888-595-2747 8-5 PST M-F

Form a Corporation in California

SunDoc's California filings provide the best value: fast and economical.

  • Next Business Day Rush Filing

    No one is faster than SunDoc. We hand deliver documents to the Secretary of State in California.

    • Routine: 5 - 7 Days returned to you filed.
    • Rush: Next business day returned to you filed (if received by 3 PM PST).
    GET STARTED
  • Experience

    Since 1999. Over 70,000 filings.
    Located in Sacramento.

  • Name Availability

    We verify with the state. Competitors just look online which can lead to rejections.

  • Delivered to State &
    Emailed Back to You

    No cost, competitors charge.

We strive for excellence.

It's no accident that we have more repeat customers than our competitors.

competitive-pricing

Competitive
Pricing

peace-of-mind-guarantee

Peace of Mind
Guarantee

bbb

A+ Rating from
BBB

Experienced staff and extensive knowledge.

Great website plus great customer service equals zero frustration.

You can form a business in any of the 50 US states online, and we're standing by to help if you need it.

We've helped thousands of new businesses get off the ground.

Our staff offers valuable expertise on forming or registering a company.

We want all customers to be 100% satisfied.

GET STARTED

How to Incorporate in California

California incorporation is a straightforward matter, and this article will tell you all you need to know to incorporate in the State of California. SunDoc is a business filing company located in downtown Sacramento and specializing in California incorporations. You can turn to us to handle some or all of the paperwork for you.

You don't need an attorney in order to file the paperwork needed to form a corporation, but you may well need professional consultation on numerous related matters. Nothing in this article can be construed as legal, tax or accounting advice. You should consult licensed professionals to give you specific advice for your situation.


Overview


To create the corporation you file Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State. The filing fee is $100. You'll need a company name that's available to use. You'll need to know which of several types of corporation you're choosing, your corporate address, and who's your Registered Agent. Also you'll need to state how many shares you're authorizing the corporation to issue, and perhaps the number of shareholders, depending on type of corporation chosen.

Outside of the filing itself, you'll need your Federal Tax ID Number (EIN) from the IRS. You'll need to know who your corporate officers are, and any directors. You'll need an initial Board of Directors meeting to adopt bylaws, which are not filed with the state but kept in your own records, and to appoint officers, who are not required to be listed in the articles of incorporation.

Within 90 days of incorporating you must file your first annual Statement of Information with the state, for a filing fee of $25 - this is the document that lists officers and directors. Consult your accountant or tax attorney for advice on California taxation.


Incorporating


The most common type of corporation is the General Stock Corporation, with an unlimited potential number of shareholders. You may choose to be a Close Corporation, setting a limit in the articles on the number of shareholders (not to exceed 35). A Professional Corporation is mandated by California for certain professionals.

The forms supplied by California for download meet the minimum requirements of the California Corporations Code, but you can create your own to meet your specific needs. Your attorney may well draw up a document from scratch.

To illustrate: the default articles of incorporation limit the corporation to one class of shares. This can be changed in a custom document. Similarly, initial directors can be named in the articles if desired, provided that all directors are included and sign the document.

Every corporation must have three officers: President, Treasurer and Secretary. One person can fill all these roles if desired. Generally a California corporation must have a minimum of three directors, except for certain cases where no shares have been issued or the shareholders are less than three. Typically the bylaws will describe the number and limit of directors, unless the articles stipulate this.

The articles of incorporation can only be changed by filing an amendment with the state, while the bylaws are generally amended by a vote of directors and shareholders in a formal meeting. Times and methods of meetings, as well as such things as powers of directors, are set forth in the bylaws, in accordance with relevant provisions of California law. Minutes must be kept of meetings.

A Corporate Records Book is where a corporation stores bylaws, company documents, stock papers and meeting minutes. Corporate Kits are useful compilations of standard documents to run the corporation, customized to your state and including such things as stock certificates, a corporate seal embosser, meeting minutes and such. SunDoc can supply you one if you wish, see our California Corporate Kit page.


Registered Agent


Every California corporation is required to have a registered agent, a company or individual reliably available at a known address during business hours, for legal and other communications from the state. This is another service provided by SunDoc to help you outsource your company routine. For full information, see our article: What is a Registered Agent? Why Do I Need One?


Name Search


The name you submit to the state in your articles of incorporation must be clearly available for you to use in the State of California according to the records of the Secretary of State. If not, your filing will be rejected. The name cannot be such as to mislead the public in some way, or resemble another so closely as to lead to deception. There are other statutory requirements also.

Both to comply with the law, and of course for your own best branding, you should spend some effort developing your company name. You can run name searches yourself or SunDoc is able to perform a name availability check or reserve a corporation name if you are not ready to file.


EIN


You can apply for your EIN by submitting Form SS4 to the IRS, at no charge. SunDoc can apply for this on your behalf also. See our EIN page.


Next Steps


If you plan to structure your company as an S Corporation, you may want to read our article on Forming an S Corp in California. Otherwise we suggest reading our article on Forming a C Corp in California.

To talk to a live voice for immediate assistance call us toll-free during business hours at 1-888-595-2747.

Ready to Incorporate?

  • 1 Check Name Availability

    Choose three names in order of preference and we will check availability.

  • 2 Prepare or Upload your Articles

    Our online form describes all required information.

  • 3 Specify Service Level and Options

    Select a filing package or choose from the menu options.

GET STARTED
Quotation mark

I initially ordered with LegalZoom for their expedited package but they said there is going to be a delay for a month! They kept giving me excuses about the backlog, blah blah blah. I had to get this LLC set up ASAP so I contacted SunDoc and they got it done for me in 24 hours! What a difference. I am very happy and will never go back to LegalZoom again. Great job SunDoc!

Chris W.
Quotation mark

I've been forming entities with SunDoc Filings for years. They are incredible! Mainly because of their personal touch and customer service. They actually have a human answer the phone lol. In a world of automation and AI this company remains personal and human. They get the job done quickly and effectively every single time. I will never use another company when registering my companies.

Dion McIntosh Founder DearAmyBand.com
Quotation mark

Kylene, Tressa & Sheila ROCK !!! We sent a name reservation last week and within 10 minutes the name reservation was completed. The next day we sent in a rush order and within 24 hours the entity was created !! Wow !! Thank You & you gals ROCK !!

Marc Vigil - Enrolled Agent - CEO - Budget Bookkeeping & Income Tax Services
Form a Corporation in California or Any State:
Select State to Start Your Business Formation Here.

SunDoc Filings has filed thousands of corporations since 1999. Our skilled customer service staff is always ready to help.

Get Started Now
Or call one of our friendly staff members.
8-5 PST M-F