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by Mike Vestil 

A Comprehensive Guide To Forming An LLC In Minnesota

Starting a business is an exciting venture, but it comes with its own unique set of challenges. Creating an LLC in Minnesota the right way can help make the process smoother and faster, while increasing the odds of a successful business. In this blog post, I'll provide a step-by-step guide to creating an LLC in Minnesota so you can get your business off the ground running.

Steps To Starting An LLC In Minnesota

Let’s explain what you need to do to register your LLC in Minnesota.

Submitting Your Articles Of Organization

The first step in forming an LLC in Minnesota is submitting articles of organization to the Secretary of State. This document outlines basic information about your company, such as its name, purpose, and members. You can submit this paperwork online, by mail, or in person. The filing fee for either option is $155 when offered online and $135 via snail mail (nonrefundable).

Choosing A Member-Managed Or Manager-Managed Structure

When registering your Minnesota LLC, it’s also essential to decide if you want it to be member-managed or manager-managed. With the former structure, all members are responsible for managing the business and making decisions. With the latter form, one or more individuals are appointed as managers who are legally responsible for managing the company on behalf of all owners/members. The filing fees for both structures are the same ($155 online; $135 by mail).

Foreign LLC Registration

If you already have an LLC outside Minnesota but need one within its boundaries, then forming a Foreign LLC will be necessary. For this type of registration process, you must submit Form MN FLLC 1 along with a copy of your existing Articles of Incorporation from another state and pay a nonrefundable fee of $155.

How To Choose The Right LLC Name In Minnesota

Another critical step is making sure your LLC name follows the guidelines set by The North Star State. It's essential to research and see if your desired title has already been taken, firstly with a Business Filings Search on the Secretary of State's website. And don't forget that once it looks like everything else is good to go - double-check whether or not its URL can be snagged too! 

Let's break down the steps in more detail.

Step One: Check The Secretary Of State's Website

Before you get too attached to a potential name for your new business, make sure it’s available. You can do this by visiting the Business Filings Search page on the Minnesota Secretary of State website. Here, you’ll find information about the state's existing and recently dissolved businesses. This includes active companies and fictitious names (also known as DBA names). You can search for a company’s name, registration number, or file number. Once you’ve found what you’re looking for, make sure there aren’t any trademark issues with using it before moving forward.

Step Two: Research And Verify Your Domain Name

Once you’ve narrowed down your list of potential business names, start researching domain availability before making your final decision. You want to ensure that no one else has already claimed the same domain name as yours - otherwise, customers could end up at someone else's website when they type in yours! Keep an eye out for any domain extensions (e.g., .com, .org) that are still available. Remember that just because your desired name isn't taken doesn't mean all variations have been left open - double-check all relevant domains before committing to one!

Step Three: Verify Your LLC Name With The State

Once you've settled on a name and verified that no one else has already claimed it (including URLs), head to the Secretary of State website and submit an Application for Reservation of Name form online or download a PDF version from their website and mail it in.

This will reserve the name for 120 days so that you have time to submit all necessary paperwork without worrying about someone else taking it from under you.

Benefits Of Forming An LLC In Minnesota

Forming an LLC in Minnesota brings with it several benefits. First, your assets will be protected from any debts or obligations incurred by your business. This means if someone sues your business for any reason or if creditors come knocking on your door looking for payment, they can’t go after your assets like bank accounts or property. 

Second, forming an LLC in Minnesota also offers flexible taxation options; you can opt for pass-through taxation if you don’t want to become subject to double taxation or pay corporate taxes on profits earned by the company. 

Thirdly, forming an LLC also grants you credibility - customers may have more trust in working with your business knowing that it is registered as an official company and legally compliant.

What Is An EIN And Why Do I Need One?

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) or FEIN (Federal Employer Identification Number) is a unique identifier assigned to businesses by the IRS for tax purposes. Think of it as the business equivalent of a Social Security Number. An EIN identifies companies when they report their taxes to the government, making it easier for them to keep track of their finances. This helps ensure that all businesses pay their fair share of taxes.

If you own a business in Minnesota, chances are that you will need to get an EIN from the IRS to open a business bank account or file taxes with both Federal and State governments. Even if you're changing your sole proprietorship into an LLC, getting a new EIN from the IRS is required before any other changes can be made.

