To start a corporation you must follow certain criteria to make your business a legal corporate entity. These procedures are generally the same from state to state but for your own protection check with your state’s Department of Corporations or the Secretary of State.
First, you must establish the name of your corporation. This is the name that it will be known as to the public. You must file all the appropriate paperwork to register the name with the state and file a fictitious name application. Fictitious name applications are a generally a small fee that you send in to the state which allows them to verify that no other entity is using that name and secure it for your company. You will also be required to post a fictitious name ad in the classified of your local newspaper posting your intent to use this name.
Next, you must choose where to incorporate. While it is common to file incorporation papers in the state where you do business, there are options that allow you to file in other states. Choose this option carefully, as there are many rules and regulations that concern incorporating across state lines.
Next you need to determine who the corporate officers are and decide on the corporation bylaws. These laws will determine how your company will run its corporation and how and when any changes can be made to the corporate structure. You will determine corporate meeting times and conditions and establish your corporate minutes book. Recordkeeping policies and share information must be provided in the bylaws.
Once all of these items have been accomplished you must determine what type of corporation you will become, such as an S corporation, a C corporation, or a non-profit. After this has been established and all supporting documentation completed, you need to fill out the actual incorporation papers and file them with the appropriate state agency. The incorporation papers are simple forms that require you to list all the information that you have about the corporation that you have compiled in the previous steps.
Once your incorporation application is filed, you will need to establish a separate bank account for the business. Corporations must maintain a separate bank account for all of their transactions. Commingling the corporation money with that of the owners or shareholders can cause you to lose your corporation status. Then apply for all the local and county business licenses or permits that you are required to have to run a company in that area.