Start your corporation on the right path

If you want to make your business official—and attract investors—consider a corporation. Incorporating your business allows you to be off the hook personally for its debts and liabilities. Plus, you can issue shares and raise capital down the line.
Learn more about the difference between an S corp and a C corp and start forming today.
Starts at + filing fees. These costs are often tax deductible.

We've helped form over 400,000 corporations.

How to start a corporation

  1. Tell us your business name
  2. Answer a few questions
  3. We'll complete and file your paperwork

inc documents

Two paths to take

S corp

C corp

S corp

C corp

How it's taxed

Once—only shareholders pay taxes on profits received.

How it's taxed

Twice—the business pays taxes at the corporate level, and shareholders pay taxes on income received.

How it's owned

Limited to 100 shareholders who must be U.S. citizens or residents.

How it's owned

No restrictions regarding citizenship or residency of shareholders and no limit on how many people can own shares.

How shares work

Owners can only get common stock which comes with voting rights.

How shares work

Owners may get preferred stock—which comes with no voting rights but priority to dividends before common shareholders.

Pick the package that fits your needs


+ state filing fees

  • Name check and business filing: We complete your paperwork and file it with your state.
  • Articles of Incorporation: In some states, the articles are called a "certificate of formation."
  • Peace of Mind Review™ for missing info, discrepancies, and more
  • Includes a customizable website - powered by WIX
  • Lifetime customer support: Support 7 days a week to answer questions about your business formation.
  • LegalZoom standard processing time*


+ state filing fees

Everything from Economy plus:
  • Deluxe founder's kit with your formation documents printed on archival paper, plus a personalized binder and notebook
  • LegalZoom 5-day priority processing*


Express Gold

+ state filing fees

Everything from Standard plus:
  • LegalZoom 1-2 days expedited processing*
  • Express shipping: fastest delivery
  • Prioritization within the Secretary of State's queue (in states where applicable)

Frequently asked questions

  1. Both protect owners so they’re not personally on the hook for business liabilities or debts. One key difference is how they’re owned. The owners of LLCs are called members, and their ownership is divided into membership interests. Corporations have shareholders, and their ownership is divided into shares, which are units of stock.

    Another difference is how they’re maintained. Corporations generally have more formal record-keeping and reporting requirements, less management flexibility, and require a board of directors. Even though LLCs are considered easier to start and maintain, investors tend to prefer corporations.
  2. It ensures that you and other shareholders aren't personally on the hook for company debts and liabilities.
  3. Large public corporations or those planning to go public can benefit from things like Delaware's well-established and predictable body of corporate law—aka how courts tend to resolve business disputes. Venture capital firms and angel investors also often prefer Delaware corporations. However, most small businesses form in the state where they do business to avoid added costs and complexities.
  4. Think of shares as your piece of the ownership pie—and there are two main types (i.e. "common" and "preferred"). Common shareholders have voting rights and can receive dividends if they're issued. Preferred shareholders have priority over common shareholders when it comes to dividends and payout claims (if the corporation becomes insolvent).
  5. You need majority shareholder consent to switch before you can change your status with the IRS.

Why start a corporation

Attract investors

Raise funds by appealing to investors who may prefer corporations for their ability to offer stock.

Entice employees

Win over—and keep—top talent by giving them shares.

Look more official

Corporations have more clout—which can make it easier to do business with other companies.

Why choose us

4 million+


Helping entrepreneurs turn ideas into businesses over 4 million times.

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Providing access to our independent network of attorneys over 650,000 times.

Meet our customers



"We knew we needed to formalize our business, but didn't yet have the capital or resources to use a traditional law firm. LegalZoom was a great option for us, and we're still excited to use them today."
Greer Wilk* and Shaina Denny, corporation customer
*A previous LegalZoom employee

Bulgarini Gelato

"Everything we've done for the business, even things I might have done myself in the past, we've done through LegalZoom. We couldn't be happier—they make it so clear and complete."
Leo Bulgarini, corporation customer

Zoezi Sport

"With [LegalZoom's] assistance, I've been able to stay on top of my state and federal filings as well as run an efficient business. Thank you so much for the advice throughout every step of the way."
Yvonne Bulimo, corporation customer

Ask an attorney

Get the right guidance with an attorney by your side.

Get legal help

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Call an agent at (855) 787-1202 (855) 787-1202

Mon-Fri: 5 a.m.-7 p.m. PT
Weekends: 7 a.m.-4 p.m. PT

Ready to start your corporation?