How to Start an LLC in South Dakota by Michael H. Cohen, Esq.

How to Start an LLC in South Dakota

Want to form an LLC in South Dakota? Find out what forms you'll need, the fees, timeline, how long it takes to register, and more.

by Michael H. Cohen, Esq.
updated August 11, 2017 · 4 min read

LLCs in South Dakota are affordable and easy to form. And as with other states, the State of South Dakota has some specific LLC requirements that are unique to the state.

Interested parties must register with the Secretary of State by filing the necessary forms, paying the necessary fees and meeting all naming and formation requirements.

The specifications required of a South Dakota LLC are:

Registration. Registrants must file Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State. All submissions must be filed in duplicate. The articles must include pertinent information such as:

  • LLC name and initial designated office address
  • Duration of the company, if not ongoing
  • Registered agent’s name and address
  • Name and address of each organizer
  • Type of management (member-managed or manager-managed)Whether one or more members are to be liable for the debts and/or obligations of the company
  • Name, title and dated signature of the executing organizer

All submitted documents must be accompanied by the payment for the filing fee.

Forms and fees. LLC registrants are required to file Articles of Organization accompanied by the necessary filing fee of $150.

Timeline. The standard processing time for documents with the Secretary of State is between two to three weeks. For an additional fee of $50, expedited services move processing time up to between five to eight business days.

Naming requirements. LLC naming requirements can be confusing. However, the easiest way to ensure that your LLC name will be approved is to make it distinguishable from other LLCs and to include specific words required of LLCs. You may opt to have a preferred name checked for availability before filing your LLC formation documents with the Secretary of State.

Formation requirements. To form an LLC, a registrant must first file Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State.

An LLC with more than one member is also strongly advised to have a limited liability company operating agreement among its members.

Should your LLC offer professional services, you may have to obtain certain licenses and permits from the state’s professional licensing boards.

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Starting an LLC in South Dakota

Before you begin the registration process for an LLC in South Dakota, it’s important to know what an LLC is and whether or not it is a viable business structure for your company, so be certain to read up on the definition and benefits of an LLC.

These steps will guide you through the LLC registration process with the South Dakota Secretary of State:

1. Decide on a name for your business. You can choose any name for your LLC as long as it ends with “Limited Liability Company,” “Limited Company” or any variation of its abbreviation—e.g., L.L.C., LLC, L.C. or LC.

Names may be reserved for up to 120 day by filing a name reservation application with the Secretary of State. This may be done by mail or online and must be filed in duplicate. All requests must be accompanied by the $25 filing fee. Be sure to include the name to be reserved and the name, title, address and dated signature of the applicant.

Prior to filing a name reservation application, you may check the availability of the preferred name on the Secretary of State website.

2. Assign an agent for service of process. This is also referred to as the resident agent.  

3. Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS. If there are two or more members in your LLC, your company will need to obtain an EIN from the IRS, for tax purposes.

4. Create an operating agreement. Although a South Dakota LLC is not required to have a limited liability company operating agreement, it is wise to have one in place with other members should your LLC have more than one member. The State of South Dakota recognizes limited liability company operating agreements as governing documents.

5. Familiarize yourself with the LLC’s continuing legal obligations, specifically annual reports. These are due every year in the anniversary month of the formation of the LLC. There is a $50 filing fee that must be paid upon filing the report with the Secretary of State. All reports may be done online or by mail. Failure to turn in a report will render the LLC delinquent.

Make sure your LLC, should it offer professional services, meets South Dakota state legal requirements.

Additional continuing legal obligations may vary with each state. These could be, but are not limited to, state taxes, annual or biennial reports and so on.

Filing an LLC and Taxes

Following are the forms and fees that are required when starting an LLC in South Dakota:

1. Forms. Complete and submit Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State. All documents submitted must be accompanied with the payment for the necessary filing fee.

2. Limited liability company operating agreement. Although the LLC operating agreement will not be submitted to the Secretary of State, it is a good idea to have one in place for LLCs with more than one member. This document should be kept on file by the registered agent.

3. Taxes. LLCs in South Dakota are treated as corporations, limited liability partnerships or single-member LLCs and are subject to federal income tax classifications. Depending on the type of taxation you opt to have for your LLC, you will have different federal tax responsibilities .

You should always make sure to acquaint yourself with the state laws regarding taxation. Your LLC may be subject to other taxes depending on the kind of services it offers.

LegalZoom provides LLC formation and filing services, including providing a registered agent in South Dakota.

Ready to start your LLC? START AN LLC ONLINE NOW
Michael H. Cohen, Esq.

About the Author

Michael H. Cohen, Esq.

Healthcare and FDA lawyer Michael H. Cohen is Founder & President of the Michael H. Cohen Law Group. The Michael H. Cohe… Read more