Skip to main content
Find a Lawyer
Please enter a legal issue and/or a location
Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select

State Guide: Articles of Incorporation

One of the first steps on your new business journey is creating your company's foundation through the articles of incorporation. This document is vital for forming a business entity like a corporation (C corporation). It helps in defining your business's structure, its purpose, and how it will run. Knowing about the articles of incorporation is vital for small business owners, whether it's a startup or a growing business.

Incorporating your business is a state activity. You will need to know the laws of your state to file your articles of incorporation correctly. This helpful article will provide links to different states' articles of incorporation laws.

Articles of Incorporation: A Brief Overview

The articles of incorporation are a set of legal documents that officially form your business as a legal entity recognized by the state. These documents outline important details like your business name, type of business, and management structure. It's akin to a birth certificate for your company.

When you file with your state's Secretary of State office, it means your business is officially in action. This step offers liability protection, separating your personal assets from the business's liabilities. So, filing the articles of incorporation is a very important step for small business owners.

How To File Articles of Incorporation in Your State

Filing these articles can vary from state to state. Typically, you need to decide your business structure and pick a unique corporate name. You will also need to designate a registered agent. This person will handle legal documents on behalf of your business.

You'll also need to describe your business purpose and detail the number of shares of stock your corporation will have. After preparing these documents, you submit them to the Secretary of State's office. You will typically need to pay a filing fee, which varies by state.

Remember, each state has different filing requirements. It's important to check with state agencies or the state government website about your state's laws, which you can find below.

State Laws: Articles of Incorporation

Below are forms for articles of incorporation (for a domestic corporation) for each of the 50 states and Washington, DC. A complete set of business organization forms can be found here. Note that most of the documents listed below are in PDF format and that some states may call the articles of incorporation by a different name.

Alabama Certificate of Formation
Alaska Articles of Incorporation
Arkansas Articles of Incorporation
Arizona Articles of Incorporation
California Articles of Incorporation
Colorado Articles of Incorporation
Connecticut Certificate of Incorporation
Delaware Certificate of Incorporation for Stock Corporation
DC Articles of Incorporation of Domestic Business Corporation
Florida Profit Corporation Articles of Incorporation
Georgia Certificate of Existence
Hawaii Articles of Incorporation (Form DC-1)
Idaho Articles of Incorporation (General Business)
Illinois Corporation Articles of Incorporation
Indiana Articles of Incorporation for For-Profit Corporations (Domestic)
Iowa Articles of Incorporation
Kansas For-Profit Corporation Articles of Incorporation
Kentucky Articles of Incorporation for Profit Corporations
Louisiana Articles of Incorporation
Maine Articles of Incorporation
Maryland Articles of Incorporation for a Stock Corporation
Massachusetts Articles of Organization for Domestic Corporations
Michigan Articles of Incorporation (CSCL/CD-2500)
Minnesota Articles of Incorporation
Mississippi Articles of Incorporation
Missouri Articles of Incorporation
Montana Articles of Incorporation
Nebraska Articles of Incorporation
Nevada Articles of Incorporation
New Hampshire Articles of Incorporation
New Jersey Certificate of Incorporation
New Mexico Articles of Incorporation for Domestic Profit Corporations
New York Certificate of Incorporation for Domestic Business Corporations
North Carolina Articles of Incorporation
North Dakota Articles of Incorporation for Business Corporations
Ohio Articles of Incorporation
Oklahoma Certificate of Incorporation (For Profit)
Oregon Articles of Incorporation
Pennsylvania Articles of Incorporation for For-Profit Corporations
Rhode Island Articles of Incorporation for Domestic Business Corporations
South Carolina Articles of Incorporation
South Dakota Articles of Incorporation for Domestic Business Corporations
Tennessee For-Profit Charter
Texas Certificate of Formation for For-Profit Corporations
Utah Articles of Incorporation
Vermont Articles of Incorporation of a Vermont General Corporation
Virginia Articles of Incorporation of a Virginia Stock Corporation
West Virginia Articles of Incorporation
Washington Articles of Incorporation of Profit Corporations
Wisconsin Articles of Incorporation for Business Corporations
Wyoming Articles of Incorporation for Profit Corporations

What To Do After Filing the Articles of Incorporation

After successfully filing your articles of incorporation, you will receive a certificate of incorporation. You can then officially start doing business. There are several more crucial steps to setting your business up for success.

Firstly, obtain an employer identification number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The number is essential for tax purposes. It allows your corporation to file income tax and corporate tax returns. Setting up a bank account specifically for your business is also vital to manage finances separately from personal assets. This is essential for reducing personal liability, so be sure to do this as soon as possible.

It's important to understand federal tax and state tax obligations for your corporation. Stay informed through the IRS and the Small Business Administration (SBA). The SBA has several resources for small business owners. Additionally, if you plan to hire employees, prepare for responsibilities like payroll taxes and compliance with labor laws.

Next, you will need to assemble your board of directors and draft bylaws to outline how your corporation will operate. Don't forget to apply for any necessary business licenses and regularly file your annual report to maintain good standing with state agencies. These steps are essential for laying a strong foundation and ensuring the smooth running of your corporation.

How a Lawyer Can Help

Starting a new business can be complex, especially when dealing with legal documents and compliance with state and federal laws. As a busy entrepreneur, you likely wear many hats, but being a lawyer may not be one of them. If you have legal questions about how to file articles of incorporation in your state, let a legal expert take the wheel.

Speak to a business and commercial law attorney in your jurisdiction today to learn more.

Was this helpful?

You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help

Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.

Or contact an attorney near you:

I'd Like Help From a Lawyer

Contact a qualified business attorney to help you navigate the process of starting a business.

Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select

I'd Like a Do-It-Yourself Solution

Form Your Business with Confidence!

File an LLC on your own starting at $0 + state filing fees. Save time and stress.

  • Determine the best business structure
  • File the right paperwork
  • Stay compliant with the law

Start my LLC


Prefer to work with a lawyer?Find one right now.

Copied to clipboard

Find a Lawyer

More Options