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 Idaho, and shouldn’t contain any restricted wording. To check, conduct a Business Entity Search through the state and if there are potential trademark issues conduct another 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 acceptable. If needed, a Reservation of Legal Entity Name can be filed to reserve an available name for 120 days.

Filing Fee: $20

STEP 2) APPOINT AN IDAHO REGISTERED AGENT

Choose a Registered Agent

An Idaho Registered Agent receives and helps to handle/process all official documents like state filings, tax forms, legal notices, and so forth. Along with being an agent you can trust to be timely, here are the other qualifications:

  • (1) a duly registered individual/business entity in the state of Idaho;
  • (2) a physical address within the state must be provided;
  • (3) should consent to accepting all legal documents from the state on behalf of your business.

That said, you can hire an outside service and pay up to $160/yr or get a qualified agent free of charge when you incorporate with IncFile or CorpNet.

STEP 3) PROCESS ARTICLES OF INCORPORATION

Register an LLCTo make your corporation official, you’ll need to file Articles of Incorporation with the secretary of state’s office. It’s a declarative document for the public record that discloses some of the basics of your brand including name, address, registered agent info, number of shares, incorporator info and so on.

That being the case, make sure not to file this until you and your team agree you’re ready to make the corporation official, something that should have been discussed with your board.

Filing fee: $100 typewritten; $120 handwritten

STEP 4) START 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 INITIAL DIRECTOR, MEET, DISCUSS BYLAWS

Hold a Meeting with Your Board of Directors

Appoint at least 1 director to oversee the corporation until the first shareholder meeting where new directors will be voted in. Prepare an “Incorporator Statement” with complete names/addresses of directors and keep it in your records book. Topics should include:

  • 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

Hopefully during your foundational stage you and your directors set aside time to really understand how important this decisions is, namely where your corporation will bank. How familiar are you with business banking on the corporate level? Are you already aware of the many business services, varying fee structures, and incentives?

Don’t take this lightly. There are plenty of large and small local, state, and national banks as well as credit unions to choose from. Don’t just assume the mainstream banks are the best because they’re the biggest.

STEP 7) HANDLE TAXATION & LICENSING/PERMITS

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

  1. Get your free EIN, or Employer Identification Number, quickly through the IRS website.
  2. Bookmark the Boise Small Business Administration office, and Idaho.gov’s Business Services.
  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 service that take care of the legwork for you.

OPTIONAL) CREATE A BUSINESS PLAN

Write a Business Plan

Unlike solopreneurs and fresh new startups that can “wing it” in the planning department for a while, corporations are different. It’s essential to begin refining your game plan as early to conception as possible with the prospects you intend to show the plan to always in mind: VC-types, lending institutions, incubation programs, other types of investors, etc.

Not to mention potential stakeholders and important members of the team like marketing directors, managers, and so forth. These days it’s about hammering down in a streamlined way on the core fundamentals. To learn more, check out the links below.

QUICK LINKS TO BUSINESS PLANNING

  • Our free Business Plan Guide is 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 COMPANY WEBSITE

Build a Business Website

If there’s already a web designer/developer on your team and your company site is already published, then fabulous. However, for those of you who have done everything above, so much work, but don’t have one…well, we understand it can be daunting. Should you outsource? Yes, probably.

That is unless you have someone that understands the big website-builder platforms like Wix or Weebly. These days you don’t necessarily need to spend as much or hire a full-time developer to get a basic, responsive agency-style site published.

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 Idaho 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 Idaho or business in general, please consult with a lawyer or other accredited professional.