Step 1) Name Your Michigan Corporation

Choose a Business NameWhen starting a business in Michigan, it is a must that you name your Corporation correctly. The state requires that any of the following words should be explicitly present in the business name: ‘Corporation’, ‘Incorporated’, ‘Company’, or ‘Incorporated’.

In lieu of any of the words, its abbreviation may also be used. The Corporation name should also be noticeably different from existing business names registered with the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

Use the Michigan business name search database to double check the name. A reservation for the name you have selected can be done by filing for an Application for Reservation of Name, which will be valid for six months. The filing fee for this is $25.


Step 2) File the Articles of Incorporation

Register an LLCFiling a Corporation in Michigan requires that you legally incorporate by filing an Articles of Incorporation. You are to file this form to the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs of Michigan.

Several key pieces of information relating to the business, the incorporators, and the business’ Registered Agent will have to be provided as well. You can file online or through mail application when incorporating in Michigan.

Filing fee: $50 is charged for the initial 60,000 shares and $100 for shares that reach up to 1 million, plus the $10 fee.


Step 3) Hire a Michigan Registered Agent

Choose a Registered AgentA Michigan Registered Agent should be hired to legally incorporate a business in the state.

The Registered Agent in Michigan you hire should meet the following criteria: (1) the Agent should be an individual residing in Michigan or a business entity registered to conduct business within the state; (2) a physical street address in Michigan should be provided; (3) the Registered Agent should consent to accepting legal notifications on behalf of your Corporation prior to the actual designation. Rocket Lawyer can help you become compliant with their Registered Agent Services.


Step 4) Maintain a Corporate Records Book

File Annual Reports & Publication RequirementsA Corporate Records Book is simply an organizer for important Corporation files including your Michigan Corporation registration documents, tax receipts and reports, minutes of the meeting, license and permit paperwork, and basically every important document related to your Corporation.

The Corporate Records Book can be purchased from the local office supply shop or purchase one directly via Amazon.


Step 5) Choose the Initial Directors for Your Corporation

Prepare Corporate BylawsAfter forming a Corporation in Michigan, the incorporator should elect an initial set of directors. These directors will serve in the board right until the first annual shareholders meeting is scheduled.

The incorporator of the Michigan Corporation should create an Incorporator’s Statement, stating the names and addresses of the initial set of directors. This should be signed by the incorporator as well, and a copy should be kept in the Corporate Records Book.


Step 6) Hold an Initial Meeting with your Corporate Board of Directors

Hold a Meeting with Your Board of DirectorsThe first meeting with the directors of your Corporation is crucial. When starting a Michigan Corporation, there are certain agenda components that need to be tackled and decided. These include the following:

When the meeting is done, be sure to prepare the minutes of the meeting to be signed by the initial directors.


Step 7) Take Care of Your Michigan Business Tax Requirements and Business License Obligations

Business LicensesPart of the requirements in Michigan Corporation maintenance is taking care of all your Michigan business taxes. Here are some of the things you should do:

  1. Obtain an Employer Identification Number for your Michigan Corporation for free at the IRS website.
  2. Have an in-depth understanding of all requirements for business taxes and comply with them. (Visit our Michigan Business Tax guide for more information).
  3. Should you want to incorporate an S Corp status, file Form 2553 to be signed by all the shareholders of the Corporation (optional).

In addition to your business taxes, you must also take care of your Michigan business licenses. There are several licenses that must be completed from the federal, state, and local levels, and the requirements can be mind boggling at times. You can sort through all the requirements with the help of our Michigan Business Licenses and Regulations guide.


Step 8) Open a Business Bank Account

Best Business Bank AccountBy opening a separate business bank account for your Corporation, your personal and business finances will be seen as separate by the state of Michigan. This step is all about protecting your personal assets and it should not be take lightly!

There are many options available from Bank of America to Chase. For a quick outline of the best place to open a business bank account, see this quick review.


To-Do After Starting a Michigan Corporation

Now that you have followed the steps above, you are officially a Michigan 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.

1) Write a Funding Ready Business Plan

Write a Business PlanWhen you’re starting a Corporation, finding capital funds is crucial to its success. To find the right funding, you need an effective business plan that clearly delivers your message across to prospective investors. Below are some pointer references to help you write a funding-ready business plan.

Quick Links to Writing a Business Plan


2) Build a Business Website

Build a Business WebsiteIf you want your business to be taken seriously and build trust with potential customers, build a website that explains what you offer. With a free tool like WordPress, you can build a professional and customizable website without the need to hire a professional.

Recommended Resource: Check out this free guide to learn more about WordPress and how to get started.


3) Prepare Corporate Bylaws

Prepare Corporate BylawsMichigan Corporation bylaws is not required by the state, but it is an integral internal document for your Corporation. Corporate bylaws are rules that outline the internal operating procedures of your Corporation.

Also included in the corporate bylaws are the responsibilities and duties of the incorporators.

Please be guided that this is an informational article only. Its purpose is to give readers an idea on how to form a Corporation in Michigan, but it does not in any way represent legal advice or a legal document. A business lawyer is the professional you should consult when you’re starting a business in Michigan.

Need Help Forming Your Corporation?

Have a reliable incorporation service like IncFile or LegalZoom do the work for you. Just answer a few questions about your business and they’ll take care of the paperwork.

Although both offer virtually the same service, IncFile is $100 less and our top pick. Enjoy!

Visit IncFile Or Visit LegalZoom