Starting a company

How To Form A Corporation In Arizona

Key Takeaways

  • Forming a corporation in Arizona can provide tax benefits, legal protections, access to capital, and reputation benefits.
  • Articles of Incorporation must be filed with the Arizona Corporation Commission to form a corporation in Arizona, and a registered agent with a physical address in Arizona must be appointed.
  • When choosing a corporate name, it's essential to choose a unique and memorable name that reflects the nature of the business and is distinguishable from other registered corporations in Arizona.
  • Understanding Arizona's incorporation requirements and ensuring compliance with state laws and regulations is crucial.
  • The timeline for incorporating in Arizona is relatively fast, taking about 2-3 weeks to complete.
  • Arizona's incorporation requirements are similar to other states. Still, some states may require additional steps, such as publishing a notice of incorporation in a local newspaper or obtaining specific business licenses.

Forming a corporation in Arizona can be a great way to establish your business as a legal entity with its own rights and obligations. Whether you're starting a new business or trying to change the way an old one works, incorporating it can help you in many ways, including saving money on taxes, getting legal protection, and getting access to funding. But forming a corporation in Arizona can be hard and take a long time. There are many legal and administrative steps that must be taken correctly to make sure the business is in line with state rules and laws.

This article details the steps and paperwork necessary to create a business in Arizona. We'll cover everything from choosing a name to filing articles of incorporation, choosing a registered agent, creating bylaws, and obtaining licences and permissions. In addition, we will provide guidance in the form of guidelines and recommendations to make the procedure easier and safer for you.

What Are The Benefits Of Incorporating In Arizona?

The benefits of incorporating a business in Arizona are low corporate income taxes, legal protection, and access to a thriving ecosystem. There are many benefits to incorporating a business in Arizona, which makes it a good choice for people who want to start their own business. Here are some of the benefits of forming a corporation in Arizona:

  1. Tax Benefits: Arizona offers several tax benefits to corporations, such as a low corporate income tax rate of 4.9%, which is lower than the national average. Additionally, corporations are exempt from paying personal property tax, which can lead to significant cost savings.
  2. Legal Protections: Incorporating your business in Arizona protects your assets legally. A corporation is considered a separate legal entity, meaning shareholders are not personally liable for the company's debts and liabilities. This protection can provide peace of mind to business owners, shielding them from personal financial ruin in case of a lawsuit or bankruptcy.
  3. Access to Capital: Arizona has a thriving business ecosystem with numerous venture capitalists, angel investors, and private equity firms. Incorporating your business in Arizona can provide greater access to funding opportunities, making raising capital and growing your business easier.
  4. Reputation: Incorporating in Arizona can help to establish your business as a legitimate and trustworthy entity. This can be especially important for businesses operating in highly regulated industries or requiring significant investment.

Arizona’s Incorporation Requirements

Arizona's incorporation requirements include choosing a unique name, filing Articles of Incorporation, and appointing a registered agent with a physical address. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  1. Basic Requirements: To form a corporation in Arizona, you must file Articles of Incorporation with the Arizona Corporation Commission. The Articles must include information about the corporation's name, purpose, structure, and the names and addresses of its initial directors. The corporation must also have a registered agent with a physical address in Arizona.
  2. Timeline: The timeline for incorporating in Arizona is relatively fast. Once the Articles of Incorporation are filed and approved, the corporation can begin operating immediately. Typically, it takes about 2-3 weeks to complete the process.
  3. Comparison to Other States: Arizona's incorporation requirements are similar. However, some states may require additional steps, such as publishing a notice of incorporation in a local newspaper or obtaining specific business licenses.

By knowing what Arizona's incorporation requirements are, you can make smart choices about how to set up your corporation and make sure it follows all state laws and rules.

Choose A Corporate Name

Choosing a unique and memorable corporate name is essential to the incorporation process. Also, the name of your corporation should describe what you do and be different from the names of other corporations registered in Arizona. Here are some tips to consider when choosing a corporate name:

  1. Choose a name that is easy to remember: Your corporate name should be easy to remember and pronounce, making it easy for customers to find you.
  2. Consider the nature of your business: Your corporate name should reflect the nature of your business and be descriptive of the products or services you offer.
  3. Avoid using shared or generic names: Generic or common names are often already taken, so try to be creative and come up with something unique.
  4. Check for availability: Before settling on a name, search to ensure another corporation or business doesn't own the name already.

In Arizona, there are specific requirements for corporate names. The name must include the words "corporation," "incorporated," or "limited," or an abbreviation of one of these words. Also, the name can't suggest a business goal that is against the law, and it can't be too similar to the name of another registered corporation.

It's a good idea to have several potential names in mind, as your first choice may already be taken. Remember that your corporate name is an essential part of your brand identity and will be associated with your business for years. Take the time to choose a name that is memorable, unique, and represents your business well.

File Articles Of Incorporation

When forming a corporation in Arizona, one of the essential steps is filing the Articles of Incorporation with the Arizona Corporation Commission. The Articles of Incorporation is a legal document that establishes the corporation and contains information such as the corporate name, business purpose, authorized shares, and the directors' and incorporators' names and addresses. 

To file the Articles of Incorporation in Arizona, the following information is needed: the name and address of the corporation, the name and address of the registered agent, the names and addresses of the incorporators, and the number of authorized shares of stock. 

