Entrepreneurship is exciting—the thrill of developing a winning product or service, bringing that idea to life, and making life better for your clients—it’s fun. But unfortunately, it’s not free. Long story short: starting a business has a price tag. LLCs are no exception.
If you’re hoping to start an LLC in Nevada, you’ll quickly learn that you’ll have a pretty long list of fees for forms, licenses, and applications that you’ll need to get started. Some of those are optional fees, and some are unavoidable. In this guide, we’ll walk you through all the costs you can expect when starting a Nevada LLC. By the end, you’ll have a clear picture of how your new business will impact your wallet.
What’s the least amount I have to pay to form an LLC in Nevada?
If you’re crunching the numbers before diving right in, good on you! Planning ahead is a surefire way to start your business off on the right foot. But let’s make one thing clear: the phrase “cost to start an LLC” is a bit deceptive. That’s because you don’t want to get stuck focusing on the “day one” expenses of business.
That’s right—when budgeting for start-up costs, you need to account for the costs you’ll pay today and the costs you’ll pay a year or two down the road.
So let’s talk start-up costs and ongoing costs for your Nevada LLC. But to keep things simple, here we’ll cover the non-negotiable costs. Later on, we’ll talk about services that are nice to have (but you can live without if you have to).
NV LLC Start-up costs
There are two primary start-up costs in Nevada. The most important one is the Articles of Organization. At $75, it’s not the most expensive cost you’ll have as you start up, and it’s an unavoidable cost. After all, the Articles of Organization is what officially forms your business in the state. Without it, you’re not a recognized business.
One of the more expensive start-up costs you’ll have will be the general business license. It goes hand in hand with one of your other start-up requirements: the annual list of officers, which you’ll add to Nevada’s SilverFlume. By publishing your annual list of officers, you’ll get your business license. You’ll report this process every year (more on this later). The tough part is that this license costs $200.
There’s also a good chance that you’ll need to get a professional license for your industry. But there are so many of them that we can’t list them all here. This guide would be tedious if we did. You’ll have to do the legwork to know which licenses apply to your business. Thankfully, the Nevada SilverFlume tool will help you assemble a comprehensive list of licenses that apply to your business.
Even though we can’t list all of those license types here, we can warn you that you’ll probably have to pay an application fee when you apply for each one.
Ongoing costs for an LLC in NV
If your business lasts (and we’re confident it will), then you’ll have several ongoing costs. These include license renewals, annual reports, and taxes. Let’s dig into those prices and fees.
Every year, as part of your annual report process (which we’ll cover more in-depth later), you’ll renew your state business license through Nevada SilverFlume. There is a $200 fee for this renewal.
Beyond that, if you had to get any licenses for your industry, you’ll probably have to renew them on a regular basis. But each Nevada licensing board has its own policies for renewals, so we can’t really list them all here. This guide would be tedious if we did. When you obtain your licenses, we recommend taking note of the renewal requirements for your industry so none of the fees surprise you.
In Nevada, one of the biggest annual costs you’ll have will be taxes. But unlike most states, Nevada doesn’t charge a state income tax. Instead, they charge a Modified Business Tax (MBT). The current rate for most businesses is 1.425% (excluding the first $50,000 in income). Financial institutions will pay 2% instead. You can learn more about the MBT here. If you’re involved in retail sales, you’ll also need to collect and pay the state sales tax. The rate is 4.6%.
Last but not least, there’s a good chance you’ll need to pay some industry-specific taxes: marijuana and live entertainment are just a few of the taxable areas. But we won’t dig into all the nitty-gritty details here. For more information, check out the State of Nevada Department of Taxation.
Most states require LLCs to file some version of an “annual report,” or a document that informs the state about the current standing of your business. This document is usually required in addition to annual tax reports, since it usually includes information about your business address, members, your registered agent, and so on.
In Nevada, the annual report is more important than it is in other states. That’s because it goes hand-in-hand with another annual requirement: the annual list of officers. So long story short, you’ll provide the state with lots of details about your business, including who’s in charge. This process also serves as your business license renewal, so it’s absolutely essential that you get this step completed. There’s a $200 fee for this report/list, too. Thankfully, you can complete the entire process in one place: SilverFlume. For more information on this slightly tricky process, check out the state’s Business License FAQs.
What are the discretionary costs to form a Nevada LLC?
When you’re starting your business, your budget is usually pretty tight. Prioritizing costs can get tricky. The costs we listed above are unavoidable. Well, technically, you can avoid them, but you’ll be heavily penalized if you do. And there’s not much point to spending all that money on starting a business only to knowingly let it be dissolved because you didn’t pay your ongoing costs.
But if you can help it, doing the “bare minimum” is probably not the best way to start your business. There are plenty of discretionary costs you can pay for certain services that make life easier. Here, we’ll dig into those costs—and why you might consider paying them.
1. Name reservation application
Naming things can be a bit tricky; after all, sometimes inspiration is a little lacking! And since Nevada doesn’t allow you to use a name that someone else has already claimed, you have to work even harder to pick one that’s unique, memorable, and just right for your business.
It’s a multi-step process, really: you have to brainstorm name ideas, choose just the right words, meet state name requirements, and of course, ensure that the name isn’t already in use (you can check using a Business Entity Search).
