How to Incorporate Yourself for a Business

By Stephanie Mojica

  • Overview

    Incorporating a business used to require an attorney and the associated legal fees. Now, thanks to the Internet, you can either download forms and instructions from the United States government to incorporate your business or even hire a company to do the work for you. There are many tax and business advantages to incorporation, including the ability to secure business banking accounts and credit cards. It also is essential to protect personal assets when running a business entity.
    • Step 1

      Visit usa.gov (see "Additional Resources," below) for information on incorporating a business. Select your state. It is a good idea to incorporate in your state of residence, though this is not necessarily required. Some people choose to have their businesses legally recognized in a different state from which they actually live, depending on their business and personal needs.
    • Step 2

      Download the forms you need from the appropriate State Corporation Commission website. You will be directly led to the needed State Corporation Commission website when you are viewing usa.gov. The form packets for each state require an Articles of Incorporation, and are nearly identical in many other ways. However, each state does have some small differences.


    • Step 3

      Read carefully the instructions for incorporating your business in the appropriate state. The information will include the types of corporations available, which usually include a non-stockholding corporation, a stockholding corporation, a partnership, a limited partnership or a limited liability company (LLC.) Most businesses will likely want to start a non-stockholding corporation.
    • Step 4

      Choose a corporate name if you have not already. Your state instructions will have any applicable requirements. Professional incorporated businesses usually register as (Business Name), Inc. or (Business Name), Corp. If your search at the appropriate State Corporation Commission site (or alternatively, you can make a telephone call to them) reveals that corporate name is already taken, you will have to select an alternative choice.
    • Step 5

      Fill out all forms in accordance with the state instructions.
    • Step 6

      Pay the fees to the state and submit payment and the forms according to their instructions. Usually, mailing in a money order with the forms is the preferred method of submission, but each state will offer its own required payment instructions. You will soon receive official articles of incorporation and other essential information for running a business as a corporation. Any tax-related questions usually require the services of your own accountant.
    • Step 7

      Hire a firm to incorporate your business for you as an alternative. The fees typically range from $75 to $150 in addition to your state's required fees. There are a couple of popular companies, Incorporate Time and Biz Filings, listed in "Additional Resources," below.
    • Skill: Moderately Challenging
    • Tip: Remember that-- when in doubt about corporate issues--the best resource for information is your attorney or accountant.
    • Warning:
    • Do not hire a firm to incorporate your business for you without checking out their reputation with the Better Business Bureau (see "Additional Resources," below ).

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