How to Form a New York Corporation (7 Simple Steps)

A man forming a corporation in New York

Use A Professional Service

A professional service will handle the entire incorporation process on your behalf, allowing you to focus on the other needs of your new business.

4.7 out of 5 starsIncfile ($49 + state fee) for basic & quick incorporation.

3.6 out of 5 starsLegalZoom ($149 + state fee) for the most popular incorporation service available.

Step 1) Verify & Secure Brand Name

Choose a Business Name

To secure and register your brand name it must not be too similar to another registered name in New York, or contain any restricted wording. To check if your name is available, conduct a free business entity search through the state.

If you anticipate any trademark issues, you can also conduct a quick search using the TESS System through the U.S. Patent Office. Once the company is formed, you can consider registering a New York trademark as well. See here: https://www.dos.ny.gov/forms/corporations/0241-f-l-a.pdf

Your name must contain the word “corporation,” “incorporated,” “limited,” or an abbreviation of one of those. If needed, you can file an Application for Reservation of Name with the Division of Corps.

To avoid potential delays in relation to name availability, you can call the corporation bureau at +1(518) 473 2492 to search up to 5 names without charge, fax a request to +1(518) 473 1654, or email using the contact form available here: https://www.dos.ny.gov/about/contact.asp?DCODE=CORPS#emailcontact.

Name Reservation Filing Fee: $20

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, you might as well nail down a domain name that’ll make it easy for customers to find you!

Find a Domain Now

Service provided by GoDaddy.com

After registering a domain name, consider setting up a professional email account (@yourcompany.com). Google's G Suite offers a business email service that comes with other useful tools, including word processing, spreadsheets, and more. Try it for free

Step 2) Appoint A Registered Agent

Choose a Registered Agent

Your registered agent is in charge of receiving/processing important documents like state filings, legal notices and tax forms on behalf of your business. They have to be either a NY resident or a registered business entity, and they must be reliable during all regular business hours M-F (9 am to 5 pm).

That said, you can hire a third-party professional and expect to pay around $160 per year, or get a registered agent free of charge for the first year when you incorporate with an online filing service like Incfile.

Step 3) File Certificate Of Incorporation

Register an LLC

When you’re ready to set up shop, download and print out the Certificate of Incorporation. This is an essential declarative document about the basics of your brand, including the county where the business will be located, the name and address of the brand, registered agent info, hours of operation, etc. This filing will make your corporation official in the eyes of the law.

The official form only addresses the basic requirements and may not include some optional provisions, such as multiple classes of shares, limitation or elimination of director liability, special shareholder voting rights, or any other unique details of your corporation.

If you choose to mail in your Certificate of Incorporation, send it to:

New York Department of State

Division of Corporations

One Commerce Plaza

99 Washington Avenue, 6th Floor

Albany, NY 12231

…along with the filing fee. Credit/Debit Card Authorization is available here: https://www.dos.ny.gov/forms/corporations/1515-f.pdf

Important: Make sure to always include the back page that has the document title and the filer’s name and address.

Filing Fee: $125 +$10 official copy

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 will be kept, including your bylaws, meeting minutes, stock certificates, etc. It’s the ultimate company binder!

You could easily find one at a nearby office supply store or on Amazon, but we’re huge fans of corporate kits, which include gorgeous custom pieces like embossing seals and printed bylaws.

Step 5) Elect Director, Meet, Discuss Bylaws

Hold a Meeting with Your Board of Directors

Appoint at least one initial director who, among other things, will oversee the corporation until the first shareholder meeting (when new directors will be voted in). Prepare an “Incorporator Statement” with the complete names and addresses of your directors and keep it in your records book.

Once elected, have an initial meeting with your directors and take care of the following:

  • Appoint officers & discuss corporate bylaws.
  • Choose a bank & approve the issuance of stock certificates.
  • Agree on a corporate seal and official stock certificate form.
  • Approve S-corp (optional). Record meeting minutes, have directors sign, add to records book.

Step 6) Open A Business Bank Account

Best Business Bank Account

When starting your New York corporation, it’s very important to keep all personal and business assets/accounts completely separate. This requires opening a separate bank account designated for your corporation’s finances.

Where will you start building the financial foundation of your brand? Who is offering the best overall services to corporate clients, relative to location and other conveniences?

If this is unfamiliar territory for you, read our short breakdown of business checking accounts to start brushing up. Where you choose to bank is a critical move for your corporation, which is why it should be discussed at length during the initial meeting.

Get $200 when you open a business checking account with Chase. Learn more

Step 7) Handle Taxation & Licensing/Permits

Business Licenses

To ensure that you don’t face any fines or other penalties while starting a corporation in New York, you need to fulfill all business tax and licensing obligations to the state and federal governments. To get started, use the resources below:

We encourage you to consider leveraging the help of a professional business license service. They’ll handle the legwork for you so you can focus on the more pressing needs of your new business!

Preliminary Consideration

Before forming a corporation, make sure it’s the right structure for your business. Usually, startups are formed as C-corporations (separate management creates long-term value for investors) and small businesses are set up as LLCs or S-corporations (owner-managed businesses).

 

See REFERENCE to understand the differences between C-Corporations, S-Corporations and LLCs (that can also be treated as S-Corporations).

Need Help Incorporating?

If you'd prefer to have a reliable service incorporate in New York for you, here are two of our top recommendations:

- Incfile ($49 + state fee) for basic & quick incorporation.

- LegalZoom ($149 + state fee) for the most popular incorporation service available.

Note that this guide to incorporating in New York 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, please consult with a business attorney. We recommend Umar Farooq.