When you get ready to form a corporation or an LLC, you'll have to file the Articles of Incorporation. While some states have other names for this document such as Articles of manifestation or certificate of incorporation, you can usually find them under the term "Articles of Incorporation." Essentially, it's a legal document that turns a business into a legal entity.

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The Articles of Incorporation lay out the groundwork and structure for your LLC or corporation in its most basic form. Different states may add to these requirements, but generally you will have to provide the following information:

  • Founders' names
  • Business name and doing business as name (DBA) if applicable
  • Business address

In some states, you may also have to provide information on the way you plan to file taxes if you are filing for an LLC. You don't have to include a Business Plan or proof of financial solvency.

The paperwork can either be filled out online or you can print the form and fill it out in pen before submitting it to the secretary of state in the state where you want to incorporate. This should be accompanied by your incorporation fee. The amount of the fee varies by state. Most of the time, it doesn't cost more than $200, and generally, it's less.

As soon as the Articles of Incorporation are filed, the corporate form begins to exist formally, and not until then. You can't start describing yourself as a corporation or an LLC until this step is complete. Remember, though, that filing is distinct from mailing in the Articles. The Secretary of State will file the paperwork and register the business name in most cases. In some states, you'll receive a formal certificate of incorporation that states your business's status. Make sure you save that certificate as well as a copy of your Articles of Incorporation.

We make it easy to create and file your Articles of Incorporation paperwork. File for a corporation, LLC, or non profit now.

Get started Start Your Incorporation Answer a few questions. We'll take care of the rest.

Get started Start Your Incorporation Answer a few questions. We'll take care of the rest.