California LLC Articles of Organization – How to Register?


Steve Goldstein
Steve Goldstein
Business Formation Expert
Steve Goldstein runs LLCBuddy, helping entrepreneurs set up their LLCs easily. He offers clear guides, articles, and FAQs to simplify the process. His team keeps everything accurate and current, focusing on state rules, registered agents, and compliance. Steve’s passion for helping businesses grow makes LLCBuddy a go-to resource for starting and managing an LLC.

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If you are forming a California LLC, then this page’s content would be vital. As you learn how to start an LLC, you will realize that the bulk of your initial work and cost comprises filing an article of organization, which we will elaborate on this page.

What is an Article of Organization?

An Article of Organization, also known as an LLC certificate in some states, is a document filed with the secretary of state to form an LLC.

Each state has a different requirement to fill out a form. An Article of Organization usually includes the following:

  • The name of the LLC,
  • the effective date of the LLC,
  • the company’s principal office,
  • the business purpose,
  • the duration of the business,
  • a copy of the LLC’s name registration certificate, and
  • the name and address of the registered agent, organizers, and
  • at least one member of the company.

You can file an Article of Organization online, by mail, or in person.

Note that the certification of formation is a legal requirement, not to mention, the core of your LLC formation. It even makes up the bulk of your LLC cost. Without it, you have no LLC. So, take the time to complete and file this certificate.

How to File an California Article of Organization

These are the simple steps to follow in filing an Article of Organization in California.

Step 1: Find Forms Online

Go to the California Secretary of State to download the article of organization form for your LLC or to log into the online service.

Step 2: Fill Out Form

When filling out the form, you must have reserved an LLC name. Do a name search. Go to California LLC Name Search to check whether your chosen business name is available to use in this state.

You must attach a copy of your Name Reservation to your filled-out Article of Organization form when filing. You also need to nominate a registered agent. Here are 3 of the best LLC services on our list.

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Step 3: File Formation Certificates

File your formation certificate either online or by mail by filling out a form and sending it to P.O. Box 944260 Sacramento, CA 94244–2600.

Article of Organization Online Registration

Time needed: 10 minutes

To register your California LLC online, one has to go to the California Secretary of State Official Website. The online registration process is easy and takes around 10 minutes to complete. The online payment must be done through VISA or MasterCard. Below is the step-by-step process explained.

  1. Visit the official website of California Secretary of State Online Services.

    You will get the information regarding the filing fees and franchise tax to be paid to start a foreign LLC in California.

  2. Hit “Start”

    Hit the “Start” button below to start the process of registering your California foreign LLC. As you will hit the ‘Start’ button you will be directed to the next Privacy and Terms page. Read the Privacy Warning carefully before you accept the terms and conditions. Hit the ‘I Accept’ button and move on.

  3. Add your LLC name and identifier

    You will be directed to the registration form page on the website. There are 7 pages to fill up by the LLC. The first page is about the purpose of the LLC.

  4. Business Address

    On the next page, you will have to enter the information about your business address. Enter the initial and mailing address. Make sure that the address is correct and from California.

  5. Service of Process

    Proceed to the next page where you will have to enter the details of ‘Service of Process’. Whether your agent is an individual or a corporation, details should be given under the specific option.

  6. Management Structure

    On the next page, specify your Management, whether your LLC is a single-member or multiple-members.

  7. Organizer information

    The next page is about the Organizer of your LLC. Enter the name of the organizer, address, and pin code. Also, specify the date of filing.

  8. Review submission

    Once this page is done, the next page will be the review page. Review carefully what information you have entered. If there is anything you want to include or change, you can go back and edit the form.

  9. Payment

    Finally, you will be landed on the Payment page. Enter the payment amount, method, and other information. Hit the submit button to complete the payment and registration process.

Filing California Article of Organization by Mail

If you prefer to send the article of organization by mail, then follow the instructions below:

  1. Download the article of organization form.
  2. Fill up the form thoroughly with all the required information
  3. Get two copies of the Article of organization form.
  4. Get the certificate of name reservation. Attach with the article of organization forms.
  5. Send all the documents to the following address, Secretary of State, Business Entities Filings, P.O. Box 944228, Sacramento, CA 94244.
  6. You can drop the forms at the counter or send them in-person at 1500 11th St. Sacramento, CA 95814, (Mon-Fri. 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.)

Cost of Filing a California Formation Certificate

The cost of Filing California LLC is given below. A fixed amount of Franchise Tax should be paid annually along with the formation fee. Whether to file online (recommended) or by mail or in-person. The filing cost is,

  • Online filing: $70
  • By Mail: $70 + $5 for each certified copy
  • In-person: $70 + $15 counter charge

F.A.Qs

What is an Article of Organization?

An Article of Organization is a legal document that will officially make your LLC into existence. This document is needed specifically for California in forming an LLC business structure.

What information does an Article of Organization application need?

The application form for the Article of Organization needs to include the LLC name, date of establishment, the company’s registered office, business purpose, how long the business will exist, and a copy of the LLC’s name registration certificate.

What is the recommended method of filing an Article of Organization, online or by mail?

Filing by mail or in person is neither highly recommended nor required; waiting an extra week for your LLC to be approved isn’t that bad. The LLC approval you send in will be returned by mail. Online filing, meanwhile, is more convenient as you won’t have to stay in a queue.

Where Can You Find Your California LLC Articles of Organization

For accessing Articles of Organization online, you can visit the California Secretary of State website. From the same website, you can also download the PDF if you want to file through mail.

The Articles of Organization serve as the founding document for your LLC, outlining important details such as the company’s name, location, purpose, management structure, and member information. Filing this document with the California Secretary of State is a necessary step to legally form your business entity and enjoy the liability protection that an LLC offers.

So, where can you find your California LLC Articles of Organization? The process is relatively simple and can be completed online through the Secretary of State’s website. By navigating to the business entity section of the website, you can access the forms and resources needed to file your Articles of Organization.

It is important to note that while the filing process itself is straightforward, attention to detail is crucial. Ensure that all information provided in the Articles of Organization is accurate and up to date. Any errors or inconsistencies could lead to delays in processing your paperwork or even rejection of the application.

Additionally, it is recommended to conduct a name search before filing to ensure that your chosen LLC name is available and compliant with California’s naming requirements. The Secretary of State’s website provides a business search tool that allows you to check the availability of your desired business name and view existing entities with similar names.

In addition to filing your Articles of Organization, LLC owners in California should be aware of the ongoing compliance requirements. Once your LLC is formed, you are required to file an annual Statement of Information to keep your company information current. Failure to comply with these annual filings can result in penalties and potential dissolution of your LLC.

Overall, the Articles of Organization are a crucial first step in legally establishing your California LLC. By filing this document accurately and timely, you set a strong foundation for your business and gain access to the benefits of operating as an LLC. Utilize the resources available through the Secretary of State’s website to navigate the filing process smoothly and ensure compliance with state regulations.

In conclusion, forming an LLC in California is a significant milestone for any entrepreneur embarking on a new business venture. By understanding where to find and how to file your Articles of Organization, you can set yourself up for success and secure the legal protection and benefits that come with operating as an LLC.

In Conclusion

Articles of Organization or Certificate of Formation is the most important document for your California LLC. Before you submit/file the document make sure to provide proper and correct information about your company. If you have any questions, share that below in the comment section.

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