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How to Start an LLC in Michigan – 2024 Edition

How to Start an LLC in Michigan
(Last Updated On: April 19, 2024)

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Starting a Limited Liability Company (LLC) in Michigan is a straightforward process that offers entrepreneurs a flexible and protective business structure. To establish an LLC in the Great Lakes State, individuals need to follow a series of steps, including choosing a unique business name, appointing a registered agent, and filing the necessary formation documents with the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). 

This introductory guide will walk you through the key steps and requirements to successfully launch your LLC in Michigan, providing a solid foundation for your business endeavors in this dynamic Midwestern state.

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Five Steps to Start Your Michigan LLC

Embarking on the journey to establish an LLC in Michigan is made easy with our inclusive guide. Whether you choose the do-it-yourself approach or enlist the assistance of a formation service or a business attorney, the process involves five key steps. 

If you opt for the DIY route, Michigan streamlines the experience by conveniently offering all the necessary formation documents in one accessible location on the secretary of state’s website.

Step 1: Choose a Name for Your Michigan LLC

The initial and pivotal step in establishing an LLC in Michigan is selecting an appropriate business name. It’s essential to pick a name that adheres to Michigan’s naming laws and requirements while also being easily identifiable by potential clients.

Adhere to Michigan’s LLC Naming Guidelines:

  • Ensure your business name includes the term “limited liability company” or one of its abbreviations (LLC or L.L.C.).
  • Avoid incorporating words that might cause confusion between your LLC and government agencies (such as FBI, Treasury, State Department, etc.).
  • Note that certain restricted words (e.g., Bank, Attorney, University) may necessitate additional legal documentation, and your LLC might require involvement from a licensed individual, such as a doctor or lawyer.
  • For a comprehensive list of naming rules in Michigan, refer to the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs website.

Check Name Availability in Michigan:

Verify that your desired business name isn’t already in use by conducting an online LLC name search through the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA).

Confirm URL Availability:

We recommend checking if your chosen business name is available as a web domain. Even if you currently have no plans to establish a business website, securing the URL can prevent others from acquiring it in the future.

Once you’ve confirmed the availability of your chosen name, you can proceed to engage a professional service to assist you in completing the LLC formation process.

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Step 2: Designate a Resident Agent for Your Michigan LLC

It’s imperative to designate and uphold a resident agent for your Michigan LLC, commonly referred to as a registered agent in other jurisdictions.

What does a resident agent do? A resident agent, also known as a registered agent in some states, is an individual or business entity tasked with receiving crucial tax forms, legal documents, notices of lawsuits, and official government communications on behalf of your business. Consider your registered agent as the primary contact point between your business and the state.

Who is eligible to be a resident agent? The resident agent must be either a Michigan resident or a corporation, such as a registered agent service, authorized to conduct business in the state of Michigan. You can choose an individual within your company, which may include yourself.

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Step 3: Submitting Articles of Organization

To establish an LLC in Michigan, you must submit the Articles of Organization to the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

Ensure that your Michigan LLC’s Articles of Organization include the following information:

  • Name of the LLC
  • Name and address of the registered agent
  • Location of the LLC’s registered office
  • Effective filing date of the Articles of Organization
  • General purpose of the LLC
  • A statement indicating whether the LLC is perpetual or temporary
  • Signature and contact information of the LLC organizer

These articles can be submitted either online through the Corporations Online Filing System or by mail. The filing fee is $50, with an option for expedited processing at an additional cost.

Postal Address:

Corporations Division

Corporations, Securities & Commercial Licensing Bureau

Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs

P.O. Box 30054

Lansing, MI 48909

Physical Address:

Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs

2501 Woodlake Circle

Okemos, MI 48864

For Foreign LLCs Operating in Michigan

If your LLC was formed outside of Michigan and intends to conduct business in the state, it must register with the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. Follow these steps:

  • Ensure compliance with Michigan’s LLC naming guidelines and confirm name availability by checking the Michigan business name database.
  • Appoint a registered agent in Michigan to handle the service of process within the state.
  • Submit an Application for a Certificate of Authority to Transact Business in Michigan, accompanied by a $50 filing fee. This certificate can be filed online or by mail through the Corporations Online Filing System.
  • Include a Certificate of Good Standing or Certificate of Existence from the LLC’s home state with the application. The certificate should be dated within 30 days of filing with the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

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Step 4: Compose an Operating Agreement

While not a legally required procedure for establishing an LLC in Michigan, it’s highly advisable for all newly formed limited liability companies to create a thorough operating agreement.

This agreement should:

  • Outline the business structure of the LLC
  • Define the individual roles and responsibilities of its members
  • Specify the operational procedures for running the LLC

In the absence of an operating agreement that clearly outlines the duties of its members, an LLC might encounter substantial legal and operational challenges.

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Step 5: Obtain an EIN for Your Michigan LLC

You can secure an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS without incurring any charges. This identifier is crucial for discerning a business entity and monitoring its tax reporting, essentially serving as the company’s equivalent of a Social Security number (SSN).

