What documents are necessary to form a corporation?


To form a corporation, you are required to complete the articles of incorporation and file it with the Secretary of State where the business is located. Some states call this document the certificate of incorporation.


Once you have legally incorporated, there are optional documents that can help govern your business. The most important governing documents are meeting minutes, bylaws, and shareholder agreements.

When you hold meetings of the board of directors, you should keep minutes of the board of directors.

Bylaws set forth the basic rules and procedures for running the corporation.

A shareholder agreement is a binding agreement between shareholders that defines their rights and obligations. Although this is an optional document, it will outline each shareholder’s distribution rights, voting rights, management rights and responsibilities, and more.


Since corporations have shareholders, you should keep records demonstrating the number of shares owned by each person or entity. A stock certificate records issuance of stock to shareholders, who may then use the certificates as evidence of stock ownership.


Apply for an Employer Identification Number by completing IRS Form SS4 or by applying online.

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