Fortunately, acquiring an EIN from the IRS online or via snail mail doesn't cost anything if you're not located within US borders.

Having an EIN gives your business more credibility because it shows that you have taken steps to register your company with the government and comply with all applicable laws and regulations. It also makes filing taxes easier since everything associated with your company has its unique identifier; this helps prevent fraud or mistakes when filing taxes. Additionally, having this official 9-digit identifier can make it easier for customers to find your company on public records like credit reports or financial statements.

How To Stay Compliant And Avoid Late Fees When Starting A Business In Minnesota

When forming an LLC in Minnesota, numerous compliance requirements and filing deadlines must be met to protect your business from liability and penalties. Understanding what needs to be done to stay compliant with the State of Minnesota is essential. The following are some of the most common compliance requirements you will need to meet:

  • File Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State - Due within 90 days of formation
  • Create an Operating Agreement - Required for single-member LLCs
  • Appoint a Registered Agent - Must accept service on behalf of your LLC 
  • Obtain Licenses & Permits - Depending on your business type, you may need additional licenses or permits from other regulatory bodies such as the IRS or local government agencies
  • File Annual Reports & Pay Taxes – A few days after each anniversary date of your LLC’s formation, you must file Form BCA 11.14 (LLC Annual Registration) and pay taxes accordingly. In addition, you may also want to consider setting up a company bank account and obtaining other insurance policies, such as liability or health insurance for employees

How To Find A Good Registered Agent For Your LLC In Minnesota

After you’ve taken all those steps to create a successful business, there’s still one more crucial piece of the puzzle - finding a reliable, knowledgeable registered agent.

Every LLC must have a registered agent who lives in the state where the LLC was formed. This individual or entity must be available at any address in Minnesota during regular business hours.

Finding a good registered agent comes down to three main things: expertise, trustworthiness, and cost. The ideal agent should have years of experience in the field, a proven record of success with Minnesota-based LLCs, and reasonable prices for their services.

Some questions you might want to ask a prospective registered agent include:

  • How much experience do you have in the LLC formation space?
  • Are there any additional filing fees or costs for my LLC?
  • Do you provide ongoing support and advice to help me keep my LLC compliant?
  • How quickly can I expect a response to any questions I might have?

By taking the time to research and find a qualified registered agent, you’ll ensure that your LLC is properly formed and in compliance with Minnesota law. Once you’ve found an experienced, reputable agent, forming your LLC will be a breeze.

Understanding LLC Amendments In Minnesota

When starting a Limited Liability Company (LLC) in Minnesota, you need to understand the rules around amendments and how they work. Whenever you want to change your LLC’s name, purpose, or structure, it must be filed with the Secretary of State. 

This is done through filing Articles of Amendment or a Certificate of Amendment. Each amendment must include specific information, such as the name and address of your LLC and the language about what is being changed on file. Depending on when you are filing an amendment, fees may also be associated with it. 

In most cases, amending an LLC requires approval from a majority voting power within that organization before it can take effect. For example, if four members have equal voting power, three out of four need to agree before any changes can be made. However, if someone has more than 50% voting power, then they could potentially approve an amendment without consulting anyone else; this is known as sole member control and should only be done when necessary since it removes any checks and balances put into place by having multiple people involved in decision making.  In some cases, though – particularly when an LLC is closely held - more than just a majority vote may be needed for changes to take effect - potentially up to double.

This additional level provides much-needed assurance when making significant adjustments, such as changing ownership percentages or altering management roles within the company structure. When double approvals are needed for amending an LLC, all parties involved must be aware ahead of time. Hence, there are no surprises down the road, and everyone understands their role in decision-making within their organization.

What Happens If I Don't Renew My LLC's Annual Registration?

Suppose you don't renew your LLC’s registration with either an online submission or a paper form by the due date specified in the filing instructions. In that case, your limited liability company may be administratively terminated. This means your business will no longer have legal standing as a valid organization under Minnesota law.

Administrative termination has severe implications for LLC owners and their businesses. Your business will no longer be able to operate legally, meaning any contracts you had in place before termination will no longer be binding. Your business's existing assets and liabilities are also frozen, so any income earned after the termination date cannot be collected, nor can expenses incurred after that date be paid. In addition, members of your LLC (including yourself) will no longer have personal liability protection from claims against the company once it is administratively terminated.