Once the Articles of Incorporation are filed and approved, the corporation is considered a legal entity in Arizona. It is important to note that the Arizona Corporation Commission provides a helpful online guide that walks you through filing Articles of Incorporation.

Appoint A Registered Agent

Arizona law requires that every corporation has a registered agent in the state. A registered agent is a person or business that is chosen to get legal papers on behalf of a corporation. Some crucial points to keep in mind when appointing a registered agent are:

  1. The registered agent must have a physical address in Arizona.
  2. The registered agent must be available during regular business hours to receive legal documents.
  3. You can appoint an individual or a company as your registered agent.

To appoint a registered agent, you can include their name and address in the articles of incorporation or file a separate form with the Arizona Corporation Commission.

Comply With Publishing Requirements

Arizona law says that a notice of incorporation has to be published in a newspaper in the county where the corporation is located. The notice must be published three times within 60 days of filing the articles of incorporation. Some crucial points to keep in mind regarding publishing requirements are:

  1. It would be best if you used a newspaper that meets Arizona's legal requirements for publishing notices of incorporation.
  2. The notice must include specific information, such as the name of the corporation, the purpose of the corporation, and the name and address of the corporation's agent for the service of the process.
  3. Failure to comply with publishing requirements can result in penalties, such as fines or even the dissolution of the corporation.

You can hire a legal publishing service or contact a newspaper directly to publish the notice if you need to do so. You must file an affidavit of publication with the Arizona Corporation Commission once the notice has been published.

Prepare Corporate Bylaws

Corporate bylaws are the internal rules that govern a corporation's operations, including its management structure, the rights and responsibilities of shareholders and directors, and how decisions are made. Bylaws are important because they help make sure that a company runs consistently and openly, and they can help keep shareholders and directors from fighting with each other. Preparing corporate bylaws includes the following:

  1. Identifying the key provisions necessary for the corporation's operations.
  2. Seeking legal advice when necessary.
  3. Ensuring that the bylaws are consistent with Arizona law.

Bylaws can include things like how shareholders will meet, what the directors' jobs are, and how the corporation's money will be handled.

Appoint Initial Directors And Hold First Board Meeting

To appoint initial directors and hold the first board meeting, corporations should identify the individuals who will serve as the initial directors. Arizona requires at least one director for a corporation. Once the directors have been chosen, a board meeting should be set up so that the bylaws can be approved, officers can be chosen, shares can be given out, and any other necessary steps can be taken. Arizona law requires that the corporation keep the board meeting minutes, including a record of the actions taken and any resolutions passed.

File Annual Reports

Arizona requires corporations to file an annual report with the Arizona Corporation Commission. The report includes information about the corporation's management structure, registered agent, and financial status. Corporations must file the report on or before the due date to avoid late fees and penalties. The due date is the fifteenth day of the fourth month following the corporation's fiscal year end.

Obtain An EIN

The IRS issues businesses with an EIN, or Employer Identification Number, which is a distinctive identifier. It is important because it is used to identify a corporation for tax and other purposes. To obtain an EIN, corporations can apply online through the IRS website. The application requires information about the corporation's name, location, and business purpose. Once the application is submitted and approved, the corporation will receive its EIN immediately.

Comply With Arizona Tax Requirements

When starting a business in Arizona, it is important to follow the state's tax rules. Corporations are subject to state income tax and other taxes, such as sales tax, property tax, and payroll tax. The Arizona Department of Revenue administers the state's tax laws and collects taxes.

Corporations must get an Arizona Transaction Privilege Tax (TPT) license in order to pay taxes in Arizona. This license collects and remits sales tax, use tax, and other transaction taxes. The Arizona Department of Revenue has a website where corporations can sign up for an Arizona TPT license.

Corporations must file their Arizona tax returns on an annual basis. Arizona tax returns are due on April 15th of each year, the same as federal tax returns. Corporations must also pay estimated yearly taxes based on their expected income and tax liability.

Obtain Necessary Business Licenses And Permits

In Arizona, businesses have to do more than just pay taxes. They also have to follow other rules. For instance, depending on the type of business, corporations may need to get different licenses and permits in order to legally run their businesses in the state.

Some standard licenses and permits include business, zoning, health, and environmental permits. The specific licenses and permits required will depend on the type of business and the location of the business.

Corporations can find information on the licenses and permits required for their business by visiting the Arizona Department of Commerce website or contacting the appropriate regulatory agency.

Foreign Corporations Doing Business In Arizona

Foreign corporations that want to do business in Arizona must register with the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC). The ACC is responsible for regulating corporations that do business in the state.

The company has to ask the ACC for permission to register as a foreign company in Arizona. The application must include the following:

  1. The corporation's name and address.
  2. The name and address of the registered agent.
  3. A statement of the corporation's business activities in Arizona.

Foreign corporations must also pay the ACC an initial filing fee and an annual report fee. In addition, failure to register a foreign corporation can result in penalties and fines.


Some important steps for a business to take next are to make a business plan, get money, and hire people. It's also essential for corporations to keep accurate financial records, maintain compliance with tax and regulatory requirements, and continually assess and adapt their business strategies to stay competitive in the marketplace.

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