How to Set Up an LLC in Delaware

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If you plan to start a business in Delaware, several options exist for forming your business. The simplest method is to form a sole proprietorship, which does not require registration in Delaware. However, a sole proprietorship does not protect you against losing your personal assets if your business fails. Forming a limited liability company, or LLC, is an alternative to a sole proprietorship that provides protection of your personal assets. LLC formation also requires less paperwork than forming a Delaware corporation.

Obtain an Employer Identification Number, or EIN, from the IRS. You can apply for and obtain an EIN on the IRS website; the process takes about 20 to 30 minutes. The IRS does not charge a fee for the application or issuance of an EIN.

Choose a registered agent. A registered agent is a person or business with a Delaware address that agrees to receive service of process if a person or company files a lawsuit against your business. Either you or your business may serve as a registered agent if your home or business address is in Delaware.

Reserve your company's name if you do not plan on filing your LLC application immediately. Delaware allows businesses to reserve names for 120 days to prevent another business from using the name. You can reserve your name online by visiting the Delaware Division of Corporations website, completing the name reservation form and paying the $75 fee with a credit or debit card.

Complete the Limited Liability Company formation form if your business will be located in Delaware, or the Foreign Limited Liability Company form if your business will be located in a state other than Delaware. Both forms are available on the Delaware Division of Corporations website.

Include a Certificate of Existence dated less than six months before your Delaware LLC filing if you are registering an LLC located outside of Delaware.

Mail or fax the completed form to the Delaware Division of Corporations at the address or fax number listed on the division's website. Pay the required fee in the form of a check payable to "Delaware Secretary of State;" you can include the check with the application form or mail it to the division if submitting your application via fax. As of the time of publications, the fee for LLCs located in Delaware is $90, and the fee for LLCs outside of Delaware is $200.

Tips & Warnings

  • Include an additional $50 payment with your application if you need a certified copy from the Delaware Division of Corporations. Banks and other financial institutions commonly require a certified copy of the application to provide loans or open accounts under the business name.

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