How to Form an LLC in South Dakota


Congratulations on starting your business. You’re one step closer to being able to legally protect yourself and your assets, as well as start bringing in some income. In this guide, we’ll go over the steps needed to form a limited liability company (LLC) in South Dakota.

Reserving a Name

Before you can file your Articles of Organization, you must reserve a name for your LLC. You can do this by filing an Application for Reservation of Name with the Secretary of State. This is a simple process that involves paying a $50 application fee and submitting the form at least one day before you want to use your desired name.

Filing Articles of Organization

Once you’ve decided on a name for your LLC, it’s time to file Articles of Organization. To do this, follow these steps:

  • Go to the Secretary of State website and click “File an LLC”.
  • Select the option for “File by Mail.”
  • Select “New Entity Type” from the drop-down menu at the bottom left corner of the page.
  • Enter in your business information and click “Continue.” The system will ask you a series of questions about whether or not you have a primary member (and if so, what their name is) as well as some other details about your LLC. Once this information has been entered correctly, click “Submit.”

Appointing a Registered Agent

A resident agent is an individual who resides in the state where you form your LLC. A nonresident agent is someone who lives outside of the state where you form your LLC.

It’s important to appoint a registered agent because if you don’t have one, South Dakota will appoint one for you and it’ll be chosen at random from their list of agents found on their website. You could end up with an agent that doesn’t even know they’re working for your company!

Operating Agreement

An operating agreement is a document that outlines the rules and guidelines for how your LLC will be run. It’s similar to a partnership agreement, but instead of being between partners, it’s between the members of your LLC.

An operating agreement doesn’t have to include many provisions—it can simply contain a few clauses about how things are going to work within your business. But if you’re forming an LLC with multiple owners who plan on working together for many years (or decades) and want some protection against disputes arising later on, then an operating agreement may be worth creating.

If you decide that an operating agreement would benefit your business and want one drafted by an attorney, there are several ways this can happen:

  • You can hire an attorney directly who specializes in small businesses or start-ups; this could cost around $3,000-$5,000 depending on what kind of help they offer beyond just writing up the document itself (for example setting up other business paperwork).
  • You can talk over ideas with attorneys at no cost during free legal clinics offered through nonprofit organizations like SCORE; these typically last three hours and will provide valuable information about how best practices differ depending on what type of work you’ll be doing within your company (e.g., construction vs software development).

Creating an Employer Identification Number (EIN)

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a unique number that the IRS assigns to business entities. It’s important to get an EIN because it helps you to do business and pay your employees.

To get an EIN, visit the IRS website at Once there, select “Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN).” You can also call 1-800-829-4933 or fax your documents at 515-844-4848.

Once you have been approved for an EIN, use it on all of your tax returns and other official correspondence with the IRS since this will allow them to easily identify which entity they are dealing with when reviewing a particular tax return or notice from the agency in question

Initial Report and Annual Report

The initial report and annual report are two important forms you’ll need to file with the Secretary of State. The initial report is filed when you form your LLC; afterward, you file an annual report every year. Both reports contain important information that helps keep your business accountable for its activities.

The initial and annual reports must include:

  • The name of your company
  • Any alternate names it has used in the past year
  • A list of all members (owners) or managers who have an ownership interest in the company
  • The street address where its principal office is located (if not in South Dakota)

For each owner or manager listed on these forms, you’ll need to provide their full legal name and social security number, as well as a confirmation from them that they’re aware there may be criminal penalties if they knowingly provide false information on either form.


If you’re ready to form an LLC in South Dakota, follow these steps:

  • Choose a name for your entity.
  • File Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State.
  • Include additional information about business type and purpose, members (if any), initial agent or manager, location(s) where business is conducted, and mailing address where tax returns will be sent.


Now that you have read this article, you should be able to form an LLC in South Dakota. We hope it has been informative and helpful! If you have any questions or need more information on forming an LLC, feel free to contact us today or visit us online at

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