One of the key elements of starting a business as a legal corporate entity is filing Articles of Incorporation (when starting a Corporation), also known as Articles of Organization (when starting an LLC). Many new business owners have questions about these important business articles, and might wonder what filing Articles of Incorporation entails, how this is done and what it means to work with a company like Incfile on their incorporation services.
Here are a few frequently asked questions (and answers!) about Articles of Incorporation and Articles of Organization:
What Are Articles of Incorporation & Articles of Organization?
Articles of Incorporation or Organization are the legal business documents that need to be filed with the state regulatory authorities to make a new business “legal” as an established corporate entity. Similar to filing a tax return to make your annual income and tax records “official,” filing Articles of Incorporation makes your business “official” with the government and makes it possible for your business to be considered a valid corporate entity.
Why Do I Need to File Articles of Incorporation?
When you decide to incorporate your business, filing Articles of Incorporation or Articles of Organization is part of that process. It’s an important step in the incorporation process that makes your business “official” in the eyes of the government. Filing Articles of Incorporation is essential to being able to set up a business bank account, apply for business loans, and otherwise create a legal identity for your business that separates your company from your personal assets and finances.
What Types of Companies Need to File Articles of Incorporation?
You need to file Articles of Incorporation or Articles of Organization to start your business for all types of business entities, whether you are forming an LLC, starting a C Corporation, or starting a nonprofit corporation. No matter what kind of business you start or what industry you are in, you still need to file these documents to make your business legal. Articles of Organization are generally used for LLC formation, while Articles of Incorporation are the type of documents that you need to form a C Corporation or S Corporation. But the general concept remains the same - you need to file these articles upfront as part of starting your business as a legal entity.
Some business entities have additional filing requirements throughout the year or at tax time. For example, a C Corporation requires more complicated annual filings than an LLC; if you want to file taxes as an S Corporation, this requires you to file special documentation with the IRS. But as far as starting a business, they all require basic Articles of Incorporation to be filed with the authorities. To understand specific requirements for your state, visit our LLC State Information or Corporation State Information. You can also check out the ongoing filing requirements in your state.
What Is the Difference Between Articles of Incorporation and Articles of Organization?
These are basically the same thing, but it depends on what kind of company you want to start - an LLC or a Corporation (C Corporation or S Corporation). In general, "Articles of Incorporation" are used for starting a Corporation, while Articles of Organization are used for starting an LLC. Also, different states sometimes use different names for these business incorporation documents - some states use the term “Articles of Incorporation,” while others use “Articles of Organization” for all business entities. Although the exact details vary from state to state, the general concept is the same: these are legal filings used to establish your business as a legal entity and register your company with the state regulatory authorities.
What Information Is Included on Articles of Incorporation or Articles of Organization?
Required information varies depending on which state you form your LLC or Corporation in. In general, the Articles of Incorporation or Articles of Organization will include essential information about your business such as the business name, business location (mailing address; many states require a physical address and not a P.O. box, although some states allow P.O. Boxes to be used) and members of the LLC (if applicable).
Some states also require a “Company Purpose” to be included, which explains what type of business the new company will be engaged in. However, some states only require minimal information and do not require the members of the LLC to be listed on the Articles of Organization.
Do I Have to Buy Articles of Incorporation From Incfile?
Articles of Incorporation or Articles of Organization are not something that you “buy from” Incfile. Instead, Incfile helps you start your business by providing assistance to draft, prepare, and file your Articles of Incorporation or Articles of Organization with the relevant state authorities (such as your Secretary of State's office).
Each state has different requirements for Articles of Incorporation or Articles of Organization, and Incfile can help you arrange your business filings to suit each state’s requirements, depending on where your business is located.
What Incfile Services Do I Get as Part of Filing Articles of Incorporation for my Business?
Incfile will work with you to prepare your Articles of Incorporation or Articles of Organization, review the information, and send the filings to the relevant state authorities to help get your business established as a legal entity.
We also include a year of free Registered Agent service for your new business. This means we will accept official legal correspondence on your business’s behalf and then deliver it to you. Our Registered Agent service helps limit the amount of junk mail that you receive at your home or business address and also provides an added layer of privacy, especially if you work from home. Your company's Registered Agent address is always listed publicly, and some people would rather provide an address where their business can receive mail that is separate from they you live and work.
Ben Gran is a freelance writer from Des Moines, Iowa. Ben has written for Fortune 500 companies, the Governor of Iowa (who now serves as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture), the U.S. Secretary of the Navy, and many corporate clients. He writes about entrepreneurship, technology, food and other areas of great personal interest.