Shadow People on Blue BackgroundIs incorporating a business on your list of to dos for 2015? If so, you’ll set the stage for a fantastic year for your business! Whether you plan to incorporate in California, Tennessee, Ohio, or any of our 50 states, the following tips will make it easier for you.

Tip 1: Make Sure Your Name is Available

Conducting a free CorpNet corporate name search will let you know if anyone is already using the name you want for your business. Note that if you’re incorporating in California, as an example, you don’t have to include a suffix like Corporation, Corp., Incorporated, or Inc. after your business name, unless it is a close a company.

Tip 2: Register Your Corporation with the Secretary of State

This is the government agency responsible for all forms, filings, and record keeping. Keep in mind that you’ll need to file your fictitious business names (DBA – doing business as) at the county level, not the Secretary of State. Other permits and licenses may be required at the county or even city level in California. The usual point of contact is the County Treasurer’s Office.

Tip 3: Hold Your First Official Meeting

Because you have to appoint a Board of Directors for your corporation, you’ll need to hold a legal meeting and record minutes from it for your corporation. The minimum number of directors depends on how stock is divided. If there are only one or two stockholders, then only that many directors are required. Otherwise, the minimum is three. Within 90 days of filing your Articles of Incorporation, you’ll also need to file an initial statement of officers.

Tip 4: Apply for a Federal Employer Identification Number

Even if you had an EIN before you incorporated, you’ll need a new one once your corporation is approved. In California, you will also have to file with the Employment Development Department (EDD), which issues employer account numbers (sometimes called state employer identification numbers, or SEINs) and administers your California payroll taxes.

Tip 5: Get Your Licenses and Permits Covered

Find out from your state, city, or county agencies what business licenses you need in order to operate your company. Examples include: contractor’s license, alcohol license, and environmental permit.