What are the requirements of a corporation?

The first step to legally form a corporation is filing the articles of incorporation with the office responsible for business filings (usually the Secretary of State’s Office) in the state where you wish to form the company. In some states, this document is known as a certificate of formation or certificate of incorporation.

To complete the articles of incorporation, you will need to pay a fee, normally $100–$500, depending upon the type of corporate entity you are forming. You will also need to include the following information with your articles:

  • The official name of the corporation
  • The principal corporate address
  • The name and address of your registered agent for service of process
  • An optional statement of the general business purpose of the corporation
  • Other information required by your particular state. For instance, you may need to include the names of the company directors and information pertaining to company stock, such as the number, classes, and value of authorized shares.

Lastly, state law requires that your company follow certain corporate formalities. Most states require that companies create a set of corporate bylaws that set forth the general management structure of the company as well as broad procedures of corporate governance. Also, states typically require that the company hold an initial meeting of the board of directors in order to show that the company is formally initiated to conduct business.

Other required corporate formalities vary from state to state. You can find the particulars for your state by visiting your Secretary of State’s Office or a similar corporate governance website provided by your state of incorporation.

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