In Delaware, as in most states, the primary step in creating a limited liability company (LLC) is to file a certificate of formation with the state. ...
Cost to Start an LLC in Delaware
Written by: Natalie Fell
Natalie is a business writer with experience in operations, HR, and training & development within the software, healthcare, and financial services sectors.
Edited by: David Lepeska
David has been writing and learning about business, finance and globalization for a quarter-century, starting with a small New York consulting firm in the 1990s.
Published on July 19, 2022
Updated on October 2, 2023
If you’re thinking of starting a limited liability company (LLC) in Delaware, you’ll want to know in advance how much it’s going to cost. LLC formation fees vary by state, so it’s wise to do a bit of research and prepare yourself, and your new business, for the necessary steps.
LLC Costs in Delaware
|Certificate of Formation
|Certified Copy – Certificate of Formation
|Certificate of Good Standing
|Registered Agent Service
|$50 – $300
|$0 – $2500
|Annual Franchise Tax
|Business Licenses and Renewals
|State business license – $75
All others – check with state and local government
Delaware Certificate of Formation Cost
If you need a certified copy of the certificate of formation, there is a $50 fee. If you need a certificate of good standing, there is a $50 fee. If you’d like the state to hold your LLC name before you register, you can apply online here for $75 to reserve it for 120 days.
Delaware Registered Agent Cost
In Delaware, you are required to have a Delaware registered agent, also known as an agent of service in process. A registered agent is a person or business authorized to accept and respond to legal, tax, and financial documents on behalf of your business.
In Delaware, you can be your own registered agent, or it can be another member of the LLC. An individual who is not a member or a professional agency can also serve as the registered agent for your LLC.
Delaware Business Licenses and Permits Cost
Starting an LLC in Delaware requires obtaining the required licenses and permits from local, state, and federal governments. Fees for these vary, but most costs are minimal.
Federal regulations, licenses, and permits associated with starting your business include doing business as, health licenses and permits from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other intellectual properties, as well as industry-specific permits.
You may also need state-level and local county or city-based licenses. The license requirements and how to obtain them vary, so check the websites of your state, city, and county governments to learn more.
Business license fees depend on the type of business and the agency issuing the license or permit. On average, business licenses cost between $100 and $300+, plus renewal fees.
You could also check this SBA guide for your state’s requirements, but we recommend using MyCorporation’s Business License Compliance Package ($149 + state fees). They will research the exact forms you need for your business and state and provide them to ensure you’re fully compliant.
Delaware Operating Agreement Cost
In Delaware, your LLC is not required to have an operating agreement in place. But it’s highly recommended, as an effective operating agreement can help avoid disputes and lawsuits that could threaten the stability of your LLC.
An LLC operating agreement is an important legal document that details who owns the business and provides essential information pertaining to member duties. An LLC operating agreement establishes the financial relationship between members and the basics of the working relationships between those members and the managers who oversee daily operations.
The operating agreement is not filed with the state, but instead remains private. It’s advisable to hire an attorney to ensure your operating agreement is thorough and legally binding.
Creating an operating agreement is free if you just draw it up yourself (here you can find a free Delaware LLC Operating Agreement template). Alternatively, you can pay around $100 for guidance from an online business advisory.
This is an extremely important document, so it’s recommended that you use the services of a specialist or legal firm. If you choose to hire an attorney, the price will be around $500 for a single-member LLC and $2,500 for a multi-member LLC.
Delaware LLC Formation Service Cost (Optional)
Forming an LLC in Delaware tends to involve a lot of red tape and paperwork, so for many entrepreneurs just starting out it’s a good idea to hire an experienced service provider.
Some of the best services for forming an LLC in Delaware are ZenBusiness and Northwest Registered Agent. LLC Formation service will take care of all the key steps, keeping you updated while allowing you to focus on launching and growing your business.
The cost of professional services depends on your requirements and LLC formation plan. Most LLC service providers offer different plans/packages and there are many LLC services that offer free LLC formation.
Ongoing Delaware LLC Costs
Every state has a different fee structure and timelines for LLC documents and licenses. It’s important to stay up-to-date or your business could face significant penalties. The fees and timelines for Delaware are detailed below.
Annual Franchise Tax
An annual franchise tax is not a tax on a franchise business. It is a fee that the state imposes on registered business entities for the right to operate. Delaware charges an annual franchise tax of $300.
Business License Renewal Fees
Some business licenses and permits must be renewed periodically, which may have a small associated fee. In Delaware, these include the state-issued business license, or seller’s permit. The initial fee is $75 and it must be renewed annually. Other renewal fees will apply to other licenses that are required for your business, such as a food service license for a restaurant.
Cost to Start an LLC in Delaware
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