Forming a domestic corporation in California requires a few simple steps to be completed thoroughly and with all associated fees paid in full. Individuals will be required to download a PDF form corresponding with the structure of the entity in question, complete the form, and submit it to the office of the Secretary of State in Sacramento either through the mail or in person. Fees differ depending on the entity’s structure and the preferred delivery method used in submitting the aforementioned forms.

Before filing we recommend that a Business Entity Search be performed to check the availability of your proposed operating name. If you would like to take further action and reserve the name, you may do so for 60 days by filing a Name Reservation application ($10 by mail, $20 in person).

How to File a General Stock Corporation

Step 1- Start by downloading the Articles of Incorporation of a General Stock Corporation.

Step 2- To complete this form the following data will be required:

  • 1-Corporation name
  • 3-Service of process agent’s name and address
  • 4-Corporate address and mailing address (if different)
  • 5-Shares to be issued
  • Incorporator name/signature

ca-general-corporation-pdf

Step 3- Once your business information has been supplied you will need to complete the “Mail Submission Cover Sheet” (page 2 of the application). The information required on this document includes the name and phone number of the contact person, basic entity information and return delivery instructions.

Step 4- Lastly, attach to your completed documents a check made payable to the Secretary of State and forward all items to the appropriate address below.

  • By Mail ($100): Secretary of State Business Entities, P.O. Box 944260 Sacramento, CA 94244-2600
  • In Person ($100 + $15): Secretary of State 1500 11th Street, 3rd Floor Sacramento, CA 95814

How to File a Professional Corporation

Step 1- Filers looking to form a domestic professional corporation will need to first download the Articles of Incorporation of a Professional Corporation.

Step 2- To complete this form the following data will be required:

  • 1-Corporation name
  • 2-Intended business purpose
  • 3-Service of process agent’s name and address
  • 4-Corporate address and mailing address (if different)
  • 5-Shares to be issued
  • Incorporator name/signature

ca-professional-corporation-pdf

Step 3- Continue by completing the second page of the application titled “Mail Submission Cover Sheet”. The information required on this document includes the contact person’s name and phone number, basic entity information and return delivery instructions.

Step 4- Once all forms have been completed you will need to attach a check made payable to the Secretary of State and forward your filing package to the appropriate address below.

  • By Mail ($100): Secretary of State Business Entities, P.O. Box 944260 Sacramento, CA 94244-2600
  • In Person ($100 + $15): Secretary of State 1500 11th Street, 3rd Floor Sacramento, CA 95814

How to File a Close Corporation

Step 1- Begin by downloading the PDF of the Articles of Incorporation of a Close Corporation.

Step 2- The information required on this document is as follows:

  • 1-Corporation name
  • 3-Service of process agent’s name and address
  • 4-Corporate address and mailing address (if different)
  • 5-Shares to be issued
  • 6-Number of shareholders (cannot exceed 35 persons)
  • Incorporator name/signature

ca-close-corporation-pdf

Step 3- You must now complete the “Mail Submission Cover Sheet” (page 2 of the application). The information required on this document includes the contact person’s name and phone number, basic entity information and return delivery instructions.

Step 4- Attach a check made payable to the Secretary of State and forward your filing package to the appropriate address below.

  • By Mail ($100): Secretary of State Business Entities, P.O. Box 944260 Sacramento, CA 94244-2600
  • In Person ($100 + $15): Secretary of State 1500 11th Street, 3rd Floor Sacramento, CA 95814

How to File a Non-Profit Religious Corporation

Step 1- Filers must first download the Articles of Incorporation of a Non-Profit Religious Corporation.

Step 2- To complete this form the following data will be required:

  • 1-Corporation name
  • 3-Service of process agent’s name and address
  • 4-Corporate address and mailing address (if different)
  • 5-Specific purpose of corporation
  • Incorporator name/signature

ca-nonprofit-religious-corporation-pdf

Step 3- With the first page of the application completed you will now need to provide the contact person’s name and phone number, some basic entity information and return delivery instructions using the “Mail Submission Cover Sheet” (page 2).

Step 4- Lastly, attach a check made payable to the Secretary of State and forward your filing package to the appropriate address below.

