How to Start an LLC in South Dakota

Last Updated on February 3, 2022

Costs to form a South Dakota LLC

To form a Limited Liability Company in South Dakota, file the Articles of Organization with the South Dakota Secretary of State.  The LLC filing fee is $150 for online filings or $165 for filings made by mail.

Approval for the LLC is immediate when filing online and around one week when filing by mail.

If you have questions, contact the South Dakota Secretary of State by phone at 605-773-4845

Steps to Form a South Dakota LLC

The steps for filing online or by mail are largely the same.  The screenshots show how to file online.

  • Begin by visiting the South Dakota Secretary of State’s website.  If you prefer to fill out and mail the application, download the Articles of Organization Form.
  • Click on “Start a New Business.”
How to Form an LLC in South Dakota
  • In the “Choose a Business Entity Type” drop-down menu, select “(Domestic) Limited Liability Company.”  The brief difference between domestic and foreign is that if your LLC is based in South Dakota, it is domestic.  If the LLC were formed in another state and wanted to do business in South Dakota, it would be foreign.SD Select Business Entity

Step 1: Name the LLC

Enter the name you want for the LLC.  The LLC’s name also has to differ from other entity names registered with the Secretary of State.  Before choosing a name, you can do a South Dakota LLC Name search with the Secretary of State before going through the filing process to be sure the one you want is available.

The name of the LLC must also include a designator at the end of the business name.  A designator describes what type of business entity it is. Available designators include the following words and abbreviations:

  • Limited Liability Company
  • Limited Liability Co.
  • Ltd. Liability Company
  • Ltd. Liability Co.
  • L.L.C.
  • LLC
  • L.C.
  • LC

Enter the name along with the designator you would like to use twice to confirm the name you want was entered correctly.

Next, the optional field for “Professional Type” may need attention.  Most LLCs will skip this section, but if your business requires licensing before providing services, select the type of licensing to form as a Professional Limited Liability Company (PLLC).

If there is a name you want, but are not ready to register the LLC, you can file the Application for Name Reservation. The name reservation will hold a name for up to 120 days, at a cost of $25.

South Dakota LLC Name Registration

Step 2: Principal Address

In this section, enter the street address, city, state, and zip code of the initial principal office.  This address can be the LLC’s physical address, or it can be the address where the business records are stored.  You may not use a PO Box for the designated office.  There are also fields for a phone number and email address.  Many people do not provide the phone number as it becomes public record.  The email is required and is the address where the Secretary of State will send notifications when annual reports are due.

A mailing address is needed, and it can be the same as the principal address.  If the LLC records will be sent to a different address, enter that information in the Mailing Address Section.  If the address is the same as the principal office, click on the “Use this address as the Mailing Address also” box to copy the Principal Address address.

Step 3: Select a Registered Agent

To have an LLC in South Dakota, a Registered Agent must be identified.  The Registered Agent can either be a resident or business entity that is registered in South Dakota (Select “Noncommercial Registered Agent”) or a Registered Agent service (Select “Commercial Registered Agent”) who has registered with the Secretary of State.  The agent must have a physical address in the state (PO Boxes are not allowed), is available during normal business hours, and act as a point of contact for service of process to receive legal documents, tax notices, summons, subpoenas, etc. on behalf of the LLC.

If you selected Noncommercial Registered Agent, it is likely the name of that person isn’t listed, so you will enter their name, address and email in the contact fields.

Select a Registered Agent for South Dakota LLC

Step 4: Organizer(s)

An LLC Organizer is someone involved with the formation of the Articles of Organization.  The Organizer may or may not become a member, such as a mentor, attorney, or accountant, but any of the initial members can be listed as an organizer.

For most LLCs, the members will also be the organizers.

At least one organizer is required.  Enter the name and address for each organizer and click add.

South Dakota LLC Organizers

Step 5: Period of Duration & Delayed Effective Date

Period of Duration – In this section, you can indicate how long the LLC will remain in existence.  Most LLCs will choose a Perpetual duration; however, some businesses (usually investment-related) will have a specific closure date.

Delayed Effective Date – If you want the LLC to start immediately, leave this field blank.  If you want the LLC to start later, enter a date less than 90 days in the future. 

SD LLC Delayed Effective Date

Step 6: Management

This section asks if the LLC is Member-Managed or Manager-Managed.

  • Member-Managed LLCs have an active involvement in the management and have the authority to act on behalf of the LLC.
  • Manager-Managed LLCs are hired by the members to run the LLC, similar to a CEO of a corporation.  This is generally used when there are passive members in the LLC, and the members do not actively manage or operate in the affairs of the business.

Most LLCs are Member-Managed.

Select Member-Managed or Manager-Managed in the “Managed by” drop-down menu.

Next, select “Yes” or “No” to the question of whether one or more of the members will be liable for the debts and obligations of the LLC.  Most filers are going to choose “No.”

South Dakota LLC Manager vs Member Managed

Step 7: Beneficial Owner(s)

This is an optional section, and each member of the LLC is typically considered a beneficial owner.  Entering their names with the LLC filing puts their names and address on public record.

SD Beneficial Owners

Step 8: Add Additional Articles

This is an optional section and not used by most LLCs.  Here you would include additional rules for the operation of the LLC.

Step 9: Recipient(s)

Another optional section which isn’t used by most filers.  If the filings need to be mailed to an attorney, entity formation company, or another party, enter their information here.

Step 10: Review

Review that all the information is correct.  If there are no corrections, click “Next.”

Step 11: Signature

Have an individual forming the LLC to sign and accept the terms and conditions.  Click the “Next” button to save the information and proceed.

Step 12: Pay and File

Pay and file the Articles of Organization.

If mailing, send the ​​​one original and one copy of the Articles of Organization and filing fee to:
Secretary of State
500 East Capitol Avenue, Suite 204,
Pierre, SD 57501-5070