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1401 21st Street STE R, Sacramento, CA 95811 | (415) 422-9889
by California Agent for Service of Process

Incorporate in California

Starting a California corporation is a great option. A corporation has prestige, investment possibilities, and the potential to become publicly-traded. In California, however, corporations also have a lot of paperwork, including:

  • Articles of Incorporation
  • California Licenses & Permits
  • Statement Of Information
  • Tax ID & Taxes

Read about each of these topics below. Better yet, get started fast and on the right foot with our comprehensive and affordable formation service package.

Our local specialists will form and file your California Articles of Incorporation and initial report. We’ll also give a California business address for your filings, bylaws, initial resolutions, a year of service as your agent for service of process (necessary for compliance with the Secretary of State), and a business domain of your choice (along with a website and business email) to help you establish your business presence.

Local office worker going through filing cabinet


How do you start a corporation in California? Incorporation begins with submitting California Articles of Incorporation to the Secretary of State. In this document you’ll need to include your corporation’s:

  1. NAME: Include one of these words or an abbreviation: Incorporated, Incorporation, Corporation, Company or Limited. Your name can’t already be in use. Do a cursory check with a Business Search and a more comprehensive check with a Name Availability Inquiry Letter.

    Looking to file a California DBA name? Just add “Trade Name Service” when you hire us and we’ll take care of the filing for $125 plus state fees.

  2. ADDRESS: Include a California business address for your corporation. Note: the address you list here will become part of the public record. Hire us and we’ll provide you with our California business address to list here.

  3. AGENT FOR SERVICE OF PROCESS: Designate a California agent for service of process for your corporation. A service of process agent accepts court summons and other official notifications for your corporation. Using a service like ours will make your life easier—no worrying about missing a notice if you take a sick day or go out of town. Our service is only $49 a year. That’s peace of mind for around $4 a month.

  4. SHARES: Corporations have stock, so you’ll need to decide how many shares of stock your corporation will have. You don’t have to issue it all, but you’ll need at least one share. If you want multiple classes of stock, you can’t use the standard form; you’ll have to compose your own Articles of Incorporation.

  5. INCORPORATOR: Your incorporator signs and delivers your Articles of Incorporation. Incorporators aren’t required to be a part of the corporation. Sign up for our incorporation package, and we’ll be your incorporator.

You can file online or download and print your Articles of Incorporation and drop it off in person. Online filings take 5 business days. Walk-in filings take 3 business days (add $15 for the counter drop-off fee). Processing times are subject to change. You can check Current Processing Times online.



Filing Fee


Statement of Information

+ $25

Certified Copy

+ $5 per copy

Drop Off Fee

+ $15

24-Hour Expediting Fee*

+ $350

* Expediting can now happen in person or online. If filed online, you avoid the $15 drop off fee. You can also get a certified copy of your articles for an additional $5 fee.


Every California corporation needs a business license, and you may need additional permits or licenses as well.

Business Licenses

Business licenses aren’t issued by the state; they’re issued by the city or county where your corporation is registered. What your business actually does will determine if you need other licenses as well. For example, if you sell goods, process food, or manage hazardous waste, you’ll need permits. The CalGold Business Permit System can help you identify the permits and licenses you need.

Professional Licenses

From repairing cars to appraising real estate, many California occupations require professional licenses. Visit the Department of Consumer Affairs website for a list of licensed occupations in California.


California’s Statement of Information is a mandatory report—and the first one is due within 90 days after registration in the state.

Your Statement of Information updates the Secretary of State with your corporation’s most current information, such as your address, members and managers, and service of process agent.

The Statement of Information can be submitted online with bizfile California. You can also download a California Statement of Information form to mail or drop off in person. The filing fee is $25 (which includes the $20 fee for the Initial Statement and a $5 disclosure fee).

You’ll continue to submit a Statement of Information every year. These later statements are due at the end of your registration month.


California corporations will need a federal tax ID and are subject to both a corporate net income tax and a franchise tax.

  • EIN: Corporations need an Employer Identification Number from the IRS for both federal and state filings. To get an EIN, file a free application with the IRS (or save some time and add EIN service to our formation package for $50).
  • Franchise Tax: On top of the corporate net income tax, your corporation also has to pay a franchise tax, which is a flat $800 a year. The franchise tax is a tax for the privilege of doing business in California.

Why Us?

Starting a business is challenging enough, even without all the paperwork. Reduce your workload by letting us handle your first few steps of incorporation. Our formation service package includes creating and filing your Articles of Incorporation and much more, all for a great price!


  • One Year of Agent for Service of Process Service
    Our expert service ensures you get your documents ASAP.
  • Immediate Access to Your Secure Client Account
    Access your scanned documents and find helpful state forms pre-filled with your information.
  • Address Privacy
    Maintain privacy by listing our California business address (not yours) on your public incorporation documents.
  • Custom Incorporation Documents
    Incorporating is easy with custom bylaws and initial resolutions.
  • California Business Presence
    We provide our clients an entire online business presence, with a domain, website, email, SSL, and California phone number with virtual phone service.
  • Statement of Information Reminders
    Our free compliance tools help make sure you never miss a filing requirement.
  • Customer Support
    No automated operators—just friendly, expert customer support staff!






California Filing Fees
(Incl. Initial Statement)


State fees + $80

State fees + $375 (if filed online)

Our Formation Service Fee




1 Year Agent for Service of Process Service




California Business Presence








Begin your California corporation today! In just a few minutes, you can be on your way to incorporating in the Golden State!

Incorporate in California