LLC Cost in California – How Much to Pay for an LLC

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Perhaps you are hoping to form a California LLC. People assume how to start an LLC is difficult and costly. However, it’s generally not difficult, and the cost would vary across states. We have all the info you need to know about the cost of forming an LLC, particularly the LLC cost in California.

California LLC Cost of Filing

Here are the costs involved in forming an LLC in California.

Cost of Filing Formation Certificates

The California Certificate of Formation is responsible for the majority of the cost, which could also vary depending on whether you’re forming a domestic LLC or a foreign LLC. Still, you can file both at the California Secretary of State

California Domestic LLC

  • Online Filing costs $70 + $800 Franchise Tax.
  • Filing Statement of Information within 90 days of registration costs $20.
  • By Mail: Fill out the application form, and send it to Secretary of State Business Services, 1500 11th Street, Sacramento, CA 95814.  Costs $70 + $15 for counter drop off (non-refundable).

California Foreign LLC

  • Online Filing costs $70 + $800 Franchise Tax.
  • Filing Statement of Information within 90 days of registration costs $20
  • By Mail: Fill out the application form, and send it to Secretary of State Business Services, 1500 11th Street, Sacramento, CA 95814. Costs $70.

Note that filing online is ideal, not only because you need to go to the Secretary of State office, but also it would be faster. You won’t have to wait in a queue in doing so.

California LLC Formation Service or Registered Agent Fee

You need a registered agent to form an LLC in California, hence, added costs for service fees. Here are three of the best LLC services on our list that will provide you with registered agents to ease your worries.

LLC Service

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$0 + State Fees

  • Free LLC formation

  • Access to Legal Support

  • Trustworthy and established reputation

$299 + State Fees

  • Flat pricing for all services

  • Basic business filing services

  • A+ BBB Accredited

Business Permits and Licenses 

The business licenses depend on your business’s activity and location and are renewed yearly. As such, the cost will vary. Check the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration for regulatory boards or agencies requiring licensing. 

Taxes Paid By The LLC in California

Any business in California has three types of taxes to be paid. Income Tax, Corporate Tax, and Franchise Tax. LLCs are exempted from the Corporate Taxes due to the pass-through taxes. The LLC members are liable to pay income taxes and Franchise tax. Apart from these three taxes, every LLC in California has to obtain EIN, there is no fee for obtaining EIN in California. On the other, a certain amount of Sales Tax has to be paid by the LLCs. 

Franchise Tax

Franchise Tax is a minimum mandatory tax paid by the LLCs. Any LLC (domestic or foreign) registered with California state has to pay $800 whether it is running or inactive. As long as the LLC is registered it has to bear the Franchise Tax. 

According to the Franchise Tax Board of California, this is a privilege tax for running a business in California and has to be paid by the LLCs following some terms and conditions. 

Franchise Tax According to Income Tier

Following are the different income tiers based on which the amount of tax amount is calculated. 

  • Income from $0 to $250,000: $800 Franchise tax + $0 LLC Fee > Total $800
  • Income from $250,000 to $499,999: $800 Franchise tax + $900 LLC Fee > Total $1700
  • Income from $500,000 to $999,999: $800 Franchise tax + $2500 LLC fee > Total $3300
  • Income from $1,000,000 to $4,999,999: $800 Franchise tax + $6000 LLC Fee > Total $6800
  • Income above $5,000,000: $800 Franchise tax + $11,790 LLC fee > Total $12,590

Federal Tax

Apart from these above-mentioned state taxes, California LLCs have to pay a Federal Tax of 15.3% on the total income generated by the LLC. 

Cost Comparison Among States

California is one of the best states to start an LLC. The state is bounded by Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, and Oregon. Here’s the cost comparison among the neighboring states of California.

StateFiling FeeAnnual Fee/Biennial Fee
California LLC$70$800 + $20 (every 2 years)
Oregon LLC$100$100 (Annual)
Nevada LLC$425 $350 (Annual)
Colorado$50$10 (Annual)

Comparing the neighboring states, we can say Arizona has the least LLC fees, however, California is the most favorable among all for the businesses as it has immense tax advantages. Apart from that, the state has massive business opportunities.

