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Incorporating a Business

A Checklist for Starting a Corporation or S Corporation


If you want to start a corporation, you should know the process so you can make decisions and take care of many of the details. You will probably still need an attorney for the legal filings, but your participation can save you money and time during this process.  Follow the list to start an S corporation, including the process of filing an s corporation election.

Reasons to Incorporate a Business

Before you decide to incorporate a business, think about why you are incorporating. Make sure you are incorporating for one of the reasons in this article, not just because your attorney or your friends say it's a good idea.

Obtain the Services of an Attorney for Your Incorporation Process

Although there are many books telling you that you can incorporate on your own without the services of an attorney, you will probably want to use an attorney to guarantee that the process goes smoothly and that your incorporation is completed satisfactorily. Here are some suggestions for finding an attorney to help you incorporate.

Select an Incorporator to Do Preliminary Work

Before a corporation has been officially formed, an incorporator works to prepare documents, file the Articles of Incorporation, and select the board of directors. Learn more about this important person and his/her duties in guiding the new corporation to start-up.

Decide What Type of Corporation You are Forming

Is your corporation public or is it privately held? Is it a stock corporation or a non-stock corporation? If the corporation's shares are publicly traded, will they be closely held or widely traded? A discussion of these different corporate types will help you make decisions as you start your corporation.

Select Your Corporate Name, Check Availability, Register and Protect Your Name

You probably have a name you want to use for your corporation. Before you can incorporate, you will need to check to be sure the name is available and it is not being used by another corporation or other business entity. After you have registered your business name, you may want to protect it by applying for a trademark.

Obtain Incorporation Information and Materials from Your State

You will be incorporating in a specific state (or states), so you will need to check that state's requirements for incorporation, including specifics of the Articles of Incorporation, what to include in your by-laws, and other requirements.

Select the Board of Directors for Your Corporation

Your corporation's board of directors is an important part of your business. Learn about selecting board members, compensating directors, conflict of interest and liability issues for your board of directors.

Apply for an Employer ID Number for Your Corporation

Here are the steps in the process of applying for an Employer ID Number

Obtain Your Corporate Checking Account

Establish the checking account for your corporation and decide what other banking services you will need.

Prepare and File Your Articles of Incorporation

Your Articles of Incorporation must be filed with the state in which you are incorporating. This document establishes your corporation, names the incorporator, and sets out your business purpose. Learn where to file the Articles with your state.

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