Congratulations! You have successfully completed the arduous process of company incorporation. You are ready to get down to business and build on the success and inspiration that led you here. However, there are a few important things to do first. Here are seven of the most important next steps:
1. Submit state and federal filings and publish company incorporation notices
These requirements will depend on the state in which you are incorporated. Some states require that you publish a notice of incorporation if your business is an S or C Corporation (AZ, GA, IL, NE and PA). You may also be required to file an initial report/list with your state.
If you planned to incorporate an S Corporation, you have to file a Form 2553 with the IRS – this serves as your legally recognized election of S Corporation status. Your state might also require that you file an S Corporation election with the state itself (AR, NJ, NY and OH).
Finally, you might want to file 83B Elections – this depends on how you prefer to be taxed on any shares that the company might have issued to you. More on that here.
2. Create bylaws and all other necessary post incorporation documents
Elsewhere, we explained everything you need to know about the required and recommended post incorporation documents your company should consider. Be sure that you don’t gloss over some of these important documents. They include shareholders agreements, operating agreements (in the case of LLCs), stock ledgers, and privacy agreements.
3.Obtaining an Employment Identification Number
Regardless of the type or structure of your business, you will need an Employment Identification Number (EIN). This number is used by IRS to track your business activities for tax purposes. You also need an EIN to be able to remunerate employees and process withholding tax according to IRS requirements. You can apply for an EIN online.
4. Apply for business license(s)
Depending on your company’s type of business and location, you might need a business license from your state before you are legally allowed to trade as a corporation.
You might also need a resale certificate. This allows you collect taxes as you sell goods and/or services, and to buy from wholesalers without paying taxes. You might need a resale certificate for multiple locations if you operate in more than one state. More on how to get a resale certificate here.
5. Open a bank account
You’ll want to establish a clear separation between personal and business assets as soon as possible. To do this, opening a bank account for your corporation is the first important step. You will need your EIN as well as your incorporation documents to open a corporate bank account.
If you plan on accepting credit cards as payment method, you should open a merchant bank account that will allow you to do so.
6. Protect your intellectual property
It is vital that you protect your intellectual property from the very outset of your business. We provide guidance on what you need to do to build a robust intellectual property portfolio, but eventually your ideal strategy will depend on your company’s unique position.
7. Familiarize yourself with annual maintenance documents required
Your obligations in this regard will always include filing federal and state tax returns and filing an annual report with your state if the state requires it. In addition, S and C Corporations are required to hold and record annual directors and shareholders meetings. For LLCs, an annual meeting of members is highly recommended, as well as a meeting of managers (but that depends on your company structure).
As a general rule, set up procedures in your business that ensures you track all changes in the corporation (new owners, new investors), changes in financial statements, or changes in roles of management.
Post Company Incorporation Lawyers
There’s a lot of steps after incorporation of a company. If you are assuming all the risk of starting a new company from scratch, it’s worth ensuring that you won’t run into civil or tax liability that could have been avoided. Let our legal experts help you get everything in order while you focus on what you do best: managing your business’s success and growth.