When you're just starting out, getting legal help can be key to growing your business. With an attorney to guide you, you can proceed with confidence knowing all your legal questions have been answered.
Get a free business start-up consultation! As part of our Express Gold package, you get a 30-day trial to the LegalZoom Business Legal Plan.*Learn more
Excellent service. I continue to be a completely satisfied customer and we have used LegalZoom for starting a corporation...and have always been impressed with the service.
Karin L., Glendale, CA
The IRS allows corporations to choose to be taxed as either a "C corporation" or an "S corporation." Income from C corporations are subject to double taxation; that is, the corporation pays taxes on its net income and then the shareholders also pay taxes on the income that they receive from the corporation.
S corporations have only one level of taxation. The shareholders still have to pay taxes on money that they receive from the corporation, but an S corporation does not pay taxes on its net income. While the S corporation is popular among small business owners, C corporations have greater tax planning flexibility and can shield shareholders from direct tax liability.
Generally, anyone who completes the articles of incorporation and pays the state filing fee can form a corporation. There are usually no residency or other legal requirements. However, many states require that directors and officers must be at least 18 years old.
No, you do not need an attorney to form a corporation. You can prepare the legal paperwork and file it yourself, or use a legal documentation service such as LegalZoom.
To create a corporation, you must file a document called the "articles of incorporation" (in some states, it is known as the "certificate of incorporation" or "certificate of formation") with the Secretary of State or other appropriate state agency. Next, bylaws and organizing resolutions must be adopted. A corporation will also need to apply for a tax identification number (also known as an Employee Identification Number or EIN) with the IRS.
Questions? Call (800) 773-0888
9 out of 10 customers
would recommend us
to friends and family.
No hourly fees.
Our documents have been
accepted by courts and government
agencies in all 50 states.
* Available in most states. After the 30-day trial period, benefits to the Business Legal Plan (also Business Advantage Pro) continue automatically for $29.99 per month. For states where Business Advantage Pro is not available, benefits to Business Advantage Standard continue automatically for $7.99. You can cancel by calling (877) 818-8787. For full details, see the Legal Plan Contract and Advantage Terms of Service.