Skip to content

How to Start an LLC in Utah – Step-By-Step Guide for 2024

How to Start an LLC in Utah – Step-By-Step Guide for 2024
(Last Updated On: February 27, 2024)

Our content is reader-supported. We may earn a commission if you make a purchase through one of our links.

 

Embarking on the journey to start an LLC in Utah opens the door to a business-friendly landscape with promising opportunities. The process involves selecting a unique business name, filing formation documents with the Utah Division of Corporations, designating a registered agent, and outlining the LLC’s operations in an essential operating agreement. 

This brief guide paves the way for entrepreneurs to establish a solid foundation and navigate the steps required to thrive in Utah’s dynamic business environment.

>> Get Started With ZenBusiness >>

How To Start an LLC in Utah: Basic Steps & Tips

Step 1: Naming Your LLC

Amidst the more procedural aspects of establishing a Utah LLC, the first step offers a burst of creativity as you choose a name for your business. If you’ve already settled on the ideal name, it’s crucial to conduct a Utah LLC search to ensure its availability. The naming process involves certain requirements:

  • The name must include the phrases “limited company” or “limited liability company” or their abbreviations, “L.C.” or “L.L.C.”
  • It should be distinct from all other registered names.
  • Avoid words or acronyms suggesting a government affiliation, such as “IRS” or “CIA.”
  • The name must either be in English or translated into English.
  • Certain words implying a connection to any Utah agency, like “Banking” or “University,” are restricted.

Understanding what makes a name distinguishable is key. Utah considers factors like word order, creative spellings, or unusual variations. 

Noteworthy Tip: If you’ve found the perfect name and it’s available, consider reserving it for $22 to safeguard it during the LLC formation process. This reservation lasts for 120 days, providing ample time to navigate the subsequent steps of starting your Utah LLC.

>> Choose Your Utah LLC Name With ZenBusiness >>

Step 2: Designate Your Registered Agent

Before initiating the filing of your Utah LLC registration documents, it’s imperative to designate a registered agent responsible for receiving legal documents and crucial state communications on behalf of your LLC. Utah mandates that the chosen agent be an individual residing in the state or a business authorized to conduct transactions in Utah.

The flexibility exists to appoint any trustworthy person or entity as your LLC’s agent. Frequently, LLCs opt for a member to assume this role. Another common choice is to select your LLC’s attorney, ensuring prompt legal advice upon document receipt.

Insider Tip: If Utah LLC members prefer an external entity as the agent but don’t wish to engage an attorney, registered agent services are available. These services accept documents on behalf of the LLC and provide timely reminders for annual filings, ensuring ongoing compliance for your LLC.

Our Picks of the Best-Registered Agent Services

ZenBusiness

ZenBusiness takes care of all your paperwork worries when you choose to partner with them. They offer a comprehensive suite of LLC services aimed at ensuring the correct establishment of your business, with all necessary documentation completed and submitted to the relevant state government department. While there is a fee associated with ZenBusiness’s services, customers consistently report receiving excellent value for their investment.

>> Try Out ZenBusiness >>

Swyft Filings

Swyft Filings specializes in the efficient and straightforward formation of Limited Liability Companies (LLCs). Recognized for its effectiveness, Swyft Filings provides extensive services covering everything from incorporation to compliance, along with support for registered agents. The service offers personalized guidance to help businesses navigate the complexities of LLC formation and maintain compliance with both state and federal regulations.

>> Start Using Swyft Filings >>

Tailor Brands

On the other hand, Tailor Brands is an online platform focused on branding and design, designed to aid businesses in developing a polished and cohesive brand identity. Offering various branding packages, including services such as logo design, business card creation, and social media branding, Tailor Brands equips businesses with design tools and resources to create and customize their branded assets according to specific requirements.

>> Try Tailor Brands Now >>

Step 3: Submit Your Certificate of Organization

To conduct business as an LLC in any state, it’s essential to file a document providing information that allows the state to recognize and register the business in its system. 

