starting a Corporation in California

A step-by-step guide on starting a Corporation in California

The process for forming a corporation in California is a rather simple process that can be achieved by filing the Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of the State. The entire process can be achieved by following a four-step process.

Step One: Create a name for the respective California Corporation

Clients need to be mindful that when naming their corporation, they will need to ensure that they follow the California name requirements. They also need to ensure that they complete a name search on California’s SunBiz website. And lastly they should consider securing a domain name (URL).

The certain requirements that need to be taken into account, which will ensure that the chosen name complies with the California Secretary of State guidelines. For example, the name must contain the word “corporation”, “company”, “incorporated”, “limited” and an abbreviation of one of these terms at least. They need to ensure that their chosen name is different from any existing business in the state in which the business will be conducted. Under no circumstances can the name contain the words “bank”, “trust”, “trustee”, “credit union” or any other related words without the necessary approval from the Commissioner of Business Oversight. The business name can also under no circumstances include words that could confuse your corporation with any government agencies (FBI, Treasury, State Department, etc.).

Clients are expected to conduct a name search with the California State Secretary to check the availability of the chosen name via the business name database. This can be achieved by checking the California Secretary of State’s website.

If you have decided on a name but you find yourself just not ready to officially form your corporation, you can opt to reserve the name. you have the option of reserving a business name for 60 days by filing the name reservation request with the California Secretary of State. The fee for this service costs $10, but gives the added assurance of someone else not registering the exact same business name you intend on utilising.

It is highly recommended that businesses check and see if their business name is available as a web domain (URL). Even if the business does not plan to make a website today, it is advisable to buy the web address to avoid disappointment from others acquiring it, and most importantly, the search is free.

Step 2: Choose a California Registered Agent

You will learn that when you file your California Articles of Incorporation, you will be expected to provide the name of your California service or process agent. Also referred to as a registered agent, will be the person or entity that accepts all tax and legal documents on behalf of your LLC or Corporation. This can be either an individual resident of the state or it can be a company that is legally authorized to represent business within California.

Step 3: Choose Your Corporation’s Initial Directors

Business owners need to be mindful that they need to appoint at least one director. The role will include and is not limited to oversee the California corporation until the first shareholder meeting. The director is in charge of the adoption, amendment, as well as the revoke of operational bylaws as well as the supervision, election and removal of officers. At a later stage you will be expected to prepare an “Incorporate Statement”, this will incorporate the complete names and addresses of each director and this will then be stored in your corporate records book.

Step 4: File Your California Articles of Incorporation

After the process of choosing the registered agent and appointing at least one director is complete, then you will need to make the process official by filing the California corporation Articles of Incorporation form with the Secretary State. The document will clearly outline the Corporate name and principal address, the Corporate service of process agent name and street address. The document will also outline the number of authorized shares the corporation is allowed to issue and it will also list the incorporator name and address.