The main steps to forming a legal entity are outlined below. This basic information can be useful in helping you get the incorporation process started.
The first step is to choose a company name. The legal entity you form under will determine whether or not you will have to incorporate the legal ending to your business name. The legal ending indicates that your business is a legal corporation and not just a business registration or partnership.
Once you have decided on a name, check with the secretary of state for name availability and conduct a trademark check so you have a distinctive logo that will uniquely identify and distinguish your products and/or services.
Next, decide which state you want to form your legal entity in and take into consideration all tax and non-tax issues. On the next page, we will discuss the most popular states businesses choose to incorporate in, and the reasons why those states are so often chosen.
Determine the current size of your company and estimate its potential growth so you can identify which legal entity your business should form under.
Consult an attorney or LLC consulting company regarding regulatory requirements and forms you will be required to complete. LLC consultants can provide assistance with the completion and filing of these forms. If you choose to form a corporation you will be required to file an Articles of Incorporation document with the secretary of the state in order for it to be official.
Finally, file corporate bylaws with the state. Corporate details and other important information are outlined in the bylaws. Issue stock certificates to shareholders in compliance with security laws and document corporate actions and meeting minutes in the official corporate minute book. Elect record officers and directors of the corporation. Contact the IRS in order to obtain your state and federal tax ID numbers, or, it may be possible to get the necessary information from of the IRS website.
After you speak with your attorney or CPA, there are many available online sources you can reference to guide you through the process of business incorporation and assist you with all the necessary paperwork.
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