California Certificate of Formation – How to Register?

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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 a certificate of formation, which we will elaborate on this page. 

What is a Certificate of Formation?

A Certificate of Formation, also known as an LLC certificate or Articles of Organization 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. A Certificate of Formation 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 a Certificate of Formation 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 Certificate of Formation

These are the simple steps to follow in filing a Certificate of Formation in California.

Step 1: Find Forms Online

Go to the California Secretary of State to download the certificate of formation 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 Certificate of Formation 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.

Certificate of Formation 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 Certificate of Formation by Mail 

If you prefer to send the certificate of formation by mail, then follow the instructions below:

  1. Download the certificate of formation form.
  2. Fill up the form thoroughly with all the required information
  3. Get two copies of the Certificate of formation form.
  4. Get the certificate of name reservation. Attach with the certificate of formation 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 a Certificate of Formation?

A Certificate of Formation 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 a Certificate of Formation application need?

The application form for the Certificate of Formation 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 a Certificate of Formation, 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.

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