How to Form an LLC in Tennessee


You’ve probably heard of LLCs, or limited liability companies. They’re a popular way to protect your personal assets from business liabilities and are often used by small businesses. But did you know that Tennessee has some very specific rules governing the formation of LLCs? In this article, we’ll walk through the steps required for forming an LLC in Tennessee, as well as offer advice on choosing a name and location for your new business.

Choose a Location

When you form an LLC in Tennessee, you have to choose a location. The location for your business should be easy for clients to find and safe. It should also have plenty of parking, good internet access and security.

Choose a Name

  • Choose a name that is not already registered. You’ll need to check with the Tennessee Secretary of State to make sure your desired business name is available for registration.
  • Choose a name that is not too similar to another registered business name in your county or city, depending on where you live and do business. To find out if there are any conflicting names in your area, contact your local register of deeds office and ask them how best to check this out before applying for registration with the Secretary of State’s Office.
  • Consider whether the name you have chosen is too close (or confusing) to other businesses already registered under Tennessee law—particularly those offering similar products or services as yourself—as this could lead people who are searching for these products and services online into believing they are dealing directly with you when they actually aren’t!

File the Certificate of Formation

After forming your LLC, you must file a certificate of formation with the Tennessee Secretary of State. The filing fee is $50, and you can either file online or by mail. You have 60 days to submit this document after forming your business in order for it to be valid.

Create an Operating Agreement

Once you’ve established your LLC, it’s time to create an operating agreement. This document is an essential part of establishing and managing your LLC, as it determines how decisions are made within the company. Without an operating agreement in place, any decisions that need to be made will need to be approved by default by the Tennessee Secretary of State (and possibly a judge).

You don’t have to create your own operating agreement—you can hire a lawyer or another professional service provider who specializes in LLCs (like LegalZoom) to help write one for you. If you decide to do this yourself, take care not only with writing out all of the relevant information but also with formatting it properly so that everyone involved understands how they’re expected to work together going forward.

Get an EIN

You will need to get an Employer Identification Number, or EIN. The IRS website is the best place to apply for your EIN. If you don’t have internet access, call the IRS at 1-800-829-4933 (1-800-TAX FORM). Be prepared to provide your social security number and other personal information. Once you receive your EIN in writing, attach it to any correspondence with state or local government agencies regarding the formation of your LLC and keep a copy on file in case you need to refer back to it later.

Get Licenses and Permits

  • Check with your city, county and state to find out what licenses and permits you need. You may need a business license, certificate of occupancy, food handler’s permit and more.
  • Get insurance to protect your corporation in case anyone sues it or claims they were injured on the property. This is especially important if you’re planning to open a retail store or restaurant in addition to providing other services (such as cleaning).

Follow these steps to form an LLC in Tennessee.

  • Choose a location
  • Select a name for your LLC
  • File the certificate of formation with the Secretary of State’s office (or other applicable state agency) and pay the annual corporate fee
  • Create an operating agreement that spells out how you want to run your business, which should be done before you file your certificate of formation with the appropriate government agency in Tennessee
  • Get an employer identification number (EIN), which allows you to open bank accounts for your LLC and pay employees


We hope this article has given you the information you need to form an LLC in Tennessee. If you want to learn more about LLCs, check out our article on how to form an LLC in California or contact us today!

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