STEP 1) VERIFY & SECURE BRAND NAME

Choose a Business Name

To secure and register your brand name it must be unique, not too similar to another registered name in New York, and shouldn’t contain any restricted wording. To check, conduct a free Business Entity Search through the state, and if there are potential trademark issues conduct another quick search using the TESS System through the U.S. Patent Office.

Your name must contain words like, “corporation,” “incorporated,” “limited,” or their abbreviation, even for foreign corp names. If needed, you can file an Application for Reservation of Name through mail with the Division of Corps that’s good for 60 days.

Filing Fee: $20

STEP 2) APPOINT A REGISTERED AGENT

Choose a Registered Agent

Your registered agent is a sort of legal representative of your brand, but not in a lawyer or attorney-sense. It’s their job to officially receive/process important business documents like state filings, legal notices, tax forms, and so forth. This is why they have to be either a NY resident individual or a registered business entity and be reliable during all regular business hours M-F (9a.m. to 5p.m.).

That said, you can hire 3rd party professional and expect to pay up to $160/year, or get a registered agent free of charge when you incorporate with IncFile or CorpNet. They handle this along with so much more depending on your startup package.

STEP 3) FILE CERTIFICATE OF INCORPORATION

Register an LLC

Download and print out the Certificate of Organization which will need to be filed with the Division of Corporations of the New York Department of State when you’re ready to set up shop and go into business. This filing makes your corporation official in the eyes of the law.

It’s an important declarative document about the basics of your brand for the public record – county where the business will be located, name and address of brand, registered agent info, hours of operation, etc. You can file through mail or by using the state’s Online Filing System linked above.

Filing Fee: $135

STEP 4) GET A CORPORATE RECORDS BOOK

File Annual Reports & Publication Requirements

Think of this as the hard copy record book where all critical corporate documents are kept like the Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, meeting minutes, stock certificate ledger, stock certificates, stock certificate stubs, stock transfer documents, etc. It’s the ultimate company binder! They’re very common and while not necessary having one is highly recommended for all serious business entities.

You can find them at nearby office supply stores or on Amazon, but we’re huge fans of Corporate Kits which include gorgeous records books/binders you can brand for as little as $99.

STEP 5) ELECT DIRECTOR, MEET, DISCUSS BYLAWS

 Hold a Meeting with Your Board of DirectorsAppoint at least 1 initial Director who among other things will oversee the New York corporation until the first shareholder meeting where new directors will be voted in. Prepare an “Incorporator Statement” with complete names and addresses of each director and keep it in your records book. Once elected, an initial meeting should:

  • Appoint officers & discuss/create Corporate Bylaws.
  • Choose a bank & approve the issuance of stock certificates.
  • Agree on corporate seal and adopt official stock certificate form.
  • Approve s-corp (opt.). Record Minutes of Meeting, have directors sign, then add to records book.

STEP 6) OPEN A BUSINESS BANK ACCOUNT

Best Business Bank Account

When you start a corporation in New York, it’s very important to keep all personal and business assets/accounts completely separate. So don’t take this lightly. Where should you start building the financial foundation of your brand? Who is offering the best overall business services to corporate clients, relative to location and other conveniences?

If you think it’ll be helpful, look into this short breakdown of Business Checking Accounts to start brushing up if all this is unfamiliar territory. Where your corporation banks is a critical move, which is why it should be discussed at length in your initial shareholder meeting.

STEP 7) HANDLE TAXATION & LICENSING/PERMITS

Business Licenses

To ensure that you will not face penalties, fines, and fees when starting a business in New York, you need to completely fulfill your business taxes and licenses obligations to the state. To get started, see the resources below:

  1. Get a free EIN, or Employer Identification Number, quickly through the IRS website.
  2. Bookmark the NY Small Business Administration and the state’s Biz-Dev Center.
  3. To form an S-Corp, submit Form 2553 with the IRS and be sure all board of directors have signed it.
  4. Consider professional Business License Research packages that handle the legwork for you.

OPTIONAL) WRITE A BUSINESS PLAN

Write a Business Plan

New York’s a tough marketplace. You’re going to need all the help you get, and the chances of winging it as a corporation successfully is near impossible. Plan! Strategize! Have a presentation-ready plan in the works from Day 1 so you don’t get lost or drown in one of the most extensive economies in the Milky Way.

Having a handle on your goals and objectives is essential, but also how to achieve them – marketing, executive summary, pitch, financials, budgeting, and so on. The process is an astounding teacher all by itself. Learn more through our free resources below.

QUICK LINKS TO BUSINESS PLANNING

  • Our guide to Business Planning Tools breaks down the best software solutions to help you plan better. We’re huge fans of LivePlan, plus they offer our readers a special discount.

OPTIONAL) PUBLISH A COMPANY WEBSITE

Build a Business Website

The last step we wanted to touch on has to do with establishing your startup’s digital presence. Your home base online. It’s where you provide people/businesses with a place to buy, contact, and investigate what you’re about and where you’re going.

It also opens up jaw-dropping amounts of marketing and brand expansion potential. If you’re just getting started check out platforms like Wix and Weebly. They’re affordable and very easy to use.

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

Note that this article on how to form a New York Corporation isn’t a legal document or legal advice. It’s for informational purposes and the information above is subject to change. For specific legal questions regarding how to form a New York Corporation or business in general, please consult with a lawyer or other accredited professional.