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.

OPTIONAL) WRITE YOUR BUSINESS PLAN

Write a Business PlanUnlike more informal startups and solopreneur operations, a corporation has to be on-the-ball with business planning from the get-go. It’s a matter of not only being professional, but remaining compliant, and you’ll need these plans to acquire funding and attract the best talent to your team.

What we’re talking about is a presentation/funding-ready plan that’s streamlined and focuses exclusively on your corporation’s core fundamentals – marketing, budgeting, management structure, competitive analysis, financials & forecasts, etc. To get started check into our helpful resources below.

QUICK LINKS TO BUSINESS PLANNING

  • Our free email-based Business Plan Course is specially designed to take you smoothly through the process step-by-step.
  • Our guide to Business Planning Software breaks down the best user-friendly solutions to help you strategize better. (Spoiler: We’re huge fans of LivePlan, plus they offer our readers a special discount.)

OPTIONAL) BUILD A BUSINESS WEBSITE

Build a Business WebsiteTo compete, to leverage at least the minimum of digital marketing potential, to grow your brand name, and to give just people/businesses in general a way to investigate your offerings. A business website is a must. Does it need to be as flashy (and costly) as a super-responsive, dynamic Silicon Startup-style site or ecommerce store? No.

Should you outsource if no one on your team or in your company is a web designer? Not necessarily. There are one-stop-shop website builder options like Wix, SquareSpace, and Shopify if you’re into eCommerce.

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 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.