  • By Mail ($100): Secretary of State Business Entities, P.O. Box 944260 Sacramento, CA 94244-2600
  • In Person ($100 + $15): Secretary of State 1500 11th Street, 3rd Floor Sacramento, CA 95814

How to File a Non-Profit Public Benefit Corporation

Step 1- The filing process begins with the downloading of the PDF application.

Step 2- To complete this form you must submit the following information:

  • 1-Corporation name
  • 2-Corporate beneficiary (choose one) and the intended business purpose
  • 3-Service of process agent’s name and address
  • 4-Corporate address and mailing address (if different)
  • 5-Additional statements
  • Incorporator name/signature

ca-nonprofit-public-corporation-pdf

Step 3- You must now complete the second page of the application titled “Mail Submission Cover Sheet”. This document will be used to detail the contact person’s name and phone number, return delivery instructions and some basic entity information.

Step 4- Before submitting your filings you will need to attach a check made payable to the Secretary of State. Gather all articles and forward them to the appropriate address below.

  • By Mail ($100): Secretary of State Business Entities, P.O. Box 944260 Sacramento, CA 94244-2600
  • In Person ($100 + $15): Secretary of State 1500 11th Street, 3rd Floor Sacramento, CA 95814

How to File a Non-Profit Mutual Benefit Corporation

Step 1- In order to register a non-profit mutual benefit corporation you will need to first download this PDF application.

Step 2- Once the form has been downloaded you may continue by providing the following information:

  • 1-Corporation name
  • 3-Service of process agent’s name and address
  • 4-Corporate address and mailing address (if different)
  • 5-Purpose of corporation
  • Incorporator name/signature

ca-nonprofit-mutual-corporation-pdf

Step 3- Continue by completing the second page of the application titled “Mail Submission Cover Sheet”. This document will ask you to provide the contact person’s name and phone number, some basic entity information and the return delivery instructions.

Step 4- Lastly, attach to your completed documents a check made payable to the Secretary of State and forward all items to the appropriate address below.

  • By Mail ($100): Secretary of State Business Entities, P.O. Box 944260 Sacramento, CA 94244-2600
  • In Person ($100 + $15): Secretary of State 1500 11th Street, 3rd Floor Sacramento, CA 95814

How to File a Common Interest Development Association

Step 1- You will need to first download this PDF application.

Step 2- The information required on this document is as follows:

  • 1-Corporation name
  • 2-State code incorporated under (choose one)
  • 3-Service of process agent’s name and address
  • 4-Corporate address, mailing address (if different), common interest development address (if applicable) and front street and nearest cross street for common interest development (if not on site)
  • 5-Managing agent’s name and address
  • 6-Specific purpose of corporation
  • Incorporator name/signature

ca-development-corporation-pdf

Step 3- The second page of the application must now be completed (Mail Submission Cover Sheet). On this document you will need to provide the contact person’s name and phone number, some basic entity information and the return delivery instructions.

Step 4- Once all documents have been completed you will need to attach a check made out to the Secretary of State. Have all items forwarded to the appropriate address below.

  • By Mail ($100): Secretary of State Business Entities, P.O. Box 944260 Sacramento, CA 94244-2600
  • In Person ($100 + $15): Secretary of State 1500 11th Street, 3rd Floor Sacramento, CA 95814

Tips

EIN– It is integral to the smooth running of a business entity to obtain an Employer Identification Number, or EIN, from the IRS. Without this identifier activities as basic as applying for business credit cards become instantly impossible. This number may be applied for Online or with Form SS-4 and should be obtained as soon as the registration process with the Secretary of State is complete. Click on the link at the heading of this paragraph for more information.

Corporate Bylaws– California requires the creation of corporate bylaws despite the fact that there are no set criteria for these documents within the state code. This document can be used to define the relationship between the members of the corporation and the corporation itself. For a California bylaws template and bylaws tutorial please follow the link above. Within the link you will be able to download the template in both MS Word and PDF formats.

Renewal– Corporations can submit their annual reports to the Secretary of State using the online filing portal provided on the government website. New corporations will be required to file their first Statement of Information within 90 days of incorporation and annually thereafter. These reports will update the state with any changes to your business and allow your corporation to remain in good standing. The link at the heading of this paragraph will take you to the filing portal where you can submit reports for both domestic profit and domestic non-profit corporations.