Other Costs

How Much Does It Cost to Maintain an LLC in California

To maintain an LLC in California you will need to pay a biennial fee of $800 + $20 along with Income tax, Franchise tax and federal taxes.

Maintaining a Limited Liability Company (LLC) in California requires a certain level of effort, and it comes at a cost. This cost may vary depending on several factors, such as the size of the company, its location, and its industry, among others. However, it is essential to understand the concept of LLC maintenance and why it is necessary.

When forming an LLC, the business owner assumes personal liability protection benefits, preventing him or her from being held personally accountable for the debts and judgments that may arise in the course of business operations. Yet, maintaining the legal structure denotes the upkeep required to stay in good standing with the state. Failure to maintain the LLC accordingly results in the owners losing the liability protection. Hence, it is necessary to be aware of what it takes to maintain the company lawfully.

LLC maintenance starts with the filling and filing of annual taxes with the California Franchise Tax Board (FTB). Though an LLC itself is a pass-through entity, it necessitates raising a state return (backed by state law) at the standard tax rate set each year by FTB. Californian LLCs will also have to pay specific taxes, such as LLC yearly tax ($800 annually). Additionally, as duty obligations may differ, owners should gain insight and develop a plan for impending Community Property Law obligations – of particular importance for married couples who separate or divorce.

Other considerations for maintaining an LLC in the State of California are paying renewal fees (around $20 to $30 each year), district tax, reportorial requirements, and regulatory compliance costs. By particular industry jurisdiction, regulatory fees may have compound variables at play, dependent upon its industry and size. While legal assistance connection may present an inverse cost initially, exposure to legal issues that may arise can run higher presently and much cost into the future.

Of course, the cost that owners will pay in maintaining their LLC entity wholly relies on unique organizational roles, accounting requirements, operational needs throughout the year, professional fees, and entity insurance to retain investments from particular hazards. Business liability preservation requires committed forecasting, and by first researching the fiscal responsibilities involved safeguard owners to strategy and maintain reports and review others in California of similarly class business goals to thwart common missteps in execution.

Still, depending on geographic locale, owners might have to think about acquiring business licenses, local registration fees law reviews, and more. Understanding these unique obligations and staying ahead of the routine processes ultimately saves the business entity significant delays that prohibit the desired progress by in-law measures.

LLC’s continue to be popular for small-business owners while physically maintaining a main residence due to their incredibly powerful shield of personal assets and a reducing threshold on tax return structures from previous years. Based on unique fiscal obligations and planned expansion efficiencies, being aware of maintenance obligations is fundamental throughout LLC business operation.

In conclusion, it comes at a cost to maintain an LLC business in the state of California legally. Brain-strain with these universal business functionalities upfront while executing a diverse plan to serve as checks to future mistakes eases that cost. Being aware and strategically functional underlines above the legally required services to be up-to-date practically as restrictions an area can vary at restating the business entity with a degree of financial-extrapolate efficiency in and around any industry.


Can I start an LLC for free?

It is possible to form an LLC without professional help, but forms still have associated costs, regardless of where your LLC is formed.

Is an LLC expensive?

It is difficult to say whether forming an LLC is expensive. Nevertheless, the cost could be anywhere from $40 to $500. If you refuse to hire professionals, you’ll still have expenses like form fees to cover.

Does an LLC need a bank account?

The need to separate personal money from business funds, thus necessitating the creation of a business bank account for your LLC.

In Conclusion

The cost of California is much lower compared to other forms of business. Apart from the state filing fees and annual taxes, you might bear the cost of the registered agent. Compare the price of professional LLC services and choose the most affordable one.

About Author & Editorial Staff

Steve Goldstein, founder of LLCBuddy, is a specialist in corporate formations, dedicated to guiding entrepreneurs and small business owners through the LLC process. LLCBuddy provides a wealth of streamlined resources such as guides, articles, and FAQs, making LLC establishment seamless. The diligent editorial staff makes sure content is accurate, up-to-date information on topics like state-specific requirements, registered agents, and compliance. Steve's enthusiasm for entrepreneurship makes LLCBuddy an essential and trustworthy resource for launching and running an LLC.

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