:
If your business involves selling goods in Oklahoma, you must register for sales tax collection. Additionally, if you plan to hire employees, you must register for employer withholding tax. You can conveniently register for these taxes and others through Oklahoma’s Online Business Registration System.
If your business has employees or is taxed separately from your personal taxes, obtaining a federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS is essential. Even if not mandatory, having an EIN can be beneficial for various business purposes.
Many banks require an EIN to open a business account, and other companies may request it for payment processing. The IRS provides an online application for obtaining an EIN without any filing fee.
Regulatory Licenses and Permits
These licenses and permits pertain to areas such as health and safety, environmental compliance, building and construction regulations, and specific industries or services. To determine the state-issued regulatory licenses and permits, refer to the Business Licensing & Operating Requirements section on the Oklahoma Department of Commerce website.
Additionally, check the websites of cities or counties where your business will operate to obtain information about local licenses and permits.
Professional and Occupational Licenses
These licenses are required for individuals working in various fields. To identify the professions that necessitate state licensure, refer to the Professional License Online Services section on the Oklahoma state website.
By proactively applying for the necessary licenses and permits, you can ensure legal compliance, establish credibility with stakeholders, and facilitate smooth business operations in Oklahoma.
Step 5: Open a Bank Account For Your Business in Oklahoma
Once you have obtained your EIN, you can proceed to open a business bank account in Oklahoma.
To comply with the regulations governing LLPs, LLCs, and corporations, it’s mandatory to have a business bank account. However, sole proprietors and unincorporated partnerships are not required to maintain separate personal and business bank accounts.
Opening a business account in Oklahoma is a simple process that involves visiting your local bank and completing the necessary paperwork. Before finalizing your choice of bank, it’s advisable to explore and compare the rates and benefits offered by different institutions.
Even if you’re operating as a sole proprietor or unincorporated partnership in Oklahoma, it’s wise to have a designated business bank account to ensure separation between your personal and business finances. This will save you from potential complications if you decide to incorporate your business in the future.
Step 6: Protect Your Intellectual Property in Oklahoma
Depending on the type of business you’re establishing in Oklahoma, it’s important to safeguard your valuable intellectual property (IP).
For example, most businesses strive to prevent their name and logo from being copied and utilized by others. Depending on whether your business deals with goods or services, you may also want to protect the design of your products or the creative works (e.g., writing, designs, or music) you generate.
In Oklahoma, there are several avenues to achieve this, and initiating the necessary applications promptly is beneficial to prevent unauthorized use of your IP.
A trademark in Oklahoma pertains to a recognizable symbol, phrase, word, or design that distinguishes a product or service from others in the market.
To obtain legal protection, trademarks must be registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The registration process typically takes four to six months to complete. Once registered, the trademark is protected throughout the United States, and legal action can be taken against unauthorized use.
Businesses in Oklahoma can protect their trademarks by registering them with the USPTO. This not only safeguards their brand and reputation but also provides legal recourse against unauthorized use of the trademark.
In Oklahoma, original works of authorship, such as literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works, are protected by copyright law. This includes written content, software, web content, films, sound recordings, images, and other forms of creative expression.
When you create a new work in Oklahoma, copyright protection is automatically granted to you as the creator of the work. As the owner of exclusive rights to distribute, reproduce, create derivative works, and sell intellectual property, you have the legal authority to control the use of your work.
However, you may choose to register your copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office for additional legal protection and evidence of ownership. Registering your copyright in Oklahoma can help protect your work against infringement and provide a way to enforce your rights in court if necessary.
If you invent a new product or piece of machinery in Oklahoma, it’s essential to secure a patent. A patent grants the holder exclusive rights over the item and prevents others from making, selling, or importing the patented item for a specified period.
The patent process is complex and can take up to five years to complete, so it’s advisable to initiate it early if you have a unique invention that requires protection. Patent applications are submitted to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
By preserving your intellectual property in Oklahoma, you can safeguard your brand, products, and creations, ensuring that your business maintains a competitive edge and continues to flourish.
Step 7: Set Up Your Payment Infrastructure in Oklahoma
To ensure that your Oklahoma-based business is ready to serve customers promptly upon registration, it’s crucial to establish a convenient and hassle-free payment system.