This step is crucial in understanding how to initiate an LLC in Utah, and in the Beehive State, the pertinent document is referred to as the certificate of organization. The Utah LLC certificate of organization should include:

  • The LLC’s name
  • Principal office address
  • Registered agent’s name and Utah street address
  • Signature of the organizer

You need not worry about memorizing these requirements, as the fillable form will have them clearly outlined. Additionally, there are optional elements you can include, such as:

  • Names and addresses of members
  • Duration of the LLC
  • Purpose of the LLC

Submission of documents can be done online directly to the Division of Corporations and Commercial Code or by mailing them to P.O. Box 146705, Salt Lake City, UT 84114-6705. However, forms cannot be submitted via email.

The approval timeframe varies depending on the submission method. Mailed LLC documents may take up to three weeks for approval, while forms filed online can be processed within two business days. The filing fee for the certificate of organization for your Utah LLC is $54.

Insider Tip: To estimate the wait time for your filing, you can check the division’s current processing status. Generally, Utah LLC filings have an estimated two-week processing time. If you require a faster turnaround, Utah offers expedited filing for an additional $75 per filing, guaranteeing processing within two business days.

>> File Your Certificate of Organization With ZenBusiness Now >>

Step 4: Draft Your LLC Operating Agreement

Although there is no mandatory requirement for a Utah LLC to have an operating agreement, it’s advisable for members to establish one to document crucial company choices and establish the operational framework of the business. 

This agreement can cover a range of details, from minor aspects such as the company’s anniversary celebration date to pivotal decisions governing the dissolution of the business. Common components found in these agreements include:

  • Member responsibilities
  • Management structure (member-managed or manager-managed)
  • Voting procedures
  • Admission of new members
  • Membership transfer processes
  • Day-to-day business operations
  • Description of liabilities
  • Company finances and accounting

Even if your Utah LLC consists of a sole member, it’s essential to have an operating agreement in place. Unlike a business plan, which outlines a company’s proposed course of action, an operating agreement holds legal significance. It serves as a contract that binds members to its specified terms.

Real-world Example: Jia and Ainy jointly own Salt Flat LLC, which currently lacks an operating agreement. Although Jia and Ainy verbally agreed not to transfer their LLC membership to external parties, Ainy informed Jia a year later that she had transferred her membership to her neighbor. Without an operating agreement documenting their agreement, Jia may lack the means to address Ainy’s actions.

>> Draft Your LLC Operating Agreement With ZenBusiness Today >>

Step 5: Obtain a Federal Employer Identification Number

Obtain a free Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS to serve as the business entity’s identification and facilitate accurate tax reporting. Essentially functioning as a Social Security number (SSN) for the company, an EIN is essential for various purposes.

Why Is an EIN Necessary?

  • To establish a business bank account for the company
  • For federal and state tax requirements
  • To facilitate the hiring of employees for the company

How Do I Obtain an EIN?

An EIN can be acquired at no cost from the IRS by the business owner after the company’s formation. This process can be completed either online or through mail.

FOR INTERNATIONAL APPLICANTS: An SSN isn’t required to obtain an EIN.

>> Secure Your EIN With ZenBusiness >>

Step 6: Obtain Your Business Licenses

After completing the Utah business registration process, the next crucial step is obtaining the necessary licenses. While filing the certificate of organization officially establishes your company within the state, many cities impose additional licensing requirements for conducting business within their jurisdiction.

In specific instances, such as when your company engages in the sale of products or provides certain services, the state may mandate that an LLC obtains a sales tax license. 

To comply with local regulations, it’s essential to check with the city where your business operates, obtain the required licenses, and fulfill any associated fees. Utah’s online filing system facilitates the application process for various city licenses, including sales tax licenses for your Utah LLC.

