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Why choose LegalZoom?

  • Save Time Incorporating Your Business Online
    Save time calling attorneys' offices, driving to appointments, and looking for parking
  • Corporation Formation - Customer Service
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Common questions

What are the main differences between a C corporation and an S corporation?

The IRS allows corporations to choose to be taxed as either a "C corporation" or an "S corporation." Income from C corporations are subject to double taxation; that is, the corporation pays taxes on its net income and then the shareholders also pay taxes on the income that they receive from the corporation.

S corporations have only one level of taxation. The shareholders still have to pay taxes on money that they receive from the corporation, but an S corporation does not pay taxes on its net income. While the S corporation is popular among small business owners, C corporations have greater tax planning flexibility and can shield shareholders from direct tax liability.

Who can form a corporation?

Generally, anyone who completes the articles of incorporation and pays the state filing fee can form a corporation. There are usually no residency or other legal requirements. However, many states require that directors and officers must be at least 18 years old.

Do I need an attorney to form a corporation?

No, you do not need an attorney to form a corporation. You can prepare the legal paperwork and file it yourself, or use a legal documentation service such as LegalZoom.

What is the procedure for forming a corporation, and what legal documents are required?

To create a corporation, you must file a document called the "articles of incorporation" (in some states, it is known as the "certificate of incorporation" or "certificate of formation") with the Secretary of State or other appropriate state agency. Next, bylaws and organizing resolutions must be adopted. A corporation will also need to apply for a tax identification number (also known as an Employee Identification Number or EIN) with the IRS.

Sample documents

View sample documents

Your final forms, documents and filings may differ depending on your state.

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