The actual steps you take to form a South Dakota limited liability company are pretty simple, with a little help. We are supplying the instructions on getting the paperwork filed with the state below. (These instructions are up-to-date as of July 27, 2020.) We’ve also got a free, downloadable “do it yourself” kit you can use. In other words, the price you pay to purchase equals “zero.” That kit provides more information about LLCs and includes a couple of free LLC operating agreements. (We used to sell the kit but since the Covid-19 pandemic have simply given the kit away.)
1. Check if the LLC name you want is available
As a first step, you may want to check if the LLC name you want to use is even available. Here’s an easy and free way to do this: You can search for a similarly named LLC using the South Dakota online database at:
You can reserve a name for a fee of $25. The reservation can be made by filing an application with the South Dakota Secretary of State. The secretary of state will reserve a name for you for one hundred twenty days. Once having so reserved a name, you may not again reserve the same name until more than sixty days after the expiration of the last one hundred twenty-day period.
2. Download the Articles of Organization form from the South Dakota Secretary of State’s web site, then print this form
The URL, or web page address, for this form is as shown below.
Alternatively, you can file online at:
3. Identify the name you want to use for your new LLC
Enter your business or investment name as Article I. (I used the example name, “Acme Explosives LLC.”) The name of a limited liability company must contain, limited liability company, or limited company, or the abbreviation, L.L.C., LLC, L.C., or LC. Limited may be abbreviated as Ltd. and company may be abbreviated as Co. For example, all of the following names should be acceptable:
- Acme Explosives Limited Liability Company
- Acme Explosives Limited Company
- Acme Explosives LLC
- Acme Explosives L.L.C.
- Acme Explosives L.C.
- Acme Explosives LC
- Acme Explosives Ltd. Liability Company
- Acme Explosives Limited Liability Co.
- Acme Explosives Ltd. Liability Co.
- Acme Explosives Ltd. Company
- Acme Explosives Limited Co.
- Acme Explosives Ltd. Co.
4. Indicate the address in which the LLC offices are located
Provide the LLC’s office address as Article III.
5. Provide your name and address to the Secretary of State’s office
South Dakota wants to know the name and contact information for the initial agent of service and you provide this information as Article IV. A registered agent can be either an individual resident or a corporation with a business office. But you may as well be your own registered agent.
6. Identify yourself as the LLC organizer
Use the Article V box on page 2 of the LLC form to provide your name and address as the LLC organizer.
7. Specify how the LLC will be managed
Use the Article VI check boxes on page 2 of the LLC form to specify whether members will manage the LLC or whether special manager-members will manage the LLC. (Typically, you specify member managed for small LLCs with one or two members.)
If your LLC will be managed by a manager or managers, provide their names and addresses in the space provided.
8. Specify member liability (optional)
If one or more members will be liable for LLC debts and obligations, use the Article VII box on page 2 of the preprinted form to list their names and addresses here.
9. Supply any additional provisions (optional)
LLC members may use the Article VIII box on page 3 of the standard LLC form to provide additional articles. Normally, you’re not going to use this ability if you’re taking the do-it-yourself route to set up an LLC.
10. Sign and date the form, then submit the LLC application
The organizer(s) of the LLC must sign and date the form. Additionally, each organizer that signs must also state their title. After you complete the Articles of Organization, mail the document, one copy of the document, and a check for $165 to:
Secretary of State Office
500 E. Capitol Ave
Pierre, SD 57501
Note: The online filing fee is $150 and usually have a faster turnaround time.
Processing lead times vary, but in general, it takes several weeks to get your LLC certificate back from the Secretary of State’s office.