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How to Incorporate in New York
If you are looking to incorporate your business in the state of New York, SunDoc filings can help.
We've created this article to provide you with all of the information you'll need to incorporate your business in New York. It's possible you may need professional advice and counsel from an attorney at some point during the process, but remember that it is not required that you have an attorney representing you. This article should help; still, it should not be construed as tax, accounting, or legal advice. Always speak with a professional when you have questions.
In order to create a corporation in the state of New York, you'll need to start by going to the Secretary of State and filing your articles of incorporation.
You’ll also require a new company name. This name must be available. In addition, understand what type of corporation you'd like to create. Have a corporate address, and be able to say the number of shares you'd like to authorize your new corporation to issue. You also need to know who your Registered Agent will be, and depending on what corporation type you choose, you may need to have the number of shareholders for your new corporation as well.
In addition to all of these things, you will need an EIN or Federal Tax ID number from the IRS. At this point, you will also require your first Board of Directors meeting where you will adopt bylaws. Know who your directors (if any) will be and who you are corporate officers will be. Keep in mind that your bylaws will be kept in your new corporation’s records, but they do not need to be filed with the Secretary of State. Officers do not need to be listed within your articles of incorporation either.
You have a choice between the type of corporation you want to create. The General Stock Corporation is the most commonly created corporation in New York. You have an unlimited potential for the number of shareholders you choose with a General Stock Corporation. If you'd like to set a limit on the number of shareholders you can have in your articles, you can choose to be a Close Corporation. Your number of shareholders cannot exceed 35 in this case. Finally, for certain professionals, a professional corporation is a corporation type that is mandated by the state of New York.
You can find forms that meet the state of New York's Corporations Code minimum requirements and use those, or you can have an attorney draw up your own documents from scratch so that they meet your unique needs.
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 New York 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.
In your bylaws, you will need to put such things as the times and methods of your meetings, the powers of your directors, and more. All of this must be in accordance with New York law. At all meetings, you need to keep minutes as well.
If you need to change your bylaws, you can hold a formal meeting and have a vote of your shareholders and directors. On the other hand, if you want to change your articles of incorporation, you'll need to go to the state and file an amendment.
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 New York Corporate Kit page.
All of corporations in the state of New York need something called a registered agent. This can be an individual person, or it can be a company. The commonality is that this entity must be at a specific address during all business hours in case the state needs to contact them for special communications, such as legal questions. If you are interested, SunDoc can help you outsource your corporation’s routine by providing this service.
For more information on registered agents and what their role is, see our article entitled, What is a Registered Agent? Why Do I Need One?
Choosing your corporation name is an important step as you move toward incorporation. It is important that you choose a name that is fully available with the state of New York according to their records. In addition, there are other statutory requirements. You cannot choose a name that resembles another company name so closely that it causes deception, and you cannot mislead the public with your name. Remember that if your name has already been chosen or breaks one of these requirements, your filing will be rejected.
Both to comply with the law, and of course for your own best branding, you should spend some effort developing your company name. SunDoc can conduct name availability searches for you or reserve your corporation name, or you can run name searches on your own.
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.
This article, C Corporation vs. S Corporation will provide you with information on the general differences between the two corporate tax structures.
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