Guide to incorporating your business in all 50 states
City Applications has created a guide to how to incorporate your business in all 50 U.S. States. The essential provisions of the corporation laws of each states are summarized so that you can easily understand the steps involved in creating your corporation.
Select your state from the list below to get started:
In each of these incorporation guides you will learn the following:
- How to select and register a name for your corporation. One of the least understood areas where a new company can get into trouble is in naming the corporation. There are several issues you must be aware of when selecting a name for a corporation. There are rules in each state that govern how you can name the corporation, what business names are not allowed, and what happens if your name is too similar to an existing company.
- What words may and may not be used in a corporate name, including what language is absolutely required. There are laws, regulations, and guidelines in some states depending on the business industry you are in and whether it is regulated or requires a special license which require you to follow certain business name conventions in choosing a corporation name. Most states require certain words be included, such as Inc. or the word corporation, while others do not. Certain industry regulations may prohibit the use of names other than the personal name of the person that holds a professional license.
- What a corporation's “registered agent” or “agent for services for process” is and how to find one for your corporation. A registered agent is required in every state where you incorporate.
- What a Certificate of Incorporation or Articles of Incorporation are, what they must contain and how to file them in your state in order to incorporate your business. In most states, the filing of the certificate of articles of incorporation is what creates the corporation and officially creates a new legal business entity.
- What filing fees are required to incorporate. Every state has different fees and costs associated with incorporating a business, including expedited service fees, filing fees, and annual corporate fees and taxes.
- What other documents are required to create your corporation, such as bylaws, minutes, and shareholders agreements.There are standard documents that must be included with every corporation and contuining formalities and documents that a corporation must create on a regular basis. Most complex businesses, where investors are involved, such as in C-corporations, willl require additional documents such as investor rights agreements, and more complicated articles or certificates of incorporation.
- Where you can find sample incorporation forms for free, and what services are available to do this for you inexpensively. There are various resources on the internet that now offer many of the essential incorporation documents for free, or that will create a corporation for you and file all incorporation paperwork for a service fee.
- How to “qualify” or “register” your corporation to do business in other states. After incorporating in the state where your business resides, what if you want to open a sales office in another state, or buy property in another state? In most states there are various activities that deem your corporation to be "doing business" in that state and which require additional filings and fees. Failure to qualify a corporation in other states when required can create certain risks for your corporation.
- What annual corporation documents must be filed with your state and the associated fees. All states have annual filing fees or taxes that are due at the same time each year. Some states have flat rates, while others may depend on the size of your corporation. Each state where your corporation is registered to do business will also require an annual fee and updated information about your corporation.
Select your state from the list below to find information about incorporating your business today!