There are several payment processing services available, offering user-friendly interfaces and seamless integration with your website or point-of-sale (POS) system. Popular options like Square, Stripe, and PayPal provide flexible and easy-to-set-up solutions that can be customized to align with your business objectives.
These payment processors enable you to accept a diverse range of payment methods, including credit and debit cards, ACH transfers, digital wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay, and many others. By selecting a reliable payment processing service, you can offer your customers the convenience of paying through their preferred methods via a secure platform, ensuring a smooth transaction experience for both you and your clients.
In addition to choosing a payment processor, it’s also essential to ensure compliance with Oklahoma’s sales tax regulations. This involves obtaining an Oklahoma Sales Tax Permit from the Oklahoma Tax Commission, allowing you to collect sales tax on taxable goods and services.
Once your payment infrastructure is set up, your Oklahoma-based business will be well-prepared to generate revenue efficiently and serve customers securely.
By following these steps, you will be on your way to establishing a legally compliant business in Oklahoma.
Top 5 Business Registration Services for Oklahoma Entrepreneurs
When it comes to registering a business in Oklahoma, entrepreneurs and small business owners have access to various business registration services tailored to their needs. These services offer a range of solutions to help businesses establish themselves and comply with state and federal regulations. Here are some of the leading business registration services available for Oklahoma entrepreneurs:
ZenBusiness is an online business registration service specializing in business formation, registered agent services, annual report filing, and more. They offer affordable pricing and packages that include personalized support and resources to help businesses remain compliant and grow. ZenBusiness provides a user-friendly website and a streamlined process, making it convenient for Oklahoma entrepreneurs to register their businesses.
Swyft Filings is a popular business registration service that provides fast and easy business formation, including LLC formation, incorporation, and compliance. They offer personalized support and resources to guide businesses through the registration process and ensure compliance with state and federal regulations. Swyft Filings has a user-friendly website and offers affordable pricing, simplifying the registration process for Oklahoma entrepreneurs.
Tailor Brands is an online branding and design service that assists businesses in creating a professional and cohesive brand identity. They offer branding packages that include logo design, business card design, and social media branding. Additionally, Tailor Brands provides a suite of design tools and resources for businesses to create and customize their own branded assets. While not a conventional business registration service, Tailor Brands can help Oklahoma entrepreneurs establish an appealing brand image to attract customers.
Northwest Registered Agent is an online LLc registration service specializing in registered agent services, compliance management, and document filing. Known for their quality and exceptional customer service, they offer personalized support to help businesses comply with state and federal regulations.
Northwest Registered Agent offers a range of business formation services for LLCs, corporations, and nonprofits, catering to the specific needs of Oklahoma entrepreneurs.
Bizee is an online business registration service that offers fast and affordable business formation services. Their packages include registered agent services, compliance management, and document filing. bizee platform is user-friendly and streamlined, ensuring an easy and hassle-free business registration process for Oklahoma entrepreneurs. They also provide ongoing support and resources to help businesses remain compliant and achieve growth.
By researching and comparing these business registration services, Oklahoma entrepreneurs can find the best option to meet their specific needs and simplify the registration process.
Business Registration Laws in Oklahoma
In Oklahoma, the process of registering a business involves several steps and requirements. Here are the key aspects of business registration laws in Oklahoma:
- Choosing a Business Structure: Determine the legal structure for your business, such as a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or Limited Liability Company (LLC). Each structure has different legal and tax implications.
- Business Name: Select a unique name for your business that complies with Oklahoma’s naming rules. Ensure that the name does not conflict with any existing registered business names in the state. You can check the availability of your chosen name through the Oklahoma Secretary of State’s website.
- Registered Agent: Appoint a registered agent who will act as the official contact person for your business and receive legal documents on its behalf. The registered agent must have a physical address in Oklahoma.
- Certificate of Incorporation/Articles of Organization: File the appropriate formation documents with the Oklahoma Secretary of State. For corporations file a Certificate of Incorporation, while LLCs file Articles of Organization. These documents typically include information about the business, such as its name, purpose, registered agent, management structure, and other details.