>> Simplify Your Business License Needs With ZenBusiness Now >>

Step 7: Maintain the Active Status of Your LLC

Understanding the initial steps of establishing an LLC in Utah is only the beginning of your journey as a business owner. To ensure the continuous operation of your business and its ability to engage in transactions, adherence to compliance standards in both Utah and the relevant county is crucial.

Submit Annual Reports

Utah mandates that LLCs file an annual renewal report to sustain the company’s active status. This report must be submitted by the last day of your LLC’s anniversary month each year. A renewal notice from the Department of Commerce will be sent 60 days before the report’s deadline. 

The filing fee is $18, with a $10 penalty for submissions more than 30 days late. Online filing, taking as little as 15 minutes, is an option.

Failure to file the annual report within 60 days will result in the state designating your LLC status as “expired,” leading to the cancellation of your business registration. If this occurs, reinstating your LLC becomes necessary to resume legal business activities. However, after a two-year expiration period, reinstatement may become challenging.

Submit Necessary Tax Documents

The LLC itself isn’t subject to tax obligations; instead, taxes pass through to the LLC members, who pay taxes on the income generated from the Utah LLC. Utah’s personal income tax rate is a flat rate that varies annually.

For LLCs with employees, federal and state employer taxes, as well as unemployment taxes, must be paid. The rates for these taxes change on an annual basis. Online business registration facilitates the filing process.

Establish a Website and Social Media Presence

Seizing opportunities to enhance your brand and broaden your customer base is essential. Acquiring a domain name should be a priority once your Utah LLC is operational. 

Additionally, creating social media accounts for your company is advisable, as establishing an online presence can catalyze business growth and facilitate client discovery of your products or services.

>> Secure Your LLC Annual Report Now with ZenBusiness >>

Step 8: Utah LLC Tax Filing Obligations

To maintain your business’s good standing, it’s crucial to stay current with your Utah LLC tax responsibilities. Depending on your business’s nature, you may need to register for one or more state tax categories:

Sales Tax

For those selling physical products, obtaining a seller’s permit via the Utah Taxpayer Access Point website is typically necessary. Utah’s base sales tax rate is 4.85%, with a maximum local sales tax rate (added to the state rate) of 1% and a maximum county rate of 0.25%.

Employer Taxes

If your business has Utah-based employees, registration for the Unemployment Insurance Tax through the Utah Department of Workforce Services is required. Additionally, sign up for Employee Withholding Tax via Utah’s Taxpayer Access Point.

Income Tax

State:

Utah imposes a flat individual income tax rate of 4.65%, irrespective of your LLC’s income. State tax returns are due annually by April 18. For detailed filing instructions, refer to the Utah State Tax Commission website.

Federal:

Report your federal income tax using either Form 1065 (for multi-member LLCs) or Form 1040 Schedule C (for single-member LLCs).

Employee Hiring

If you intend to hire employees, ensure legal compliance by adhering to these steps:

  • Verify new employees’ eligibility to work in the US
  • Report new hires to the state
  • Provide workers’ compensation insurance
  • Withhold employee taxes
  • Display workplace compliance posters prominently in your workspace

>> Simplify Your Tax Needs With ZenBusiness >>

Step 9: Explore Insurance Alternatives for Your Utah-Based Business

Securing insurance for your Utah LLC plays a crucial role in effectively managing business risks, allowing you to concentrate on the company’s expansion. Common insurance options for businesses in Utah encompass:

  • Workers’ compensation insurance: This policy covers injuries and illnesses sustained by employees while on the job, including fatal incidents. LLCs with employees in Utah must acquire workers’ comp as a mandatory requirement.
  • General liability insurance: Offering broad protection, this insurance shields your LLC from legal expenses and certain financial losses arising from property damage and some on-the-job injuries, such as a customer slipping and falling on your premises. While not compulsory under Utah state law, many commercial leases for offices or storefronts may necessitate general liability insurance as a contractual condition.
  • Commercial auto insurance: If your LLC utilizes commercial vehicles, such as delivery trucks, semi-trucks, or food trucks, Utah state law mandates the purchase of commercial auto insurance to cover these vehicles against damage and theft.
  • Professional liability insurance: While not dictated by state law, certain professions with a higher susceptibility to potential legal action may require a more substantial investment in insurance. Businesses such as law firms, accounting firms, and healthcare offices fall into this category, often necessitating professional liability insurance.