Why is an EIN necessary? An EIN number is essential for the following purposes:

  • Opening a business bank account for the company
  • Fulfilling federal and state tax requirements
  • Facilitating the hiring of employees for the company

Where can I obtain an EIN? Business owners can acquire an EIN from the IRS at no cost after the company is formed. This process can be completed through online submission or by mail.

FOR INTERNATIONAL APPLICANTS: An SSN isn’t a prerequisite for obtaining an EIN.

Obtaining an employer identification number is mandatory for those with a multi-member LLC or an LLC with employees. While a single-member LLC with no employees technically isn’t obligated to have an EIN, opting for one instead of using your Social Security number can safeguard your privacy and identity. Additionally, acquiring an EIN is a straightforward and free process through the IRS website.

  • If handling the process independently, apply for an EIN online, and receive your number immediately.
  • If utilizing an LLC formation service, check if an EIN is included in your package.
  • If seeking legal assistance to form your LLC, you can enlist an attorney’s help with the EIN application.

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Step 6: Submit the Annual Statement

LLCs in Michigan must submit an annual report, referred to as an annual statement, to the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. This filing can be completed online, incurring a filing fee of $25, which is exempted for veteran-owned LLCs.

LLCs established after September 30 are not obligated to file an annual statement on the due date immediately following formation.

The deadline for your LLC’s annual statement is February 15 annually. Failure to meet this filing deadline in Michigan results in a $50 late fee.

Step 7: Michigan Licenses & Permits for Businesses

In order to operate your LLC, adherence to federal, state, and local government regulations is imperative. The fees and prerequisites for licenses and permits will vary based on the specific type of business license required.

Step 8: Michigan LLC Tax Filing Obligations

To ensure the continued good standing of your business, it’s crucial to stay informed about the tax requirements applicable to your Michigan LLC.

Depending on your business’s nature, you may need to register for one or more types of taxes:

Sales Tax

If your business involves selling physical products, obtaining a sales tax license through the Michigan Department of Treasury website is generally necessary. Michigan’s base sales tax rate is 6%, and certain sales, such as those related to electricity or natural gas, are taxed at 4%. There are no additional local sales tax rates.

Employer Taxes

For LLCs with employees in Michigan, registration for Unemployment Insurance Tax with the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency is mandatory. Enrollment in Employee Withholding Tax through the Michigan Department of Treasury is also required.

Income Tax


As of 2023, the flat tax rate for individual income tax returns is 4.05%. This means that your tax rate remains constant regardless of your LLC’s income. State tax returns are due annually by April 18. Refer to the Michigan Department of Treasury website to file your returns or stay informed about your tax year requirements.


Reporting federal income tax obligations is necessary, utilizing either Form 1065 for multi-member LLCs or Form 1040 Schedule C for single-member LLCs.

Hiring Employees

If your business plans to hire employees, ensure compliance by following these steps:

  • Verify that new employees are eligible to work in the US
  • Report new hires to the state
  • Provide workers’ compensation insurance for employees
  • Withhold employee taxes
  • Display workplace compliance posters visibly within your workspace

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Step 9: Insurance and Banking Obligations

While obtaining business insurance for your LLC might not be the foremost consideration, it could be necessary in certain industries. Moreover, acquiring workers’ compensation insurance is mandatory if your LLC employs individuals working 35 or more hours per week. 

Explore various insurance options that can safeguard your business in unforeseen circumstances.

  • General liability
  • Commercial auto
  • Business owners policy
  • Professional liability
  • Cyber insurance

Another crucial aspect of positioning your business for success involves opening a business bank account to secure a credit card for your LLC. 

Although Michigan doesn’t mandate a separate bank account for your LLC, having one enhances your business’s credibility, especially if you plan to contract with vendors or seek additional funding. 

Maintaining a clear distinction between personal and business assets provides an added layer of protection in the event of accumulating debt. Look for special offers on small business accounts at local banks.

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How to Start an LLC in Michigan – Buyer’s Guide

What Is an LLC?

An LLC combines the relative simplicity and flexibility of a partnership or sole proprietorship structure with the heightened protection against risks associated with a corporate framework. Similar to corporate shareholders, members of an LLC (referred to as “members”) benefit from limited liability. This implies that personal liability is restricted to the members’ invested capital, safeguarding them from bearing responsibility for corporate losses or debts.

By default, LLC members are subject to taxes based on personal income, akin to the taxation structure applicable to sole proprietorships or general partnerships—commonly known as a “pass-through” tax arrangement. 

An LLC has the option to choose C corporation (C-corp) or S corporation (S-corp) taxation, contingent on meeting specific criteria. Due to their simplicity and adaptability, many small business proprietors opt for LLCs.

