Step 1) Verify & Secure Corporate 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 Arizona, 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.

Keep in mind your brand name should contain the words ‘Corporation,’ ‘Company,’ ‘Incorporated,’ or ‘Limited.” Abbreviations for these words are also acceptable. If needed, you can have it reserved for 120 days by filing an Application to Reserve Corporate Name form.

Filing fee: $10 or $35 for Expedited

Step 2) Appoint A Registered Agent

Choose a Registered Agent

Your Arizona Registered Agent will be responsible for receiving and helping process all critical documents, especially state filings. One is needed to operate legally. The agent should have a street address within the state or should be duly registered with the Arizona Corporation Commission. Note that an employee or the Corporation itself isn’t allowed to become an agent.

So there’s basically two options here – 1) hire a third-party service and expect to pay up to $160/year, or 2) get a Registered Agent free when you incorporate with IncFile or CorpNet.

Step 3) File Articles Of Incorporation

Register an LLCNow 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

Step 4) Get A Corporate Records Book

File Annual Reports & Publication RequirementsA Corporate Records Book, or binder, is where you put copies of all the most important core documents that make your company what it is in the eyes of the law – Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, meeting minutes, stock certificate ledger, stock certificates, stock certificate stubs, stock transfer documents, etc. It’s very common. Sure, have them online or thumb drive as well, but this is a long-standing tradition for corporations.

We’re huge fans of Corporate Kits which include gorgeous records books/binders you can brand for as little as $99, but as you can imagine there are much more expensive and fancier options as well.

Step 5) Appoint Director, Meet, Discuss Bylaws

Hold a Meeting with Your Board of DirectorsAppoint at least 1 director who among other things will oversee the Arizona 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 will:

  • 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 Status (opt.). Record Minutes of Meeting have directors sign, then add to records book.

Step 6) Open A Business Bank Account

Best Business Bank AccountIt’s absolutely essential that your corporation’s financials are separate and housed in their own unique business bank accounts. No accounts of any other kind should be mixed in. And there should be strict control over them and access granted through your CFO,

The next part of this step is taking the time to make sure you’ve chosen the right local, state, or national bank or credit union based on a number of variables including location, overall business services, fee structures, incentives, and so forth.

Step 7) Handle Taxing And Licensing Requirements

Business LicensesAs a legally operating Arizona corporation, you’re required to be 100% compliant with all relevant local/state/federal agencies. Ideally you should have an attorney or at least dedicate time to knocking this out yourself and doing the homework. That said, here are four resources to get started:

  1. Obtain an EIN, or (Federal) Employer Identification Number, free and easy through the IRS Website.
  2. Bookmark Phoenix Small Business Administration, and the Dept. of Revenue’s Business Licensing section.
  3. To form an S-Corp, submit Form 2553 with the IRS and be sure all board of directors have signed it.
  4. Also, consider professional Business License Research packages that take care of the legwork for you.

Need Help Forming Your Corporation?

If you’d like help forming a Corporation, here are two great options:

IncFile ($49 + state fees) is ideal if you’re on a budget but refuse to sacrifice quality. However if you’d like access to an attorney past incorporation Rocket Lawyer ($99 + state fees) is the best option.

Visit IncFile Or Visit Rocket Lawyer

Note that this article on how to form a corporation in Arizona 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 corporation in Arizona or business in general, please consult with a lawyer or other accredited professional.