California Articles of Incorporation Templates | CA Secretary of State

The California Articles of Incorporation are used to apply and register a corporation with the California Secretary of State. An entity cannot legally operate in the State of California without filing this paperwork and having it approved first. Several requirements will apply such as naming your corporation a legally unique name that is not misleading to the public or appointing a registered agent. These articles seek to order the information that must be presented to the Secretary for approval. Additionally, the Secretary of State provides several different forms, each focused on the type of corporation being formed. A filing fee will apply when filing for any articles. This fee will range from $30.00 to $100.00 depending on the entity type being formed. The Articles of Incorporation may only be filed by mail or by being dropped off. E-Mail or Electronic filings are not available. Additionally, it should be noted that a Statement of Information must be filed with the Secretary within 90 days after filing the articles. The Statement of Information may be filed by mail or online. If filing by mail make sure to download the correct form for the entity type you have formed. More information may be found on the California Secretary of State's Business Entity FAQ page here: http://www.sos.ca.gov/business-programs/business-entities/faqs


California Articles of Incorporation of a Close Corporation | Form ARTS-CL

California Articles of Incorporation of a Close Corporation | Form ARTS-CL

The California Articles of Incorporation of a Close Corporation | ARTS-CL is one of the initial filings an entity must make in the State of California before conducting business. This is a requirement of the California Secretary of State which must be fulfilled in order for an entity to activate its corporation in compliance with […]

California Articles of Incorporation of a Common Interest Development Association | Form ARTS-CID

California Articles of Incorporation of a Common Interest Development Association | Form ARTS-CID

The California Articles of Incorporation of a Common Interest Development Association | ARTS-CID must be filed with the California Secretary of State before it becomes an active corporation. This is one of the most important submittals since it will solidify such facts as the address of the corporation, location, andĀ purpose with the State of California. […]

California Articles of Incorporation of a General Stock Corporation | Form ARTS-GS

California Articles of Incorporation of a General Stock Corporation | Form ARTS-GS

The California Articles of Incorporation of a General Stock Corporation | Form ARTS-GS must be filed with the California Secretary of State whenever an entity wishes to conduct business as a for-profit general stock corporation. This form may only be filed by mail or by drop-off. The original, any required documentation (i.e. additional provisions), and […]

California Articles of Incorporation of a Nonprofit Mutual Benefit Corporation | Form ARTS-MU

California Articles of Incorporation of a Nonprofit Mutual Benefit Corporation | Form ARTS-MU

The California Articles of Incorporation of a Nonprofit Mutual Benefit Corporation | ARTS-MU is a form that must be filed with and accepted by the California Secretary of State before an entity can operate as such a corporation in the State of California. When forming a nonprofit corporation, California, it is generally suggested to seek […]

California Articles of Incorporation of a Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation | Form ARTS-PB 501(c)(3)

California Articles of Incorporation of a Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation | Form ARTS-PB 501(c)(3)

The California Articles of Incorporation of a Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation | ARTS-PB 501(c)(3) must be filed with the California Secretary of State before a nonprofit public benefit corporation may operate in this state. This will require a filing fee of $30.00 if submitting by mail or a filing fee of $30 plus a service […]

California Articles of Incorporation of a Nonprofit Religious Corporation | Form ARTS-RE

California Articles of Incorporation of a Nonprofit Religious Corporation | Form ARTS-RE

The California Articles of Incorporation of a Nonprofit Religious Corporation| ARTS-RE should be filed with the California Secretary of State to satisfy requirements placed on new entities of this type in the State of California. This type of entity will require contacting the Internal Revenue Service and the California Franchise Tax Board. That is, merely […]

California Articles of Incorporation of a Professional Corporation | Form ARTS-PC

California Articles of Incorporation of a Professional Corporation | Form ARTS-PC

The California Articles of Incorporation of a Professional CorporationĀ | ARTS-PC will need to be submitted to the California Secretary of State, and approved, before lawfully conducting business in the State of California. Incorporators may choose to compose their own articles, however using a state approved document comes with the benefit of having the minimum required […]

California Statement and Designation by Foreign Corporation | Form S&DC-S/N

California Statement and Designation by Foreign Corporation | Form S&DC-S/N

The California Statement and Designation by Foreign Corporation | S&DC-S/N must be filed by foreign entities wishing to open and operate a corporation in the State of California. This will require documents from various entities so one should make sure they are aware of current laws in both California as well as the origin state […]

California Statement and Designation by Foreign Insurer Corporation | Form S&DC-INS

California Statement and Designation by Foreign Insurer Corporation | Form S&DC-INS

The California Statement and Designation by Foreign Insurer Corporation | Form S&DC-INS must be filled out and filed when an out of state insurer wishes to conduct business as an interstate insurer by providing this service in the State of California. This must be filed with the California Secretary of State along with a Certificate […]

California Statement and Designation by Foreign Professional Corporation | Form S&DC-PC