If you’re like a lot of people, you probably want to ensure that your hard work doesn’t go to waste once you’ve created the perfect name. So you have to lay claim to your new business name. You can do so either by filing your Articles of Organization, or by filing a Name Reservation Request. You should only file this form if you’re not yet ready to file your Articles. Otherwise, you’d be wasting your hard-earned cash. Nevada requires a $25 fee for this, but once complete, it’ll get you 90 days of protection for your chosen name.
2. Obtaining a DBA
Wait—didn’t we just cover business names? Yes. But there’s a distinction: your business name, which you’ll write in on your Articles of Organization, is the legal name of your business. A DBA, sometimes called a trade name, an assumed name, or a fictitious name, is like a nickname for your business. For example, your legal name might Joseph Smith, but your friends call you Joe for short. Joe is a perfectly valid name, but you can’t put it on legal paperwork. You’d have to legally change your name to do so.
A DBA acts kind of like a nickname for your business; some LLCs and corporations also use DBAs to establish new product lines or new “businesses” under the LLC “parent company.” But regardless of why you use a DBA, if it differs from your legal name, you need to register it before you can use it.
Quick note: in Nevada, you’ll register your DBA with your county clerk, not your Secretary of State. So your registration process might look a bit different from that of someone else in a different county. Plus, if you’re operating in multiple counties, you’ll have to register it in each.
While the registration process looks a little different in each county, here’s what you can expect: you’ll ensure that your name is available (it shouldn’t infringe on the names of LLCs and corporations in Nevada), then register it with your county and pay the accompanying fee.
For more information on this process, check out our guide to Nevada DBAs.
3. LLC formation services
Paperwork is a massive hassle. And unless you’re starting an LLC to help other Nevadans with their paperwork, odds are you don’t want to deal with much paperwork yourself.
The bad news? Paperwork is an unavoidable part of starting a Nevada LLC: the Articles of Organization, the annual report and list of officers, license applications—the list goes on and on. The good news? You can hire an LLC formation service to do the pesky paperwork for you.
Of course, there’s some cost involved. And while there are a lot of great LLC formation services, they aren’t all created equal. And they all have different price points.
Many LLC formation services offer a wide variety of packages, with basic options starting at low prices like $39 from Zen Business (one company, Incfile, even offers a starter package for $0). But if you’re willing to shell out some serious cash for comprehensive assistance, you’ll find package prices going as high as $799.
These services are completely optional; you can DIY your Nevada LLC formation. But many entrepreneurs find the time saved is worth the money. If you do opt to hire a service, please make sure you take the time to understand what you’re buying. Some services charge one-time fees, and others tack on “free services” that will cost you next year. If you don’t read the fine print, you can get slapped with unexpected service fees. And surprise bills are never fun.
4. NV Registered agent services
Nevada law clearly states that every LLC must designate a registered agent to act as a middleman between your business and the state. Long story short, the registered agent accepts service of process (and any other official communication from the state) on your behalf.
Technically, this is another thing you can DIY; Nevada allows you to serve as your own registered agent. However, in our opinion, it’s worth the expense to hire a registered agent.
Why? For starters, a registered agent’s address becomes part of the public record; anyone in the state can find that address. That leads to spam mail (sometimes worse). Plus, a registered agent must be present at the registered address during all standard business hours. If you serve as your own, you’d be tied down to your location constantly. A registered agent service prevents those annoyances. A service will also help you keep track of annual filing requirements, license renewals, and more.
These services typically charge an annual fee. For example, annual fees for our top 4 Nevada registered agent services range from $99 to $299 per year depending on the service you choose. That said, some offer the first year free if you use them as an LLC formation service.
Quick Note: If you need to later down the line, you can always change your registered agent.
5. Expedited filing fees
In Nevada, processing speeds largely depend on the way you file your forms. If you opt for online processing, your documents should be processed within 1 business day. Paper filings usually take much longer: about a week (on average).
If you plan to file a paper document and that sounds like too long to wait, you can expedite your filings. There are three options: 24-hour processing ($125), 2-hour processing ($500), and 1-hour processing ($1,000). You can opt for the processing speed that best fits your budget and timetable, but it’s easiest to file online and avoid all of the hassle.
6. Business attorneys
Starting a business is a complicated process. And it’s a legal one. We do our best to make the process seem less daunting with guides like this one. But at the end of the day, we can’t write a guide that would cover every single question every business will ever face. That’s because your business is unique.
Business attorneys, however, can talk you through all the nuances of forming and running your business. In many cases, the advice of an attorney can save you thousands by helping you avoid expensive legal mistakes.
However, the upfront costs of hiring a business attorney can be pretty pricey. For example, many attorneys charge per hour, with rates ranging between $150-$350. Others offer “LLC formation packages” for flat rates that fall between $500-$2000. And of course, those fees vary based on the attorney’s experience, location, and so on.
If you’d like to hire one, we recommend checking out sites like Avvo.com. Their database is nearly comprehensive, so it’s a great way to search Nevada business lawyers. You can also narrow results by location, cost, overall satisfaction rating, and more. It’s the best place to look to find the right legal consultation for your business.
Long story short: starting a Nevada LLC can be a pretty pricey endeavor. If you look at each cost separately, it doesn’t seem too bad (perhaps with the exception of the $200 business license fee). But when you add them all up or tack on some additional services, the total price tag grows pretty quickly.
Thankfully, since you’ve read this guide, you know what you’re up against. And sometimes, knowing is half the battle—and now you’re armed with all the information you need to budget the start-up costs so you can start your Nevada LLC off on the right foot. We wish you and your new business the best!