How much does it cost to register a business in California?

Author: Jason Coles

Updated On:

Updated On:

The Golden State is a magnet for those seeking a better quality of life and all the other benefits a warm climate can provide.

If you put the stunning golden beaches, beautiful landscapes, and laid-back and vibrant lifestyle to one side, you have a State that is also very attractive for those looking to register a business in California, which is evident in the sheer number of businesses currently thriving within the state.

How much does it cost to register a business in California? Not as much as you might think! Sure, it is not the cheapest state to register a business in, but it is certainly not as high as some others.

Let’s get right into the upfront costs to register a company in California, whether that be an LLC, an Incorporated company, a partnership, a non-profit, or any other type of company.

How much does it cost to register a business in California

What is the cost to register a business in California?

There are two main types of companies you will form when starting and registering a business in California:

  • California Limited Liability Company (LLC)
  • California Incorporated Company (Inc.)

Of course, there are other types of structures such as sole proprietorship, a limited or general partnership, and non-profit, but the most common two are the limited liability company and corporation.

When it comes to registering your company in the U.S., it is important to be aware that the registration and renewal costs differ depending on which state you decide to register in. The type of business structure you decide on will also determine the specific costs.

If you would like to pay for the services of a formation and business filing services company to register your California business the right way, they can do it for an affordable fee that ensures it is done properly and all the correct documents are filed according to the law. They will also take care of all the after-formation procedures so your business is compliant with California law and legally registered.

How much does it cost to register a company in California?

  • California LLC Initial Registration: $75
  • California Corporation Initial Registration: $105
  • California Non-Profit Initial Registration: $30
  • Foreign LLC Initial Registration: $70
    (this is so an LLC can obtain foreign qualification)
  • Foreign Corporation Initial Registration: $100
    (this is so an Inc. can obtain foreign qualification)
  • Limited Partnership (LP) Initial Registration: $70
  • Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) Initial Registration: $70
  • Sole Proprietor Initial Registration: $26
    (no compulsory registration is required, but you should file a trading name or fictitious name registration)

Note – it is important to understand that, while some states do not make acquiring a certified copy mandatory, California does, therefore the prices for registering an LLC or Corporation are the true filing fees with an additional $5 added for the compulsory certified copy.

The costs to register a business in California noted above are the total fees you must pay but do not include several optional fees that are offered by the California Secretary of State (see below).

The costs above include the initial filing fees and the certified copy fee, which is convenient and you will receive this via email after registration.

When you open a bank account or apply for credit, some financial institutions may need a certified copy of your registration certificate, so as part of the registration process, you will receive this from the CA Secretary of State.

How much does it cost to renew a company in California?

According to California law, any company wishing to continue doing business in the State of California does not have to file an annual report with the Secretary of State (SOS), however, you must pay $800 in business/franchise tax (as a minimum) on an annual basis.

An LLC must pay at least $800 in business tax which is due the 15th day of the 4th month from the date you file your company registration with the California SOS. So, for example, if you register your California LLC on June 18, 2021, your annual LLC tax will be due on September 15, 2021 (15th day of the 4th month). Your subsequent annual tax payments will continue to be due on the 15th day of the 4th month of your taxable year. For more information on filing dates and amounts for an LLC, see the CA franchise tax board website.

A Corporation (Inc.) that is registered in California or conducting business in the state must also pay a minimum of $800 in franchise tax annually. This is due the first quarter of each accounting period, but not usually due for a newly incorporated company in their first year. For more details on due dates for C Corps and S Corps, the California Franchise Tax Board has more information.

As a business owner or soon-to-be owner of a California company, you should be aware of the other various fees that are charged by the Secretary of State.

  • Amended and Restated Certificate: $30.00
  • Registered Agent: $25.00 (for corporations) & $20.00 for LLCs
  • Certificate of Conversion: $150.00 for a Corporation ($30 for all others)
  • Certificate of Dissolution: No fee unless you are handing-delivering to the Secretary of State in Sacramento
  • Certificate of Merger: $150.00 for interspecies mergers and $70 for all other businesses
  • Certificate of Revocation of Dissolution: $15.00
  • Name Reservation: $10.00 (active for 60 days)
  • Restated Certificate: $30.00 + the addition of a non-refundable special handling fee of $15.00 only to the Secretary of State in Sacramento
  • Statement of Correction: $30.00
  • Statement of Termination: No fee

There are two main Secretary of State offices for registering a business in California, a Sacramento Office, and a Los Angeles Office. It is important to note that the Los Angeles Office provides limited services for corporations, so it is advised to use the Sacramento Secretary of State for registering your corporation, despite the geographical location of your business.

Sacramento Main Office Address

Secretary of State
1500 11th Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 657-5448
Hours: 8:00 a.m. – 5 p.m. EST
Phone Number: (916) 657-5448
Driving Directions

Los Angeles Main Office Address

Secretary of State
300 South Spring Street, Room 12513
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 897-3062
Hours: 8:00 a.m. – 5 p.m. EST
Phone Number: (916) 657-5448
Driving Directions

Here is the fee schedule from the California Secretary of State, you must select your type of business to see what the specific fees and annual payments are. To call the bizfile California office directly, you can reach them at (916) 653-6814.

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Jason Coles

Jason Coles is the Founder of Foreign USA and its Chief Content Writer and Editor. Recognized as a prolific business plan writer by many prominent immigration attorneys in the U.S. who refer his services to their clients regularly, Jason has written over 1,360 business plans across the past 17+ years for start-up companies and franchises looking to expand their footprint in the United States. Jason is considered a seasoned expert in his field. He creates detailed business plans for his clients that include five-year financial projections, market and industry analysis reports, demographic studies, organizational charts, job descriptions, employee hiring plans, and more.