>> Explore Comprehensive Business Insurance With ZenBusiness in Utah >>

Step 10: Promote Your Utah LLC

Establishing and formalizing your Utah LLC marks just the initial phase of your journey as a small business owner. After completing the filing of your certificate of LLC formation and addressing various startup expenses, the next crucial step is to market your business effectively. 

To distinguish it from competitors, active engagement is essential in the following areas:

  • Market research: Gain an in-depth understanding of your target customer(s) before devising your LLC’s optimal marketing strategy. Thorough market research will equip you with the insights needed to effectively promote your new business.
  • Advertising: Propel your LLC into the spotlight through paid advertising channels such as print ads, television commercials, or digital banners on websites. Whether you choose to manage this yourself or enlist the services of an advertising agency, effective promotion allows you to focus on other aspects of your business.
  • Social media: Cultivate a robust presence on social media platforms to amplify your company and brand, showcasing your offerings to a potentially vast audience. Ensure your Utah LLC maintains active profiles across diverse platforms. Tailor your content to each platform and its specific demographics to resonate with different audience segments and maximize your outreach. 

>> Market Your Utah LLC With ZenBusiness >>

How to Start an LLC in Utah – Frequently Asked Questions

What Advantages Come With the Establishment of an LLC?

Many entrepreneurs opt for LLCs due to their cost-effectiveness compared to corporations, coupled with a degree of liability protection. LLC finances are treated independently from personal assets, and they commonly function as pass-through tax entities, enabling tax claims. However, exceptions exist for LLCs whose members opt for corporate taxation.

What Is the Cost Associated With Forming an LLC in Utah?

The primary expense involves a $70 filing fee for the articles of organization. Additionally, there is a $20 annual report filing fee to ensure ongoing compliance with LLC regulations.

How Much Time Does It Take To Establish an LLC in Utah?

The timeframe for forming an LLC in Utah is contingent on the filing method chosen. If you opt for online submission of your articles of organization, processing typically takes a few business days. Mailed filings may require a longer processing period, and expedited processing is an option for an additional fee.

Is an Operating Agreement Mandatory for an LLC in Utah?

Although Utah doesn’t mandate LLCs to have an operating agreement, it’s strongly advisable to create one. An operating agreement delineates the management structure, ownership percentages, and operational procedures of your LLC. Even for single-member LLCs, having an operating agreement can provide clarity on internal processes and safeguard your limited liability status.

How Does an LLC Differ From a DBA and a Corporation?

A Doing Business As (DBA) allows individuals to operate under a trade name distinct from their legal or established business name. Unlike a DBA, which is a registered nickname, corporations, and LLCs are distinct business entities. Corporations have shareholders, whereas LLCs have owners referred to as “members.” 

Can I Serve as My Own Registered Agent in Utah?

In Utah, LLC members or owners can act as their registered agents, provided they meet the age requirement of 18 and maintain a physical address within the state.

What Is the Process for Dissolving My Utah LLC?

To dissolve your Utah LLC, submit a completed Statement of Dissolution to Utah’s Division of Corporations & Commercial Code. It’s crucial to settle any outstanding debts or taxes before initiating the dissolution process.

>> Launch Your Utah LLC With ZenBusiness Now >>

About the author

Dr. Gabriel O'Neill, 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. O'Neill 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. Gabriel O'Neill, Esq., is a trusted authority dedicated to empowering businesses within the ever-evolving legal landscape.

Tags: