Every new business needs to incorporate in order to protect the founders from personal liability and to start the process of obtaining funds and work contracts. Many business owners, unfamiliar with the legal process of creating a company, can feel intimidated and overwhelmed. This article will explain the steps to properly incorporating in Los Angeles, ensuring that business owners are properly set up for success.

When incorporating in Los Angeles, or really any city in California, the process typically follows the same basic steps. Every business must do the following.

1. Choose a Company Name

The first step in the incorporation process is to choose a company name that meets the California Secretary of State’s administrative and naming requirements. This is the name that will show up on all of your official documents and will be used on contracts, advertising, etc.

Choose a name that reflects your company’s brand image, but also one that is easy to remember and meets the naming criteria. It is important to note that a narrative description of the company’s services and its location can be added in the Articles of Incorporation, so you don’t necessarily have to fit your entire mission statement into the company name.

Another crucial step is seeing if the name is available for incorporation. You can check the Secretary of State’s website to determine the name’s availability. Additionally, you can perform a preliminary trademark search to ensure that the name is legally available and does not violate any existing trademarks in the area.

2. Choose a Company Structure

After selecting the company’s name, the next step is to determine what type of business structure you want. There are five different structures in California: C-Corporation, S-Corporation, Limited Liability Company (LLC), Limited Partnership, and General Partnership. Each structure has different tax benefits and different protection for the founders and investors.

If you are setting up a business with multiple founders, it is best to choose either an LLC or a corporation. This provides protection for each person’s interest and gives each person a level of ownership over the business.

3. File the Articles of Incorporation

The Articles of Incorporation is a legal document that states intent to form a company, it’s name, its purpose, and how many shares of stock have been authorized. This document needs to be filed with the Secretary of State. Before filing, make sure that the Articles of Incorporation are properly drafted and signed in front of a Notary Public. The filing fee is typically around $100.

4. Obtain an Employ identification Number

Once the company has been incorporated, an Employ identification Number (EIN) is required to open a bank account, hire employees, and file taxes. An EIN can be obtained through the IRS and is free of charge.

5. Create Bylaws

Bylaws are the rules and regulations that define how the company will be run. They specify rules for how meetings are conducted, how directors are elected, how voting works, and other procedures. It is important that you create clear and organized bylaws that spell out the company’s structure.

6. Register with State Agencies

In California, after the articles of incorporation are filed, the business must register with other state agencies such as the Franchise Tax Board or the Employment Development Department. Depending on the type of business, there may be additional requirements such as obtaining a seller’s permit or obtaining a business license.

7. Make Sure Your Business is Compliant

Choosing to incorporate in Los Angeles will ensure that your business is in compliance with local regulations. Make sure that you are following all the laws and guidelines outlined by the California Secretary of State, and consult with a business attorney if you are unsure.

Overall, the process of incorporating in Los Angeles is straightforward and achievable with the right amount of preparation. By following these steps, you can set up your business for success.

Topics: Incorporating, Business Lawyers, Los Angeles, California