An LLC (Limited Liability Company) is a popular business structure amongst business owners in the US, as well as in other countries around the world, because it provides the owner(s) with personal legal protection should the company ever be sued. If you’re getting ready to start a business in Connecticut, an LLC is a smart choice for the majority of small businesses.
If you plan to operate a business in Connecticut, you will need to form a Connecticut LLC. In this guide, we will take you step-by-step through how to start an LLC in Connecticut so that the process is as simple as possible for you.
The first step to forming your LLC is to decide on a name for your new business. This is often the most fun step and one you’ve likely already given some thought to. Your LLC name does not have to match the name you trade under, but you should make sure it’s a name you’re happy with so you don’t have to go through the difficulty of changing it later.
Your LLC’s name cannot be already in use by another Connecticut business (regardless of structure) and it must be easily distinguishable from other business entities in the state. This means that it needs to be sufficiently different from other names so no one will mistake your business for another.
For example, if you want to call your business Jake’s Shakes LLC, but there’s already a Jake’s Shakes LLC registered, you cannot use Jakes Shakes LLC.
You can check if your desired business name is available by heading to the Connecticut Secretary of State business name database.
Your business name also needs to include a designator at the end to identify it as an LLC. The designators you can choose from in Connecticut are:
Your chosen name also cannot include any abbreviations or terms that would imply an affiliation with the US government, such as State Department, FBI, Treasury, or IRA. Be aware that words like “doctor” and “lawyer” are also restricted, and you may be required to provide additional paperwork to prove you are in a legal position to use these words.
Once you have chosen an available name, if you are not registering your LLC immediately, you will want to reserve your business name to ensure that it is not snapped up by another company.
You can reserve your business name by filing an Application for Reservation of Name with the Connecticut Secretary of State. This must be mailed, along with a check for the filing fee of $60, and this will reserve your name for up to 120 days so you have plenty of time to register your business without losing your preferred name.
All LLCs must nominate a registered agent in the state they are registering their business in. A Registered Agent is an individual or company that takes responsibility for receiving "Service of Process" on behalf of your Connecticut LLC. These are legal documents such as tax reminders and mail that you won't want to receive, like a subpoena.
Your Registered Agent must have a physical address in the state of Connecticut and is required to be able to receive mail during business hours (9 AM - 5 PM, Monday to Friday). If you reside in Connecticut, you can be your own registered agent, or find a friend or family member to be your company’s registered agent.
Your registered agent’s address will be available publicly, so most new LLC owners prefer to use a Commercial Registered Agent who can forward your mail to you. Commercial registered agents are affordable (usually charging a small monthly fee for basic mail forwarding services) and will save you from using your own address.
If you decide that a commercial registered agent is best for you, we’d be happy to be your registered agent in Connecticut. If you’d like to find out more, simply reach out to us and we’ll give you all the information you need to move forward with forming your LLC.
Now it's time for the big step! This is where you legally form your LLC and get your Certificate of Organization. You can complete this step online or by mail (using this form) with a filing fee of $120. The filing fee must be paid by credit card.
The information you need ready to file is:
Once you have filed your form, your LLC will receive its Certificate of Organization and you can move on with the remaining steps in this guide.
Filing a foreign LLC in Connecticut follows much the same process and costs the same filing fee. The only difference is the form you need to use - if you are forming a Foreign LLC click here.
Creating an Operating Agreement is not a legal requirement in Connecticut, but it is beneficial to have one and is vital if your LLC has more than one owner, known as a "member". This document remains "internal" so you will not need to share it with anyone outside of your company.
Your Operating Agreement needs to outline the responsibilities, rights, and commitments of each member. It should include the following:
Include anything else you believe should be put down in writing to avoid legal problems in the future.
With your LLC legally registered with the state, it is time to get your Employer Identification Number (EIN). This is essentiallyour business's social security number and will allow you to pay taxes, hire and pay employees, open a business bank account, and apply for licenses.
When you complete the online application, you will instantly receive your EIN. You do have the option to mail in Form SS-4, but it could take up to 4 weeks for you to get your number.
This isn’t something you need to worry about doing now, but you should go into your new business ownership knowing exactly what is legally required of you. All Connecticut LLCs are required to file an Annual Report online with the Secretary of State for a fee of $80.
These reports are due between January 1st and April 1st, with your first Annual Report due the year after your LLC is formed. You will receive a courtesy email or postcard from the Secretary of State about one month before your report is due.
One of the last things you need to do before you can start trading is to apply for the necessary permits and licenses that your Connecticut LLC might need.
The licenses and/or permits you will need to operate in Connecticut will depend on your industry and the services you provide. For information on what you will need to obtain, visit the CT License and Permit Center website here.
If your business is going to be hiring employees or collecting sales tax, you’ll need to register for any taxes you need to pay - to register your LLC with the Connecticut State Department of Revenue Services, you can click here.
You may also want to check the websites of the city or county where your LLC is based for more information on which licenses and/or permits your business may need.
As a newly formed Connecticut LLC, you will need to open a business bank account. Although it is not a legal requirement, it is an essential part of owning an LLC business, even if you are the only member.
A separate business bank account will prevent your personal and business finances from mixing, which would leave them more vulnerable to legal disputes. Since one of the biggest benefits of an LLC business structure is the personal legal protection, it would be a mistake to jeopardize that.
Use your recently acquired EIN to get a business bank account so your personal and business assets are kept apart from the earliest days of your business.
This is a part of running a business many guides overlook; your business is legally required to keep some basic documents on-site at your business’s principal office. If you work from home, this will be straightforward, but you need to be mindful if your office is elsewhere.
The documents you need to keep on-site are:
Once all 9 steps have been completed, your Connecticut LLC is formed and you can now start operating with confidence.
Although this process is straightforward, it is definitely time-consuming! You need to do a lot of ticking boxes and filling out various forms, and if you aren't totally sure about what information should go where, it can take not just hours but days that could be better spent doing other things.
The great news is that we form LLCs and corporations every day, taking care of all the boring admin work so you don't have to. If you'd rather spend time making sure your products and/or services and marketing are ready to launch your business to success, we will handle everything for you. We will register your business name, file your Certificate of Organization, and even get your EIN for you.
If you want to start your business feeling like the boss rather than the secretary, just fill out this short form and we'll do the rest.