The Cost of Establishing an LLC in Michigan

Commencing your entrepreneurial venture in the Great Lakes State as an LLC involves financial considerations. To embark on this journey, you must allocate funds for Michigan’s $50 initial filing fee. As with numerous other states, Michigan mandates LLCs to submit an annual report accompanied by a fee. This recurring $25 cost ensures your LLC’s ongoing compliance and good standing with state regulations.

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Is Michigan a Good State to Start an LLC?

The suitability of Michigan as a state to initiate an LLC hinges on your residence and business operations.

If you reside in or conduct business within Michigan, initiating your LLC in the state is recommended. Although various online sources discuss the tax advantages of specific states, these benefits are irrelevant if the state in question isn’t where you reside and operate.

For instance, forming an LLC in Delaware while residing and conducting business in Michigan necessitates additional registration in Michigan, incurring additional fees. Ultimately, you would still be subject to Michigan taxes, increasing costs and complexities without inherent advantages.

In summary, if your residence and business operations are in Michigan, it’s indeed a favorable state to establish a business. Conversely, starting a business isn’t an optimal choice if you’re not based in Michigan.

Real estate caveat: If you’re acquiring real estate outside of Michigan, it’s advisable to establish your LLC in the state where the property is situated.

What Are the Advantages of an LLC?

The primary benefit of an LLC is the safeguarding of personal assets. In the event of a business lawsuit, the personal assets of LLC owners, whether in a Single-Member LLC or Multi-Member LLC, remain protected. This protection stands in contrast to Sole Proprietorships or Partnerships, where owners lack protection in the event of legal action. Consequently, Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) are a widely favored business structure.

Another advantage is the pass-through taxation mechanism of LLCs. This implies that the LLC doesn’t incur federal income taxes; profits pass through to LLC members, who then pay taxes on their individual tax returns. Michigan state income taxes follow a similar approach, as the state adheres to the federal tax treatment of LLCs.

Ways to Create a Michigan LLC

Our guide not only outlines the steps to initiate an LLC but also aids in determining the level of assistance you require throughout the process.


If your LLC is expected to have a limited number of members or employees and has no plans for expansion to multiple states, you can take on the registration process independently. 

Michigan LLC Online Formation

LLC formation companies can handle the paperwork on your behalf, with some even offering a guarantee of acceptance for your legal documents or a refund. Many of these services provide customizable package options, allowing you to choose and pay for only the specific services you need. Some may offer free LLC creation with additional paid services available. 

Consider utilizing the services of ZenBusiness, Swyft Filings, and IncFile LLC formation services for the online setup of your Michigan LLC. Compare the offerings of our recommended services to make an informed choice.

>> Check Out ZenBusiness Now >>


ZenBusiness is an online platform specializing in LLC formation, designed to serve entrepreneurs and small business owners by offering a comprehensive suite of tools for launching and growing their companies. They provide affordable and all-inclusive packages for LLC formation, including LLC services such as registered agent assistance and annual report filing.

ZenBusiness goes beyond initial formation, offering continuous support and valuable resources to help businesses maintain compliance and strive for success.

>> Try Out ZenBusiness >>

Swyft Filings

Swyft Filings logo

Swyft Filings is a dedicated LLC formation service recognized for its efficiency and straightforwardness in the process of creating an LLC. They provide an extensive range of services related to LLCs, encompassing everything from incorporation to compliance and registered agent assistance. Swyft Filings also extends personalized guidance, aiding businesses in navigating the complexities of LLC formation and ensuring adherence to both state and federal regulations.

>> Start Using Swyft Filings >>


Incfile offers a valuable resource library that proves extremely helpful for inexperienced business owners as they navigate the process of determining the most suitable business structure. 

Subsequently, Incfile provides support with essential documentation and filing procedures, simplifying concepts such as a registered agent, articles of organization, and EIN. The company has built a strong reputation and consistently receives favorable online reviews.

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If you envision a more intricate LLC structure, such as a professional LLC or a limited liability limited company (LLC), or if you intend to expand across multiple states, it’s advisable to engage the services of a small business attorney. 

An attorney can provide personalized guidance on the formation process, understanding the specific long-term considerations that may impact your decisions. They can also serve as an on-call advisor for your business. 

How to Start an LLC in Michigan – FAQs

Is It Possible for My Michigan LLC to Operate Under a Different Business Name?

Operating your Michigan LLC under various trade names is permissible, provided you complete a Certificate of Assumed Name for each additional alias.

Am I Allowed to Serve as My Own Resident Agent in Michigan?

Michigan permits individuals to act as their LLC’s resident agent, given that they’re at least 18 years old and have a physical residence in the state.

Read More:  Cost to start an LLC

What Is the Cost Associated With Registering an LLC?

Registration fees vary by state. In Michigan, the filing fee is $50, while in Massachusetts, establishing an LLC costs $500. It’s crucial to conduct thorough research and plan your budget accordingly.

How Are State Taxes Handled for LLCs in Michigan?

Unless Michigan LLCs choose to be treated as corporations, state taxes are imposed on them similarly to federal taxes—once, at the personal income levels of their members.

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