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What steps do I have to take to get incorporated, without hiring an attorney? I want to be an S-Corporation because I believe that this will work best for me.
–J. E. Wright, Via the Internet
Before going over the steps, I like to stress that all business owners should retain an attorney, especially when filing legal documents.
The first step is deciding the state in which you want to incorporate. Delaware is the most common state. I’ll assume that’s where you’ll do it. You’ll need to contact a registered agent; they regulate the formation of corporations. For a list of some of the businesses or individuals that act as registered agents, go to www.state.de.us/corp/agents/agt.htm.
The second step you need to take care of is deciding on a business structure. Then file your business’ name with the secretary of state. Remember that the name has to be different from that of any other entity already incorporated or formed in the state. Forms are usually available through the secretary of state’s office. For a list of all 50 states, go to the National Association of secretaries of state (NASS) Website at www.nass.org/sos/sosflags.htm.
When you’ve gotten this far, file your articles of incorporation. But to do that, you’ll have to get an Employer Identification Number — a nine-digit number that the IRS assigns to business entities in order to keep track of businesses. To get an EIN, complete IRS Form SS-4 and send or fax it to the IRS office (the address and number should be listed on the form). The IRS even allows you to file this form online at https://sa2.www4.irs.gov/sa_vign/new FormSS4.do. Once the articles are filed with the state, you’ll receive your certificate of incorporation.