• February 2020
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Checklist of Essential Startup Legal Documents

lawtrades startup legal documents paperwork

Forming a new company is very exciting, but can also feel overwhelming to get a handle on the necessary startup legal documents and their filing processes. Understanding the various startup documents and how they can protect your business goes a long way in helping you keep your startup organized from start to finish. Here are a few of the most critical filings that you should establish in your tech startup.


Corporate Formation Documents

Articles of Incorporation are the bare bones of your startup. The filing is critical because it determines how your business is recognized by the state you’ve chosen for incorporation, and how you have decided to classify your company (LLC, corporation, etc.). Keep in mind; state laws can vary so you should be aware of specific paperwork and timelines for filing your business formation documents.

Key Considerations:

  • While it may be tempting to incorporate in your home state because of proximity, it’s not always the best choice financially.
  • Don’t underestimate the attraction to Delaware. Many startups are incorporated in Delaware because of the startup-friendly laws that attract investors.

Corporate Tax Documents

Incorporation does not include specific state and city tax responsibilities. You should research whether or not your startup requires a local business license and this will prompt the state to send additional documents and forms that you must complete to finish the process. Most states include information about this process on their government website.

Key Considerations:

  • Don’t assume that your business doesn’t need a business license. Each state is different when it comes to classification and requirements.
  • Be aware of the timeline for other key filings that may be sent to you by the state. Failure to adhere to the process could result in having to start over.


File for an EIN Number

Every single business requires a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) which is granted by the IRS. The official IRS website contains significant information about filing and how to complete that process.

Key Considerations:

  • EIN is not optional. Every business has to have an EIN to operate lawfully.


Intellectual Property Protections

Tech startups are especially vulnerable to exposing unprotected intellectual property. If your company has a unique product or service, then it should be protected by a patent. However, there are other aspects of the business that may also need protection such as the logo or slogan.

Key Considerations:

  • A thorough IP search must be completed as part of the filing process.
  • Not every part of your business (logo, slogan, etc.) may meet the requirements for IP protection.


Startup Attorney

It’s crucial for startups to have reliable legal help from the very beginning. LawTrades has vast experience assisting countless entrepreneurs with their startup filings, and we are more than happy to help you as well. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.