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Research requirements in your state

Each state has its own requirements for starting and operating a business, so be sure to refer to the department in your state that handles incorporation to learn about forms, fees, and regulations.

Choose a business structure

You can incorporate any of the following types of business. Consider tax implications for each.

  • Corporation
  • S Corporation
  • C Corporation
  • Limited Liability Compan
  • Non-Profit Organization (NPO)

Fill out the forms

  • Articles of Incorporation. Depending upon your state, this may also be known as a Certificate of Formation or Certificate of Organization or Charter. This is the legal document that brings the business to life. It includes important information like the nature of the company and the location of the corporate headquarters. Once accepted, the corporation becomes its own legal entity. 
  • Corporate Bylaws. This document defines the corporation's structure, specifies how the corporation will conduct its affairs, determines the fiscal year of the corporation, and lists the rights and responsibilities of the officers and shareholders.
  • Minutes of First Meeting. This document is used to record the official actions taken during a formal meeting of the board of directors or shareholders of a corporation. It generally consists of electing officers, adopting bylaws, and authorizing the issuance of initial stock shares.
  • Stock Certificate(s) if applicable. This document serves as evidence of the ownership of corporate shares by a stockholder.

With our easy Incorporation service, you simply answer a few questions and we create your initial paperwork and file it with the state for you. It's free for new members—you pay only the state filing fees. Then, you can create and customize all the legal forms you need for your business. Store everything online in your Rocket Lawyer account.

This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.

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