California Statement and Designation by Foreign Professional Corporation | Form S&DC-PC

The California Statement and Designation by Foreign Professional Corporation | S&DC-PC is the form that an entity outside of the State of California must successfully file with the California Secretary of State before conducting business within California state borders. This will only satisfy the Secretary of State’s requirement for filing this document. There will be […]


How to File

Step 1 - Determine the type of corporation you wish to form. This should be an educated and logical decision, so it is highly recommended to consult a professional before doing so. Corporation types in the state of California include General Stock Corporations, Close Corporations, Professional Corporations, Nonprofit Mutual Benefit Corporations, Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation, Nonprofit Religious Corporations, and Common Interest Development Corporations. Each of these entity types will have an Articles of Incorporation which must be filed with the Business Entities division of the California Secretary of State.

Step 2 - Next you must choose a name for your corporation in order to form it. This must be a unique name in the State of California. That is, the corporation name you choose may not be the same as that of one that exists in California nor can it be too similar. For example, one cannot simply use another corporation’s name by simply changing whether the letters are upper or lower case or by using different punctuation such as an apostrophe. Certain other rules may apply, for instance one may need to obtain permission from the United States Olympic Commission before including phrasing such as Olympiad or Pan-American in a corporate name. More information regarding corporate name requirements may be found here: http://www.sos.ca.gov/business-programs/business-entities/name-availability

Step 3 - Once you have chosen a name, it is highly recommended to check the availability of that name before forming a corporation with it. This may be done by mailing in the Name Availability Inquiry Letter to the Secretary of State. Download the form here: http://articlesofincorporation.org/wp-content/uploads/ca-naavinquiryform.pdf

Step 4 - The first box, “Requestor’s Information,” will require the Requestor’s Name, Firm Name (if applicable), Address, City/Stat/Zip Code, Phone Number, and Fax Number (if applicable) to be entered in the spaces provided.

Step 5 - Next, in the “Entity Type” box, place a check mark in the box next to the appropriate choice to indicate the type of entity being formed. You may choose one of the following: Corporation, Limited Liability Company, or Limited Partnership.

Step 6 - In the box labeled “Name(s) To Be Checked,” you may indicate three names you wish to have the Secretary of State check for availability. It is generally considered wise to have three listed as this may reduce paperwork should your first choice be unavailable. On the blank line next to the words 1st Choice, 2nd Choice, and 3rd Choice enter a unique name for the entity being formed.

Step 7 - Once you have completed the form, you may send it with a self addressed stamped envelope to:

Secretary of State
Name Availability Unit
1500 11th Street
3rd Floor
Sacramento, CA 95814

name availability

Step 8 - Once you have verified the availability of the corporate name you wish your entity to have, you may reserve it for your corporation for up to sixty days before filing your article of incorporation via the “Name Reservation Request Form.” Download this form here: http://articlesofincorporation.org/wp-content/uploads/ca-name-reservation.png

Step 9 - In the first box, enter your Name, Firm Name (if applicable), Address, City/State/Zip Code in the first column. In the second column, enter your Phone Number and Fax Number.

Step 10 - In the section labeled as “Type of Entity,” you must indicate what type of entity you are forming and will be assuming the name you are reserving. You may choose the box next to Corporation, Limited Liability Company, or Limited Partnership. Only choose one box.

Step 11 - Next, in the “Name to be Reserved” section, list the top three preferred names you wish to reserve for your corporation next to the words 1st Choice, 2nd Choice, and 3rd Choice.

Step 12 - In the section labeled “Suspended/Forfeited Entity,” indicate if the name you are reserving is for reviving a suspended or forfeited entity, then on the space provided enter the entity number.

ca name reservation

Step 13 - Once this form has been completed it may be mailed in or hand delivered. If it is mailed in there will be a filing fee of $10.00 payable by a check made out to “Secretary of State.” If it is hand delivered it must accompany a payment for the filing fee of $10.00 and a handling fee of $10.00 (a total of $20.00). It may only be mailed to one address, however there are multiple locations that will accept a walk in.

To Mail Send To:

Secretary of State
Name Availability Unit
1500 11th Street, 3rd Floor
Sacramento, CA 95814

To Walk In:

Secretary of State
Name Availability Unit
1500 11th Street, 3rd Floor
Sacramento, CA 95814

or

Secretary of State
Name Availability Unit
300 South Spring Street, Room 12513
Los Angeles, CA 90013

Step 14 - Once you have received confirmation the name you have chosen has been reserved (provided it was available at the time of submittal), you may file your articles of incorporation with the California Secretary of State either by mail or in person. This will typically involve a $30.00 to $100.00 filing fee depending upon the nature of the corporation being formed.

To File Articles of Incorporation by Mail

Secretary of State Business Entities
P.O. Box 944260
Sacramento, CA 94244-2600

To File Articles of Incorporation In Person

Secretary of State
1500 11th Street 3rd Floor
Sacramento, CA 95814