- Employer Identification Number (EIN): Obtain an EIN from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). An EIN is a unique identification number assigned to businesses for tax purposes. You can apply for an EIN online through the IRS website.
- State Licenses and Permits: Depending on the nature of your business, you may need to obtain specific licenses or permits at the state, county, or local level. The Oklahoma Department of Commerce can guide the licenses and permits required for your particular industry.
- Taxes and Registration: Register for applicable state taxes, such as sales tax, income tax withholding, and unemployment tax. You can register online with the Oklahoma Tax Commission (OTC). Additionally, if your business has employees, you’ll need to register for state and federal employment taxes.
Depending on the nature of your business, you may have additional requirements, such as obtaining professional Business licenses or certifications. Ensure compliance with any industry-specific regulations.
It’s advisable to consult with a qualified attorney or tax professional to ensure compliance with all legal requirements and to address any specific concerns related to your business.
Alternative Business Registration Methods in Oklahoma
In Oklahoma, there are alternative business registration methods available for entrepreneurs. While the most common method is registering a business with the Oklahoma Secretary of State, there are a few alternatives you can explore depending on the nature and structure of your business. Here are three alternative business registration methods in Oklahoma:
Tribal Business Registration
If you’re a member of a federally recognized Native American tribe or plan to conduct business within tribal lands in Oklahoma, you may consider registering your business with the respective tribal government. Each tribe has its own business registration process and requirements. Contact the specific tribe’s economic development office or business regulatory authority for more information.
Limited Liability Company (LLC) Registration
If you wish to establish a Limited Liability Company (LLC) in Oklahoma, you have the option to register your LLC with the Oklahoma Secretary of State or file your formation documents with the county clerk’s office in the county where your business is located. This alternative method applies only to LLCs, and the specific county clerk’s office will provide you with the necessary instructions and forms.
Trade Name Registration
If you want to conduct business under a name different from your own legal name (sole proprietorship) or the name of your registered entity, you may register a trade name, also known as a “doing business as” (DBA) name. Instead of registering a DBA with the Secretary of State, you can file a trade name certificate with the county clerk’s office in the county where your business is located. This option is often used by sole proprietors and partnerships.
It’s important to note that while these alternative registration methods exist, they may have specific requirements and limitations depending on your business type and location. It’s advisable to consult with an attorney or a business professional to ensure compliance with all relevant regulations and to determine the most suitable method for your specific situation.
Benefits of Registering Your Business in Oklahoma
Registering your business in Oklahoma offers several benefits that can contribute to the growth and success of your company. Here are some advantages of registering your business in Oklahoma:
- Legal Recognition: Registering your business establishes it as a legal entity separate from yourself. This provides liability protection, shielding your personal assets from business debts or lawsuits.
- Limited Liability Company (LLC) Advantages: Oklahoma offers favorable conditions for LLCs. By forming an LLC, you can enjoy the benefits of pass-through taxation, where profits and losses pass through to the owners’ personal tax returns. This structure provides flexibility, ease of management, and limited liability protection.
- Access to Government Contracts: Registering your business in Oklahoma can give you access to various government contracts and procurement opportunities. The state provides resources and assistance to help small businesses compete for government contracts at the federal, state, and local levels.
- Business-Friendly Environment: Oklahoma is known for its business-friendly climate. The state offers low operating costs, affordable commercial real estate, and a low overall tax burden. Additionally, the state government actively supports and encourages entrepreneurship through various programs and incentives.
- Incentive Programs: Oklahoma offers a range of incentive programs to support businesses and spur economic development. These programs include tax credits, grants, workforce training assistance, and financing options. By registering your business in Oklahoma, you can take advantage of these incentives to reduce costs and increase your competitiveness.
- Central Location and Transportation Infrastructure: Oklahoma’s central location in the United States provides strategic advantages for businesses involved in logistics, transportation, or distribution. The state has a well-developed transportation infrastructure, including major highways, rail lines, airports, and shipping ports, facilitating the efficient movement of goods and services.
