Step 1) Verify & Secure Brand Name
To secure and register your brand name it must be unique, not too similar to another registered name, and shouldn’t contain any restricted wording. To check, conduct a Business Entity Search through the Sec. of 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 words like ‘Corporation,’ ‘Company,’ 'Incorporated,' or 'Limited." Abbreviations for these words are also acceptable. If needed, you can also file an Application to Register or Renew Trade and Service Marks.
Filing Fee: $50 resident, $60 non-resident
Quick Note: Before you commit 100% to a name, you may also want to check that there’s a decent URL available for your business. Use WEEBLY to search your options. If there’s a quality domain name for purchase, we advise buying it right away. Even if launching a business website isn’t on your radar right now, it’s going to be soon, and you might as well nail down a domain name that’ll make it easy for customers to find you!
Step 2) Appoint A Registered Agent
A Mississippi Registered Agent acts on your half to officially receive and help to process important documentation like state filings, tax forms, legal notices and so on. They must be a resident of the state or a corporation, either domestic or foreign with a physical street address, authorized by the Sec. of State.
You can hire an outside professional service and expect to pay up to $160/year, or get a Registered Agent free of charge when starting a corporation through services like IncFile or BizFilings. They handle this along with much more depending on your startup package.
Step 3) File Articles Of Incorporation
With a registered agent, once you’re ready to make your brand official, set up an account with the state to file Articles of Incorporation. It asks for basic information to disclose for the public record including:
- The name and address of the business
- The number of shares authorized, the value they hold, and any transfer restrictions
- The addresses and names of the president, initial directors, secretary, and treasurer
- The type of business structure chosen
Filing fee: $50
Step 4) Get A Corporate Records Book
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.
Step 5) Elect Director, Meet, Discuss Bylaws
Appoint at least 1 Director who among other things will oversee the corp 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:
Step 6) Open A Business Bank Account
When you start a Mississippi corporation, 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 an important move, which is why it should be discussed in your initial shareholder meeting.
Step 7) Handle Taxation & Licensing/Permits
As a legally operating corporation in Mississippi, 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:
- Get a free EIN, or Employer Identification Number, quickly through the IRS website.
- Bookmark the Jackson Small Business Administration and the state’s Business Services.
- To form an S-Corp, submit Form 2553 with the IRS and be sure all board of directors have signed it.
- For help with this step, consider professional business license research packages that handle the legwork for you.