Step 1) Verify & Secure Brand Name
To secure and register your brand name it should 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 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, an Application for Reservation of Name can be submitted to the OK Sec. of State that’s good for up to 60 days.
Filing Fee: $10
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
An Oklahoma registered agent is a mandatory requirement. They act as a representative of your business whose job it is to receive and help process all important documents, especially state filings. Some basic criteria includes:
- Must be an Oklahoma resident;
- Must be a registered itself and;
- Must be authorized to transact and operate business in Oklahoma.
Step 3) File Your Articles Of Incorporation
Once you have a registered agent and the company is ready to become an official business entity, file a Certificate of Incorporation with the Secretary of State. It declares the basics of your brand for the public record including:
- Corporate name, address, and purpose.
- Name and address of Oklahoma registered agent,
- Number of shares the corporation is authorized to issue,
- Name and address of every incorporator/director,
Filing Fee: $50 minimum
Step 4) Set-Up A Corporate Records Binder
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 Oklahoma 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 should:
Step 6) Open A Business Bank Account
Okay, so where do you and your board/CFO plan on establishing the financial groundwork of your corporation? The first thing to ensure is that no other financial data-streams or accounts of any kind will get into the mix and muddy the waters. Keep everything separate. Then, shop around at different local, state and national banks as well as credit unions to get a good idea of your options.
To get your research going, check out this short free quasi-guide to Business Checking Accounts from the more big bank perspective. It should help give you a basic idea of the numbers involved.
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Step 7) Handle Taxation & Licensing/Permits
As a legally operating corporation in Oklahoma, you’re required to be 100% compliant with all relevant local/state/federal agencies. Ideally, you should have an attorney or at least be working with a professional filing service. Otherwise, here are four resources to get started:
- Get an EIN, or Employer Identification Number, free and quick through the IRS Website.
- Bookmark the OK Tax Commission, and the Oklahoma City Small Business Admin office.
- To form an S-Corp, submit Form 2553 with the IRS and be sure all board of directors have signed it.
- Consider professional Business License Research packages that handle the legwork for you.