- Skilled Workforce and Educational Institutions: Oklahoma boasts a skilled and diverse workforce. The state is home to several excellent educational institutions, including universities, colleges, and vocational schools, which can provide a pool of talent for your business. Many of these institutions also offer partnerships and resources for business research and development.
- Quality of Life: Oklahoma offers a high quality of life with affordable housing, low crime rates, and a strong sense of community. The state provides a range of recreational activities, cultural attractions, and natural beauty, making it an attractive place to live and work.
These are some of the benefits of registering your business in Oklahoma. However, it’s important to consult with legal and tax professionals to fully understand the specific advantages and requirements based on your business’s unique circumstances.
Is Business Registration Required in Oklahoma? Find Out Here
Certainly, most businesses operating in Oklahoma are required to undergo state registration. The specific registration criteria vary depending on the business type, nature, and other pertinent factors. Examples of common registration processes include obtaining an Oklahoma Sales and Use Tax Permit, registering an Oklahoma Limited Liability Company (LLC) or Corporation, and securing professional licenses or permits for specific industries.
Conducting thorough research on the specific registration obligations for your business is vital to ensure compliance and avoid potential legal and financial ramifications.
How to Register Your Business in Oklahoma – Frequently Asked Questions
What Do I Need to Register a Business in Oklahoma?
To register a business in Oklahoma, you will have to choose a business name, determine the legal structure, and complete the necessary paperwork with the Oklahoma Secretary of State. The specific requirements will depend on the type of business you intend to establish, but generally, you will need to file Articles of Organization, appoint a registered agent, and acquire any essential licenses or permits.
How Much Does It Cost to Register a Company in Oklahoma?
The cost of establishing a company in Oklahoma depends on the legal structure of your business and the type of filing you’re making. In Oklahoma, the filing fee for a Certificate of Formation for an LLC is $100, whereas, for a corporation, it’s $50. You may also encounter additional fees for other required filings and permits related to your business.
Can a Foreigner Start a Business in Oklahoma?
In Oklahoma, foreigners are welcome to embark on entrepreneurial endeavors and establish their businesses as long as they comply with the applicable legal requirements. This may involve obtaining the required visas or work permits, and foreign business owners should be aware of the need to register their businesses with the relevant state and federal authorities.
Do I Need to Register My Online Business in Oklahoma?
If you’re running an online business in Oklahoma, you may need to register your business with the state, depending on the nature of your online activities and the type of business you operate. Sole proprietorships and partnerships may be exempt from registration, while corporations and LLCs are more likely to have this requirement. Additionally, you might have to obtain certain permits and licenses, such as a sales tax permit from the Oklahoma Tax Commission.
To better understand the specific requirements for your business in Oklahoma, it’s recommended to consult with a qualified attorney or accountant who can guide you through the intricate rules and regulations governing businesses in the state. Their expertise can help you ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.
Bottom Line on How to Register Your Business in Oklahoma
Registering your business in Oklahoma is a crucial step in ensuring compliance with state laws and regulations, ultimately leading to success. Although it may seem overwhelming, by following the required steps and meeting the necessary criteria, you can establish solid groundwork for your venture.
Choosing a suitable business name and legal structure that fulfills the requirements of the Oklahoma Secretary of State, completing the required paperwork, and obtaining any industry-specific licenses and permits specific to your locality is pivotal. Simplify the process and ensure adherence to all requirements by employing a business registration service such as ZenBusiness.
Devoting time to properly register your business in Oklahoma can help you sidestep legal and financial challenges in the future and position yourself for prosperity.
Read about how to register a business in any US state:
About the author
Dr. Alexander Sterling, Esq, a distinguished legal scholar with a business law degree and a Doctor of Juridical Science, is a leading expert in business registration and diverse business departments. Renowned for his academic excellence and practical insights, Dr. Sterling guides businesses through legal complexities, offering invaluable expertise in compliance, corporate governance, and registration processes.
As an accomplished author, his forthcoming book is anticipated to be a comprehensive guide for navigating the dynamic intersection of law and business, providing clarity and practical wisdom for entrepreneurs and legal professionals alike. With a commitment to legal excellence, Dr. Alexander Sterling, Esq, is a trusted authority dedicated to empowering businesses within the ever-evolving legal landscape.