Steps for Filing Articles of Incorporation

Filing articles of incorporation can be a lengthy process if you aren’t sure how to do it. Thankfully, we’ve outlined the steps in an easy-to-complete format so you can go from a business to a corporation. Follow these steps, and you could obtain the title of “inc.” or “limited” for your firm.

Obtaining Articles of Incorporation

Of course, the first thing you need to do is obtain the articles of incorporation. You can easily get a copy of the forms by visiting the Secretary of State’s office or your Department of Business and Commerce. Here, you’ll be able to get a printout of the articles of incorporation. Sometimes, you can even print the paperwork out online through the website for the Secretary of State or the Department of Commerce. These forms may also be referred to as “certificate of incorporation,” “corporate charter,” or “articles of association.”

Fill Out the Paperwork

The next step is filling out the articles of incorporation. Most of the information is relatively easy to provide. You must list the name of the corporation, which includes the abbreviation of the word “corporation,” company,” or “incorporated.” Additionally, you must choose a name that has not already been incorporated. The paper also needs to include the address and signature of each incorporator.

The most difficult part of filing articles of incorporation is choosing the purpose or purposes for which the corporation is formed. Some states may not require you to be specific about your purpose. However, if you do, you can declare a general explanation such as, “The purpose of the corporation is to engage in any lawful activity for which corporations may be incorporated in this state.”

Checking the Documents

Before filing the certificate of incorporation, make sure everything is absolutely correct and legible; check spelling and that you have the right addresses listed. The filing fee is non-refundable so if you made a mistake you may have to pay to resubmit the corrected documents.

Filing the Articles of Incorporation

The final step of the process is to file the articles of incorporation. You should be prepared to pay the filing fee. The price varies state to state, so you should research how much it is where you’re incorporating the company. Some states charge as little as $30 while others can charge up to $300, according to FindLaw.

There may be extra charges, such as a franchise tax or a fee for paying with a credit card. The process from beginning to end can take weeks, but some states allow you to pay an expedited fee. For example, Illinois allows you to pay $100 for the process to be expedited. After payment is made, the Department of Business Services reviews your articles of incorporation within 24 hours of receipt with the exclusion of Saturday, Sunday, and the holidays.


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