Are you considering setting up your own business? Perhaps you already have a thriving business but are considering changing it to a California corporation. There are many advantages to setting up a California corporation. This article will review the simple steps to incorporate in California.

“What a great one-stop shop! I used A People’s Choice to get my corporation set up and it was very easy and inexpensive. Could not be happier!” Terry L.
“A People’s Choice helped me set up my new corporation. Their staff was great to work with and they were even able to submit the paperwork with the Secretary of State the same day!” J. Carroll

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Steps to Incorporate in California

Step 1. Choose a Corporate Name. One of the first steps to incorporate in California is to choose your corporate name. In this regard, you must be sure to choose a name that is not the same as or too similar to an existing corporate name. Contact A People’s Choice for help. We can conduct a search to see if another company is already using a name similar to the one you want for your business. Of course, since you are incorporating, you may also want to include the word “corporation” or “incorporated” in the corporate name. You can also submit a Name Availability Inquiry Letter to the California Secretary of State’s Office to determine whether a name is already taken. Lastly, it is possible to reserve a chosen business name with the California Secretary of State for up to 60 days.

Step 2. Prepare and File Articles of Incorporation.  As one of the steps to incorporate in California, you must file what are known as “Articles of Incorporation” with the California Secretary of State.  The Articles of Incorporation identify your corporate name, the purpose of your California corporation, the name and street address of the corporation’s agent for service of process, and the number of shares the corporation is authorized to issue.

Step 3. Appoint a Registered Agent. As one of the steps to incorporate in California, you must select a person or business entity that is authorized to accept service of a lawsuit against the corporation. The corporation cannot serve as its own registered agent. The registered agent can be a person or a business entity that is registered with the Secretary of State to act as agent for service of process. Furthermore, the agent must have a physical address in California. Often the agent for service of process is one of the corporation’s officers. However, A People’s Choice can also act as the agent for service of process for your California corporation. Contact us if you would like to use A People’s Choice as the agent for service of process for your California corporation.

Step 4. Prepare Corporate Bylaws. Corporate bylaws are not filed with the state. Bylaws set forth the basic rules about how the corporation is to run.

Step 5. Appoint Corporate Directors. You will need to appoint temporary corporate directors to serve on the board until the first shareholders meeting is held.

Step 6. File Statement of Information.  Filing the corporate Statement of Information is one of the most critical steps to incorporate in California. This statement must be filed with the California Secretary of State on an annual basis. The first filing must be completed within 90 days of filing the Articles of Incorporation and each year afterwards. The Statement of Information for California corporations can easily be filed using the California Secretary of State portal.

Step 7. Set Up a Corporate Record Book. Create a corporate record book that documents all board of director’s meeting minutes, stock certificates, and shareholder meetings.

Step 8. Hold Board of Directors Meeting. During the first board meeting, the directors can appoint corporate officers. The directors can also authorize issuing stocks, adopt bylaws, and select a corporate bank.

Step 9. Fulfill Tax Obligations. California corporations are required to pay a mandatory minimum tax each year. The tax is based on the corporation’s earnings. The minimum tax amount is $800. In addition to state taxes, corporations are also responsible for federal income taxes.

Despite common beliefs, you do not need to hire a business attorney to incorporate in your business in California.  Contact A People’s Choice to help you with the steps to incorporate in California and get your new business off to a great start!

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