Articles of incorporation templates are applications used by each State to allow a corporation to be formed either by an individual for an in-State entity or for an entity located outside the State seeking to do business. A corporation located in the State is usually referred to as a Domestic entity and one that is located outside the State is known as foreign.

Most States offer the main types of incorporation such as profit and non-profit in addition to specialty types such as professional, religious, and cooperative.

How to Form a Corporation

Step 1 – First select the State for which you would like to create the entity. If the principal office will be located in the State and operating as a profit business (which is the most popular) you will want to look for a form that is commonly known as the ‘Domestic Profit Articles of Incorporation’.

Step 2 – Once you have found the application you will want to use you will need to select a name. It will have to end in the words, ‘Inc.’, ‘Incorporated’, ‘Corp.’, ‘Corporations’, or any other State approved ending. When selecting your name you will want to use your State’s Business Name Search to make sure that it is not already taken by someone else.

There are many names that are associated with this type of form which are also sometimes referred to as ‘Certificate of Formation’, Certificate of Authority’, ‘Application for Registration’, etc.

Step 3 – Next you will have to fill-in the application. In just under half the country an incorporator is able to file the forms online although most will need to filled-in via Adobe PDF format (either on your computer or handwritten).

Most forms will require the following:

  • Entity Name – Full legal name.
  • Incorporator’s Name and Mailing Address – This is the person that is filling-in the document. This does not have to be a person that is associated with the ownership or have any direct affiliation to the corporation;
  • Principal office location – This is the address where the main company headquarters is located, if there is a mailing address that is different it should be entered as well.
  • Registered Agent Name & Address – This is the person that will be responsible for handling all official notices on behalf of the entity. For example, if the entity is being served for something, such as a lawsuit, this is the person and mailing address where it would be sent.
  • Business Purpose – Most States will allow the simple words of ‘Any lawful purpose’ but some may require an NAICS Code or for the applicant to be more specific.
  •  Shares – The number (#) of shares and the PAR value.
  • Director’s Name(s) and Address(es) – Names of all those associated even if they do not have ownership interest.

Step 4 – Attach the filing fee (ranges anywhere from $40 up to $800 depending on the State) along with any other required forms and send to the Secretary of State or other appropriate office. There may be an option to expedite and normal processing times can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.

Step 5 – After the corporation has been formed the applicant should seek to obtain an Employment Identification Number (EIN) (the PDF Application may also be used known as Form SS-4) which may be obtained from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Online. This is a free number to get and once complete (takes about fifteen (15) minutes) the a bank account and any other financial accounts may be created in the entity’s name.

Step 6 – Corporate bylaws should be written as they will legally explain how the corporation is structured along with naming who owns what amount of shares.

This form is required in the following States:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia (DC)
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wyoming