Starting and managing a corporation requires a lot of hard work. Chances are, if you are in a position to own and operate an incorporated business, you have a wealth of experience in your chosen industry. Having your own corporation is a culmination of that experience–you are an expert in your field, and your enterprise is poised to do big things. While you may be deeply invested in the creation of your business plan, as well as identifying ways to generate and maximize revenue, there is also a significant amount of corporation documentation to account for.
When you own a business, navigating seemingly endless piles of paperwork simply comes with the territory. Whether it’s related to payroll, taxes, or day-to-day operational matters, you can expect to be signing off on a lot of documents. This is doubly-true when you are running a corporation, as there are typically strict rules and requirements, depending on your state’s laws. Read on to learn more about three specific pieces of documentation that should become well-acquainted with.
Establishing Your Articles of Incorporation
The decision to incorporate a business is not arrived at lightly. If you find yourself at this crossroads, chances are you have already completed significant due diligence on the matter. The good news is, if you are planning to establish a corporation, your business is likely growing rapidly.
In very simple terms, when you create a corporation, you establish what is viewed as a legal entity in your state. Corporations are typically formed as C-Corps–which are taxed doubly–and S-Corps, which are only taxed once. Determining which is right for you will depend on the particulars of your business, and it may be helpful to consult with an attorney before arriving at a decision.
Articles of incorporation need to be filed with your state’s Secretary of State office. The rules for what must be included in such a document will depend on your state, but there are some baseline elements that are generally common. This includes the name and physical location of your business, shares issued (if any), and the name of your corporation’s registered agent.
Determining Your Corporation’s Registered Agent
Whether you are establishing an S-Corp or a C-Corp, you will need to designate a specific individual as a point of contact for certain matters. This person takes on the role of what is called a “Registered Agent.” A registered agent is tasked with receiving service of process notices, compliance documents, and government letters and correspondence. Many states require a registered agent be identified within your articles of incorporation.
While having a registered agent is often compulsory, it also makes sense from a business perspective. By delegating these responsibilities to an individual (and perhaps a team), you can focus more on the broader facets of owning and operating a corporation.
Claiming Your Corporation’s Trademarks
When forming any business, whether it is an LLP, LLC, or a corporation, protecting your intellectual property is critical. After all, you have worked hard to fill a niche within your market, and you do not need or want competitors profiting off of your creation.
By definition, a trademark is a word, phrase, or design element that distinguishes your business from other sources of goods. Trademarks are registered through the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and can be completed in three steps:
- Verify that the name you are seeking to trademark is available, as it must be unique. This can be done by searching the USPTO’s Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS).
- Complete a trademark application that includes all relevant information.
- File your trademark application with the USPTO.
Even if you are in the early phases of getting your business off the ground, registering a trademark can be a prudent maneuver. Down the road, you could well be happy to have already taken care of this matter, especially if you are successful and competitors begin to pop up.
Submit Your Corporation Documentation Online Today
The aforementioned pieces of documentation do not make for a complete picture of the paperwork that comes along with operating a corporation. They do, however, provide something of a valuable starting point. By identifying the important elements of documentation for your business, you can prioritize the more crucial forms while continuing to shape your organization.
To save yourself some time and energy, why not file your articles of incorporation with our help? At the Corporation Center, we are a private service that specializes in helping busy entrepreneurs like yourself as they seek to file business documents. We offer forms for corporations in all 50 states, and we use an SSL-encrypted portal to transmit your documents in a safe manner. Contact one of our customer service agents today to learn more.