When it comes to starting a business in Arizona, the first order of things is to choose a name for your Corporation.
This name is your Corporation’s unique identifier, and state policies require that it should not be the same or closely similar to an already existing business name registered in the Arizona Corporation Commission.
Also, it must also contain any of the following words: ‘Company’, ‘Corporation’, ‘Incorporated’, ‘Limited’, or ‘Association’.
You can check your Corporation’s name, using the Arizona business name search tool on the state website. A reservation of your desired Corporation name can also be done through a reservation application to the Arizona Corporation Commission. When you do, the name you have selected will be reserved for 120 days.
Filing fee: $10 for mail; $45 for online application
Now that you have a Corporation name, the next step is to legally create your business. You can do this by filing a Corporation in Arizona with the Articles of Incorporation to the Arizona Corporation Commission.
When incorporating in Arizona, you should always make it a point to read the instructions in filling out the form. Together with your Articles of Incorporation form, you must include a Certificate of Disclosure for Business Corporations.
When you’ve filled out your Articles of Incorporation form, you can file it through mail or in person.
Filing Fee: $60
Every Corporation in the state should find an Arizona Registered Agent. This is requirement for incorporation and for compliance purposes.
An Arizona Registered Agent serves as the Corporation’s representative when accepting legal documentations from the state. (S)he should have a street address within the state or should be duly registered in the Arizona Corporation Commission. Note that an employee or the Corporation is not allowed to become its own agent
That said, you can hire a Registered Agent service and pay up to $160/year, or get an Alabama Registered Agent free of charge when you form your Corporation with IncFile – which is $100 less than other online incorporation services.
A Corporate Records Binder is your Corporation’s main record keeping book. This is where you put in all the important documents of your Corporation, from the Arizona Corporation registration documents to your tax and license registrations.
A Corporate Records Binder should be stored in the office of your Corporation. You can buy one at an office supply shop or you can order through Amazon.
To get things started with your Arizona Corporation, you now have to elect directors for your business.
When forming a Corporation in Arizona, a minimum of one director is a requirement for incorporating; however, you have the option to elect more. This set of initial directors will serve your Corporation until the first shareholder’s meeting wherein shareholders elect a new set.
The names and additional information of the directors should be recorded in the Corporate Records Binder.
The first board of directors meeting is a crucial one when starting an Arizona Corporation. The following agenda will be decided and approved at this time:
In addition, should the Corporation be classified an S status, this should also be approved at this meeting. When the meeting concludes, don’t forget to have the initial directors affix their signature in the minutes.
As part of the requirements for legally operating a Corporation and Arizona Corporation maintenance, you must take care of your Arizona business taxes and licenses requirements. For business taxes, make sure to follow the three steps below:
For your Arizona business licenses, there are different sets of licenses and regulations your business need to adhere to legally operate. For you to take care of these obligations, start with our Arizona Business Licenses and Regulations Guide and the Arizona’s Corporation Commission Licensing Guide.
By opening a business bank account you will be able to keep your personal and Arizona Corporation finances separate. This way, you can ensure that all your personal assets will not be mixed up with your business assets. If that happens, it would be very difficult to determine whether you are making or losing money as a business.
To find out which is the best bank to open an account with, do some research. You can use the bank you keep your personal account with, just be sure to keep transactions 100% separate.
Now that you have followed the steps above, you are officially an Arizona Corporation. Other than those 8 steps that are based on state guidelines, here are a few additional steps based on best practices for starting a successful Corporation. Not required, but highly recommended.
A Corporation must have a business plan, especially if you are going to fund it.
This is simply because the business plan is your guide to the overall success of your Corporation. You cannot just go head on and plunge into business without having a blueprint. Below are some links to get you started on a business plan.
To be able to compete with existing businesses, you need to have a business website to build trust with your customers. The best alternative to hiring an expensive designer is to start a website on WordPress.
Bluehost has one-click-to-install option that a non-tech savvy entrepreneur can do themselves. Learn how to get started with this simple guide.
Arizona Corporation bylaws should be prepared as part of forming a Corporation in the state.
Although this is not filed to the Arizona Corporation Commission, you should create Corporate bylaws that adhere to state policies. This document is also proof of your legitimacy to outside entities. As such, it also sets the ground rules for your Corporation’s operations.
Note that this is not a legal guide nor it should be taken as such. Your lawyer is the professional you need to ask advice when you’re starting a new business or you want the specifics on how to form a Corporation in Arizona.