If administrative termination occurs due to non-renewal of registration, then reinstatement within one year could still be possible by simply filing the appropriate paperwork and paying any pertinent reinstatement fees. However, this process may take up to three weeks before completion – which could prove disastrous depending on how much time has elapsed since the initial date of administrative termination.

Why Establishing An Operating Agreement Is Essential For Minnesota LLCs

An operating agreement establishes the rules and regulations that govern how the LLC will operate, who will be its members, their respective ownership percentages and voting rights, and other essential details that can help avoid future disputes.

One of the main reasons to establish an operating agreement is to protect your interests. These agreements are designed to clarify issues such as how profits and losses will be divided among members, what could happen if a member leaves or dies, and other matters that need to be addressed to ensure that everyone involved understands what they are responsible for. Having an operating agreement in place helps protect the rights of each member by providing clear expectations and guidelines for how the LLC should operate.

Another reason establishing an operating agreement is essential for a Minnesota LLC is because it can help avoid future conflicts and disputes between members. Without such an agreement, disagreements over how profits should be shared or how decisions should be made could arise—and potentially become costly legal battles if left unresolved. Having a comprehensive operating agreement in place can often be avoided altogether, as all participants understand their roles and responsibilities within the LLC from day one.

Finally, having an operating agreement also promotes accountability and transparency within the business. It's much easier to hold people accountable when there are clear standards set out in writing that everyone has agreed upon.

This applies to both members and employees of the LLC who may not have signed any formal contract with the company. In addition, an established operating agreement encourages open communication between all parties involved, which can ultimately lead to more successful operations.

Other Considerations When Starting An LLC In Minnesota

Here are a few other key considerations when forming a Minnesota LLC.

Make Sure You’re Meeting The Partnership Tax Requirements

The State of Minnesota requires multi-member LLCs to pay taxes as partnerships unless they opt out by filing a valid election with the IRS and the state income tax authorities. To qualify as a partnership, property, payroll, and sales must exceed $1.08M (indexed for inflation). If these conditions are not met, the LLC is subject to corporate income tax rates rather than partnership tax rates. Knowing which rate applies to calculate your taxes each year accurately is essential.

In addition to being aware of the threshold for paying taxes as partnerships, it’s also essential to research any necessary permits or licenses at both local and state levels before opening your business’ doors. Depending on where you live in Minnesota, municipalities may require additional forms or documents to comply with local laws.

Business Licenses

Another critical step is obtaining local or state business licenses as required by location. Depending on your business type, local or state governments may require specific permits or claims. It is essential to research what kind of license you will need before opening an LLC.

Sales Tax Collection

If any employees will be working with you or if goods will be sold, it is essential to remember that sales tax collection must be done through the Minnesota Department of Revenue to stay lawful and compliant financially. To meet all legal requirements before starting operations, it is necessary to understand all applicable laws regarding sales tax collection before opening your business.

Costs For Filing Articles Of Organization

Filing Articles of Organization in Minnesota is affordable at $155 if you file online or by mail $185. If you are setting up a foreign LLC (meaning it was established outside of Minnesota but will operate within the state), there is just slightly more paperwork involved, and it costs $205 online or by mail for $185.

Requirements From The Secretary Of State

After filing all the necessary paperwork, a few requirements from the Secretary of State must be met before your LLC can officially be established. These include obtaining an EIN from the IRS, applying for any necessary licenses or registrations with other agencies, and submitting annual reports to the Secretary of State before December 31st each year. The good news is that annual reports and updates can be sent quickly via the website or posted as needed.

Registered Office

Before forming your LLC, you must have a registered office within state lines. The registered office does not have to be where your business will be operating; it can either double as its place of operation or be listed on documents and owned by another party. 


Establishing your Minnesota LLC properly is essential in ensuring a successful business venture. Knowing the costs associated with setting up your LLC, researching and reserving a name, and establishing an operating agreement are all critical components. Taking these steps will ensure you and your business have everything they need to be successful in the long run.

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About the author 

Mike Vestil

Mike Vestil is the author of the Lazy Man's Guide To Living The Good Life. He also has a YouTube channel with over 700,000 subscribers where he talks about personal development and personal finance.

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