To incorporate in Arizona, you'll do the following:

  1. Decide on a corporation name.
  2. Specify your incorporators.
  3. Prepare an Articles of Incorporation.
  4. Publish notice of incorporation.
  5. Choose corporate directors.
  6. Select a registered agent.
  7. Create corporate bylaws.
  8. Obtain an EIN.
  9. Hold an initial board of directors meeting.
  10. Start a records book.
  11. Issue stock.
  12. Open a business bank account.
  13. Obtain necessary licenses.

How to Incorporate in Arizona

You'll begin by choosing a name for your corporation. Arizona, like other states, has certain naming requirements. Your corporation's name must be unique in Arizona, and it must meet the following criteria:

  • It must include a designator, such as “Corporation,” “Company,” “Association,” “Incorporated,” or an abbreviation of any of those.
  • It cannot include LLC designators, such as “LLC,” “L.L.C.,” or “Limited Company.”
  • It cannot include certain restricted or prohibited words without approval from the state, such as “Trust,” “Deposit,” or “Bank.”

You'll choose incorporators, who sign and file your Articles of Incorporation. Then, file an Articles of Incorporation with the state. Include the following with your filing:

  • Cover sheet
  • Certificate of Disclosure
  • Registered agent acceptance form
  • Filing fee of $60

Your Articles of Incorporation must include, at a minimum, the following:

  • Corporation name and address
  • Corporate purpose
  • Registered agent name and address
  • Stock structure
  • Incorporators' names and addresses
  • Directors' names and addresses

A Certificate of Disclosure details if any central members in your corporation — such as directors, officers, trustees, etc. — have ever been involved in a corporation that filed bankruptcy or been convicted of a felony.

You only pay to file your Articles. All other documents are free, but you must submit everything simultaneously. After the Arizona Corporation Commission approves your filing, you're required to publish a notice of incorporation.

Important Positions

Next, you'll choose corporate directors. These individuals establish your corporation's policies and procedures. They also manage the day-to-day affairs. Your corporation must have at least one director, and there's no maximum number you can have.

You must choose a registered agent — also called an agent for service of process or statutory agent — to accept legal and other important paperwork on your corporation's behalf. Your registered agent must have a physical street address in Arizona, whether it's an individual or company authorized to do business in the state.

Setting Up Your Corporate Structure

Draft bylaws for your corporation as a framework for how the business will be run. The state doesn't specify what your bylaws must include. Typically, you'll include provisions such as how to choose directors, how many directors you'll have, and voting procedures. You don't have to file bylaws with the state.

Your corporation will need an Employer Identification Number, or EIN, from the IRS. It's free to obtain one, and you can apply online, by mail, by phone, or fax.

Start your corporate record book, where you'll include meeting minutes and other important information. You'll hold an initial board of directors meeting. In it, you may do the following:

  • Outline roles and responsibilities.
  • Adopt corporate bylaws.
  • Issue shares of stock.
  • Appoint officers.
  • Create a banking resolution.
  • Record your meeting minutes.

Your corporation must have at least one class of stock shares to issue.

Your corporation also needs its own business bank account. You'll use your EIN to open it. This account keeps business finances separate from everyone's personal finances. This adds important protection for personal assets. It also makes tax time easier.

Check which licenses and permits your corporation needs to legally operate in the state. Requirements differ, depending on the type of business you run. Arizona doesn't issue general business licenses, so you may not have to obtain one at all.

To properly form a corporation in Arizona, you'll have to follow several steps. Because starting a corporation is often more complex than creating a simple business structure like a limited liability company, you may want to consult with legal and tax professionals for guidance.

After you start a corporation, the state will require you to file certain reports every year. You'll also have tax obligations to meet. By adhering to all guidelines, your corporation will remain in good standing, increasing its chances for success.

If you need help incorporating in Arizona or another state, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.